US Mint Silver Proof Sets Suspended as Silver Prices Break $40

April 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The sale of two US Mint silver proof sets was suspended as silver prices on Friday reached a more than three-decade high and toppled the $40 an ounce milestone.

2010 US Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set

The 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set is one of two products the US Mint suspended as silver prices soared to a fresh 31-year high

The 2010 Silver Proof Set and the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set are suspended with a simple US Mint statement beside each of their online store listings stating: "This product is temporarily unavailable."

It was only three weeks ago when the US Mint last used the statement. That was prior to raising prices on these very two proof sets after silver prices had hit a previous 31-year high at above $35 an ounce.

Although the 2010-dated proof sets were produced when silver costs were cheaper, the Mint’s practice is to ensure that the market value of the silver contained within its products is less than their prices. The Mint is not in the business of producing or selling products that are cheaper than their melt values, for obvious reasons.

Silver prices in New York reached an intraday high of $40.64 an ounce before May futures closed to $40.61. That marked a 1.8% weekly increase and an impressive 31.3% gain on the year.

Using $40.61 as a benchmark for silver prices, the melt value of the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set is $36.72 because the set contains 0.904 ounces of the precious metal (each quarter is struck in 90% silver). The US Mint had the quarters proof sets each priced at $32.95 before raising it to $39.95 a few weeks ago.

The 2010 Silver Proof Set contains 1.338 ounces of the precious metal since the quarters, the dime and the half-dollar are made mostly from the metal. In a similar check, its melt value is at $54.35 as of Friday. The US Mint introduced these proof set at a price of $56.95 before raising it three weeks ago to $64.95.

It is possible that the US Mint could simply stop selling last year’s proof sets, but given the statement it seems more likely that their prices will be raised — perhaps to the level of the 2011 silver sets. The 2011 proof sets have the same precious metal content as last year’s sets but were already priced higher as a result of silver prices shooting up by 83.7% in 2010.

If the metal continues to jump to new heights, it is almost guaranteed that the 2011 proof sets will also experience suspensions and price increases.

The US Mint review and repricing process can sometimes take several days.

Silver prices reached an all-time record of $50.35 in 1980 when the Hunt brothers attempted to corner the market.

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