2008 American silver eagles feature the artistic work of Adolph A. Weinman, whose widely recognized Walking Liberty design first appeared on the half dollar in 1916. The design was retired from the half dollar in 1947 but revived in 1986 upon the minting of the first American silver eagle.
The United States Mint dramatically increased mintages of American silver eagles in 2008 to meet surging demand in a worsening economy in which investors found security in precious metals. The increase in demand can be easily measured in a comparison of silver eagle mintage numbers from 2007 and 2008. In 2007, about 10 million American silver eagles were struck. In 2008, the total figure exceeded 21 million.
A breakdown of the three varieties of silver eagle made in 2008 (uncirculated, proof, and burnished) provides a slightly clearer picture:
2008 uncirculated silver eagle – 20,583,000
2008 proof silver eagle – 700,979
2008 burnished silver eagle – 533,757
As you can see, the increased demand was coming mainly from the bullion investment market, as the two collector varieties (proof and burnished) has mintage numbers in 2008 that were largely similar to production figures from 2007.
All 2008 American silver eagles were struck at the West Point, New York, mint, and were available to collectors and investors directly from the U.S. Mint.
There is one significant 2008 silver eagle variety for coin collectors to take note of, and that is the “2008-W Silver Eagle Reverse of 2007 Variety.” This piece resulted when slight alterations to the reverse design between 2007 and 2008 led to the inadvertent striking of some 2007 reverse type die, creating this error. This coin is distinguishable mainly by the hyphen between “SILVER” and “ONE.”