Sales of the bullion version of the 2017 American Silver Eagle (Buy on eBay) opened on January 9 with a strong start with first day sales topping that of 2016 by 35%. By the end of January sales were 5,127,500.
However, over the course of the following months sales of these coins slumped sharply, dropping down to 1.6 million in February, 1.2 million in March and just 835,000 in April – a 48% drop over the prior month. The decline was due in part to rising silver prices, which began the year at $15.95 on January 5 and reached the year’s high of $18.56 on April 13. There were also geopolitical tensions and concerns about how the new Trump Administration would handle trade issues.
Sales continued to be low for the rest of the year, reaching a low for the year of 320,000 in September. The average silver price for the year was $17.04/ounce. By year’s end, total sales were 18,065,000 for the entire year, which was less than half the amount sold in 2016.
One other important development for the bullion coins that year is that NGC began noticing differences in the quality and monster box serial numbers that made them think that Silver Eagle bullion coins were being struck at more than the usual facility – the West Point Mint. Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Mint revealed that between 2014 and 2017 it struck almost 17 million of the coins at its mints in San Francisco and Philadelphia.
In addition, we learned that 2017 coins included a million struck in Philadelphia and three million in San Francisco, and NGC began indicating on its grading labels where the bullion coins were produced for the years covered by the information the Mint released.
Proof coins struck at the San Francisco Mint, which had last appeared in 2012 for the San Francisco Mint 2-Coin Set, returned as single coins, which were last issued in 1992. The 2017-S Proof Silver Eagle was first sold on April 4 for $54.95 in the Congratulations Set that sold out of its entire 75,000-coin mintage in two minutes, which led to criticism from collectors who were not able to order the coins and some numismatic observers too. That sent secondary market prices for the coin up sharply, especially for PF70 coins, which continued to maintain strong premiums. The same coin was also offered in the Limited Edition Silver Proof Set that went on sale on October 5 priced at $139.95 with an authorized maximum mintage of 50,000 sets. Sales for the first day were 29,164, and by March reached 48,906. For the year the 2017-S Proof sold a combined total of 123,739 coins, which made this coin the sixth lowest mintage Silver Eagle, or seventh counting the 2008-W with Reverse of 2007 Burnished Uncirculated Coin.
On March 23, the Mint began selling the 2017-W Proof Silver Eagle (Buy on eBay) with no product or household limits and priced at $53.95 with first day sales of 226,173 coins. Reeded edges returned to the coins after the 2016 one-year only incused edge inscriptions for the 30th anniversary. By September sales were 306,808 and by year’s end were 372,173 not counting bulk sales. After accounting for that, the final audited sales number was 440,596.
The final coin sold that year was the 2017-W Uncirulated Silver Eagle (Buy on eBay) , which was released starting on June 29 with no order or household limits for $44.95. As with the Proof coins, the reeded edge also returned to these burnished uncirculated specimens with “W” mint marks that year. Total sales were
176,739, which was down almost 40,000 coins from the 2016 issue of this type. That was likely due to the fact that collectors needed to begin purchasing four different versions of the Silver Eagles in 2017 to maintain a complete set.
2017 Silver Eagle Mintages
- Bullion: 18,065,500
- Proof (S): 123,799
- Proof (W): 440,596
- Uncirculated (Burnished): 176,739
- Mint Mark: none (bullion), S (proof), W (Proof, uncirculated)
- Designers: Adolph Weinman (obverse), John Mercanti (reverse)
- Composition: 99.93% silver, 0.07% copper
- Weight: 31.101 grams (1.000 ounces)
- Diameter: 40.6 millimeters (1.58 inches)
- Thickness: 2.98 millimeters (0.117 inches)
- Edge: Reeded