What will the 2021 Silver Eagles look like? It’s a question on a lot of coin collector’s mind. Why? Because the nation’s most beloved coin is changing. A new artist’s design will grace the reverse of the 1 oz American Silver Eagle coin for the first time in its 35-year history.

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This will be the first and last year the U.S. Mint releases both versions of the Silver Eagle: the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 1 coin featuring former Chief Engraver John Mercanti’s original heraldic eagle design on the reverse; and the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 coin with Mint Artistic Infusion Program artist Emily Damstra’s dynamic eagle in flight on the reverse.

See more details about the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 coin design and the U.S. Mint’s planned release date this summer below.

ℹ️   Did you know the U.S Mint is redesigning the American Eagle Gold coin too? Get all the details here.

2021 Silver Eagle Type 1 and 2: What’s Changing?

2021 silver eagle new design vs old design

Now you know the American Eagle Silver coin design is changing this summer, but what exactly can you expect from the Type 2? Two primary changes: an entirely new depiction of the heraldic eagle on the reverse and a “refresh” of the design based on engraver and designer of the Mercury Dime Adolph A Weinman’s popular Walking Liberty half dollar on the obverse.

2021 Silver Eagle Type 1 Coin Design

To give you a better idea of the differences between the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 1 and 2 coins, let’s look at the original designs first.

2021 Silver Eagle Type 1 Reverse Design (Old Design)

2021 american silver eagle coin reverse old design

Reverse design of the type 1 (old design) 2021 American Silver Eagle Coin. Image Source: US Mint.

First introduced in 1986 after the passage of the Liberty Coin Act of 1985, the original American Silver Eagle coin’s reverse design embodies the country’s military strength and commitment to peace in the form of an eagle spreading its wings behind the union shield, clutching arrows in one talon and olive branches in the other. An inverted pyramid of thirteen stars representing the original thirteen colonies floats above the eagle’s head, and a “W” for the West Point Mint sits near its left talon. “E Pluribus Unum” is scrolled across the ribbon in its beak. “United States of America,” “1 Oz. Fine Silver,” and “One Dollar” encircle the imposing image.

2021 Silver Eagle Type 1 Obverse Design (Old Design)

2021 american silver eagle coin obverse old design

Obverse design of the type 1 (old design) 2021 American Silver Eagle Coin. Image Source: US Mint.

In stark contrast to the Silver Eagle’s formal and static reverse imagery, you’ll find the classically inspired walking personification of Lady Liberty on the obverse. She strides toward the rising sun draped in a flowing American flag carrying branches of laurel and oak representing civil and military glory. “Liberty” is inscribed across the top half of the coin, “In God We Trust” in the right corner near her foot, and the date at the bottom.

2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 Coin Design

The reverse of the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 is a complete departure from the past, with a new artist and a new rendition of the eagle. 2021 brings a “refresh” to the obverse design. The effect? Greater congruence between the two sides of the coin.

2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 Reverse Design (New Design)

2021 american silver eagle coin reverse new design proof coin

Reverse design of the West Point Type 2 (new design) 2021 American Silver Eagle Proof Coin. Image Source: US Mint.

A scene of the heraldic eagle you might see in nature replaces the one often found in state buildings in the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 reverse design: an eagle in the wild coming in for a landing, a single oak branch—our national tree and a symbol of strength—in its talon. The inscriptions remain the same; however, “E Pluribus Unum” is now located on the right side of the eagle.

“My inspiration for this design grew from a desire to show our national bird—with all of the values it embodies—in a unique way that could also convey traits such as diligence, cooperation, care, and protection,” said Emily Damstra, the freelance natural science illustrator who designed the new reverse.[1]

A longtime member of the U.S. Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program, Damstra has designed more than 40 other U.S. coins, as well as coins for the Royal Canadian Mint and postage stamps for the United Nations. Mint Medallic Artist John McGraw sculpted the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 proof coin and bullion coin reverse design.

2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 Obverse Design (New Design)

2021 american silver eagle coin obverse new design proof coin

Obverse design of the West Point Type 2 (new design) 2021 American Silver Eagle Proof Coin. Image Source: US Mint.

The U.S. Mint employed historical assets to render a closer reflection of Weinman’s original vision for Lady Liberty; details that weren’t previously possible include his traditional artist mark, “AW,” which is located under the inscription of “In God We Trust.”[2]

2021 american silver eagle type 2 artist mark

Artist mark on the new type 2 2021 silver American eagle proof coin. Image source: US Mint4

2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 Enhanced Security Features

As the country’s most popular coin, the American Silver Eagle has been the target of counterfeiters over the years. To combat this problem, the U.S. Mint introduced enhanced security features, such a reeded edge variation.2

2021 american silver eagle reeded edge security feature type 2 coin

Example of the new reeded edge security feature on the 2021 American Silver Eagle proof coin. Picture source: US Mint. 5

2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 Coin Specifications

  • Denomination: $1
  • Finish: Proof & Bullion
  • Composition: 99.9% Silver
  • Weight: 1.000 troy oz. (31.103 grams)
  • Diameter: 1.598 inches (40.60 mm)
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Mint and Mint Mark:  West Point – W on Proof Coins; West Point – W & San Francisco – S on Bullion Coins
  • Privy Mark: none

When Is the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 Release Date?

Keep your eye out for the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 bullion coin at the beginning of July because the coin should be available around the first week of the month. (Please note SBC does not have a set date yet on availability. For questions, please contact us.) The U.S. Mint plans to release the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 proof coin on July 20, 2021; however, the U.S. Mint has already had to postpone the release date once due to high demand, so check back for updates in case this release date changes again.[3]

Where to Purchase the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 Coin

Are you excited about the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 coins? Many investors are, and this monumental change to the American Silver Eagle series is expected to attract new collectors seeking to build sets of the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 1 and 2 coins. This could mean even more strain on an already-tight market and an increase in value.1

Stay informed of availability of the 2021 Silver Eagle Type 2 coins from Scottsdale Bullion & Coin to ensure your opportunity to purchase one by subscribing to our newsletter—so you’ll be the first to seize this once-in-a-generation collector opportunity.

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