As most readers are probably aware, the United States Mint has incorporated a sales counter on the product page for the 2013 West Point Silver Eagle Set. The daily updates to the counter will surely be closely watched during the course of the four week ordering window and particularly closely near the end of the window.
The counter provides an “approximation” of the total units ordered through all active sales channels and is updated each week day (excluding Federal holidays) around 3:00 PM ET. The US Mint does disclaim the data to some extent, stating “This data is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed to represent accepted orders or actual sales figures.”
Last year a similar counter had been in place for the 2012 San Francisco Silver Eagle Set. The last reported figure of 251,302 was subsequently adjusted downwards by more than 10% to a final unaudited total of 224,981. The reduction was presumably related to canceled orders, declined orders, product returns, orders received after the deadline but post marked before the deadline, and/or differences between the daily approximation and actual orders.
Although the data for the 2013 West Point Silver Eagle Set is not exact, it does provide a very useful indication of product demand and lends to some comparisons with the San Francisco Silver Eagle Set.
Shown below is the daily sales data for the West Point Set to date. The first number column represents the daily change, while the second number column represents the reported cumulative sales total.
After a white-hot opening of 182,773 units sold through the opening day and weekend, sales quickly calmed down in the following three days. This pattern has been typical for most US Mint numismatic offerings, with the first few days of sales providing a strong indication of how the offering will fare over the course of the period of availability.
The 2012 San Francisco Set had sold 115,059 units during the opening day and weekend. After this point, sales similarly slowed bottoming at an increase of 1,210 about ten days into the ordering window. Sales began to move up strongly in the final week of the offering, which saw the addition of 75,714 in total sales. During this final week, the daily increases were large until cumulative sales approached the 250,000 mark. At that point, the daily increases quickly fell off. (Full data from the SF Set can be found here.)
Using percentages for some of the SF Set data, the opening day and weekend sales accounted for 45.8% of the unadjusted sales total. The final week accounted for 30.1% of the unadjusted final sales total.
Will the 2013 West Point Set follow a similar trajectory? If the opening day and weekend sales account for a similar percentage of overall sales, this would put the final total close to 400,000 units.
Such a sales total might be too optimistic. The excitement of the new enhanced uncirculated finish may have driven more sales to the opening days from collectors who wanted to be among the first to receive the sets (and dealers who wanted to be the first to market the sets). If this is the case, daily sales increases for the duration of the ordering window and particularly in the final week would be lower compared to the San Francisco Set offering.
A key level to watch will be the 250,000 sales mark, which was the maximum mintage established for the 2006 20th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set. Although the enhanced uncirculated Silver Eagle will be the first of its kind, some are likely keeping tabs on how the set will fall into the mintage hierarchy of the four anniversary sets.