The US Mint is scheduled to begin sales of the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set tomorrow, January 10, 2012 at 12:00 Noon ET. This will represent the first numismatic product release of the year for the Mint.
Each set includes the five 2012-dated America the Beautiful Quarters in proof format with a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper. The sites featured on this year’s quarters are El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, Chcaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Acadia National Park in Maine, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, and Denali National Park in Alaska. Larger sized images of the designs for the quarters can be found in this post.
The 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set is priced at $41.95 per set and offered without a mintage limit or ordering limit.
Pricing for the set remains unchanged from the previous year. The 2011-dated set was released on April 1, 2011, when the market price of silver was $37.63 per ounce. Sales of the set were suspended on several occasions in the following months when the market price of silver rose above $40 per ounce. When the price of silver dropped, the price of the set was not adjusted. This is in contrast to the two price reductions for other silver numismatic products.
Also worth noting, the release date for the 2012 ATB Quarters Silver Proof Set comes ahead of the full 14-coin 2012 Silver Proof Set, which still does not have a release date announced. Last year, the US Mint released the full size annual sets in January, a few months ahead of the component sets. The change in scheduling was made in response to customer feedback.
While many collectors no doubt found the scheduling change beneficial, one of the impacts seemed to be lower sales for the component sets. By backtracking on the scheduling change, the US Mint is once again incentivizing the component sets as the first opportunity to acquire the coins included. This is not really the best set up for some collectors who will buy the component set and later the full annual set, containing some redundant coins.
Whereas last year’s scheduling was motivated by customer service, this year’s scheduling seems to be motivated by revenue maximization.