Louis Golino

Modern Numismatics

Louis Golino

Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. In addition to writing about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World, he writes a monthly column for The Numismatist magazine and has written for other coin publications. In 2017, for  “Liberty Centennial Designs,” in Elemetal Direct, he was presented with the Numismatic Literary Guild's award for best article in a non-numismatic publication. He is also a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum. 

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2017-S Proof silver American Eagle needed for sets

Last week the U.S. Mint sold out of the 2017 Congratulations set in two minutes, as reported in Coin World , though so far the Mint has not released any sales data for the product. When released, that number will provide a partial clue as to whether any additional sets will be offered later once the order reconciliation process is complete.  

The reason for the instant sellout is, of course, the inclusion of a Proof 2017-S American Eagle silver dollar coin minted in San Francisco, the first Proof from that Mint facility since the 2012-S coin.

When the American Eagle silver dollar coin program debuted in 1986, all bullion pieces were struck at the San Francisco Mint and continued to be until 1998, while Proofs were issued at this Mint from 1986 through 1992 and then again in 2011 and 2012. 

As was the case in 2012, when the Mint sold the Proof silver American Eagle from San Francisco in two different products, the 2017-S will, as the Mint made clear before the launch of the Congratulations product, also be offered later in the year in the 2017 Limited Edition Silver Proof Set.

Those sets have struggled in recent years to sell their full mintage of 50,000 units, but the inclusion of the 2017-S means this year’s set will likely also sell out quickly. But what is not known is whether the 2017-W Proof American Eagle will also be included; if it is, the retail price would approach $200, a high price point for many collectors. 

It is likely the mint will offer more than the usual 50,000 units of the LESPS this year, possibly doubling the offering to 100,000.

The conventional wisdom seems to be that this means the 2017-S is really no big deal.  But what has not been discussed is the fact that even if the LESPS mintage were doubled, the 2017-S will still be the second-lowest mintage regular Proof finish coin of the series, after the coveted 1995-W, and the lowest-mintage Proof of the series from San Francisco.

However, the picture changes a little if one groups Proofs and Reverse Proofs together.  In that case the 2017-S would come in third overall, after the 1995-W and the 2011-S Reverse Proof, or second for San Francisco Mint Proofs.

An additional point to consider is how many collectors will want to buy the LESPS just to get the 2017-S when they can buy the Congratulations set now on the aftermarket for around $120 and still also have the only coins eligible for First Strike and Early Release labels.

Yes, those labels don’t actually mean the coins were made first, but the market still continues to pin higher value on coins with those labels.

Finally, consider the current retail prices for Proof 70 graded examples of the 2017-S, which have moved up in the past week from $200 when the sets first sold out, to a range of $220 to $240 this week, depending on the label on the coin.

Those prices may go down later as more coins hit the market, and their future value is hard to say, since it will depend on the final mintage and the number of coins in that grade. 

But it is likely to be more than the current $120 value for the sets, since a Proof 70 from the West Point Mint sells for close to that amount, and it has a much higher mintage.

The silver American Eagle is the most widely collected modern U.S. coin series, and the Proof version is the most popular annual product from the Mint, with the West Point Proofs typically selling in the million-coin range in recent years.

Every collector will need a 2017-S for a complete set, and that is why a final mintage of say 150,000 to 200,000 coins is not as high as it seems at first blush.
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Older Comments (2)
Louis, this is pretty much common since, which all the more makes you wonder why the mint has no sense at all, "common" or otherwise. It's also obvious as pointed out elsewhere that their job is making money, no pun intended, but how much less would they make selling them two at a time instead of 25,000 (as reported) to a single buyer, who along with a few others controls virtually all speculation on this coin? It's only common sense, but obviously the mint has none.