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Silver Eagle hits wall

Proof 2012 silver American Eagle sales already seemed to have hit the wall.

After a very strong start virtually equalling the response rate for the 2011 coins during the first four days from the April 12 opening date, in the succeeding  seven days to April 23 collectors seemed to have shut their wallets.

How bad is it?

Well, in the latest week, buyers took just 29,117, bringing the cumulative total to 328,656.

This increase is less than 10 percent of the first reported number of 299,539.

Usually sales fall of after the first few days. That is not surprising. However, the usual rate of decline is more on the order of 50 percent, not 90 percent.

Numismatic News readers will probably not be surprised. In an online poll in the issue that went to press last week fully 79 percent of the respondents thought overall proof silver Eagle sales would fall this year compared to 2011.

That’s a pretty strong indicator that the uptrend of recent years might have reached its naturally limits.

Last year 850,000 proof silver Eagles were sold individually. That required collectors to pony up on the order of $51 million if you figure an average price of $60. That’s not small change.

As every collector knows, the highest mintages of a series tend to be very common in future years. The only other way prices could rise for a high mintage coin is for bullion to continue rising?

How likely is that?

Right now buyers don’t seem to be placing too much faith in that potential outcome.

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