Tomorrow, October 27, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin sales of the 25th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set. For many collectors this set represents the mostly highly anticipated US Mint product of the year.
Information about the offering has slowly trickled out during the year, with the final details only recently confirmed. Very early in the year, I had suggested the possibility that the Mint might issue a special set to mark the anniversary, especially considering the success of the 20th anniversary sets issued in 2006. On August 19, the US Mint confirmed their plans to issue a special 25th anniversary set and indicated the five coins that would be included. On October 13, the Mint confirmed the release date for the set as October 27 and provided the first image. On October 20, the pricing for the set was confirmed with the maximum production limit indicated shortly thereafter.
The 25th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set will contain the following coins:
- 2011 Proof Silver Eagle (W mint mark)
- 2011 Uncirculated Silver Eagle (W mint mark)
- 2011 Uncirculated Silver Eagle (S mint mark)
- 2011 Reverse Proof Silver Eagle (P mint mark)
- 2011 Silver Eagle bullion coin (no mint mark, but struck at the San Francisco Mint)
The five coins are packaged in a “custom-design, highly polished, lacquered hardwood presentation case.” Each set is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
The maximum product limit has been set at 100,000 units. There will be an ordering limit of five sets per household in effect for at least the first week of sales, after which point the limit will be re-evaluated and either extended, adjusted, or removed. Pricing for the sets is $299.95.
For purposes of comparison, the 20th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set issued in 2006 contained three coins, one proof with W mint mark, one uncirculated with W mint mark, and one reverse proof with P mint mark. The sets were limited to 250,000 units with an ordering limit of ten per household. The price was $100 per set. At the same time, the US Mint also released a 20th Anniversary Gold Eagle Set and a 20th Anniversary Gold and Silver Eagle Set.
It took approximately two weeks for the silver set to achieve a sell out. It took about two and a half months for the silver sets to sell out. Secondary market prices rose as high as $600 per set, before settling to their current levels around $300. [Updated after further research. It’s also worth noting that the peak price wasn’t reached until around June 2007, or ten months after the sets initially went on sale. Thank you Steve for your comments.]
Based on the available information, the 25th Anniversary Set will include two very significant coins in the American Silver Eagle series. These are the 2011-P Reverse Proof Silver Eagle and the 2011-S Uncirculated Silver Eagle. Provided these coins are not offered in any other format, they would have a maximum mintage of 100,000 pieces. These two coins would become the second lowest mintage Silver Eagles across all years and formats, after the rare 1995-W Proof Silver Eagle, which has a mintage of 30,125.
A complete sell out for the 25th Anniversary Silver Eagle is a near certainty, as are probable US Mint website problems during the first few hours of availability. The most recent stampede for a newly released US Mint product occurred for the 2010-P Hot Springs Five Ounce Uncirculated Coin. After accepting 6,000 web orders in the first hour of sales, the Mint’s website went down and was not restored for 45 minutes. At that point, web orders were processed at the “normal capacity” of 120-150 orders per minute. After nine hours, there were more than 19,000 orders received by phone and through the website.
The fastest US Mint sell out within recent memory was for the 2009 Lincoln Coin & Chronicles Set, which had a production of 50,000 units, one per household ordering limit, and price of $55.95. After five hours, sales had reached 29,919 sets. Sales continued until a sell out was reached the following day at 6:00 PM, after 30 hours of availability.