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Waiting For the Next Silver Set?
May 02, 2012

When participants in the Numismatic News online poll were asked April 13 if they thought collectors would buy more proof silver American Eagles in 2012 than in 2011, a resounding 79 percent said no.

Just 21 percent said yes during the week participants had to respond.

They sure were right.

The latest weekly report from the U.S. Mint on 2012 proof Eagle sales results confirms this as it shows that demand is drooping rapidly.

In the first report, buyers had snapped up 299,539 coins. The following week the number was 29,117. The latest figure is 14,242.

If the pattern holds, next week’s number will be hardly more than 7,000.

Cumulatively, buyers have taken 342,898 proof 2012 silver Eagle coins so far.

This compares to 850,000 of the 2011 coins that were sold and 860,000 the year before. It will be very hard for the 2012 sales figures to reach anywhere near these numbers on current trend.

Also, last year’s numbers need to be modified by the additional 100,000 anniversary sets that were sold, adding 100,000 to the standard 2011-W proof coin total.

This year there will be no other way to buy a “W” proof coin, but there will be an “S” proof and an “S” reverse proof that go on sale as a set June 7.

The next question to ask is what conditions have caused the present drop in collector interest in the individual proof silver Eagles?

Are they saving their money to buy the 2-coin “S” set in June? Last year’s set was certainly a lucrative speculation.

Do collectors find the current price of the proof “W” silver Eagle to be too high?

Did they suffer some form of buyer’s remorse over the number of coins they have been buying in the last couple of years?

The answers will start to arrive when we know the total number of orders for the upcoming 2-coin Eagle set, but we will have to wait until the July 5 order submission deadline to find out.

Evaluating a buyer’s motive is much more difficult.

If you are one of the buyers who has cut back or stopped buying the proof silver Eagle, send me an email to tell me why at

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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