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Silver American Eagle sells out

It is old news now, but this blog was written for posting on Dec. 2. Due to some problem that I have yet to figure out, it was present for me but nobody else apparently could see it. Sorry for the skipped day.

Amid the Thanksgiving turkey dinners, parades and football games, coin collectors might be forgiven for taking a little longer than otherwise to note that the 2013-W proof silver American Eagle has been pronounced a sellout.

Buyers have taken 868,521 of the coins, another strong tally, especially when considering that 235,689 two-coin sets were also sold during the year as well as 165,000 or so mintmarked uncirculated coins.

Collectors love their silver Eagles.

This attachment was a strong one when it first formed with the 1986 issues. In fact, sales of the proof silver American Eagle have never been higher than the number recorded in that first year.

Imagine buyers taking 1,446,778 coins.

They did.

First years of any new Mint product are often very strong followed by some years of disappointment. Proof silver Eagles followed this pattern in spades. By 1994, the number of proofs purchased by collectors was just 372,168.

That low number is at the root of the 1994 coin’s current high price.

Demand bounced back. In recent years, the Mint has sold something over 800,000 proofs most years and sometimes special sets. This year fits the pattern.

In that first year of issue, the collector proof comprised over 21 percent of the silver American Eagle coins sold in that year.

Collectors are not as important now even with the addition of special sets and a mintmarked uncirculated issue.

In 2013, the proof collector version of the coin comprises hardly more than two percent of the coins sold. But this year there have been over 41 million bullion coins sold compared to just 5,393,005 in 1986.

Obviously, we can see where the growth has been.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."