Starting at noon Eastern Time (ET), the United States Mint began accepting orders for its 2012-S San Francisco American Silver Eagle Two-Coin Proof Set which was released at the expected price of $149.95. An ordering deadline has been implemented with sales cutting off in four weeks, on July 5, at 5 PM ET.
Order volume was exceptionally high early as the U.S. Mint website went through what have become traditional hiccups during the debut of popular products — periods of complete downtime, inability to place orders and general sluggishness. While slowness remained prevalent across the Mint’s online store, very determined and very patient collectors were more readily able to place orders after some 90 minutes had passed, but it was still hit and miss. The site remains abnormally slow and prone to errors as of this writing, which is more than three and a half hours after the set went on sale.
[Update: The first reported sales figures for the set came in at 85,341. Those were published by the U.S. Mint close to 26 1/2 hours after the proof set was released.]
The two-coin proof set is unique in that the proof Silver Eagles are produced at the U.S. Mint facility in San Francisco, California and not West Point, New York. Specifically, the proof set contains one 2012-S Proof American Silver Eagle and one 2012-S Reverse Proof American Silver Eagle. Each coin has the San Francisco ‘S’ mint mark. The reverse proof has a mirror-like design against a frosted background, or the opposite of the standard proof Eagle collectors have seen annually for all but one year since 1986.
Most observers feel the price is at least a tad on the steep side. With two troy ounces of the precious metal in the proof set, the current melt value is $58.56 while the London silver fix is $29.28 an ounce. That places the premium at $91.39.
Order and Shipping Information
Buyers may place an order for the 2012-S American Silver Eagle Two-Coin Proof Set through the U.S. Mint online product page, located here, or by calling the bureau at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). There are no per household order limits in place.
As mentioned earlier, the ordering deadline is July 5, 2012 at 5 PM ET. After that, the U.S. Mint will cease sales.
Delivery of the proof set will take some time since the U.S. Mint does not plan to start filling orders until after sales have ended. The bureau currently has a posted message indicating that the sets will be available for shipping on July 27, 2012.
The process of selling for a limited-time, minting to demand, and shipping after the product is no longer sold is new for the Mint. It is in stark contrast to the five-coin 2011 American Silver Eagle 25th Anniversary Set that had a mintage limit of 100,000 and sold out in 4 1/2 hours, leaving some collectors who wanted one empty handed.