The U.S. Mint started producing one troy ounce silver American Eagle coins in 1986, so they’ve been around for some time. Generally, silver Eagles are considered bullion, meaning the value depends only on the metal content of the coin. The Mint also produces a special “proof” version intended for coin collectors. Selling or buying silver Eagles is a convenient way to invest in the metal because the coins are easy to buy and unload when you want to sell. Plus, silver Eagles are the only silver coin allowed in traditional or Roth IRAs.
Use the U.S. Mint’s online Coin Dealer Database to locate an authorized silver Eagle vendor. Except for proof coins, the Mint does not sell silver Eagles directly to the public. Instead, the coins are distributed through a nationwide network of dealers. The database is available on the Mint’s website. (See References.)
Check the current market price, called the spot price, of silver bullion. Dealer prices are based on the spot price. A coin dealer prices silver Eagles slightly above the current spot price and buys them at a small discount. The difference goes to cover his expenses. The dealer’s share can vary, so knowing the current spot price and comparing dealer prices can net you a bit more profit.
Call ahead to the dealer you select when you want to purchase or sell silver Eagles. When you are buying the coins, checking ahead lets you make sure the dealer has silver Eagles in stock. Keep the coins you buy in their original packaging and hang onto the receipt and any other documents that come with the purchase. This will make it easier for a buyer to authenticate the coins when it comes time to sell them. To sell silver Eagles, make an appointment with your dealer. She will need to inspect the coins, so an appointment ensures she has time set aside for you. Bring the silver Eagles, purchase receipts and other documents that came with the coins.
Purchase proof silver Eagles either through an authorized dealer or from the U.S. Mint. Although the Mint does not sell regular silver Eagles directly to the public, you can purchase the proof version online through their website. You will need to create an account, provide a valid e-mail address and furnish your bank account information or a credit/debit card number for payment purposes. If you want to sell proof coins, take them to a dealer as you would regular silver Eagles.
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