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. ■