After a few weeks of unavailability and a retreating silver market, the US Mint has chosen to once again offer four of its annual silver sets for sale to the public. The Mint pulled them from availability last month in the midst of the precious metal attaining new thirty-one year highs.
Beginning yesterday afternoon May 5, 2011, the US Mint began once again selling the 2010 Silver Proof Set, 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set, 2011 Silver Proof Set and the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set. All four products were temporarily removed from availability in April with the 2010 sets disappearing first and the 2011 sets following approximately a week later.Their removal was directly linked to the cost of the precious metal included within them. As each set contains coins struck from a composition of 90% silver they all have an intrinsic melt value linked to them.
The Quarters Sets contain five America the Beautiful Quarters each struck from the precious metal for a total of 0.904 ounces. The standard silver proof sets contain those same five quarters but are joined by a Roosevelt Dime and a Kennedy Half Dollar also struck from silver. This set totals 1.338 ounces of the precious metal when the two additional coins are included.
Thus, the melt value of the sets proved to be too close to the actual selling price from the US Mint as the precious metal market showed no signs of slowing last month. In fact, if the Mint had continued to offer the sets, three of those sets would have had a cost actually less than the melt value of the coins included in them when the London Fix for silver closed at a high of $48.70 an ounce on April 28, 2011.
At that price of $48.70 an ounce, the Quarters Sets would have had a melt value of approximately $44.02 and the full silver sets would have had a melt value of approximately $65.16. For reference, when the Mint stopped selling the annual offerings, they were being sold for $39.95 for the 2010 quarters set, $64.95 for the 2010 silver set, $41.95 for the 2011 quarters set and $67.95.
Now that silver has dropped below $40 an ounce, the Mint's original price points once again offer a cushion between the melt value of the sets and the selling price, giving the Mint room for the production and marketing costs associated with creating them.