By the time you read this, the 2012 American Eagle San Francisco
Two-Coin Silver Proof set will no longer be offered for sale directly
by the U.S. Mint, and the secondary market will have fully begun to churn.
The set, perhaps the most coveted Mint offering of the year, was
offered for a limited ordering period of June 7 to July 5 with no
household ordering limits.
It was priced at $149.95 and the final several days saw, as
expected, a substantial increase in sales numbers. On July 2, the
counter on the Mint website that records the number of sets sold moved
from the 175,000 level to more than 200,000 and on July 3 the counter
was at 217,351 with two days to go.
A rush to buy these coins occurred at the start of the ordering
period, and it seems there’s a rush at the end, too.
Surprisingly, there has been a robust pre-sale market for these
coins on eBay, with buyers eagerly paying $170 to $200 for sets while
they were still available directly from the Mint for less. In one
auction ending June 8, at least four separate bidders competed to
pre-order a set at $20 more than the Mint’s issue price.
Will these sets turn out to be a good investment? That’s unclear.
In chatting with multiple dealers, it seemed that 200,000 to
250,000 sets was the “sweet spot” that seemed to guarantee a healthy
secondary market marked by demand exceeding supply.
There may be hearty demand initially as the actual sets reach the
secondary market, because the Mint keeps moving the shipping delivery
date for orders further into the future.
At the start of the ordering period, the expected shipping date
was in July, but as of mid-afternoon July 5, the expected shipping
date had stretched out to Oct. 31. Those who ordered in those first
few hours on June 7 may be rewarded when it comes time to sell.
What’s the long-term potential? With such high mintage figures,
these sets won’t provide collectors the windfall of the 2011 25th
Anniversary sets (which were released at the $299.95 level and quickly
sold at the $800 level). But, they may prove useful as long-term
holdings assuming that collector interest in the American Eagle
program holds steady. ■