Today, August 2, 2012 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin sales of the 2012-W Uncirculated American Silver Eagle. This represents an additional collector version of the coin struck on specially burnished blanks and carrying the “W” mint mark.
The 2012-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle is priced at $45.95 per coin with no stated maximum product limit and no household ordering limits in place.
The US Mint began offering a collectible uncirculated version of the Silver Eagle with “W” mint mark starting in 2006, as part of two of the 20th Anniversary Sets. The 2006-W coin was also subsequently offered for sale individually. For the first year, sales collectively reached 466,573 units, which still stands as the lowest mintage for this version of the coin (excluding the 2011-W which remains on sale and the low mintage variety for the 2008-W).
If the Mint follows recent practice, sales of the 2011-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle will continue concurrently with the new offering. This coin had originally gone on sale September 15, 2011 and has sold 297,629 units individually, with another 100,000 included in the 25th Anniversary Set. The Mint cannot strike any more of these prior year dated coins, but can continue to sell remaining inventory of the product until depleted.
Four Different Collector Versions and More Upcoming Sets
For 2012, there will now have been four different collector versions of the Silver Eagle released. The proof version with the “W” mint mark was released on April 12, 2012 and has sold 526,806 units as of the most recent sales report. The proof and reverse proof coins with the “S” mint mark were available to order between June 7 and July 5, with the last available order total reaching 251,302 units. Completing the group is the uncirculated version with the “W” mint mark released today.
Additional products containing these collector version Silver Eagles are also scheduled for upcoming release. The Making American History Coin and Currency Set scheduled for August 7 will include the proof version with “S” mint mark, and the Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set scheduled for September 6 is expected to include the uncirculated version with the “W” mint mark.
At the beginning of the year, another collector version had also been expected in the form of an uncirculated version with the “S” mint mark. The US Mint later confirmed that they had abandoned plans to offer this product in favor of the San Francisco Set.
With sales of the standard proof version with “W” mint mark lagging year ago levels, it is possible that all of the additional collector versions are cannibalizing sales of the traditional products. US Mint customers may be purchasing fewer of the traditional products and instead allocating these funds to each year’s special products. There has also been a general slow down in sales this year which has broadly impacted most numismatic offerings.