The Popularity of the Silver Eagle Coin



The 25th Anniversary version of the American silver eagle coin, released in November of 2011, sold out much more quickly than expected. The early sellout is causing some amount of consternation in the collecting community. Initially, US mint pressed 100,000 sets of these coins and they allegedly sold out with in a few hours of release. Each set sold for $299.95.

Those who bought one of the initial 100,000 and now want to re-sell them online on EBay will now run into some difficulties. Attempting to account for its misstep, the US Mint pledged for an immediate and "aggressive review" of their plans on printing the coins. They also tried to account for their mistake by referring to the faultiness of their ordering system, which relies on antiquated phone call ordering techniques.

They have allegedly hired independent contractors to update their system to take full advantage of newly available web 2.0 technologies. In addition to issuing a public apology, the Mint thanked investors for responding with sympathy.

Another difficulty caused by all the commotion was that the coin sets began to sell for exponentially more than the asking price as demand went up for the coins. Many people, selling silver eagle coins on EBay, closed contracts before they ever even received them in the first place. In response, EBay issued a request that all sellers please wait until the coin sets came into their possession physically before they put them up for auction. To guarantee that sellers will follow this mandate, EBay also requested that everyone auctioning these coins do so with their own unique photograph of the set.

Ever since the US Mint began pressing the Silver Eagle coins, they have produced an overwhelmingly voracious demand from buyers. When the silver eagle bullion coin was first released in 1986, it sold 1.4 million. At the time, US Mints estimated that they aimed to produce a total of 5 million by the end of the same year.

Later, in 1991, a dip in silver prices caused another silver eagle frenzy between December of 1990 and February of 1991, The Wall Street Journal reported. During this period of time, the Mint sold 4,450,000 silver eagle coins. This represented a 200% increase in the sales of the same coin during the prior year.

Part of the explanation for why these the silver eagle coin does so well is that it has many appealing features to the non-professional coin collector. As bullion, the coins are easier to purchase and transport than larger, heavy bullion bars. Additionally, they are widely available and collectors can get a hold of them at many local coin shops instead of having to pay extra to have them shipped from further away. 

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