Priced at $59.95, 2012-W Proof American Silver Eagles made their inaugural appearance Thursday, April 12, 2012, at 12:00 noon Eastern Time. The release date and price was expected as first revealed here several weeks ago.
The Eagle may be ordered directly from the United States Mint product page located here, or by calling the toll-free telephone number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). There are no per household order limits as in previous years. Eventual mintages will be determined mostly by collector demand.
Despite being the most popular numismatic coin that will be offered by the United States Mint this year, the bureau’s website and other ordering options appeared to handle opening order volume fine. If recent past year debuting sales performances are any indication, several hundred thousand will be purchased within a few days. (See Proof American Silver Eagle mintages through the series’ 26-year history.)
Regardless of the year minted on the coin or its type — proof, uncirculated, or bullion — all American Silver Eagles feature the same obverse and reverse designs.
Specifically, the obverse design bears Adolph A. Weinman’s full-length figure of Lady Liberty striding confidently toward the sunrise, draped in the strength of the Stars and Stripes. Her right hand is extended and branches of laurel and oak are seen held by her left. By John Mercanti, the reverse design portrays a shield and heraldic eagle, with an olive branch in the right talon and arrows in the left.
Because these American Silver Eagles are produced at the U.S. Mint facility at West Point, each reverse carries a denoting "W" mintmark. The U.S. Mint describes proof coins and their minting process of them this way:
Proof coins are the finest quality of coin produced by the United States Mint. Their frosted, sculpted foregrounds give them a special "cameo" effect, created by the exacting proofing process. United States Mint proof coins shimmer with brilliant, mirror-like background surfaces and frosted foregrounds. Proof blanks are specially treated, hand-polished, and cleaned to ensure high-quality strikes. The blanks are then fed into presses fitted with specially polished dies and struck at least twice.
There is yet to be an official declaration from the Mint as to when the 2012-W Uncirculated American Silver Eagles will be released. The U.S. Mint continues to sell last year’s issue for $45.95. There is also no word as to the possibilities of different proof and uncirculated options with varying mintmarks or within sets, as had been talked about earlier in the year. The United States Mint released the bullion 2012 American Silver Eagles on January 3, 2012.