The American Eagle Program entered its tenth year in 1995 and represented an occasion for celebration for the United States Mint. Since the introduction in 1986, more than 50 million Silver Eagle bullion coins had been sold, and Gold Eagle bullion sales accounted for nearly 6 million ounces. Numismatic offerings had also proven highly popular with collectors, with the annual offerings typically including an individual proof Silver Eagle and four different size Proof Gold Eagles.
For 1995, the US Mint would offer the same standard options with a five coin set offered “as a special bonus” for customers. The standard options included the individual 1995 Proof Silver Eagle struck at the Philadelphia Mint and carrying the “P” mint mark. This coin was priced at $23 each. Four different 1995 Proof Gold Eagles were also available, with each coin struck at the West Point Mint and carrying the “W” mint mark. These were offered either individually or within a four coin set priced at $999.
A special 10th Anniversary Set was also announced for availability in the Fall of 1995. This set would contain all five Proof American Eagle coins struck at the West Point Mint and carrying the “W” mint mark. While the Proof Gold Eagles were the same as available individually or within the four coin set, the Proof Silver Eagle with the “W” mint mark was only available within the set. The price for the anniversary set was the same $999 charged for the four coin set as a way of thanking customers for their support of the program.
The anniversary set carried a mintage limit of 45,000 sets, but in the end only 30,125 sets were sold. By consequence, the 1995-W Proof Silver Eagle had a total mintage of only 30,125 and became the new key date rarity of the series by a wide margin.
Some collectors complained about the manner of distribution for the coins, claiming that the Mint was forcing Silver Eagle collectors to purchase the higher ticket anniversary set in order to maintain their collections. Indeed, the price of $999 was far in excess of the modest $23 annual investment that had been necessary to keep up a set of Proof Silver Eagles. In the end the Mint did nothing to rectify the specific situation, although in subsequent years unique or special issue Silver Eagles have not been similarly combined with higher priced Gold Eagles.