American Silver Eagle Bullion Coin Sales For 2012 Tops 33 Million Ounces – Mint Runs Out Of Coins
According to the U.S. Mint, total sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins for December 2012 totaled only 1,635,000 ounces, down by 18.6% from 2,009,000 coins sold during December 2011. The lowest monthly sales for the year occurred in February when 1,490,000 Silver Eagle Bullion coins were sold. The highest monthly sales of the Silver Eagles occurred in January when 6,107,000 coins were sold.
Demand for the Silver Eagle bullion coins has been robust this year and the low sales for December do not reflect reduced demand but rather reduced U.S. Mint production. As reported by Coin Update, the Mint reported in mid December that all Silver Eagle bullion coins had sold out and no additional coins would be struck during 2012. The Mint announced that the 2013 Silver Eagle bullion coins should be available to authorized purchasers on January 7, 2013.
As with other bullion programs, the US Mint does not sell Silver Eagle bullion coins directly to the public, but distributes them through a network of authorized purchasers. The primary distributors are able to purchase the coins in bulk quantities at a price based on the market price of silver plus a fixed mark up. The coins are then resold to other bullion dealers, coin dealers, and the public.
The US Mint originally began accepting orders for the 2012 Silver Eagles from authorized purchasers on January 3, 2012. After a strong January, monthly sales trailed the levels of the prior year until October when demand started to move higher. In November, bullion sales continued their renewed strength, with sales of American Gold and Silver Eagles more than doubling the figures from the year ago period.
The strong sales in November caused the United States Mint to adjust their production plans for one ounce and one-tenth ounce American Gold Eagle bullion coins in order to avoid selling out prior to the end of the year. Apparently, the Mint did not adjust production plans for American Silver Eagle bullion coins.
The sales figures for December would likely have exceeded 3 million ounces if the Mint had produced enough silver bullion coins to meet demand. Nonetheless, total sales of the Silver Eagle bullion coins for 2012 were the third highest on record with a total of 33,742,500 coins sold. All time record sales of the Silver Eagle coins occurred during 2011 when almost 40 million coins were sold.
Demand for the Silver Eagles has soared since the financial crisis began in 2008 and recent announcements by the Federal Reserve and other central banks pledging unlimited money printing is certain to increase investors demand for safe haven precious metals.
Since 2000, investors have purchased an astonishing 232,143,000 American Silver Eagle one ounce coins worth over $7 billion at current market prices.