2012 Proof Silver Eagle

The United States Mint will begin sales of the 2012 American Silver Eagle Proof Coin today April 12, 2012 at 12:00 Noon ET. This typically represents one of the Mint’s most popular annual collector offerings.

The obverse design of the coin features Adolph A. Weinman’s classic depiction of Walking Liberty that was used for the circulating half dollar from 1916 to 1947. The reverse of the coin contains a heraldic eagle designed by John Mercanti, former Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. These are the same obverse and reverse designs that have been featured since the introduction of the series in 1986.

The 2012 Proof Silver Eagle is struck at the West Point Mint and includes the “W” mint mark on the reverse. Each coin contains one troy ounce of .999 fine silver. The cameo proof finish features frosted raised design elements and inscriptions over mirrored background fields.

Pricing for the coins is set at $59.95 each, plus applicable shipping and handling charges. This year there are no household limits and no stated maximum mintage. The US Mint indicates that customer demand will determine the number of coins minted.

In a few ways, this release brings the series back to the more typical pattern of availability after the unfortunate cancellation of the Proof Silver Eagle in 2009. The release date has moved back to its typical place earlier in the year compared to the prior two release dates of November 19, 2010 and June 30, 2011. The initial ordering limit of 100 per household that had been in place for the past two years is not being used for this year’s release.

What remains to be seen are collector demand for the offering, the total period of availability, and the final mintage. Following the cancellation in 2009, collector enthusiasm seemed stronger when the product returned in 2010 and 2011. This resulted in a strong pace of sales and sell outs prior to the end of the year. The 2010 Proof Silver Eagle had sold out by December 28, 2010 at last reported sales of 860,000. The 2011 Proof Silver Eagle sold out by November 22, 2011 with last reported sales of 850,000. Another 100,000 were also sold within the special 25th Anniversary Set.

The expected release of other collector versions of the 2012 Silver Eagle later this year, may slightly dampen enthusiasm for the traditional offering. Although the US Mint has not directly confirmed, it is expected that collectible uncirculated versions will be offered with the “W” and “S” mint mark. Also, there are rumors of a 75th Anniversary San Francisco Set containing proof and reverse proof Silver Eagles with the “S” mint mark.

So far this year, demand for the bullion version of the Silver Eagle has been slower compared to the prior year. Through the end of the first quarter, sales have reached 10,139,000, which is down 18.42% compared to the year ago period.

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Comments

  1. J A says

    I always welcome the annual release of the SE. I’m going to get me at least one this year.

  2. William says

    Nice pop in the metals today – most likely due to the higher than expected core inflation numbers. I just hope gold doesnt rally enough to warrant a price increase before next week’s gold eagles….

  3. Jeremy says

    Reading through the comments section of silver eagles and silver maples it was pointed out how appropriately proportioned the maples are relative to eagles. Upon inspection of the two coins currently in my possession I would have to agree. Personally maples are becoming more desirable in both looks and size not to mention silver content, .999 vs .9999. I’m fairly new to the world of coins but have also noticed that the premiums that silver eagles “used” to command, perhaps within the past year or so, has actually been dropping, for anyone with long-term experience in this arena, is this a correct observation?

  4. says

    Jeremy,

    Most likely the reason for fading premiums is due to the slowdown in silver eagle bullion sales. It’s possible that with the recent volatility in the markets, buyers have pulled back and are awaiting some clarity on which way things are going to go.

  5. Jeremy says

    So this is an accurate observation? As other mints gain attention around the globe and the US continues to lose its perception of morality through questionable wars and financial shenanigans might it be that the US, its currency and coins(silver eagles) are losing their desirability premium? I suppose this remains to be seen, but perhaps a transitional shift is currently in process?

  6. DCDave says

    @Jeremy
    Silver maples are stuck with an ugly obverse. Would love to buy some if they would get rid of the front of the coin with Old Lady Queen on it, but they won’t.
    ASEs are beautiful classics and are the way to go.
    That being said, not sure if proof ASEs with pricing close to twice PM content are really worth it.

  7. Jeremy says

    @William, This is all speculative of course, however, I’m convinced that information is released at opportune times all in a matter of managing silver prices. This is done not only to deliberately confuse the public but also to maintain current prices. Furthermore, they may have known of my personal interest in the JM bars APMEX is currently offering and the free shipping lol

  8. Jeremy says

    @DCDave, I agree with you wholeheartedly about the Maple Leaf obverse! Personally I find the reverse of the Canadian Silver Maple Leafs and Wildlife bullion coins, almost reverse proof appearance, to be much more stunning in quality and beauty than the flat matte finish of the ASE bullion coins.

  9. CW says

    Jeremy, yes it is all one vast conspiracy. You lost me when you started your morality tirade on the US…

  10. TomP says

    Just ordered several proof ASEs, including one for a gift to a neighbors new born. Years from now, I think it will be better appreciated than the packaged ‘birth set’.

    Off topic
    The AGE proof one-tenth ounce sold out.

  11. stephen m. says

    I think the majority of the proof silver eagles sold by the mint in the past few years were bought up by the tv show people and flippers trying to make a dollar or three. I doubt if there are really more than 250 to 300 thousand proof silver eagle collecters. I do love them though and will pick a few for myself.

  12. Shutter says

    Silver maples are stuck with an ugly obverse.
    Maple Leaves are stuck with a pretty ugly and unimaginative reverse as well. And unlike the obverse, they can actually change that, but refuse to do so.

    ASEs are beautiful classics
    Classics is fine, but after 26 years of using a nearly century old design, it’s time for a change.

  13. Fosnock says

    @Jeremy
    Their is no transitional shift, the ASEs bury the Maple Leafs (and everything else). I can’t confirm but I think the maximum sales\mintage for the Maple Leafs is around 25 Million, as a FYI it’s just under 40 million for the ASEs. Besides the Austrian’s mint (15 million) the other mints bullion mintage’s are a joke in comparison. For example The Perth Mint’s annual mintage’s in all its silver 1oz bullion products is under 1.2 million, and China supposedly flooded the market with 6 million bullion coins last year mostly for domestic consumption but its normal yearly mintage has been 600K.

  14. Fosnock says

    @Hidalgo

    I thought the set would contain special “S” mint marks not the regular “W” mint mark.

  15. stephen m. says

    I don’t understand why a maybe would be 75th San Francisco anniversary set would have to be silver eagles? I’ll have to agree with Shutter after 26 years it’s time for a change. I’m reminded to be carful what i wish for because it may come true.

  16. Jeremy says

    @Fosnock, your comment made me want to look into the comparison of ASEs VS Maples. I find it interesting to note;

    “In 2011, this figure is estimated to reach approximately 22.5 million Silver Maple Leaf (SML) sales or almost 30% higher than its previous year’s total of 17.9 million. In comparison, 2011 American Silver Eagle sales are estimated to increase only five million sales over last year’s figures— or a 15% increase.”

    This is from Financial Sense and is indicating that SMLs growth percentage-wise is outpacing ASEs. Hence, apparently there obviously is some sort of shift in process.

    Furthermore, I wouldn’t consider any one single mint’s production/sales figures a joke. What may very well happen is that particular coins become more popular for various reason. Perhaps maybe no more reason than security and reliability(receiving proper items manufactured of quality content), which the US has been known for. However, it is becoming apparent that there are just as reputable mints such as the Royal Canadian Mint and the Perth Mint that are just as willing and capable to accommodate customers.

  17. VA Bob says

    “I’m reminded to be careful what I wish for because it may come true”

    stephen M – So true! We might get something like Eleanor Roosevelt (nice lady, just not easy on the eyes) on the ASE for the next 26 years! DC Dave would be in melt down if that happened. Of course, those maples might look better then! LOL

  18. Hidalgo says

    @Stephen…. How interesting that you want to see a change in the ASE’s design. I recall some other bloggers saying that they were tired of so many changes on coins. He cited the State and ATB quarters as examples.

    Personally, I like the different designs. I remember when it was rare for coins to change designs. It was a matter of seeing the same heads and tails year after year. Really boring. So collectors and flippers began to look for other variations, like changes in mint marks, small/large dates, etc. I rarely hear of such varieties appearing and./or becoming popular now-a-days.

  19. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    Michael quoted

    “So far this year, demand for the bullion version of the Silver Eagle has been slower compared to the prior year. Through the end of the first quarter, sales have reached 10,139,000, which is down 18.42% compared to the year ago period.”

    Silver bullion sales ($1) by the US Mint spiked at the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis. Prior to that, sales were about 4 to 5 times lower at 4 to 7 million/year. This is a signal that stock markets are gaining value and investors are resorting less to silver or gold. If this continues, sales will drop back to 2008 levels.

  20. vaughnster says

    “So collectors and flippers began to look for other variations, like changes in mint marks, small/large dates, etc. I rarely hear of such varieties appearing and./or becoming popular now-a-days.”

    Hidalgo is right, you hardly see any major errors anymore. I just purchased a 1937-D 3-legged Buffalo nickel after reading about them for decades before finally buying one. The stories are fascinating on how these errors came about. Unfortunately, with better techniques and technology, the days of the overdates, repunched mint marks and other unique errors are over.

  21. Broooster says

    OFF TOPIC

    Speaking of different designs, my local bank called me today, the Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarters are now available. Anyone collecting those might try calling around to see if any are available in your local area.

  22. simon says

    I have tried locally and disappointed that they are not here yet. I lived in the area and worked at Chaco for a while.

  23. Chrome says

    An S-mint reverse proof would be really awesome. Hope they keep the mintage reasonably low. Would also like to see a low mintage all brilliant proof silver eagle with no frosted devices and a D-mint mark. That would certainly add some excitement to the series and attract more collectors from Colorado.

  24. fosnock says

    @Jeremy

    You were asking about a shift. Percentage wise the Maple Leafs may be catching up but based on pure number the ASEs are head and shoulders above the rest of the other 1 oz bullion products. A rising tide rises all boats. Based on your mintage numbers of Maple Leafs, production would need to increase about 100% to match ASE production, but the US Mint now has two facilities to make ASEs. If you believe that a shift is occurring then say so, but I disagree with your assessment of other mints (outside of Royal Canadian Mint, and the Austrian Mint AG) to accommodate customers in the bullion dept. Thank you Ron Paul.

  25. Jeremy says

    @Fosnock,If I have a sense that something is occurring I’ll say SO! Initially I was curious about the sentiment among those aware and knowledgeable of the coin market, particularly upon my realization the premium that the ASEs had enjoyed to that of SMLs has become obviously reduced, within mere cents of one another. Now whether or not this is due to weak silver demand in general remains to be seen. However, I’m currently researching this topic and attempting to locate 2012 sales figures for Canadian silver bullion products to verify whether the trend of strengthening demand for SMLs is continuing.

    Furthermore, it is becoming obvious that other mints such as the Royal Canadian Mint and the Perth Mint are becoming serious competitors to the US Mint. I’m not sure how you’ve come to the conclusive judgement that the other mints are not satisfying customer’s request but the preliminary research done so far has revealed evidence to the contrary.

    The RCM may need to increase bullion sales by 100% in order to equal that of ASEs, however, an increase of 74% by the RCM from 2009 to 2010 indicates, to me, a tremendous amount of expansion in the silver bullion coin market. The RCM has seen this dramatic increase while interest in US Mint’s bullion products appears minimal. Regardless of whether or not the RCM is experiencing an increase in sales due to global interest in the silver market such expansion could not be considered insignificant.

  26. fosnock says

    @Jeremy

    I’m not arguing with you but your saying demand from other mints are increasing and demand for ASE is in decline. I’m saying the demand for ASE dwarfs the demands or the production capacity of the other mints, and the demand for ASE has gotten so high that the US Mint felt completed to bring a second production facility on line. As far as the other mints (outside the ones I already mentioned), if they are so good at meeting customer demand why do they limit their bullion offerings? In the case of the Perth Mint they limit their bullion items to 300K. The US Mint’s 25th anniversary set alone had 500K (individual coins) and that was a collector’s item, not bullion

  27. Jeremy says

    I can understand and appreciate that there is lots of excitement about the US Mint’s products. However, my point is that there is a fundamental global economic structural shift in process. The US is losing its global dominance in ALL respects, perhaps even including bullion coin issues. The demand growth for US Mint’s bullion coins appears to be declining if not stagnating. Yes, they may currently be the largest bullion dealer, do you think that it will remain that way indefinitely, especially with the tremendous demand the RCM is experiencing? Hardly seems logical, but as I stated earlier that remains to be seen.

    I had posted the below comment on the World Mint News Blog within the comment section of the post titled “2012 Maple Leaf Forever Platinum, Gold, and Silver Coins” also more of just as a hypothetical possibility in regards particularly to the Perth Mint, which could be a perceivable reason for such low volume.

    I’ll post the comment in its entirety and if you desire you can read the comments so there is understanding within its original context.

    “However, I can’t help but wonder if this may be an implication of managed silver prices. Perhaps Mexico is either becoming short of inventory or unwilling to encourage silver sales at these prices. Might other mints follow? Again I’m fairly new to coins but it seems to me that there are more, what might be referred to as, “designer coins”. These designer coins command premiums which provide an opportunity for mints to profit while releasing less product. could it be possible that mints may attempt to maintain inventories in anticipation of higher prices.”

  28. Jeremy says

    I had written that yesterday but admittedly have actually become more bearish on silver literally over night for various reasons. :)

  29. Fosnock says

    @Jeremy

    I will read the article, but first my 2 cents

    I’m not sure about Mexican production one author says they are in decline another says they are increasing production. One thing for sure the high cost of oil will increase production costs everywhere including Mexico.

    I’m not sure about “designer coins” if your referring to semi numismatic bullion then I would have to say they are not produced in limited quantity to maintain inventory, they limit the mintage to increase profit.

    The issue with you “thesis” is that world silver production is not a zero sum game, or an increase at the RCM does mean a reduction of the US Mint’s production.

    Because the US Mint is mandated to meet customer demand, and based on production levels it takes that mandate seriously, the only way the US Mint will lose it “global dominance” is if somehow people shun the US Mint but do not shun silver. Baring a total melt down of policy at the US Mint, that would assume that the other mints could take on the current yearly 30+ million oz on top of their own production, and that most of the silver investors are located oversea and develop a anti-American sentiment. Do you think most of the silver investors are located overseas? I think most of the gold investors are located overseas but most of the silver investors are located here if only because gold investing was outlawed for so long in this country.

  30. Fosnock says

    typo

    The issue with you “thesis” is that world silver production is not a zero sum game, or an increase at the RCM does NOT mean a reduction of the US Mint’s production.

  31. Jeremy says

    I apologize to others for this having become somewhat of a global mint issue discussion.

    @Fosnock, yeah, I’m not sure about the production of the Libertad although that wasn’t my concern especially in regards to my latest post as a response. By “designer coins” I’m referring to products such as the RCM’s bubblebee coin and the Perth Mint’s colorized dragon coins.

    Who wouldn’t enjoy an ability to sell less product at higher prices, in these cases MUCH, MUCH higher prices, up to 200% and that’s upon immediate release!. Therefore, I would have to argue this does allow for mints to maintain, if not expand, profitability while conserving supply, regardless of whether this is the intent.

    Furthermore, I would also argue that since supposedly the silver market is so small, which I keep hearing, bullion coin demand could actually BE a zero sum game. If there are so few silver “investors” and their interest in US Mint products begins to wane as their appetite for more fresh design ideas from global mints increases this would obviously cause less demand for the US Mint.

    Also, I would find it difficult to make the claim that since holding gold in the US was at one time illegal that this continues to have a negative impact on the psyche of American precious metals investors.

  32. Jeremy says

    @Brooster, were you the one that is aware of a branch in the MI area that receives new issues of circulating coins?

    Thanks

  33. Fosnock says

    @Jeremy

    I don’t find it difficult to state that the US Gold confiscation and its illegality impacts today PM investors. I would say 10%-30% of the discussions in the blog sphere relate in some way to the possibility of another confiscation\illegality of gold holdings. I do not believe it will happen again but I can say it does affect the psyche of American precious metals investors. For example Vietnam just put official gold sales under government control, and India attempted to jack the tax rate on it, the fact that gold was illegal in this country means these other methods of “commodity” control can be implemented here.

  34. Shutter says

    The US is losing its global dominance in ALL respects

    Since you guys are way off topic… Over the last 40 year an awful lot of people had gone broke betting on this. Back about 20 years, Sony’s founder co-wrote “The Japan That Can Say No”, essentially saying that US is on a decline and needs to chart a course independent of US and become a real superpower. Last year, Sony lost $6B after losing $3B the year before. Around the same time I remember listening to Europeans talk about how Euro was going to become the dominant world reserve currency and mercilessly crush the US$. Today, it’s an open question if the Euro will survive another couple of year.

    The US$ may have lost quiet a bit of its value thanks to tireless efforts of BO and BB, but I don’t see anyone rushing to convert their holdings to Euro/Yen/Yuan/Won or any other paper.

  35. Jeremy says

    Doesn’t seem to be any arguing that, you do have a point. I don’t think any attempts at gold confiscation or restrictions will be made in the US, but it may be difficult to quantify how much of an impact, if any, it has from an investing perspective among precious metals holders in the US. Furthermore, from what I understand, underground gold markets develop in those areas where limitations are imposed. I would imagine such actions taken by governments may cause some complications among the citizenry. However, this is how underground economies, which trade in items of value implied by their necessity such as Tide laundry detergent, develop.

    Some say that gold isn’t money, however, in light of such restrictions I think it could be stated that gold is certainly something important and apparently, for some reason, it seems to cause fear among the establishment.

  36. Fosnock says

    @Jeremy

    I suppose anything could happen, it could be feasible that the RCM (or a combination of world mints) could mass produce “fresh designs” in such quantities to meet world silver investor demand, leaving the US Mint without clients. I doubt it but who really knows, I can only say don’t confuse coin collectors with silver investors. All things being equal silver investors like bullion with “fresh designs”, but the most important things is cost. Repeat after me spot price…spot price…spot price. None of the other mints that mass produce their bullion have fresh design ideas. The RCM is the exception but even they limit their “fresh design ideas” to a million ounces. Oh and if it actually affected sales the US Mint has proven it can rotate its designs fairly easy…just look at the ATB silver bullion program or the First spouse program for proof.

  37. VABEACHBUM says

    Moving back towards the topic – a little anyway…

    Debbie Bradley, staff writer for Numismatic News, has posted this article on the San Francisco Mint 75th Anniversary. Within in the article, she discusses the 2-coin set – PR and R-PR with “S” Mint Mark, and a definitive manufacture start-date of 11 May. No details on the sale date, mintages or pricing.

    http://www.numismaster.com/ta/numis/Article.jsp?ad=article&ArticleId=25045&et_mid=549404&rid=232988855

    Worth the read.

  38. Jeremy says

    @Shutter, I could write an almost never ending dissertation in response to your comment. LOL, However I’m going to refrain from doing so. I will respond by saying the US is the largest debtor nation in the history of the planet and much of Europe is involved with the “investment/banking” shenanigans that have taken place among Washington and Wall Street. Change IS in process whether people want to accept it or not. What will come of such an economic transition remains up for debate, but I’m sure it will NOT include the continued global economic dominance of the US. This is way beyond the subject matter of this blog and for that I apologize. :)

  39. Jeremy says

    @Fosnock, I certainly hope the US Mint can remain competitive. Might it not be considered refreshing that global mints are emerging that provide quality varieties? I’m not rooting for the death of the US Mint, lol, by any means. :) I was just pointing out the tremendous amount of interest, by the increase of customers, being focused on the products that global mints are offering.

    I would argue that the RCM, The Perth Mint and the Chinese produced panda coins are all considerably fresh designs. I would also think that collector’s take price into account as well when considering their purchases, not just “bullion investors”.

  40. Shutter says

    Jeremy, as you get started on that dissertation, keep one thing in mind. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. US is number 20 on the list of debtor nations with External debt (as % of GDP) 99.46%. Behind Australia (17), Germany (14), France (9), Hong Kong (7), Switzerland (3), and UK (2). Who is number 1? Ireland with external debt of 1,239% of GDP. Or put another way external debt of $478,087 per capita. That is every man, woman, and newborn child in Ireland owes the world nearly half a million.

  41. fosnock says

    @Jeremy

    They do have fresh designs with a total mintage of a few million ounces. The RCM mint’s design that went over 20 million is static, and I do not consider a maple leaf and the queen’s portrait as a fresh design.

  42. Jeremy says

    @Shutter, I’m not sure what your point is but there’s plenty of facts, statistics and calculations to keep everyone busy for years to come maybe once I feel compelled and you’re inclined to be buried in nonsense lol , we can have such a discussion. For the moment I’m in a reprieve from getting involved in anymore economic news regarding the monstrous debt hole that these mismanaged countries around the globe have gotten themselves in. Whether its 100%, 1239% or 10,000% its ALL nonsense!

    @fosnock, the SMLs aren’t as old as the ASEs so wouldn’t that make them at least a bit fresher? LOL

  43. Tom says

    For anyone thinking that ASE demand is waning due to overall American economic decline…betting against the U.S. and its economic engine has historically been a poor decision and an unwise investment.

    Demand for bullion worldwide has increased. If the demand for Maples has increased over ASE’s on a relative percentage basis, one ought not conclude that it is a global vote of “no confidence” in the U.S.

    If the global economy were an American football league, the #1 draft pick would still be the U.S

  44. Chrome says

    VABEACHBUM 3:00PM

    Thank you for that link.

    I wonder if they will be selling these sets in the Gift Shop at the SF mint. Might be worth the drive. Still curious about mintage and purchase quantity restrictions.

  45. Shutter says

    I’m not sure what your point is but there’s plenty of facts

    I am sorry that I confused you with facts that are at odds with your narrative.

  46. Buck says

    I love this Blog! The dialect and arguments make me more informed and appreciative of this wonderful hobby we all participate in.

    I have the ASE proof subscription that the US Mint offers – much easier to keep up with.

    FYI. I enjoy all of the different world mint offerings. If I like what they are selling, I make a purchase. If not, then I don’t buy anything. a true “Market” in action.

  47. Jeremy says

    @Shutter, don’t attempt to be arrogant, I assure you that YOU do not have a monopoly on understanding in this area! Your regurgitated statistics are meaningless.

  48. Gold Lover says

    Are we looking at another ordering fiasco when this 75th anniversary set goes on sale? Wouldn’t surprise me to see a household limit of one.

  49. Shutter says

    Look Jeremy,
    What more do you want me to do? I already said I’m sorry. It’s not really my fault that statistics are meaningless to you.

  50. Yomama says

    Folks – remember the last time pople’s comments got personal and off-topic? Michael shut down the sbility to posta ny comments for a couple of weeks. Let’s not let that happen again please. Thank you everyone :)

  51. Jeremy says

    @Yomama, I think that had occurred during a time when some maniacal person began verbally attacking everyone with offensive language.

    @Shutter, I hadn’t seen where an apology was posted but I’ll assume its there and accept it. :) , No harm done. I will follow up with a bit of an explanation as to why the statistics provided are meaningless. I could use endless examples and comparisons to back up my claim but I’m not going to bother. I’ve given it plenty of thought as to just how I might respond to your posts, however, it doesn’t really matter because anyone can choose to believe whatever it is they want to believe, I believe Morpheus said something similar.

    The statistics that are offered to the masses are public figures that are meaningless because the real data is held off balance sheet and in unregulated markets. Nobody knows what the real calculable data is unless you’re an “insider”. If this is something you’re interested in discussing in greater detail perhaps some arrangement can be made but I am concluding my view on the matter in this forum with this comment.

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