If 1995 proved to have been the key-date year for proof American silver eagles, then 1996 was the key year for uncirculated silver eagles. While the American silver eagle series is perennially popular among bullion investors and numismatists both in the United States and abroad, there are some years where demand for bullion coins in general sees highs and lows, and the somewhat soft demand for new American silver eagles in 1996 necessitated the striking of only 3,603,386 pieces.
The result of this lower-than-typical mintage was the creation of a key-date coin that today is in far more demand than its supply can satisfy. Its current price tag of around $70 in uncirculated condition is only somewhat influenced by silver bullion prices, but is mainly the result of sheer demand largely from the coin collector market, in which many individuals try to assemble complete date runs of the series. The 1996-P proof American silver eagle, with a mintage of 500,000, isn’t much out of line with other mid-to-late 1990s proof silver eagle prices, with a value of about $120.
With values very high for both uncirculated and proof American silver eagles from 1996, be sure that you buy the best looking examples you can afford. Some collectors on a budget may buy sub-par 1996 uncirculated silver eagles to fill holes in their albums. This isn’t a bad idea if you’re tight on funds, but beware that the listed values for 1996 American silver eagles are only for pieces that are in excellent condition.