The American Silver Eagle or the Canadian Silver Bald Eagle
Can’t decide between the American Silver Eagle and the Canadian Silver Bald Eagle Coins? Here are some considerations.
Update August 30, 2015 – Premiums on the Birds of Prey Series Soar
The American Silver Eagle vs. The Canadian Silver Bald Eagle*
Does Face Value Matter When Buying Silver and Gold Coins?
The American Silver Eagle one ounce coin, produced by the United States Mint is the most popular silver coin in the world issued by any government mint.
In 2013 the U.S. Mint sold a record 42.675 million American Silver Eagle coins and has sold well over 350 million from 1986 through 2013.
The Canadian Mint also produces one ounce silver coins, featuring the Queen of England on the front and a variety of designs on the back. The most widely minted Canadian silver one ounce coin features a maple leaf on the back.
Over 125 million Canadian silver maple leaf coins have been sold since 1988.
In 2014, as part of its Birds of Prey series, that also includes the Peregrine Falcon, the Red Tailed Hawk and the Great Horned Owl, the Canadian Mint introduced a silver one ounce coin featuring birds of prey on the back instead of the standard maple leaf.
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The second coin in the Birds of Prey series, the Canadian Silver Bald Eagle, presents collectors with a serious alternative to the American Silver Eagle coin.
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Here is how the two silver eagle coins stack up.
American Silver Eagle
Click To Buy American Silver Eagles from JM Bullion
Face Value: $1 U.S. Legal tender
Rarity: open ended 2014 mintage – 44 million
Silver: .999 fine
Jm Bullion Price:
Silver spot price September 4, 2014 $19.11 an ounce
Canadian Silver Bald Eagle Coin
Click to Buy Canadian Silver Bald Eagle Coins from Golden Eagle Coins
Face Value: $5 Canadian Legal Tender
Rarity: 1 million 2014 Mintage
Silver: .9999 fine
Golden Eagle Coin Price
Silver spot price Sept 4, 2014 $19.11 an ounce
Which Coin is the Better Value?
The American Silver Eagle and the Canadian Silver Bald Eagle coins sell for fairly large premiums over the spot price of silver.
As of September 4, 2014:
The American Silver Eagle sold for $2.39-$3.29 (or 12.5-17.2%) over the spot price per coin depending on how many coins are purchased.
The Canadian Silver Bald Eagle sold for $2.68-$3.58 (or 14-18.7%) over the spot price per coin depending on how many coins are purchased.
The Canadian Silver Bald Eagle coin costs $.29-$.39 cents more per coin than the American Silver Eagle, or 12.9%-17.9% more.
Advantage: The American Silver Eagle
The American Silver Eagle is the largest selling silver coin in the world. As such it is not prized for its rarity, but rather because it is an attractive, easily recognizable coin. In 2014 the U.S. Mint produced a record 44 million American Silver Eagles.
The Canadian Silver Bald Eagle, in contrast, is a limited edition coin with just one million scheduled to be minted.
The Canadian Silver Bald Eagle also comes in a very limited edition proof version:
Advantage: The Canadian Silver Bald Eagle
The American Silver Eagle is considered legal tender in the United States and has a face value of just $1.
The Canadian Silver Bald Eagle is considered legal tender in Canada and has a face value of $5.
The Canadian Silver Bald Eagle has a built in hedge against a drop in the price of silver to $5 as the coin will still be worth five Canadian dollars irrespective of the price of silver.
With silver at $14+ an ounce over the $5 face value of the Canadian Silver Bald Eagle coin, it’s not the most attractive hedge, but it’s better far better than the $1 face value on the American Silver Eagle.
Advantage: The Canadian Silver Bald Eagle (and any Canadian one ounce silver coin with a face value of $5)
In April 1933, with a stroke of a pen, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102, requiring U.S. citizens to turn in their gold coins, gold bullion and gold certificates to the government.
The United States government paid face value for the gold coins returned which at the time was the equivalent of $20.67 an ounce.
In the event of a confiscation of silver by the U.S. government they might demand that the American Silver Eagles be turned in and in return they would pay “just compensation” of $1 per coin, the face value of the coins.**
At today’s prices this would result in a near $19 loss per coin!
The U.S. would have a more difficult time justifying offering $1 for Canadian Silver Bald Eagles.
Assuming the government was ignoring the price of silver and overlooking their ability to recall another nation’s coinage, “just compensation” for a Canadian Silver Bald Eagle would be at least the value of whatever $5 Canadian dollars would be in U.S. dollars at the time of confiscation.
While these scenarios are probably unlikely, holding non-U.S. legal tender coins*** may have its advantages.
Advantage: Canadian Silver Bald Eagle (for U.S. citizens)
The American Silver Eagle is .999 pure silver.
The Canadian Silver Bald Eagle is .9999 pure silver.
Both coins contain an ounce of silver
Advantage: Canadian Silver Bald Eagle
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The Canadian Silver Bald Eagle coin, along with the other coins in the Birds of Prey series are limited edition coins. In recent years such coins issued by the Canadian Mint have traded higher than the standard issue Canadian silver maple leaf coins in just a few years. There is no guarantee that the premium paid today for Canadian Silver Bald Eagle coins will translate into higher premiums, but the additional $.29-$.39 cents per coin over the American Silver Eagle, reduces the down side risk.
While confiscation issues are remote, the Canadian Silver Eagle for U.S. residents might mitigate that risk. Of course the U.S. government could also outlaw private ownership of foreign coins, or silver itself by U.S. citizens.
The decision on which coin to buy, the American Silver Eagle or the Canadian Silver Bald Eagle, may rest on which coin you find more attractive. While I think the American Silver Eagle is the better looking coin, front and back, (I find the front picture of the Queen of England on the Canadian Silver Bald Eagle at best bland) the Canadian Silver Eagle is also a nice looking coin and its limited issuance make it worthy of consideration.
**the situation of the U.S. government paying “just compensation” in the event of silver confiscation, by paying the face value of their coinage would reach an absurd level if they determined to pay the face value of just $.25 for each 5 ounce America the Beautiful coin!
For more on these coins see the Smaulgld America The Beautiful Coin Buying Guide
The Royal Canadian Mint’s $20 for $20 Silver Coin Offer
The Royal Canadian Mint is currently offering silver coins with face values of $20 for $20. These coins, however, don’t have $20 worth of silver in them, they contain 7.96 grams of silver, or .28078 ounces that is worth approximately at $5.35 at the current price of silver of $19.11.
The Royal Canadian Mint is also offering coins with face values of $50 for $50 with 15.87 grams of silver or .55980 ounces that is worth approximately $10.70.
You can view these unique coins by clicking on the banner below.
If all this is confusing, you can just buy non government silver rounds at lower premiums over spot. Silver rounds have no face value and are sold purely on their weight.
Generic silver rounds sell for lower premiums than government minted coins like the American Silver Eagle and Canadian Silver Bald Eagle coins.
For example, silver rounds from Sunshine Minting Inc. are currently selling at about a dollar less per round than the Canadian and American Silver Eagle coins.
Sunshine Minting Silver Rounds
JM Bullion Price
1 – 19 $21.58
20 – 99 $21.08
100 – 499 $20.58
500 or more $20.
Click to Buy Sunshine Mint Silver Rounds From JM Bullion
American Silver Eagles, Canadian Silver Bald Eagles or silver rounds not for you? Check out Austrian Silver Philharmonic coins or Chinese Silver Panda coins.
Check out the Smaulgld Silver Buying Guide
*** American Gold Eagles are minted with face values far below the value of their gold content. For example, the American Gold Eagle is minted in denominations of $5 (1/10 ounce), $10 (1/4 ounce), $25 (1/2 ounce) and $50 (1 ounce).
With gold prices at approximately $1260 an ounce, the $5 American Gold Eagle has $126 of gold in it, the $10 AGE- $315, the $25 AGE – $630 and the $50 one ounce American Gold Eagle – 1260.