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Second try with silver proof

At the end of my Tuesday blog I offered an opinion of how I thought sales of the 2016-W 30th anniversary silver American Eagle proof coin would go.

Come Wednesday the Mint updated its sales figures. They showed I could not have been more wrong.

Where I expected a similar sales number in 2016 as 2015, that no longer looks possible.

The 2016 figure will be lower, perhaps much lower.

We all know that Mint order receipts are front-end loaded. Collectors jump when the Mint says jump, at least those do who want the item offered.

In the first three days of sales, buyers took 322,317 proof silver Eagles. In the next seven days, instead of a sales drop of 50 percent as I expected, the drop in new orders was over 87 percent.

Only 40,786 coins were ordered between Sept. 18 and Sept. 25.

Compare that to the 160,000 I projected.

Such a rapid fall from the initial sales level bodes ill for final results.

Where I thought it was likely that buyers would take about the same number of proof silver Eagles this year as last year, that possibility now seems to be off the table.

In 2015 the Mint sold 699,623 individual proof silver Eagles. That figure was down substantially from the 894,614 individual sales figure of the 2014-W pieces.

If sales of the 2016 proof fall by an amount similar to the fall of 194,991 between 2014 and 2015 issues, that would put sales of the individual 2016-W proofs at 504,632.

I thought the 30th anniversary theme would keep sales up.

But this will not be the only offering of the 2016-W proof Eagle.

It will be included in the Ronald Reagan Coin & Chronicles Set to be offered Oct. 11.

I thought buyers of the Reagan set would help keep overall proof Eagle numbers up. Now it looks more likely that falling interest in the proof silver Eagle could drag sales of the Reagan set lower.

The Mint has penciled in a maximum of 150,000 Reagan sets.

Where that 150,000 number looked ambitious before, now it looks to be completely impossible.

Last year’s reverse proof Presidential dollars ranged from sales of 17,000 to 50,000.

The most valuable part of the Reagan set is the 2016-W proof silver Eagle in it. It joins the reverse proof Reagan dollar.

But there will be a last bite of the proof silver Eagle apple sometime late this year with the offering of a 2016 Limited Edition silver proof set.

The last time it was offered, in the year 2014, the set featured a proof Eagle as well as silver proof America the Beautiful quarters, Kennedy half dollar and Roosevelt dime. Then 42,614 were sold.

But will this year's offer turn into three strikes and you’re out as far as achieving overall sales of 700,000 proof silver Eagles?

It might. But I was wrong on Tuesday, so make up your own mind.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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