The much anticipated 2010 Proof Silver Eagle went on sale today at 12:00 Noon ET. The US Mint price for the proof coin is $45.95, plus the standard handling charge of $4.95 per order. A per household order limit of 100 coins is in place.
Demand for the proof is expected to be fierce, with debuting sales figures expected to be huge. Minutes prior to its launch, the US Mint’s online store already started to show signs of heavy customer traffic. In preparation, the Mint warned customers leading up to the release:
"NOTICE: We anticipate unusually high demand for the American Eagle Silver Proof Coins, which the United States Mint will make available for sale on November 19, 2010, at noon ET. Because of the high number of customers that we expect to be placing orders during the first few hours of sales, you may experience delays when attempting to order online or through the call center during this period. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience."
The 2010 Proof Silver Eagle may be ordered from the US Mint website (direct product link), or its toll free number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
The release of the one ounce .999 fine silver piece is welcome news to coin collectors who were unsure most of the year as to whether they would even get issued. Their availability was a topic discussed not only among collectors and on coin forums, but in a congressional subcommittee hearing in May and in coin legislation that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on September 29.
The question of whether the Proof Silver Eagle would make an appearance this year was the result of the canceled production of the 2009 version, owing to a lack of silver coin blanks or planchets.
"The coin was not available in 2009 because of high demand for the United States Mint’s American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin," states the Mint. "Legislation mandates that American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin production take precedence over the numismatic version of the coin. Economic conditions drove investor demand for the United States Mint’s silver bullion coins to unprecedented highs in both Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010."
That same investor demand for the bullion coin that sparked the 2009 cancellation (marking the first time a proof was not struck since debuting in 1986) is still readily apparent. The bullion coins continue to be ordered in record numbers.
According to the US Mint, 28,630,500 bullion Silver Eagles were sold in the first ten months of this year. That was slightly short of last year’s total of 28,766,500, which was enough to propel 2009 into the record books as the best year ever. Sales taken by the US Mint in the first few weeks of November 2010, however, easily lifted totals over last year. This year now holds two records for the bullion eagle, the 2010 annual record and the 2010 mintage record.
Despite the vast quantities of bullion eagles purchased, the US Mint was able to increase available supplies of coin blanks to insure today’s 2010 Proof Silver Eagle release.
"We have worked very hard with vendors to increase the quantity of precious metal planchets available to us," said US Mint Director Ed Moy. "That hard work has paid off. In fact, we have tripled our supply of silver planchets from Fiscal Year 2007 levels."
The increased supply, however, was apparently not enough to entice the US Mint to also produce the collectible 2010 Uncirculated Silver Eagles. They were also not minted last year after having been available annually since their introduction in 2006.
The mintage ceiling for the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle has not been stated. Traditionally, demand dictates annual mintages. If supply holds up, the demand could easily make this year’s issue a leader or the leader in annual sales. The prior 2008 Proof Silver Eagle ended with a mintage total of 700,979. However, their sales were halted early in August 2008 when minting bullion Silver Eagles took precedence.
Making today’s release even more interesting is the fact that the silver market in recent weeks has been reaching thirty-year highs. The US Mint, however, took higher silver prices into consideration as it set the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle price up $14. The 2008 Proof Silver Eagle sold for $31.95.
In addition to its brilliant, mirror-like finish, the collector proof coin features the West Point "W" mintmark. As such, it will not be uncommon to see the coin referenced as the 2010-W Proof Silver Eagle. US Mint bullion coins do not have the mintmark nor special collectible finishes. Bullion coins are also not sold directly by the Mint, but instead through a network of authorized dealers.
Although the release is late in the year, there will actually be least five more .999 fine silver coins available in 2010. An announcement is expected soon for the release of the new three-inch, five ounce America the Beautiful Silver Coins. The bullion offerings are nearly double the size of the American Silver Eagle, and feature the same designs as the circulating America the Beautiful Quarters®.