Today, April 12, 2012, the United States Mint released the 2012-W Proof American Silver Eagle at 12:00 Noon ET.
Its initial price is $59.95, but as with all coins containing precious metals, the amount is subject to change. During the course of sales last year, the proof’s pricing changed twice due to major swings in the precious metals market.
To place an order for the American Silver Eagle, visit the United States Mint product page for it which is located here, or call the bureau directly at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). There are no household order limits for this year’s issue. A standard shipping and handling fee of $4.95 is charged on every domestic order.
Initial sales are expected to be high, based on collector purchases during the releases of 2011 and 2010. In the first six days of last year’s sales debut, buyers scooped up 367,623, and in 2010, the first three days yielded 273,212 coins sold. A household order limit of 100 was enacted both times.
Sell-out figures totaled 860,000 in 2010 and 850,000 in 2011. Another 100,000 went last year with the sold-out American Silver Eagle 25th Anniversary Set. As usual, the United States Mint has not indicated how many 2012 proof Silver Eagles will be minted, except that it will be based on product demand.
The U.S. Mint has offered the Proof American Silver Eagle since 1986, with the exception of 2009 when demand for the bullion version skyrocketed to unprecedented levels and production of the collector issue was eliminated for the year. The lack of Eagles renewed interest in the series. It was certainly evident in 2010 when the proofs officially sold out in only 39 days. In 2011, it took longer, about 145 days.
At least one additional collector version of the coin will be sold this year, the 2012-W Uncirculated American Silver Eagle which is also produced in West Point. An announcement for its release has not been published, and the 2011-dated version is still available at the Mint’s website for $45.95. The uncirculated coin was released on September 15 and its latest sales as of April 9 stand at 282,173. A San Francisco minted 2012-S Uncirculated American Silver Eagle has also been discussed, as well as a special Eagle set in recent U.S. Mint surveys, but no official word has been released on either possibility.
American Silver Eagles contain 99.9% fine silver and are struck in a single size, one ounce. The proof is distinct with its mirror-like background on both sides and a mint mark of ‘W’, indicating its production at the U.S. Mint’s facility in West Point. Similar to previous issues, the proof coin is packaged in a blue velvet and satin-lined presentation case with a Certificate of Authenticity.
On the obverse is Adolph A. Weinman’s "Walking Liberty" design. It was first seen on the 1916 silver half-dollar and remained in use through 1947. Many collectors consider it to be one of the most beautiful designs ever struck on an American coin. The reverse features a heraldic eagle and shield design by John Mercanti.
The United States Mint also sells investment-grade bullion American Silver Eagles, but these are not offered directly to the public. Instead, they are distributed through the U.S. Mint’s network of "Authorized Purchasers". Indicative details on the bullion include the lack of a mint mark and the lack of a mirror-like finish. The designs and composition, however, remain the same as the proof and uncirculated versions.