The 2008 Proof Silver Eagles first went on sale at the Mint on January 3, 2008. They were offered for $31.95 with no ordering limit and no production limit. Proof Silver Eagles are a popular product for the US Mint and they are usually available for sale the entire year and minted to demand.
Approximately two weeks ago, the US Mint stopped selling the 2008 Proof American Silver Eagles. The product page for the offering contains the terse message “Product is not available.”
The coins are not Sold Out, as a few people have been stating, but they are unavailable for sale. The unavailability is the result of the ongoing shortage of silver blanks needed to produce the 2008 Silver Eagle bullion coins. On June 6, 2008 in the midst of the great Silver Eagle shortage, the Mint released a memo containing the following statement:
“We are not using incoming supplies of silver blanks to produce numismatic versions of these coins (American Eagle Silver Proof and Uncirculated Coins); all incoming inventory is being used solely for silver bullion coins during this reduced supply period.”
Based on this and further statements from the Mint 2008 Proof Silver Eagles will go back on sale when and if the demand for bullion Silver Eagles subsides or the Mint is able obtain silver blanks in sufficient quantities to supply demand for all silver products. In this Numismaster article, a Mint spokesman said the following:
“Sales of American Silver Eagle Proof coins will resume at a later date, provided that the Mint can acquire sufficient inventories of silver blanks to meet public demand for all American Eagle Silver Products.”
Even though the 2008 Proof Silver Eagles might go back on sale, prices on the secondary market have already gotten a boost. A quick survey of recently completed eBay auctions shows uncertified coins selling for around $45 to $50 each.
To date, the US Mint has sold 712,000 of the 2008 Proof Silver Eagles. This is somewhat low compared to the 2007 Proof Silver Eagle’s (unconfirmed) total sales of 827,106. But on a historical basis, it is far above most of the Proof Silver Eagle mintages for coins released during the 1990’s. The lowest was 1994 with a final mintage of 372,168.