U.S. Mint officials are disputing assertions made at online
numismatic message boards that certain coins in the 2011 American
Eagle 25th Anniversary Silver Coin set may have been struck on the
wrong blanks with the wrong finish.
Most of the online dialogue addressed the American Eagle silver
bullion coin in the set, with some posters speculating that at least
some of the coins had been struck on burnished planchets. The bullion
coin in the set is supposed to be identical to all other American
Eagle silver bullion coins.
U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White issued a statement Nov. 30
noting that Mint officials “are not aware of any bullion coins in the
25th Anniversary Sets being struck on burnished blanks used for the
uncirculated coins in the set.”
“The blanks for the bullion strikes are used straight from the
vendor while the blanks for the uncirculated coin are cleaned and
burnished,” White said. “There may be similarities in the brightness
range for the two products but greater variations in appearances are
due to die-to-die hand finishing variation or how many strikes are on
The 100,000 five-coin sets went on sale at noon Eastern Time Oct.
27 and sold out in less than five hours. The sets were shipped from
the Mint’s contracted order fulfillment center outside Indianapolis
beginning Nov. 8 to customers who successfully ordered them. The sets
began showing up in collectors’ hands the following day.
The Mint imposed a five-sets-per-household ordering limit. With
more than 20,000 orders successfully placed for the 100,000 sets, the
average per order was 3.7 sets.
The 25th Anniversary set contains:
➤ One Uncirculated 2011-S coin struck at the San Francisco Mint.
➤ One Uncirculated 2011-W coin struck at the West Point Mint.
➤ One Proof 2011-W coin struck at the West Point Mint.
➤ One Reverse Proof 2011-P coin struck at the Philadelphia Mint.
➤ One 2011 bullion coin, confirmed by the U.S. Mint as having been
struck at the San Francisco Mint, without an S Mint mark.
Struck on burnished planchets?
Some individuals commenting in online discussions, including
postings illustrated with photos of coins found in some of the 25th
Anniversary sets, speculated on whether some of the bullion coins in
the sets may have been struck on burnished planchets intended for the
Uncirculated coins in the set. Speculation arose because of the
unusual brilliance of some of bullion coins when compared against
bullion strikes sold by the U.S. Mint through its authorized purchasers.
Online discussion also included speculation that some of the
Uncirculated 2011-W coins in the Anniversary sets may have been struck
on planchets intended for the bullion coins in the set.
From 2001 up until May 2011, all American Eagle silver bullion
coin production was conducted at the West Point Mint. In the spring of
2011, the San Francisco Mint began augmenting West Point output to
help the U.S. Mint meet investor demand for the coin. The San
Francisco Mint has been responsible for 20 to 25 percent of the
monthly silver bullion coin production since coining began there.
When the U.S. Mint first announced Aug. 19 that a 25th Anniversary
set was going to be produced, officials indicated the bullion coin in
the set might be from a supply of mixed West Point Mint and San
Francisco Mint strikes, since the resulting coin would bear the same
finish regardless of which facility struck the coin and since no Mint
mark identifies the source of the bullion issues.
U.S. Mint officials subsequently decided to supply the bullion
coin in the set from San Francisco strikes only, a decision that was
confirmed to Coin World on Oct. 12 and reconfirmed twice a month
later, after Professional Coin Grading Service officials cited a
unidentified U.S. Mint official as stating the bullion coin could have
been struck by either facility.
The planchets for the bullion, Uncirculated, Proof and Reverse
Proof coins are exactly the same when received from the U.S. Mint’s
three silver blank vendors, with the bullion coins receiving no
special treatment before striking.
The blanks for the Uncirculated version are cleaned and burnished
before striking. For the Proofs, not only are the blanks highly
polished, but designated areas of the dies are also highly polished,
with the remaining devices frosted for contrast. ■