May 29, 2024

2010 Proof Silver Eagle Sales Begin

For the first time in more than two years, Proof Silver Eagles are available for purchase from the United States Mint. In recent years, the availability of the collector coins has been prevented by the high demand for physical precious metals.

The US Mint produces American Silver Eagles for both precious metals investors and collectors. The bullion version of the coin is distributed through a network of authorized purchasers, who are able to purchase the coins based on the market price of silver plus a specified premium (currently $2.00 per coin). The authorized purchasers then resell the coins to other bullion dealers and the public, as well as create a two way market for the coins to ensure liquidity. By law the US Mint is required to issue the bullion coins in quantities needed to meet public demand.

The collector versions of the coin are sold by the US Mint directly to the public. Traditionally, a proof version of the coin has been offered to collectors each year. For various occasions, collectible Silver Eagles have also been incorporated into various numismatic products. More recently, a collectible uncirculated version of the coin was offered. Silver Eagles produced for collectors have been offered at fixed prices, generally reflecting a large premium above the value of the silver content. There is no legal requirement for the US Mint to produce or issue collector coins.

Proof Silver Eagles were last available in August 2008. After that point sales of the 2008-dated coins were suspended, never to be resumed. In the following year, the offering was long delayed and eventually canceled. Due to high demand for the bullion version of the coin and the US Mint’s legal requirement to meet public demand, during this period silver planchet supplies were used exclusively to strike bullion coins for this extended period of time.

This year, the US Mint managed to reconcile their legal obligation to precious metals investors and their traditional obligation to coin collectors and sell a record number of bullion coins and offer the collector coins.

The 2010 Proof Silver Eagles are priced at $45.95 each. A limit of 100 coins per household has been imposed by the US Mint for at least the first week of release. Order fulfillment is expected to begin by December 1, 2010.

US Mint Mass Email Causes Mass Confusion

Collectors have been eagerly awaiting the release of the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle. Imagine their surprise yesterday when they received a mass email notification from the United States Mint that the product was “sold out” and their orders were canceled one week before the anticipated release date.

The Proof Silver Eagle is one of the US Mint’s most popular products. Featuring Adolph A. Weinman’s classic “Walking Liberty” design on one ounce of .999 fine silver struck with a proof finish, it makes an exceptionally beautiful item for collecting or gift giving. This did not stop the Mint from canceling the offering last year due to high demand for bullion coins.

This year’s offering was confirmed by the US Mint in early October when it was announced that the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle would go on sale November 19, 2010. The price would be $45.95 and a household limit of 100 would be imposed.

The email notification received yesterday by customers who entered orders through the US Mint’s subscription program was as follows:

Greetings from the United States Mint.
Thank you for ordering from the United States Mint.
We regret to inform you that the item(s) listed below
are currently sold out. A customer service representative
will be happy to assist you in finding an alternative item.

Order #
Sold To
Ship To

Item: PS1 Qty:

This is a system generated e-mail. Please do not reply.
If you have questions, please visit the Help page at or call us at 1-800-USA-MINT.

The mass emailing set off a torrent of calls to the US Mint’s toll free number. Many feared a repeat of the situation last year where the offering had been canceled due to bullion demand. After all, this year’s American Silver Eagle bullion coins are already in record territory for annual sales. The rising price of silver also seemed to have potential to impact the offering, which was priced more than a month ago.

Callers were told that the emails were sent in error and the subscriptions would be reinstated. It wasn’t until later that evening that a second email was sent to customers officially confirming that the offering was not canceled.

A mass emailing falsely announcing a product cancellation one week before the release date is certainly not a great way for the US Mint to ingratiate themselves with their customers– especially considering the many missteps of the recent past.

2010 Proof Silver Eagles to Fly November 19

The United States Mint has announced that the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle will be available for collectors this year. The news comes one month after the official conclusion of the US Mint’s long running rationing program, which had been in place due to high demand for bullion coins.

By law, the US Mint is required to produce American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins in quantities sufficient to meet public demand. Following their legal team’s interpretation, in times when bullion demand has exceeded planchet supply, the US Mint has sourced all incoming planchets to the production of bullion coins and foregone the production of collector coins.

This interpretation of their legal responsibilities led to the cancellation of the 2009 Proof Silver Eagle and the lengthy delay and uncertainty surrounding this year’s offering.

The 2010 Proof Silver Eagles will be available for ordering on November 19, with fulfillment of orders beginning on December 1. Pricing has been established at $45.95 per coin. This represents a hefty increase from the last available proof Silver Eagles, which were priced at $31.95 back in 2008. A household ordering limit has been established at 100 units.

The US Mint is not saying just how many coins will be available for collectors, as it will remain contingent on the level of bullion coin demand. If precious metals investors manage to tone it down for a few months, just how many 2010 Proof Silver Eagles will be produced?

A possible clue lies in the US Mint’s original request to Congress when they were attempting to amend the law to allow proof coins to be struck even while bullion demand remained unmet. They had requested authority to use up to 2 million incoming planchets to strike Proof Silver Eagles each year. This would top the highest mintage for a proof issue of the series, currently held by the 1986 Proof Silver Eagle with a final mintage of 1,446,778. The legislation eventually introduced in Congress left the determination up to the Secretary of the Treasury.

Proof Silver Eagles Possible… With Change in Law

There might be a chance for proof versions of the American Silver Eagle after all.

Shortly after my post on the dimming prospects of the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle, US Mint Director Edmund Moy delivered testimony to the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology on “The State of U.S. Coins and Currency”. Within the testimony, Director Moy mentioned that the subcommittee was considering amending the existing law to allow the Mint to produce collectible uncirculated and proof versions of the Silver Eagle, even if full demand for bullion coins was not being met.

It was revealed that the US Mint has already, in fact, provided drafting assistance for the amendment to the law. If it could be enacted soon, the Mint could begin production of Proof Silver Eagles in September at a rate of 200,000 coins per month. This would allow total production of 830,000 coins before the end of the year.

Frankly, after two years of stalled production, a change in law is not really the solution I was expecting. Two years should have provided the US Mint with sufficient time to either find additional precious metals blank suppliers, or set up their own production of precious metals blanks in-house. During the course of the subcommittee meeting, the US Mint Director was questioned on these two options and did not provide satisfactory responses. If the US Mint sought to change the law to legitimize the fact that they cannot satisfy bullion demand, then they could have taken this step two years ago.

As it stands, the US Mint claims that there is plenty of gold, silver, and platinum in raw material form, they just can not get it fabricated into planchets fast enough. This is another tough statement to accept without scrutiny. As covered in prior posts, other world mints quickly managed to adapt to the increased level of demand for precious metals. The US Mint has apparently been staring down the same bottleneck for two years.

During the course of the questioning, Director Moy was asked about the possibility of producing back dated 2009 Proof Silver Eagles, to fill the gap left by last year’s cancellation. He stated that this was not allowed.