Today is a big day for fans of the silver American Eagle series. The two-coin West Point set goes on sale at noon Eastern time today for $139.95.
Will the set appeal to collectors to the same degree previous silver Eagle sets did?
We had the 5-coin set in 2011 where the limited mintage of 100,000 caused an ordering tidal wave to smash against the Mint’s website.
Last year’s two-coin San Francisco set was a much more subdued affair, because collectors could order all they wanted. In the end, they claimed almost a quarter million of the sets for themselves.
The West Point set will see the same policy of minting as many sets as are ordered continued. For the next four weeks collectors will be able to decide whether they want to buy the set or not.
Will they opt to do so?
History teaches us that the longer similar offers are made, the less interest collectors show in them.
On the other hand, this is the silver American Eagle we are talking about. It is not just any old offer.
We will see a reverse proof included in the West Point set. Collectors have seen reverse proofs before.
But we will also see an enhanced uncirculated silver Eagle in the set. This is new. We have not seen the like before.
Collectors will want to examine it closely. If they are pleased with it, they might send a few more orders in.
Because of the inclusion of the enhanced uncirculated coin, there is a logic to calling this set a first year of issue rather than the third of recent years (or the fourth if we go back to 2006).
A first year of issue is generally exciting and collectors get a bit carried away in the number of coins ordered.
Will that happen today and during the next four weeks?
Certainly the Mint will hope so.
It is possible that the two forces, third or fourth time boredom cancels out first enhanced uncirculated enthusiasm?
Where would that leave us?
At about the same order total as last year’s San Francisco set.
Once you have made your decision, sit back and watch this sales event unfold.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."