1988-S Proof American Silver Eagle

in Proof Silver Eagles

With the release of the 1988-S Proof American Silver Eagle, the annual Proof Silver Eagle Program marked its third year. The series debuted in 1986 as the collector versions of the US Mint’s bullion Silver Eagle series which also made their debut that same year.

Both versions of Silver Eagles are struck from one ounce of .999 fine silver. Both also feature the same obverse and reverse designs which have remained the same since their debut through over twenty-five years of new issues.

This includes an obverse of "Walking Liberty." The image of Liberty was actually previously seen on the 1916-1947 half dollar coin and has become a favorite of collectors with many feeling it is one of the most beautiful ever struck on an American coin. That love for the design likely influenced the Mint’s decision to re-use it on the Silver Eagles as Congress only dictated a design symbolic of Liberty be used on the associated bullion coins. The design is the original work of artist Adolph A. Weinman.

Shown on the reverse of the series is a heraldic eagle with shield. The design was created for initial use on the Silver Eagles by US Mint engraver John Mercanti.

The US Mint strikes each Proof Silver Eagle from specially burnished blanks using special dies. Each coin is struck multiple times which results in a design with enhanced detail over similar bullion coins. Also, the design features a mirror-like field and frosted devices which has proven popular with collectors.

All of the 1988 Proof Silver Eagles were struck at the US Mint’s facility in San Francisco. An ‘S’ mintmark on the reverse of each indicates the location of production.

1988 Silver Eagle Mintages

When issued, the United States Mint charged $23.00 per 1988-S Proof American Silver Eagle. This was the same price as charged by the US Mint for the releases of the previous year and $2 more than it had charged for the 1986 version. Despite the price remaining steady, interest in the Proof Eagles apparently waned some from the previous year as only 557,370 of the 1988 coin were sold. In comparison, 904,732 of the 1987 variety sold.

Bullion Eagle demand also faltered during the year. The US Mint recorded just 5,004,646 of the 1988-dated bullion Silver Eagles sold compared to 11,442,335 the previous year. For the record, the average London Fix for Silver in 1988 was $6.53 an ounce.

1988-S Proof American Silver Eagles on Sale

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