The United States Mint has confirmed that 2010 Proof American Silver Eagle will be available. According to a press release posted yesterday, orders will be accepting starting on November 19, with fulfillment beginning December 1.
The coins will be priced at $45.95 each and carry a household order limit of 100. When the Proof Silver Eagle was last available in 2008, the coins had been priced at $31.95 and did not carry a limit.
The price increase for this year’s offering is in excess of the rise in the price of silver. When the 2008 Proof Silver Eagle went on sale January 3, 2008, silver was $15.38 per ounce. Today, silver is just about $7.00 higher at $22.34 per ounce.
At the very end of the US Mint’s press release, they also announced that the 2010-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle and 2010-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle were canceled. Additionally, the 2010 Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set, which would have contained the Uncirculated Silver Eagle was canceled.
The collectible uncirculated or “burnished” versions of the coins have not been available since 2008.
The Mint has not indicated what the maximum production of 2010 Proof Silver Eagles might be. According to statements provided by the US Mint to Dave Harper of Numismatic News, “It’s all dependent upon the current situation of being off allocation for a while longer.”
His statement refers to the fact that the US Mint ended their allocation program, which rationed the available supply of Silver Eagle bullion coins to their authorized purchasers. This is an indication that the US Mint is currently meeting full public demand for bullion coins.
While pent up demand for the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle is bound to be huge, I would speculate that the US Mint does have an adequate supply of silver planchets available to satisfy this demand. Here are some factors leading to this conclusion:
- Demand for Silver Eagle bullion coins has declined from the peaks reached earlier in the year and is far below average for the most recent month. The highest monthly sales occurred in May 2010 when 3,636,500 coins sold. The average number of Silver Eagle bullion coins sold each month from January to August was 2,950,062. During September, the US Mint sold only 1,880,000 Silver Eagle bullion coins. Assuming the US Mint has been able to maintain the same silver planchet supply as earlier in the year, in September alone, there should be around one million excess planchets available for proof coins.
- Last year, the US Mint had released statements effectively stating that they could have produced a small number of 2009 Proof Silver Eagles, but since they could not produce enough to satisfy the anticipated full collector demand, the offering was canceled. Assuming the Mint is still following the same logic, by offering the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle, they must be relatively confident that they can meet full collector demand.
- The household ordering limit has been set at 100 coins. If the supply was expected to be limited, the limit would have been set much lower. (Although the US Mint always reserves the right to limit or cancel orders after the fact.)
- The lack of Proof Gold and Silver Eagles has gained political attention. It would be a major embarrassment if the US Mint announced the product and then was forced to cut off the offering early or not fulfill some collector orders.
These factors aside, the demand for physical precious metals has been prone to enormous swings during the past two years. It is not outside the realm of possibility that another rush of demand for silver bullion could occur. Under current law, the US Mint would still be required to source all incoming blanks to the production of bullion coins and cease production of collector proof coins.
When the time comes, I will be placing my order on the first day of availability, just to be on the safe side.