100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins Series: 2008-W $1 American Silver Eagle, Reverse of 2007

“Affordability. Credibility. Beauty.” Those are the United States Mint’s words describing one of the world’s most popular silver bullion options. Born in 1986 and currently still being produced today, the American Eagle Silver Bullion coins have certainly made their mark on the numismatic business as they are comprised of 99.9% silver and are backed by the United States Government in weight and purity. In addition to the government’s guarantee, they are $1 legal tender and are one of the only silver coins allowed in an IRA, or individual retirement account.

With its continued popularity, there are a number of special finishes and firsts that have occurred over the years when it comes to certain years and anniversaries, but none have such a “significant die-variety” present than the one that has been listed in Whitman Publishing’s fourth edition of 100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins. With authors Scott Schechter and Jeff Garrett at the helm with additional support and insight from some of the most influential coin dealers in the business, we will take a look at this variety of American Silver Eagles and how it stacks up in the top-100 list.

#17 - 2008-W $1 American Silver Eagle, Reverse of 2007

The Adolph A. Weinman (obverse) and John Mercanti (reverse) design became a major target for collectors just a few months into 2008. Not long after being released from the United States Mint, the first of the 2008 year-dated silver Eagles were reported to have been “re-hubbed” which meant that a new design template was being used in the creation of the dies that were being used to strike the $1 legal tender coins. The new design template would not bring about major changes but smaller ones like the choice made in changing the lettering being used. This change is design would be across the board when it came to issues including the bullion American Silver Eagles in addition to the Proof and Uncirculated issues.

The change in die in 2008 would be a result of the updated process of digital engraving as it was a major improvement in production as far as efficiency and overall cost efficiency for the Mint. The design process then took place and updated the coin early on, most notably in the change in a single letter on the reverse: ‘U’ in “UNITED”. The new version of the letter would have a foot on the bottom right while overall being a thicker version than the previous design.

It was not until the release of the 2008-W American Silver Eagles in mid-April that a collector from Georgia would notice that these brand new coins would have the reverse of the 2007. This find would eventually reach the rest of the hobby as collectors would search for this unique variety, especially after it was confirmed by grading services. Orders for the Uncirculated version of the coin would grow tremendously. The Mint officially acknowledged the mixup and verified that the 2007-W reverse was used by accident. They would also confirm that around 47,000 2008-W American Silver Eagles would be struck with the reverse of the 2007 and named it a “transitional” type of variety that would bring two designs together. Hence the name 2008-W, Reverse of 2007.

According to NGC’s census report, there have only been 8,077 certified in a perfect MS70 as they name a price guide of $1,100. A regular 2008-W American Silver Eagle with the corrected reverse holds a price guide of just $80.00 in a MS70 grade.

The 2008-W $1 American Silver Eagle, Reverse of 2007 has not changed spots since the first edition of the publication.