It seems that the majority of orders for the 25th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set have shipped, although each day a few collectors report their orders finally shipping. The last post on this topic has continued to be updated by readers with their latest status, shipping dates, and other observations. The post has now reached 879 comments. I wanted to start a fresh post with some brief updates and for collectors to provide new status reports.
To recap, the 25th Anniversary Sets went on sale at the US Mint on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET. After just four and a half hours, the Mint received orders for the entire 100,000 maximum production. Orders continued to be accepted for placement on a waiting until the following morning. The Mint started shipping the first sets to collectors the week of November 7, a few weeks earlier than expected.
Unique Coins of the Set
The sets are particularly desirable because of the inclusion of two coins (or possibly three) unique to the product offering. The confirmed unique coins are the 2011-S Uncirculated Silver Eagle and the 2011-P Reverse Proof Silver Eagle. Each of these coins have a mintage of only 100,000 pieces, which rank as the second lowest mintage American Silver Eagles ever issued by the US Mint.
As collectors have started to examine their sets, some have identified a potential difference for the bullion Silver Eagle included. Some initial reports found a difference in the finish compared to bullion coins issued through the regular channels. Later reports have identified a “dent” or “dimple” on the middle tail feather of the eagle on the reverse, which seems to appear only on the bullion coins included in the 25th Anniversary Sets.
Capsules Opening During Shipping
There have been many reports about the plastic capsules containing the coins opening during shipping. In some cases, readers have reported finding individuals coins rattling around unprotected within the box. This is understandably upsetting and particularly unfortunate for this product offering since if returned for quality issues, it is probably unlikely that replacements sets could be issued.
Third Party Grading
Some collectors are choosing to send their sets to third party grading companies such as PCGS or NGC for encapsulation and grading. In order to have all five coins in the set identified as coming from the 25th Anniversary Sets, the companies have required submission of the coins within the sealed US Mint shipping boxes.
Some early information seems to indicate a high proportion of coins grading MS70 and PR70. This is surprising since the coins must be submitted “blind,” i.e. collectors do not have an opportunity to view the coins and select the best ones for grading. It is also surprising given the problem of opening capsules mentioned above.
For the 2006 20th Anniversary Sets, around 10-20% of coins seemed to be receiving the top grades. For the 2011 25th Anniversary Sets, the earliest population report data available shows more than 50% of coins receiving the top grades. This may change or shift lower as time passes and more coins are graded, but it is certainly something to watch if contemplating paying a big premium for top graded coins.
Separately, there has been some controversy about policies for returning the original Mint packaging. You can read more in this CoinUpdate article.
Waiting List Status
As mentioned, the US Mint accepted orders for placement on a waiting list after orders were received for the maximum mintage. Orders are fulfilled from the waiting list in first-in, first-out sequence in the event that sets become available due to the order cancellations. The waiting list period seems to be from around 4:30 PM ET to the following morning around 10:15 AM ET.
There have been reports of some orders placed near the end of the waiting list period having been canceled by the Mint. Presumably, there were so many waiting list orders ahead in the list that these would have no chance of being fulfilled. There still seem to be a large number of collectors with waiting list orders that have not yet been canceled. When checking the status with the US Mint’s Track Order function, these will say ” Your order request is in process.”
The latest order numbers that have been reported as “in stock and reserved” or “shipped” seem to be #38382xxx. If anyone has any later order numbers that have shipped or other information, as always, please post in the comments.