The 1996 Silver Eagle saw the lowest bullion coin mintage for the entire series at only 3,603,386 coins. This proved to be the floor for silver bullion demand, as mintages climbed steadily for the next several years and have never revisited the low level experienced this year. The bullion 1996 Silver Eagle carries a premium due to its low mintage.
The United States Mint also offered the 1996 Proof Silver Eagle for collectors. These coins were priced at $23.00 and carried a maximum authorized mintage of 500,000 coins. The entire amount was sold out. This represented the first sell out since the United States Mint began establishing a maximum authorized mintage in 1990.
For collectors of certified Silver Eagles, the proof coin is attainable in perfect grades from both NGC and PCGS. The bullion version is difficult to locate in NGC MS 70 and does not exist in PCGS MS70.
The overall average price of silver during 1996, held steady at $5.20 per ounce. Throughout the year the price covered a wide range of prices from $4.71 to $5.82.
1996 Silver Eagle Mintages
Bullion Mintage: 3,603,386
Proof Mintage: 498,293
Mint Mark: none (bullion), P (proof)
Designers: Adolph A. Weinman (obverse), John Mercanti (reverse)
Composition: 99.93% silver, 0.07% copper
Weight: 31.101 grams (1.000 ounces)
Diameter: 40.6 mm (1.598 inches)
Thickness: 2.98 mm (0.117 inches)