The United States Mint is no longer rationing bullion 2010 American Silver Eagle coins thanks to easing demand, but that does not guarantee 2010-W Proof Silver Eagle production will kick off as happened under similar circumstances when bullion 2010 Gold Eagle sales slowed.
The U.S. Mint on September 3, 2010, told its authorized dealers that it will no longer allocate the bullion .999 fine silver coins, saying they could place orders "under the standard ordering procedures."
The announcement breaks away from two years in which the Silver Eagle has faced temporary suspensions and was available only in limited quantities.
The end to rationing also improves the chances for the numismatic 2010 Proof Silver Eagle. To sell as many of the bullion coins as possible, which the Mint must do by law, the collector proof and uncirculated versions were canceled entirely in 2009.
For most of this year the situation appeared just as bleak for 2010 proof coins. While 2009 ended as an all-time record year for the bullion Silver Eagle, the coins sold even faster through the first seven 2010 months. It seemed the only way the proof coins would see the light of day was through congressional intervention, as U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy discussed and recommended in July during testimony before the House Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology.
Now that bullion American Silver Eagle sales have eased in August and their rationing has stopped as a result, there is an added glimmer of hope for the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle. As touched on previously, when demand fell for the bullion 2010 Gold American Eagles, the Mint was finally able to begin producing the proof coins after a year of absence. Mint officials said just last week that the one-ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce and tenth-ounce gold sizes are expected to launch in October.
Yet, there has been a significant difference between gold and silver bullion coin demand. Gold Eagle sales have been solid this year, but not unprecedented. Pull out the recent slowdown and the 2010 Silver Eagle has never been hotter. While 2009 holds the annual sales record at 28,766,500, this year an already 23,990,500 have been sold. A smaller twitch of renewed interest could reinstate the Mint’s allocation policy and darken hopes for 2010 proof coins once again.