UPDATE: The US Mint has started taking orders, and will do so for one month (June 7 through July 5). Mintage will depend on how many are ordered. For me, this is problematic. If I don't know the mintage beforehand, I can't gauge the value. At $149, the 2012 American Eagle San Francisco Two-Coin Silver Proof Set is too risky and presents little opportunity to make a quick buck.
According to the US Mint website:
“The United States Mint at San Francisco plays an important role in our nation's coinage. Although it does not currently produce circulating coins, it is the exclusive manufacturer of regular proof and silver proof coin sets that set the standard for numismatic excellence with their brilliant artistry, fine craftsmanship and enduring quality.”
With the massive success of the 25th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set late last year, collectors are perking up their ears. So are coin-flippers who are looking to make a quick buck.
Count me in that group of flippers. While there was a time when I thought the lure of collecting fine silver coins would take over my brain, the luster has faded.
I’m not sure if it’s the drop in the price of silver from around $40 to around $30, or that my extra money got tight when I committed to saving for and paying cash for a European vacation. Previously I had allowed myself to purchase 2-4 ounces of silver each month as part of a dollar cost averaging strategy.
When I learned about the 25th Anniversary Set, I was still too new to collecting physical silver to know for sure whether I’d be able to flip them for a good profit. For that reason I did not buy the maximum five sets that the Mint was allowing.
Instead I bought two sets at $300 each. As soon as I received my sets in the mail, I immediately listed one on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $740.
It sold within a few hours.
This means that after fees, I made about $300 in profit. This made the other set that I bought for $300 essentially free. At the time of this writing, these sets are selling between $600 and $700 on eBay.
In hindsight, I wish I would have purchased the household max of 5 sets. I would have made over $1000 in profit. But I think it’s important to be careful when “investing” in things we don’t quite understand. At the time of my purchase I only had a strong hunch.
Is the 75th Anniversary San Francisco Silver Eagle Set the next big thing?
At this time I can’t tell. There is some strong, initial interest on the Kitco Silver forums. I think this is a good indication that there will be collector interest.
Collectors are part of the buying pool when you look at flipping numismatic collectibles. The other part are other flippers who want to buy your set at an inflated price with the hope of selling it to a real collector at an even higher price.
This is a risky move, as you could get stuck holding physical silver that is worth a lot less than you paid for it. Speculation has the price of the 75th Anniversary San Francisco Silver Eagle Set between $150-200. For a two-coin set, that means you would be paying $75-100 per ounce, when the spot price of silver is around $32.
Should I Buy the 75th Anniversary San Francisco Silver Eagle Set?
That is the $64,000 question, or rather, the $200 question.
As I said, speculation is running wild as to what the mintage will be. If it is 500,000, I will probably pass. If it is 250,000 or less, I will be very interested.
All we really know now is that it will be a 2-coin set with an “S” mint mark proof and reverse proof.
How Do I Buy the 75th Anniversary San Francisco Silver Eagle Set?
I’m guessing that like the 25th anniversary Silver Eagle set, the 75th Anniversary San Francisco Silver Eagle Set will at first only be available directly from the Mint.
That means on release day you will need to be in front of a computer and also on the phone, frantically trying to get some sets. Last year the 25th Anniversary set sold out in about 4 hours. There were widespread complaints over people not being able to log in or get through on the phone.
In response, the Mint is working on a beefed-up ordering system, but I would still proceed as if it is going to be difficult to attain these.
This could all change if, for example, the Mint makes a ridiculously high mintage (say 1 million), or prices them way outside the bounds of reality.
If you don’t get the 75th Anniversary San Francisco Silver Eagle Set on your first try, you will be stuck trying to buy it from flippers like me on eBay.