In an unexpected development, the 2011 Proof Silver Eagle has sold out. The status was changed on the US Mint’s website this morning, and I have received confirmation that the product is indeed no longer available for sale.
For several hours today, the 2011 Glacier Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins were also marked as sold out. In this case, the status was changed in error and later corrected. These coins remain available for sale.
The 2011 Proof Silver Eagles were first available for sale on June 30, 2011. The coins were initially priced at $59.95 and subject to an ordering limit of 100 per household. The limit was completely removed on July 15, 2011. Pricing for the product was adjusted on two occasions, first increased to $68.45 and then decreased to $58.95, which remained in effect for the remainder of the availability period.
The last reported sales published today on CoinUpdate were 850,000. The coins were also included in the 25th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set, which had a mintage of 100,000.
The United States Mint did not indicate a maximum mintage or anticipated sales ending date for the individual proof Silver Eagle. The product was actually featured in the US Mint’s 2011 Holiday Catalog, received by most collectors last week. The unexpected conclusion of sales is surprising considering there is more than a month left in the 2011-calendar year and with the holiday shopping season yet to begin. It seems like extremely poor planning on the part of the Mint to not have the coins available through the end of the year.
To make the situation even more curious, the West Point Mint was reported to have produced additional proof Silver Eagles for the 25th Anniversary Sets in late August and September. During the same time period, it would have made sense to produce additional proof coins for individual sales. This determination could have been made by examining inventory levels and current sales trends.
For several years running, the availability of the Proof Silver Eagle has been erratic and inconsistent. This is not an ideal situation, as the product is one of the US Mint’s most popular numismatic offerings. In 2008, proof Silver Eagle sales were unexpectedly suspended in August and never resumed, as a result of a shortage of silver planchets. In 2009, the product offering was completely canceled, due to ongoing high demand for bullion coins and planchet supply issues. In 2010, there were doubts about the status of the offering for much of the year. Sales finally began very late in the year on November 19 and only continued until December 28.
Popular products which unexpectedly sell out at the US Mint have sometimes experienced higher secondary market prices. The unmet demand from collectors and dealers who intended to place final orders serves to push up prices temporarily or sometimes for an extended period of time. In the coming days, we will see if premiums develop for 2011 Proof Silver Eagles.
As a final point, the unexpected sell out of the proof Silver Eagles may be an indication of things to come. If the US Mint is not properly managing production based on inventory levels and sales trends, it is possible that other 2011-dated numismatic products could experience early and unexpected sell outs. If this occurs for products such as the collectible uncirculated Gold Eagle, collectible uncirculated Silver Eagle, or First Spouse Gold Coins, new mintage lows could be established.