After three consecutive years of record demand, the pace of sales for the United States Mint’s American Silver Eagle bullion coins finally experienced a downturn. The 2012 Silver Eagle bullion coins originally went on sale to authorized purchasers on January 3, 2012.
From the start, the bullion coins were produced at both the West Point and San Francisco Mint facilities without mint marks. As opposed to prior years, allocation programs were not imposed and authorized purchasers were able to order as many coins as desired. After a relatively brisk start, the pace of sales declined. By mid year, sales were tracking about 22% below the levels of the prior year. Some strength in the fourth quarter brought full year sales to 33,742,500, about 16% lower than the prior year total.
On the numismatic front, the US Mint released the 2012 Proof Silver Eagle on April 12, 2012, which was three months earlier than the prior year. Initial pricing was established at $59.95 per coin with no household ordering limits in place. Within the first four days of availability, orders reached nearly 300,000 coins. The pace of orders subsequently slowed, and it would take another three months for sales to reach the 500,000 mark. Pricing for the offering was adjusted to $54.95 per coin, following a decline in the market price of silver, but later increased back to $59.95. A sell out for this individual option occurred on November 13, 2012, although the coin would be offered within another product.
The 2012-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle was released on August 2, 2012. This represented the fifth release of the collectible uncirculated version of the coin bearing the “W” mint mark, following its initial years of release from 2006-2008 and reprise offering in 2011. Pricing was established at $45.95 per coin with no household ordering limits and no stated maximum mintage. A sell out for this individual option would occur on March 11, 2013, although this coin would also be included within another product.
During the year, the United States Mint released the San Francisco Silver Eagle Set to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the current facility at San Francisco. Each set included proof and reverse proof Silver Eagles bearing the “S” mint mark. Rather than impose a maximum mintage, the Mint offered the set for a four week ordering window with the coins to be minted to demand based on the number of orders received. At the close of sales an order counter indicated sales of 251,302 sets, but cancellations and returns brought the final audited mintage down to 224,935.
Additional collector sets for this year included the Making American History Coin and Currency Set, which included the 2012-S Proof Silver Eagle along with a $5 note with a serial number starting with “150”. This set was issued for the 220th anniversary of the United States Mint and 150th anniversary of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. These sets had a final audited mintage of 56,857 units.
The Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set was released on September 6, 2012. This set contained the collectible uncirculated coin with “W” mint mark along with the five golden colored $1 coins issued for the year. The final mintage was 27,300 sets.
The US Mint also released the 2012 Limited Edition Silver Proof Set on November 27, 2012. This set contained the 2012-dated 90% silver coins and the 2012-W Proof Silver Eagle. From a maximum authorized mintage of 50,000 units, the final audited mintage was 44,952.
2012 Silver Eagle Mintages
Bullion Mintage: 33,742,500
Proof Mintage: 877,731 (W mint mark), 281,792 (S mint mark)
Uncirculated (Burnished) Mintage: 226,120
Mint Mark: none (bullion), W (proof, uncirculated), S (proof, reverse proof)
Designers: Adolph A. Weinman (obverse), John Mercanti (reverse)
Composition: 99.93% silver, 0.07% copper
Weight: 31.101 grams (1.000 ounces)
Diameter: 40.6 mm (1.598 inches)
Thickness: 2.98 mm (0.117 inches)