The uncirculated version of the 2012 silver American Eagle goes on sale at the U.S. Mint website at noon Eastern time today.
How many collectors will care enough this year to buy one?
There may be more than a few collectors who have been exhausted by the wave of proof coins, the regular 2012-W proof, the two-coin San Francisco proof set with regular proof and reverse proof, and the soon-to-arrive Bureau of Engraving and Printing set with a regular “S” proof in it.
Sure, today's Eagle coin offer is not a proof. The “W” mintmarked coin is struck on a burnished blank.
It’s price is cheaper at $45.95 compared to the current $54.95 proof “W” price.
It’s .999 fine silver.
Is your mouth watering yet? No?
With silver sitting at $27 an ounce, it is hard to see a level of excitement building around this issue that would take its sales anywhere near the 297,629 sales number of the 2011 burnished uncirculated issue.
If demand falls short by enough, the Mint will have committed itself to inventing more products with some form of silver Eagle in them only to find that the total number of dollar bills it can extract from collector wallets does not keep up with all of the sales options.
Over time many collectors got bored with First Spouse gold coins, commemoratives and standard proof sets. Is it possible for these same collectors to get bored with a multiplicity of collector versions of the silver American Eagle?
We might be about to find out.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."