April 20, 2024

Gold and Silver Eagle Rationing Ends… For Now

The United States Mint’s “on again, off again” rationing of American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins is “off again”.

For more than two years, increased levels of demand for gold and silver bullion coins have caused problems for the United States Mint. Under current law, they are required to produce Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins in quantities sufficient to meet public demand. When they have been unable to meet full demand, they have defaulted to meeting as much demand as possible.

In February 2008, following a multi-week suspension of Silver Eagles, the US Mint imposed their “allocation program” for the first time, which rationed the supply of bullion coins amongst authorized purchasers. At the time their memo stated, “The unprecedented demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins necessitates our allocating these coins on a weekly basis until we are able to meet demand.”

Despite making some progress with the overall number of gold and silver bullion coins available, the US Mint has resorted to this allocation time and time again, in response to increased bullion demand. When demand subsides, the program is lifted, only to be reinstated weeks or months later when demand reemerges.

Last year rationing was ended for both gold and silver bullion coins in June 2009 with little fanfare. In the ensuing months, the US Mint presumably produced the bullion coins in quantities necessary to meet full demand. However, as had happened before, fresh waves of demand upset the delicate balance.

In late November 2009, sales of both Gold and Silver Eagles were briefly suspended and resumed under the familiar allocation program. Rationing eventually ended for Gold Eagle bullion coins in March 2010, and for Silver Eagle bullion coins early this month.

Will the latest “end of rationing” finally stick? Or will events once again transpire to reignite bullion demand and bring back the rationing program yet again?

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