Burnished Gold and Silver Eagles- The US Mint Keeps Collectors Guessing
Last year, the US Mint started offering collectible versions of the Uncirculated Gold and Silver Eagles. These collectible versions carry the "W" mint mark and are struck on burnished blanks. These burnished versions seem to present a good opportunity for collectors since they usually end up with mintages significantly lower than for the regular bullion version. This year's sales of the Burnished Gold and Silver Eagles have particularly confusing and continue to keep collectors guessing.
Burnished Gold Eagle sales have been impacted this year by the rising price of gold. Since the Mint sells the coins at fixed prices, if the price of gold rises too much, sales are suspended until they can reset prices at more appropriate levels. This year, the Mint has suspended sales twice. First in October and most recently on November 5th.
As of today, Burnished Gold Eagle sales are still suspended at the Mint. While the spot price of gold has fluctuated during the 7 week suspension, today's spot price is very close to the price when the suspension first began in November.
The Mint website lists the following message for the Burnished Gold Eagle:
Due to the increasing market value of gold, the American Eagle Gold Uncirculated Coins are temporarily unavailable while pricing for this option can be adjusted; therefore, no orders can be taken at this time.Will the 2007-W Burnished Gold Eagles ever go back on sale? If not, the coins will end up with some incredibly low mintages, which may drive higher prices in the secondary market. The suspensions have reduced the amount of time the coins have actually been on sale and the most recent suspension has dragged on much longer than expected.
Burnished Silver Eagle sales were impacted by an unexpected product offering and packaging issues. The coins had been selling briskly throughout the year, and then on November 22, they appeared to be sold out at the Mint.
On December 3, the Mint released a batch of new Presidential Dollar products. One of the products was the 2007 Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set, which apparently includes a 2007-W Burnished Silver Eagle. This unexpected product meant that collectors could still obtain the Burnished Silver Eagle by purchasing this set.
On December 21, the Mint put the individual option of the Burnished Silver Eagle back on sale. According to Buzz with Dave Harper, apparently the Mint had run out of packaging, but resolved the issue. They will continue sales until the rest of their inventory is depleted.
This constant guessing game with the Burnished Silver Eagles has probably frustrated many collectors. With sales in two different options continuing to drive mintages and distribution, this year's coin probably will not experience the significant secondary market price increase seen for last year's coin.
While the guessing game with the Mint has potentially created opportunities via the Burnished Gold Eagles, it has also created a roller coaster ride for the Burnished Silver Eagles. When both are finally, really sold out and no longer for sale, it will be interesting to see where mintages and secondary market prices end up.
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