End of 2008 Proof Silver Eagles?
By Mike Unser
Mint’s 2008 Gift Catalog announcement on Monday
contained a glaring omission. There were no
collector 2008-W American Eagle Silver proof
coins. Did the Mint simply forget to list these
mainstay one-ounce silver coins? Not likely.
The die is cast and this year’s run of the coins
is likely ended. Despite hope, collectors are
not likely to see a 2008 comeback similar to the
platinum eagles’ return on Friday. Three factors
reinforce this line of reasoning:
Prior Mint catalog announcements have always
included silver proof eagles (see 2007, 2006
Spring, 2006 Fall, 2005)
The Mint halted sales of these eagles in August
and they have never resumed
Available silver blank inventories are used to
mint bullion American Eagles silver coins, not
the collector versions bearing the "W" mintmark
The first reason is self-evident, the second a
matter of fact and the third bluntly explained
by the Mint earlier this year.
“We are not using incoming supplies of silver
blanks to produce numismatic versions of these
coins (American Eagle Silver Proof and
Uncirculated Coins); all incoming inventory is
being used solely for silver bullion coins.”
Then the Mint said it was "making every effort
to increase its acquisition of silver bullion
blanks." The effort was apparently unsuccessful
because, again, several months have past and the
Mint has not resumed sales.
The Mint sold some 715,500 of the 2008-W coins
for $31.95 each before the unprecedented and
unexpected production shutdown. Acquiring proof
eagles now is more costly with prices on the
secondary market about 70 percent higher than
initial buy prices. As a reference, refer to
auction sites like eBay where they are listed
for around $55.
Yes, the volatile bullion market has thrown
unexpected curve balls at the Mint this year.
Nevertheless, it will be a shame if the Mint
strikes out with collectors who have always
chosen to buy certain coins at year’s end and
specifically for holiday gifts — just as past
Mint holiday catalogs have promoted the eagles
for years. Further, if they do not return, it
would be especially upsetting because there was
no pre-warning that their production would be
halted in August.
Collector uncirculated 2008-W American Eagles
are still on the Mint’s website for $25.95 each.
These were missing from the Mint’s catalog
announcement as well, raising questions as to
how long they may be available.