In what is now a touch of torment, several weeks back the United States Mint published 2009 American Eagle Silver Proof Coin images within their Press Image Library.
The torment comes from the fact that US Mint on October 6, 2009, announced that these coins were canceled for the year, which makes the images the closest collectors will ever come to experiencing what they would have been like.
In reality, their designs have remained unchanged since they were launched in 1986, so there is little left to the imagination as to how they would have looked. And, further, these images are less of a reminder of what could have been as compared to what will be an always present hole in 23 year old collector books.
The story on how the images came into the image library is perhaps an intriguing one. It would seem the decision to cancel the coins was a close call, and obviously not decided quickly. We may never know.
The 2009 bullion Silver Eagles have been selling at an astounding rate. An all-time eagle record was broke in early Oct. when the US Mint reported nearly 21 million had been purchased. That was more than the amount sold in the entire year of 2008, which now ranks 2nd. As of Monday morning, the bullion silver eagle tally stands at 22,092,500.
The design for the silver eagles is based on A.A. Weinman’s "Walking Liberty" first introduced on the 1917 silver half-dollar. Adolph Alexander Weinman was born in Germany but arrived in the United States at the age of 10. He would later study at the Cooper Union and Art Students League and would even work with renowned sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens.
Weinman’s sculptures would end up gracing buildings and other structures throughout the country, but he is probably best known for his work on American coinage. By all accounts, Weinman considered his work on coins as trivial, but today his "Mercury" dime and Walking Liberty half-dollar continue to evoke respect long after his other works are mostly forgotten.