Sales of the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle will begin tomorrow, November 19, 2010 at 12:00 Noon ET. Recent events have added even more drama to what was already the United States Mint’s most anticipated product of the year.
Proof Silver Eagles represent a collectible version of the one ounce silver bullion coin from the US Mint. The proof coins have been sold directly to the public each year from 1986 to 2008. Last year, increased demand for bullion coins and the limited silver planchets available from foreign suppliers resulted in the cancellation of the popular offering, to the dismay of many collectors. This year the offering was confirmed on October 4, 2010, resuming the series after a one year gap.
A little over a month ago, the US Mint began sales of Proof Gold Eagles, which had also been canceled in the previous year. Sales levels have been higher than normal due to pent up demand and increased interest from precious metals investors. The one ounce version of the coin has already sold out. The four coin set, which represents the next most popular option, has sold 22,657 units, which is already 10,000 above the 2008 sales level.
The 2010 Proof Silver Eagle should likewise experience a surge in interest compared to prior years. The US Mint has stood by their pricing of $45.95 per coin and household order limit of 100, which were established when the market price of silver was lower.
Earlier this week collectors who had placed subscription orders for the coins received an unpleasant surprise when an email notification from the US Mint indicated that the coins were sold out and the subscription order canceled. This email impacted about 100,000 customers who had predominantly ordered the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle through the subscription program. The emails had been sent in error and were reinstated over the weekend, with an apology issued by the US Mint.
Meanwhile, the demand for Silver Eagle bullion coins has been at record levels. For the year to date, sales have reached 31,805,500, representing a new record annual high. The current monthly sales total also seems poised to break a record. For the month to date, sales have already reached 3,1750,000. If the current pace continues, a new monthly sales record will be achieved by a wide margin. The current record for monthly sales is 3,636,500, set in May 2010.
The surge in bullion demand could serve to prevent the further production of 2010 Proof Silver Eagles, if the US Mint had been planning on striking more through year end. There has been no indication of how many of the coins have already been struck or will be available. Since the US Mint has stood by their household limit of 100, there is likely a significant quantity already available, but will it be enough?
As an additional consideration, the US Mint has still not provided any information on the series of America the Beautiful 5 ounce Silver Bullion Coins. By law these coins can only be sold during the same year of issue as the corresponding quarter, giving the US Mint an increasingly small window of opportunity to issue the coins. Production reportedly started back in September 2010, but no updates have been provided since then.
Finally, the same old problem of the US Mint’s slow/crashing website will almost certainly be an issue tomorrow. One would think they would have managed to fix this problem by now, but instead they have provided this message on the product page.
We anticipate unusually high demand for the American Eagle Silver Proof Coins. Because of the high number of customers that we expect to be placing orders during the first few hours of sales, you may experience delays when attempting to order online or through the call center during this period. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience.
Tomorrow should be an interesting day indeed. For those placing orders at the start of sales tomorrow, here is a direct link to the US Mint’s product page.