Because US Law mandates that American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins production take precedence over the numismatic version of the coin, the "proof" version of the famous coin was not available in 2009, due to silver blank material(planchet) shortages.
According to US. Mint Director Ed Moy:
"We have worked very hard with vendors to increase the quantity of precious metal planchets available to us." "...we have tripled our supply of silver planchets from Fiscal Year 2007 levels."
Although the demand for precious metal coins remains high, the increase in supply of planchets-coupled with lower demand for bullion orders in August and September-allowed the United States Mint to come off allocation and shift some capacity to produce numismatic versions of the one ounce American Eagle Silver Proof Coin.
According to the Mint today, they confirmed having issued a memo informing the eight Mint Authorized American Eagle dealers in the U.S. that the premium price on all Silver Eagles was increasing from 1.50 to 2.00 per ounce, (a whopping 33% increase in premium fees). Based on the increase, some who monitor the market surmised that meant a supply chain issue was occurring and that there were shortages in silver blanks. The fact that the Mint announced the Silver Eagle Proof coin today, proves there is not currently a shortage.
American Eagle Silver Proof Coins will be made available for sale on November 19, 2010. Orders for the popular numismatic coin can be placed starting at noon Eastern Time (ET) on that date. Order fulfillment will begin by December 1st. The price of the coin will be $45.95 +4.95 shipping. Orders will be accepted on the United States Mint's secure Website - http://www.usmint.gov.
The American Precious Metals Exchange announced today:
Following the U.S. Mint’s announcement last week about the increase in the premium on Silver American Eagle Coins, news has surfaced that the Royal Canadian Mint also has plans to increase its premiums on all Silver Canadian Maple Leaf Coins. Rising silver prices and the increased demand for silver products seem to be the catalysts behind these sudden premium hikes. Although we can’t be certain exactly when the changes will occur, our bullion experts predict the premium increase could go into effect at any time.
UPDATE: More information about the Silver Eagle Proof can be found at the US Mint site HERE.
2010 Silver American Eagles - Brilliant Uncirculated