Since 1986, the U.S. Mint has produced beautiful proof silver and gold American Eagles every year. This popular program has rightfully gained a considerable and loyal following.
While I have not had the time to be an active collector over the past few years, I have a coin collection which I value and enjoy adding to on occasion. Every year, I look forward to the U.S. Mint proof set my parents give me for Christmas. When a local resident brought it to my attention that the Mint was going to suspend the proof silver and gold American Eagle program for 2009, I understood his disappointment.
The U.S. Mint has announced that “[d]ue to the continued, sustained demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins, 2009-dated American Eagle Silver Proof Coins will not be produced.”
I realize that there has been extraordinary demand for the business-strike bullion versions and that the Mint is required to produce the bullion versions “in quantities sufficient to meet public demand” in accordance with the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Commemorative Coin Act (Pub. L. no. 99-61) and the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1986 (Pub. L. no. 99-185).
While I appreciate the efforts of the U.S. Mint to comply with the aforementioned laws, I do not believe that this must necessarily preclude coining proof silver and gold American Eagles this year.
Interrupting this program after 23 years will disappoint thousands of collectors and damage what has become a considerable customer base. While it would likely be difficult or impossible for the Mint to coin 700,000 or more Proof Silver Eagles as they have since 2003 due to limited availability of planchets, producing a limited number of Proof silver and gold American Eagles would offer collectors continuity. This would also help to recoup the costs of producing dies and certificates of authenticity that have already been created.
The U.S. Mint could take orders for 2009 Proof versions of silver and gold American Eagles, coin as many as possible before the end of the year, and devise a fair way to apportion the coins that were minted. A lottery system limiting coins to one per individual would be equitable and ensure that as many collectors as possible could participate.
American Eagle proof coins make great holiday gifts, and I know how valued they are by collectors. I am sending a letter to Director Edmund C. Moy urging the U.S. Mint to begin coining proof versions of silver and gold American Eagles as soon as practical, and to produce them through the end of 2009.
This letter also asks that the dies and certificates of authenticity that have already been produced not be prematurely destroyed.
If you share my feelings on this issue, I encourage you to call your member of Congress and ask them to contact me and sign my letter to Director Moy. You can confirm who your member of Congress is and find their contact information at www.house.gov.
U.S. Rep. Gary C. Peters, a Democrat, represents Michigan’s 9th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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