Silver prices took a wild ride in 2020 largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the precious metals market. In the spring, prices hit a low of $12/ounce on March 19, but it was impossible to actually purchase silver at that price as supplies were very tight, which drove premiums up. July, August and September saw prices move much higher reaching a high for the year of $28.88 on September 1. The year’s average was $20.55.
Demand for Silver Eagles in 2020 reverse the downward trend of the past couple years and were so strong the United States Mint temporarily ran out of inventory and had to suspend sales on March 12 and later resumed them on an allocated basis. Production had to be suspended twice for several days in March and April due to the pandemic after an employee tested positive. The U.S. Mint had to implement special procedures to protect its employees.
An emergency run of 240,000 coins was produced at the Philadelphia Mint in April because of the closure of the West Point Mint. And one million coins were struck at the San Francisco Mint to supplement production at West Point. In both cases the Mint used labels and numbering on those labels that allowed grading companies to determine where the coins had been produced.
For the year sales more than doubled their level in 2019, reaching 33,089,500 in total.
On January 9, the Mint began offering the 2020-W Proof Silver Eagle for sale for $64.95, which was $8.55 more than the 2019 coin, and on October 13 prices were raised again to $73. Congratulations Sets with the coin plus individual pieces were offered starting on the same day, and total sales reached 381,110.
On July 8 the 2020-W Burnished Uncirculated Coin went on sale for $54, which was raised on October 13 along with other product prices to $67.Opening sales were 98,682, and final sales including dealer packs, reached 154,261.
On October 13 the 2020-S Proof Silver Eagle went on sale for $73. The coin was sold individually, in the 2020 Limited Edition Silver Proof Set and in dealer bulk packs. Initially, the Mint announced that the product would be limited to 200,000 coins, but that did not include the coins sold in the other two ways, which would bring the total sales to 208,859.
V75 Privy Mark
To mark the 75th anniversary of the allied victory in World War II in 1945, special coins were issued in 2020 that sported a “V75” privy mark, including limited-edition quarters struck at the West Point Mint and special American Silver and Gold Eagle Proof coins. The gold version was limited to just 1,945 coins, while the silver was limited to 75,000 coins, which is lower than the mintage of all but two coins in the series or three if one includes the 2008-W with Reverse of 2007 burnished uncirculated coin.
The privy mark on the eagles was digitally engraved into the master die with “V75” set within an incus cartouche on the right field of the coins’ obverse designed to resemble the reflecting pool of the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC.
The 2020-W V75 Proof Silver Eagle went on sale on November 5 for $83 with a household order limit of one coin. The gold coins sold out in seven minutes, angering many buyers, while the silver coins sold out in 90 minutes, and final sales were 74,709. Those coins continue to maintain a strong secondary market premium, especially examples graded PF70. Buyers of both coins reported encountering many problems when trying to order due to the high volume on the Mint’s web site, which was reportedly even higher than that seen for the 2019-S Enhanced Reverse Proof with the Mint indicating that 390,000 people were trying to place orders. Mint Director David J. Ryder issued a statement in November in which he committed to improving the Mint’s ordering system.
2020 Silver Eagle Mintages
- Bullion: 30,089,500
- Proof (S): 208,859
- Proof (W): 381,110
- V75 Privy Mark Proof (W): 74,709
- Uncirculated (Burnished): 154,261
- Mint Mark: none (bullion), S (proof), W (proof, V75 privy mark 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