The US Mint recently posted a statement regarding the missing 2009-W Proof and Uncirculated Silver Eagles on the product category pages. The statement explains that production of the coins has been “temporarily suspended.”
The message appears to have been posted yesterday. Members of Coin Network noticed the message and several readers emailed me about it.
The statement posted is as follows:
Production of United States Mint American Eagle Silver Proof and Uncirculated Coins has been temporarily suspended because of unprecedented demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins. Currently, all available silver bullion blanks are being allocated to the American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Program, as the United States Mint is required by Public Law 99-61 to produce these coins “in quantities sufficient to meet public demand . . . .”
The United States Mint will resume the American Eagle Silver Proof and Uncirculated Coin Programs once sufficient inventories of silver bullion blanks can be acquired to meet market demand for all three American Eagle Silver Coin products.
In late January, I had written a post on the missing 2009 Silver, Gold, and Platinum Eagles. At the time, the products were simply missing from the product scheduled with no explanation provided. More or less, I had surmised the situation described above.
Now that we know the reason for the products absence, can we expect the situation to be resolved soon?
Maybe not. There’s no indication that the “unprecedented demand” for Silver Eagle bullion coins is abating. Following a sales halt in February 2008, the US Mint began rationing Silver Eagle bullion coin sales to its network of Authorized Purchasers. The rationing has continued into 2009. The rationing implies continued unmet demand for the 2009 Silver Eagle bullion coins. As long as this persists, the US Mint will be legally unable to use incoming silver blanks to strike coins for collectors.
As an aside, it’s great to see the US Mint communicating with their customers better. Last year, the 2008 Proof Silver Eagles became unavailable in August 2008. The product page simply stated “Product is not available” leaving customers guessing about whether the coins would return. I wrote a post exploring what might have happened with the 2008 Proof Silver Eagles. Looking back, it seems that I put the pieces together correctly.
At least for 2009, we all know what’s happening. Now collectors interested in purchasing the 2009-W Proof or Uncirculated Silver Eagles will just have to wait and see if the situation changes.