Guide Book of American Silver Eagles cover

Q. David Bowers on A Guide Book of American Silver Eagles

Whitman Publishing’s new Guide Book of American Silver Eagles, by Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez, will debut this December, available from booksellers and hobby shops nationwide. Here, Q. David Bowers, the namesake of Whitman’s popular “Bowers Series” of numismatic reference books (of which McMorrow-Hernandez’s work is no. 27), reviews the new volume and shares some thoughts on American Silver Eagles.

As 2022 enters the holiday season, Whitman Publishing is releasing the first edition of the Guide Book of American Silver Eagles—and I say “first edition” because I’m certain many more will follow! The bullion coin series it covers has been with us for more than 35 years, and shows no sign of slowing down.

There’s something to be said for longevity in the hobby of coin collecting. The Bowers Series of reference books—of which this is volume 27—will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary, and I myself have been in numismatics as a hobbyist and a professional for 70 years.

Maybe you’re new to the hobby yourself, and American Silver Eagles are your gateway to the fun and excitement. Or you might be a longtime collector, and these coins are a series you’ve collected for decades, or one you’re just beginning to explore. Whatever your experience level, you have a talented guide in Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez, who shares insight to help you understand and appreciate American Silver Eagles. Read and learn from Josh’s book, and you can build a beautiful and valuable collection of your own.

Josh himself is no newcomer to the hobby. He’s written about coins for many years, as a freelance journalist, a market reporter, and a book author. His enthusiasm for American Silver Eagles is contagious!

In 1986, the year the American Eagle bullion program was launched, Florence M. Schook was president of the American Numismatic Association. My own term as president had just ended. Florence emphasized, as I always have, the importance of knowledge in the hobby, more than just buying and selling, and she dedicated her energy to educating collectors, especially young collectors. She would be pleased to see the growth in the number of coin-related books published since then, certainly in the past 20 years.

American Silver Eagles deserve their own books among the hobby’s literature. They’re popular—any program that sells 600 million or more coins is an unqualified barnburner! And they appeal to a variety of interests. Maybe you’re an investor or speculator, looking to build a reserve of precious metal. American Silver Eagles fill the bill nicely. You could be a hobbyist who collects from pocket change and has never bought a “rare” coin before, and be drawn in by the American Silver Eagle’s attractive designs. If you like challenging and interesting series, American Silver Eagles boast Proof coins of flawless quality, rarities that make the 1909-S V.D.B. cent look common, and many innovative new finishes and formats to collect. And if you’re a history buff, as I am, the American Silver Eagles beckon. They were born in a fascinating numismatic era and they connect to many points of national and international historical interest.

I remember in 1985 I was introduced at a symposium as “one of the leading figures in the coin industry.” This prompted me to reply that I don’t consider myself an industrialist—someone who presides over factories and loading docks and railroad connections. Instead, I consider myself to be a professional numismatist. I might be industrious, but I’m not an industrialist! In the same era of 1985, 1986, 1987, as the American Eagle program was in planning and then got underway, more and more newcomers to coin-collecting were expressing interest in investment and price appreciation. A senior numismatist at my firm, Bowers and Merena Galleries, shared with me typical questions he was hearing from people just entering the hobby: “What kind of profits will I see next year on coins I buy today? What newsletters should I subscribe to if I want to maximize my investment? What coin series is the hottest now? What will be hot tomorrow?”

In the Guide Book of American Silver Eagles, Josh McMorrow-Hernandez explores the almost unique collector/investor energy that these coins enjoy—part of what sells them in the millions. Not only do they capture the eyes and imaginations of hobbyists, but they also appeal to investors and speculators, the “silver bugs” and “stackers” attracted to their precious-metal content. This two-audiences-in-one appeal isn’t entirely unique: There’s another coin series that shares the same high level of popularity among both collectors and investors. That coin is the classic Morgan silver dollar of 1878 to 1921, a personal favorite of mine. Inside his delightful new book, Josh shows us why many collectors and dealers consider the American Silver Eagle to be “the Morgan dollar of today.”

Get ready to immerse yourself in one of the biggest and most important coinage programs of modern times. There’s a lot to learn in the Guide Book of American Silver Eagles, and fun to be had while collecting. Enjoy!

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