Revisiting the 2012 San Francisco Silver Eagle Set

The 2012 San Francisco Silver Eagle Set was one of the United States Mint’s most anticipated product releases of the year. Each set contained one 2012-S Proof Silver Eagle and one 2012-S Reverse Proof Silver Eagle.

Product sales began on June 7, 2012 at 12:00 Noon ET with pricing of $149.95 per set. Rather than establishing a maximum product limit, as had been done for similar products in the past, the US Mint would accept orders during a four week ordering window and produce the sets to meet the total demand. A sales odometer which was updated daily gave collectors an indication of the progress of the offering. Sales officially closed on July 5, 2012 at 5:00 PM ET. The last indicated sales total was 251,302 sets.

Less than two weeks later, the US Mint revealed the Making American History Coin and Currency Set, which would contain the 2012-S Proof Silver Eagle. Many customers were upset since they felt it had been strongly implied that the coins within the San Francisco Set were exclusive to the offering.

The US Mint responded to concerns with statements that included the following: “In retrospect, it may have been appropriate to announce our intentions to produce the coin and currency set earlier in the year or perhaps simultaneously with the two-coin set.” At the same time, the US Mint assured customers that the 2012-S Reverse Proof Silver Eagle would not be offered within other products.

The first of the 2012 San Francisco Silver Eagle Sets started to ship to customers on July 27, 2012, with arrivals reported shortly thereafter. In response to a recent inquiry the United States Mint has indicated that they have now shipped nearly 150,000 sets, and that all shipments are to be completed by the end of October.

There have been some anecdotal reports of order cancellations for the San Francisco Sets, especially following the revelation that one of the two coins would not be exclusive to the set. The US Mint was not willing to provide an updated or adjusted sales total or provide specific information on the number of order cancellations. However, they will release the final number of products issued when the program closes in October.

On the secondary market, prices for the sets remain above the issue price. A quick survey of eBay auctions completed within the past few days show the prices realized for raw sets mostly falling into a range of $180 to $190, compared to the issue price of $149.95.

Sets which have been graded by PCGS or NGC and received the top grade of Proof-70 have sold for premiums above raw sets. Sets with the two coins graded PCGS PR70DCAM and PR70 have recently sold for prices around $425 to $450. Sets with the two coins graded NGC PF 70 Ultra Cameo and PF 70 have sold for prices around $300 to $325.

Compared to past special sets, a lower proportion of coins seem to be receiving the top grades. Data available from PCGS shows that approximately 35% of coins graded from the sets have received Proof 70 grades. By comparison, more than 50% of the reverse proof Silver Eagles included in last year’s 25th Anniversary Set received the top grade from PCGS. Data for NGC graded coins was not readily available.

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  1. Louis says

    Mercury, You are probably right, but then why do PCGS 70 modern coins almost always sell for more (a lot more in some cases) than NGC 70 coins?
    Take the Lucy Hayes. NGC 70 ER’s on e-Bay when I checked over the weekend sold for $2300, but a few days before someone paid $4,000 ! for the same coin in PCGS 70 FS.
    Or the SF sets ($300 vs. $450 or more). That is a 50% difference. Probably not justified, but that is how the market works. I got a PCGS 70 FS set for $250 and then it doubled a few days later.
    Sometimes they are the same, but I don’t remember an NGC 70 of anything ever selling for more than a PCGS 70. Has anyone else ever seen an NGC 70 sell for substantially more than a PCGS 70?

  2. Mercury says

    The situation is like this: A person may now be paying more for PCGS 70 graded coins. But just as it is with the school system, if a prominent school, starts producing students that are not doing as well academically, then the word soon gets out, and parents and students tend to look elsewhere. So too is the case with grading services, like home appraisers, TGS are necessary in order to establish a basis for making investments. But like a school, if the TGS appraisers begin consistently failing to produce the desirable physical result, we look elsewhere in order to get the best investment for our money. So the point I’m getting at is this. I’m beginning to have suspicion that when PCGS feels it is too their advantage to send out a higher number of 70 graded coins, it seems to find a way to do so. The problem being is that the pressure to perform may be at the risk of compromising their integrity. Now in the past that may have not been the case, but like any school, it’s only as good as the teachers and the services they provide. PCGS is still a great grading service, but I feel that the pressure that has resulted from this new “mint to demand method”, has not only effected coin collectors attitudes, but it has also increased the of pressure on TPGS to send larger qualities of higher graded coins, and now it is especially the case since collectors are now coveting these higher grades. It’s situation like this that can really test ones will to resist compromise. Here is where PCGS may be losing their edge and NGC may be gaining some ground. As I see it, this new mint to demand policy and everything that goes with it has created utter madness in the coin collecting industry. Hopefully what is happening within the TPGS will all fix itself once all this craziness’ is over… but for now, it is what it is.

  3. Mercury says

    hi ho silver says:
    September 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm
    If what you say is true why would you send them to ANY TGS ?
    To error is human, so yes by all means getting your coin graded buy a TGS is good, they make a valuable contribution to the hobby of coin collecting. There are in fact many dentists out there that may be able to do a better job at cleaning your teeth then the one your now seeing, but at least your going to see a dentist. But if you were aware of someone who could do better and can afford it, wouldn’t you be inclined see the best dentist money could buy. So too with TGS.

  4. dan says

    I would still like to see a statistical breakdown of the percentages of graded coins in relation as to when they were recieved by the tpg’s. Would the percentage of 70’s be higher in the begining when, shall we say, large houses submit large quantities of coins to get that coveted ( not ) early/first strike designation? Would the percentage drop off after the initial wave of their bread and butter clients? I hate to sound cynical but sometimes I just have to wonder. I will admit that this time it sounds like the overall quality of the SF set might be lousy enough to where they cant fudge the numbers that much. Now with CAC checking pcgs and ngc and the like, does that make them a 4th party grading service???? When will someone start a 5th party grading service to check everyone else? Where and when will it end, thats why anything new from the mint I stay ogp with all the original documentation to prove authenticity. Old investment grade coins that I purchase are slabbed only to hopefully prevent a counterfeit I hope.

  5. hi ho silver says

    Mercury: I only buy raw,PCGS and NGC graded coins (for most part) Is there a guarantee NGC will reimburse me for a razor nick on a PR 70 quarter in an NGC holder?

  6. Don says


    You make some good points on the “pressure to perform” that the grading companies experience, likely resulting in many more borderline “70” grades.

    This pressure to perform is even greater on grading companies such as ANACs, who a well-known TV coin personality utilized for the 2012 SF proof sets. The host boasted that he bought about 10% of all these sets. Imagine the enormous pressure these grading companies are under to keep the big customers happy.

  7. Mercury says

    hi ho silver says:
    September 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm
    Is there a guarantee NGC will reimburse me for a razor nick on a PR 70 quarter in an NGC holder?
    Now here is where grading really gets tricky. I was informed that in certain instances a coin could have a nick or scratch and still receive a perfect 70 grade. Now in that case it up to the individual coin collector to decide whether to buy the coin or the slab. Though that scratch may bother you, for another collector, they may feel it gives the coin character. As for me I would pass on purchasing the slab, to me the idea of perfect means a coin is flawless. But 30 year from now that same coin with the scratch and a PR70 grade could be worth $200,000.00

  8. Mercury says

    Let me also add that in considering your case, it would also depend on how rare the coin is before I would accept a scratch on a PR70 coin. The problem I would have is when a TPGS grades a “mint to order coin” Such as the 2012 2 Coins Sets a PR70 with a scratch on it. Sure in that case I would expect NGC to refund my money.

  9. Wes says

    Grading tome is just another scam to make money. The coin is the same coin whether it’s in a slab that somebody has graded for you or it’s in OGP but then again I am not a flipper.

  10. VA Bob says

    I’m with you Wes. I have some slabbed coins, but those I have I’ve never paid a penny more than a comparable raw coin. If I were a flipper, perhaps I’d want to maximize the money I could get from folks that put a value on that service. I believe it has some value with old coins, but for moderns that never circulated well that’s entirely different. The plastic capsule they came in is the best option in my opinion. Besides with the thousands of submissions, can you really ever be sure you get the same coin back that you sent them, especially when you give them a sealed box or bulk submission? Guess it all boils down to the trust you give the TPG.

  11. Jack says

    Here’s an idea. Maybe the gubberment ought to conduct a unique test by sending 50 % of their minted stocks of proof & uncirculated coins to outside government contractor bidders (private companies) who would grade em (all done within the same US Mint premises where they were coined), then sending these “freshly-graded” coins (the 50% of total product being graded) directly to market (via direct mailing to customer) along with any of the other 50% non-graded (or raw) product that the customer might have ordered, all at the same time and see how the market reacts to buying products this way.

    Then, at least the coins would have an opportunity to somewhat be graded inside the walls of the U.S. Mint instead of having ordered coins sent traveling to your home or business, then you having to forward this little expedition in order to have them arrive at your selected grading co. The grading co. of course must returning them all safely back to you on another costly journey. ( Perhaps all that extra mailing and packaging misery could be eliminated).

    Any thoughts?

  12. hi ho silver says

    Jack: Your idea sounds too good to come true !! Remember the Fed also makes $$ from the USPS.

  13. hi ho silver says

    Mercury: I just question the methods these TPG use. I looked up an NGC graded two cent piece and the date on the coin is 1863!?! Check it out on the site. 2563757-013 lol

  14. NaplesMike says

    Hi Ho Silver…At first glance the coin appears to be dated 1863, however, after looking more closely it appears to be dated 1864. Also, from what I can tell, they didn’t begin minting this coin until 1864.

  15. hi ho silver says

    Lol Sorry DCDave. I just like the fact I got a poor SF set and was able to return it to the Mint for a better set and thought I would bash someone else. Maybe a story about check and balance of the handeling of coins and quality control.

  16. simon says

    CE : No more submissions to PCGS

    CE you have my sympathies specifically about a coin as valuable as an UHR.

    PCGS has a long history of pulling these stunts, which thyey know they can get away with for small customers. I would recommend not sending the coin back to them because they will simply etch the spot and very likely make the coin worse. Their staff seem to excel in incompetence.

    As far as the “higher” sale value for PCGS vs NGC : I do not patronize TPGs preferring Mint issued OGP in my collection. I suspect well varnished HYPE is the major cause. I do however own coins purchased in the past from several TPGs and they are mostly on spot for grade – even for the lesser known ICG and ANACS. I actually prefer the “old slab” ANACS to any other slabbed coins.

  17. TheAsianGuy says

    I had submitted coins to PCGS (the first and the last) couple of years go. Five commemorative coins which included 2 x 2001 Silver Buffalo, 2 x 2009 Lincoln Proof Dollar, 1993 James Medison (five free submissions) , they were in pristine condition. At that time, I had own the above listing coins with grade 70s from both PCGS and NGC as well. They came back with 68 and 69. The five coins developed spots and some toning few months later. I think they just try to control their populations and give the big dealers the advantages. I almost completed my dollar commemorative coin collections with PCGS PR70 and MS70. I sold them all last year and I was glad I did. I paid big premium for PCGS coins, but they get spots and get tonning easily, no matter how hard I try to avoid it from happening. Oh yeah, and all my PCGS ASE as well.

    Now, I only collect NGC 70s for my long term investment and own collections.

  18. Michael in Bama says

    United States Mint
    Price for the 2012 Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set
    Agency: United States Mint, Department of the Treasury
    ACTION: Notice.
    SUMMARY: The United States Mint is announcing a price of $54.95 for the 2012 Annual Uncirculated
    Dollar Coin Set. This set contains the following uncirculated coins: four Presidential $1 Coins, one
    Native American $1 Coin, and one American Eagle Silver Coin.
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: B. B. Craig, Associate Director for Sales and Marketing;
    United States Mint; 801 9th Street, NW; Washington, DC 20220; or call 202-354-7500.

  19. VA Bob says

    Wes – The only question I have, should the Mint start to sell graded coins, is exactly what am I paying a substantial premium for now?

  20. rpw says

    Just thought I’d throw this out there….

    I purchased 2 sets about 5 days after they went on sale.
    I received both sets shortly after they started shipping. One of the coins had a “burn” mark under the “N” on the reverse so I sent it back. I was suppose to get a replacement but when the replacement ship date was changed by the mint – I cancelled the order and settled for the one set that I kept.

    I noticed some “strange, smooth spots” on the reverse proof so I was a little upset because I thought that it would grade a 69 at best.

    To my surprise — NGC graded both coins as 70.
    Still waiting to get them back (hopefully in the next day or so).
    Thought it was really strange because I just sent in my 2009 UHR Gold coin a couple weeks earlier and it sadly graded at 69 which I thought should have been a 70.

    I’m just not getting the whole grading thing. I really think it’s a numbers game.
    Also – I think if I would have sent in my UHR and had it graded as an early release — it would have gotten a 70 ER label but since I waited so long to send it in – and the secondary market prices for 70 URH coin is so high – it put’s more pressure on the dealers coins if NGC were to grade my coin as a 70 now.
    They figure I would think – “heck – a 69 is pretty good”!
    WRONG! It should be a PERFECT PROOF COIN. Isn’t that what we all expect????

    We want either a PERFECT COIN or an ERROR COIN. Nothing in between!!!

    Point is – if you want to get a coin graded – do it right away and hope or the best. If you wait – you could get a lower grade — for no reason except that you waited!

    I HATE TPG’s but the fact of the matter is — TPG graded coins have a higher secondary market resale so I will RELUCTANTLY have my “special coins” graded.

    I now have a full set of 25th Anniversary and SF 75th Anniversary coins graded as 70’s which means – I was thrown a bone – and I’ll now have more coins graded. Point is … I think TPG grading is a scam and I would rather NOT pay extra to have coins graded but — until EVERYONE ELSE STOPS getting them graded – I have no choice. Regardless of what people say — I think it’s better to get the coins graded rather then not for this simple reason….

    You can ALWAYS take a coin out of a slab and put it back in the OGP but you cannot go back and have a coin graded (especially as Early Release) once the time to do so has expired. Better to err on the side of caution!

  21. Mercury says

    rpw says: I’m just not getting the whole grading thing. I really think it’s a numbers game.

    Go figure. Doesn’t it make you wonder that why out of all the tens of thousands of 5oz ATB bullion hokey pucks out there, that the best grade so far coming from the TPGs is MS69? It a little suspicious that neither PCGS nor NGC can muster up the nerve to grade even one a 70 grade. Unlike all the other coin out there, good or bad, big or small, that have been graded MS70. Why are they so committed to hanging on to a MS69 grade on these coins? Things that make you go Hmmmm….

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