The United States Mint plans to expand the number of numismatic product offerings for the American Silver Eagle in 2012. This will include an uncirculated version of the coin struck at the San Francisco Mint and potentially two other collector coins only available within a special set.
The American Silver Eagle was introduced in 1986, with the bullion version available through a network of authorized purchasers and collectible versions sold directly by the United States Mint. Initially, the Mint offered a single collectible proof version of the Silver Eagle as a recurring numismatic product. The standard proof coins carried the “S” mint mark from 1986 to 1992, the “P” mint mark from 1993 to 1999, and the “W” mint mark from 2000 to present.
An additional recurring numismatic version of the Silver Eagle was introduced in 2006. Referred to as collectible uncirculated versions, these coins were struck on specially burnished blanks and minted at the West Point Mint with the “W” mint mark. The coins have been sold individually and included in certain collector sets each year from 2006 to 2008, with the offering resumed in 2011.
Besides these two recurring numismatic products, the US Mint has periodically offered special anniversary sets to mark important milestones in the series. These sets have included one or more coins unique to the sets.
Within the US Mint’s 2011 annual report, the Deputy Director of the United States Mint revealed the Mint’s plans to offer a collectible uncirculated version of the Silver Eagle from the San Francisco Mint with the “S” mint mark for 2012. Last year, the US Mint had offered an uncirculated Silver Eagle with “S” mint mark only within the 25th Anniversary Set. The mention of the 2012-S Uncirculated Silver Eagle within the annual report seems to position the coin as a new recurring product offering, in addition to the collectible uncirculated version of the coin with the “W” mint mark and the proof version with the “W” mint mark.
Additional potential numismatic American Silver Eagles were revealed within a survey recently conducted on behalf of the United States Mint. The survey indicated that the Mint may consider offering a special 2012 American Silver Eagle Set, containing two coins only available within the set. According to information provided in the survey, the set would include a San Francisco proof coin with the “S” mint mark and a reverse proof coin with the “S” mint mark. The planned production level for the sets would be 200,000, with a household limit of two, and price of approximately $125. These sets would become another recurring annual offering with the next installment available in 2013.
The offering of the special two coin set still seems tentative, with subsequent survey questions asking preferences about other types of coins that could be included in the set. Options included uncirculated Silver Eagles with a special mint mark (“S” or “D”), proof Silver Eagles with a special mint mark (“S” or “D”), an ultra high relief version, reverse proof version, or proof and uncirculated versions carrying their customary mint marks.