Before they even went on sale, proof and uncirculated 2009 American Eagle Silver Coins are temporarily suspended, according to a new United States Mint statement at its online store.
The highly popular silver dollars are minted specifically for collectors, bearing the "W" mintmark to denote their striking at the Mint’s West Point facility.
2009 coins are on hold for the same reasons sales of American Eagle Silver proof coins were canceled early in 2008 — "unprecedented demand" and the Mint’s need to focus on bullion versions of the coin, which bear the same design, but do not have the "W" mintmark. These bullion versions are intended for investors, although coin collectors buy them as well.
By law, the Mint is required to produce bullion versions in sufficient quantities to meet public demand. The collector proof and uncirculated versions, therefore, take a back seat when the Mint’s silver blank inventory is low or depleted.
Blazing hot Lincoln Silver Dollar sales likely account for snapping up a portion of the inventory normally used for silver eagles.
The following is the statement located on the Mint proof and uncirculated silver eagle pages:
Production of United States Mint American Eagle Silver Proof and Uncirculated Coins has been temporarily suspended because of unprecedented demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins. Currently, all available silver bullion blanks are being allocated to the American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Program, as the United States Mint is required by Public Law 99-61 to produce these coins "in quantities sufficient to meet public demand . . . ."
The United States Mint will resume the American Eagle Silver Proof and Uncirculated Coin Programs once sufficient inventories of silver bullion blanks can be acquired to meet market demand for all three American Eagle Silver Coin products.
713,353 of the 2008 proof versions were sold, according to the latest Mint sales figures. Their value in the secondary market has climbed substantially. While the Mint sold them for $31.95, current eBay auctions for example have non graded versions listed for just below $90.
[Editor's update: The US Mint has halted proof and uncirculated collector coins as well. For more, read 2009 American Eagle Gold Coins Suspended.]