The 2012 American Silver Eagles mark the twenty-sixth year of the Silver Eagle Program from the United States Mint. Since that introduction, each coin has been struck from one ounce of .999 fine silver with Adolph A. Weinman’s Walking Liberty Design on the obverse and John Mercanti’s heraldic eagle with shield on the reverse. Sales of the bullion versions of the coin will begin on January 3, 2012. The United States Mint has not yet announced release dates for the year’s collector versions.
The Silver Eagles first debuted in 1986 with bullion coins authorized directly by Congress as a low-cost option for investors to add small amounts of the precious metal to their portfolios. That same year the US Mint introduced Proof Silver Eagles for collectors with the same basic specifications and designs as the bullion strikes, but featuring a proof finish and a mintmark compared to the bullion coins with no mintmark and an uncirculated type finish.
Also issued in 2006 was a Reverse Proof Silver Eagle. This strike was only released as part of a special 20th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set that year and would not be repeated until 2011 with the release of the 25th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set.
In terms of the number sold, Silver Eagles are the most popular numismatic product issued by the United States Mint. Literally millions of the bullion Eagles are sold annually. The only US Mint products with higher mintages are the circulating coins struck by the US Mint and released into circulation for use in everyday commerce.
Bullion Silver Eagle mintage has also been consistently on the increase in the years leading up to 2012, likely owing to the worldwide economic turmoil seen since 2008. In fact, that year saw bullion mintages surpass the previous annual record which had been set in 2002. The new record would not stand long, however, as the subsequent years of 2009, 2010 and then 2011 would each successively assume the title as the best year ever for bullion Silver Eagles.
Record bullion Eagle numbers were not attained without consequences. In 2008, the US Mint was forced to suspend Proof Silver Eagle sales in August as it struggled to meet demand for the bullion strikes. Conditions did not improve for the collector grade Eagles in 2009 as both the proof and uncirculated varieties were cancelled. Finally, in 2010 the US Mint was able to increase available blank planchet supplies enough to strike a Proof Eagle but the Uncirculated Silver Eagle did not return until 2011.
2012 Silver Eagle Mintages
2012 Silver Eagle Specifications
|Weight:||31.101 grams (1.000 ounces)|
|Diameter:||1.598 inches (40.60 mm)|
|Thickness:||0.117 inches (2.98 mm)|
|Composition:||99.93% silver, 0.07% copper|
2012 Silver Eagle Design
|Mint Mark:||Bullion – None, Proof – tbd, Uncirculated – tbd|
|Obverse Designer:||Adolph A. Weinman|
|Reverse Designer:||John Mercanti|
Silver Eagles on Sale