June 19, 2024

US Mint Sells Record 34.6 Million Silver Eagle Bullion Coins

Demand for physical precious metals continues to drive United States Mint bullion sales to new heights. The American Silver Eagle bullion coins sold a record 34,662,500 coins during 2010.

The previous record for annual sales was achieved in 2009 when 28,766,500 coins were sold. This sales level was surpassed in November of this year, so the only question was how far into record territory sales would eventually extend. The final numbers for 2010 represent a rise of 20.50% from the previous record.

Each American Silver Eagle bullion coin contains one troy ounce of .999 fine silver. The coins have been offered by the United States Mint annually since 1986. By law, the coins must be issued in quantities needed to meet public demand, which means that production fluctuates from year to year to meet this target. At some times during the past three years, production has fallen short of meeting full demand, which has necessitated sales suspensions and rationing programs.

From the start of the program in October 1986 through December 31, 2010, total Silver Eagle bullion sales have reached 241,277,000.

Today, the US Mint began accepting orders from authorized purchasers for 2011 Silver Eagle bullion coins. According to the US Mint’s website, opening orders total 1,696,000, although this might include some remaining 2010-dated coins.

American Silver Eagle Bullion Sales Break Record

Sales of the United States Mint’s American Silver Eagle have just moved into record territory. The most recent available sales figures show a total of 28,885,500 of the one ounce coins sold for the year to date. This edges out the annual record sales achieved in the previous year when 28,766,500 coins were sold.

With nearly two months left in the year, the final total for 2010 seems likely to beat out the old record by a comfortable margin. During the first ten months, average monthly sales have been 2,863,050, suggesting full year sales of around 34 million.

2010 American Silver Eagle Sales (through 11/5/2010)

January 3,592,500
February 2,050,000
March 3,381,000
April 2,507,500
May 3,636,500
June 3,001,000
July 2,981,000
August 2,451,000
September 1,880,000
October 3,150,000
November 255,000
Total 28,885,500

On an historical basis, sales levels for the American Silver Eagle have been immense during the past three years. This has frequently resulted in the US Mint suspending or rationing the available supply of coins. It has also resulted in the cancellation of certain collector versions of the coin.

As an interesting point of reference, the lowest annual sales total for the bullion offering was 3,466,000, achieved in 1996. This year monthly sales exceeded this amount on two separate occasions.

2010 Proof Silver Eagles to Fly November 19

The United States Mint has announced that the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle will be available for collectors this year. The news comes one month after the official conclusion of the US Mint’s long running rationing program, which had been in place due to high demand for bullion coins.

By law, the US Mint is required to produce American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins in quantities sufficient to meet public demand. Following their legal team’s interpretation, in times when bullion demand has exceeded planchet supply, the US Mint has sourced all incoming planchets to the production of bullion coins and foregone the production of collector coins.

This interpretation of their legal responsibilities led to the cancellation of the 2009 Proof Silver Eagle and the lengthy delay and uncertainty surrounding this year’s offering.

The 2010 Proof Silver Eagles will be available for ordering on November 19, with fulfillment of orders beginning on December 1. Pricing has been established at $45.95 per coin. This represents a hefty increase from the last available proof Silver Eagles, which were priced at $31.95 back in 2008. A household ordering limit has been established at 100 units.

The US Mint is not saying just how many coins will be available for collectors, as it will remain contingent on the level of bullion coin demand. If precious metals investors manage to tone it down for a few months, just how many 2010 Proof Silver Eagles will be produced?

A possible clue lies in the US Mint’s original request to Congress when they were attempting to amend the law to allow proof coins to be struck even while bullion demand remained unmet. They had requested authority to use up to 2 million incoming planchets to strike Proof Silver Eagles each year. This would top the highest mintage for a proof issue of the series, currently held by the 1986 Proof Silver Eagle with a final mintage of 1,446,778. The legislation eventually introduced in Congress left the determination up to the Secretary of the Treasury.