The 2012-W Proof American Silver Eagle has sold out according to the US Mint’s website. The sell out occurs about seven months after the original release date, but about a month and half before the end of the year.
A similar early sell out had occurred for the product last year. The 2011-dated individual proof coin went on sale June 30 and sold out on November 22, for an availability period of less than five months. The year before, the 2010-dated proof was released on November 19 and sold out on December 28, for an availability period of about a month and ten days.
Sales of the 2012 Proof Silver Eagle with the “W” mint mark originally began on April 12, 2012. The coins featured Adolph A. Weinman’s classic depiction of Walking Liberty on the obverse and John Mercanti’s heraldic eagle on the reverse. Initially the coins were priced at $59.95 each. This was lowered to $54.95 in late July, but raised to the original $59.95 in October.
Opening sales for the product were below the level of the prior year, however the coins remained a steady seller throughout the rest of the period of availability. The most recent US Mint sales report shows orders received for 819,217 coins. An updated figure should be available later today.
The final sales total may end up around the same level as the prior two years. The 2010 Proof Silver Eagle had last reported sales of 860,000. The 2011 proof sold 850,000 coins individually, although another 100,000 were included in the 25th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set.
Many collectors were probably not expecting the sell out of the 2012 Proof Silver Eagle. Before the disruptions of recent years, this popular product had generally remained available for the holiday gift buying season. Last week, the 2012-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle had also unexpectedly sold out.
Are there more unexpected sell outs coming? Just before the two recent sell outs, the US Mint’s website showed the products as backordered with a delayed shipping date. Currently, the closely watched uncirculated version of the 2012 Star Spangled Banner $5 Gold Coin displays this status. Recent sales figures suggest that this coin will end up near the top of the list of the lowest mintage modern commemorative gold coins.
To my knowledge, in the past the US Mint has continued sales of commemorative coins until the maximum mintage has been sold or until the pre-announced sales ending date (this year on December 17, 2012). If the US Mint concludes sales earlier in another unexpected sell out, they might face some complaints from the beneficiary organization which will receive surcharges from the coin sales. This is something I always figured the US Mint would want to avoid, but lately they have been full of surprises.