American silver eagles were one of the hottest commodities in 2009. The United States economy was in tailspin during the late 2000s, as the housing market crumbled, the stock market riding a roller coaster, and major companies were going bankrupt. Investors found security – refuge, even – in precious metals.
To meet the soaring demand for new silver eagles, the United States mint dramatically stepped up production of the one-ounce silver coins – striking 30,459,000. This extraordinarily high number of uncirculated (or, “bullion”-quality) silver eagles came at a price for collectors, however. The U.S. Mint, under appropriation requirements early that year to meet bullion demand before collectors’ desires, was unable to procure enough planchets early in the year to strike proof and/or burnished specimens for coin collectors. The numismatic community became very disquieted by this, as they would not have a proof silver eagle to add to their annual collections.
Mint Director Edmund C. Moy spoke on behalf of numismatists to the U.S. government about the situation and was able to have the appropriations limit lifted, but by the time that had happened, it had become too late in the year to begin striking proof American silver eagles. None were minted that year.