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Most missed uncirculated Silver Eagles Part 3: Die Variety

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As we have discussed in the last two parts, American Silver Eagles are some of the most collected coins in the world today.  Within this collection, collectors often miss some of the best coins out there thru lack of knowledge.  In this final installment of The Most Missed Uncirculated Silver Eagles we will discuss varieties.  A variety is a minor change or die difference within a basic design of a coin.  There is just one major variety in the series: The 2008-W Silver Eagle Reverse of 2007.  Before we get into what makes this coin so special let's ask the question at hand.  Why should the design be changed in the first place?  Actually, this is a very common practice in coins.  The Mint will tweak certain design elements of the dies to expand die life in order to strike more coins with each one.  This is exactly what happened to the reverse dies in 2008.

2008-W Reverse of 2007

The description does a good job of telling the story.  The tweaks to the dies are hard to recognize if you are not closely looking.  There were small changes to the the lettering, spacing of the stars, a modified tilde.  Things you typically wouldn't notice... and that is exactly how an unmodified reverse die from 2007 was accidentally used to strike 2008 silver! For three shifts, the 2007 dies struck approximately 47,000 coins, making it one of the rarest uncirculated Silver Eagles to date.  Not only is it regarded as the most significant variety in the series but also earned the #17 spot in Shechter and Garrett's 100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins.  Today, no true collector of American Silver Eagles can truly say they have a complete collection without this rare gem!


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