The five-coin 2011 American Eagle 25th Anniversary Silver Coin set went on sale at noon EST on Oct. 27. Thousands of collectors, dealers, and their respective friends and associates working as their agents fought a slow Mint website for their allocation of five sets per household.
The U.S. Mint announced on Oct. 20 that the set would be priced at $299.95 plus $4.95 shipping and handling.
The set features two coins unique to the set — an Uncirculated 2011-W coin and a Reverse Proof 2011-P coin, along with Proof and Uncirculated 2011-W coins and an Uncirculated 2011 bullion coin struck without a Mint mark at the San Francisco Mint.
On Oct. 25, multiple dealers were offering other dealers premiums of $25 to $100 per set, with some offering advanced payment to dealers for their allotment. Other market makers took a more measured approach and said to check back on the morning of Oct. 27.
By the morning of Oct. 27, the premium rose to $115 per set with one dealer offering dealers $415 for each confirmed set.
Collectors also took advantage of the pre-sale fever and placed their sets online for sale, even before the sets were available. On Oct. 25, several auctions on eBay presented pre-sale sets for $419 to $550 each.
As sales began, buyers reported mixed results, with many finding it took hours to complete their transactions at the Mint website.
Also on Oct. 25, on an online dealer trading network, Professional Coin Grading Service offered dealers who submitted anniversary sets in Mint-sealed boxes to PCGS for grading a signed letter by John Mercanti, former chief engraver at the Mint and designer of the coin’s reverse. These letters could be included in retailers’ offerings of the sets to enhance the set value.
The Nov. 7 Coin World Special Edition told the story of the Silver American Eagle coin program, and described why the 25th anniversary of the program is a worthy topic of a celebratory set.
In 2006, the Mint honored the 20th anniversary of the American Eagle silver bullion coin program by releasing 250,000 three-coin sets including Reverse Proof and Uncirculated versions alongside the regular Proof and bullion versions. Those sets were released by the Mint at $100, with a limit of 10 per household, and today sell for between $325 and $350 per set. ■