American Eagle Silver Coin
Adolph Weinman’s famous 1916 “Walking Liberty” U.S. half-dollar is the basis for the design of the American Silver Eagle. Every Silver Eagle is a work of art, minted to exacting standards by the United States Mint.
Authorized by Congress in 1985 and first minted in 1986, Silver Eagles are .999 fine silver, the finest silver coins ever issued by the United States. Each contains a full troy ounce of silver. The American Eagle is uniquely the only silver bullion coin whose weight, content, and purity is guaranteed by the United States Government.
90% Silver U.S. Coinage
One of the most popular ways to invest in silver bullion is with 90% U.S. silver. Misleadingly called “junk” silver, this name was given to these coins in the 1970s to describe average circulated silver coins, meaning coins that were not rare.
All “90% coins” are pre-1965 because prior to 1965, all U.S. dimes, quarters and half-dollars were struck from an alloy containing 90% silver and 10% copper. In 1965, at the direction of Congress, the U.S. Mint removed all silver from dimes and quarters. Silver content in half-dollars was reduced at that point to 40%.
40% Silver U.S. Coinage, "Clad Silver"
After the U.S. Mint removed all silver from dimes and quarters in 1965 they reduced the silver content in Kennedy half dollars from 90% to 40%. To achieve 40% silver content the Mint changed the alloy from which the coins were struck by using a base metal alloy for the core of the coin and then adding a silver coating to the outside of the coins.
These Kennedy halves (1965-1969) are known as “clads” because they are clad in silver. After 1969 all circulating U.S. coins were struck without silver. A “40% Silver Bag” consists of 2000 Kennedy half dollars minted between 1965 and 1969.