For the first time in more than two years, coin collectors will be able to purchase the one-ounce 2011 American Eagle Silver Uncirculated Coin beginning Thursday, September 29, 2011, according to the United States Mint online Product Schedule page.
[Update: The United States Mint pushed the Eagle's release date up to September 15. Its price will be $60.45.]
The uncirculated coin is one of three versions of the 2011 American Silver Eagles. The other two are the extremely high selling bullion Silver Eagle and the wildly popular collector proof Silver Eagle. Both are currently available and the top sellers in their respective markets. The United States Mint released the bullion Eagles on January 3, 2011 and the proof Silver Eagle more recently on June 30, 2011.
The American Eagle Silver uncirculated coin has not always been issued during the same years as the other two. It first appeared in 2006, while the other two have been around since 1986. Also, the United States Mint canceled the collector uncirculated grade in 2009 and 2010 due to unprecedented demand for bullion silver coins. It was then that the Mint directed their supply of coin blanks and production to the bullion version in order to keep up with its soaring demand.
In 2008, the last time the uncirculated coin was available, the United States Mint priced it at $25.95. But at that time the precious metal was going for less than $15 an ounce. The Mint has not yet announced its pricing for the 2011 strike, but right now silver is about $39 an ounce and speculation puts the new coin at around the proof price.
The 2011 American Eagle Silver proof coin is presently $59.95 and offered directly to the public from the United States Mint. Bullion coins, on the other hand, are sold by the Mint to its network of Authorized Purchasers for a small premium on top of the spot price of silver.
All three versions contain one troy ounce of .999 fine silver and share the same designs. Their obverse features a rendition of Adolph A. Weinman’s classic "Walking Liberty" design, which was well-known on the half dollar coin from 1916 to 1947. Their reverse depicts John Mercanti’s Heraldic Eagle with Shield.
The finishes on the surface of the coins help distinguish the three versions. The two collector strikes, the proof and uncirculated, undergo a specialized minting process. The proof sport a mirror-like background with softly frosted images. The uncirculated coin is similar in appearance to the bullion version, but it carries the West Point "W" mintmark while the bullion does not.
One thing to keep in mind is the release date for the 2011 American Eagle Silver uncirculated coin is subject to change. As of this writing, the Mint has not published an official press release announcing the revived availability of the uncirculated strike nor its price.