May 23, 2024

US Mint Gold Bullion Sales Rise with Gold Buffalo Launch

The number of ounces worth of gold bullion coins sold by the United States Mint rose in the latest week, bolstered by the launch of the 2011 Gold Buffalo coins. Silver bullion sales showed a slight increase, as the year to date total for American Silver Eagles moved above 11 million.

The United States Mint sells bullion products through a network of authorized purchasers. This small group of primary distributors may buy the coins directly in bulk quantities, based on the market price of the metals plus a mark up. The coins are then resold to other dealers and the public for broader distribution.

At the current time, the available products include one ounce Silver Eagles; one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce Gold Eagles, and one ounce Gold Buffaloes. The 5 ounce America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins are expected to be released in late April. The status of the Platinum Eagle coins remains uncertain.

US Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 3/16/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Month to Date Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 748,500 1,417,000 11,079,000
American Gold Eagle 24,000 42,500 268,500
America the Beautiful Silver 0 0 0
American Platinum Eagle 0 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 21,500 0 21,500

Total ounces of gold sold for the week ending March 16, 2011 was 45,500. This consisted of 24,000 ounces of American Gold Eagles and 21,500 ounces of the newly released 2011 Gold Buffalo coins. The latter are only available in one ounce size and are struck in 24 karat gold.

In the past week, the US Mint recorded sales of 748,500 ounces of American Silver Eagles. This is up from the sales of 668,500 reported for the previous period. Sales levels for silver bullion continue to be restrained as the US Mint imposes its allocation program, which rations the available supply amongst the authorized purchasers.

US Mint Begins 2011 Gold Buffalo Coin Sales

Earlier this week the United States Mint began sales of the 2011 American Gold Buffalo coins to their network of authorized purchasers. So far, sales are off to somewhat of a tepid start compared to the high initial demand experienced in recent years.

The American Gold Buffalo is a one ounce 24 karat gold coin that has been issued since 2006. Featuring the classic Buffalo Nickel design created by James Earle Fraser, it has enjoyed popularity with both bullion investors and collectors. The US Mint has offered a bullion version of the coin, which is sold to authorized purchasers based on the market price of gold plus a premium, and various collector versions, which are sold to directly by the Mint at higher premiums.

The bullion versions of the coin have not been available since late September, when inventories of the 2010-dated coins became depleted. Prior to the start of sales for the 2011-dated coins on March 14, 2011, the US Mint indicated that they would have a sufficient quantity of the coins to meet public demand. As such, their allocation program, which serves to ration available supplies, would not be necessary. The authorized purchasers were allowed to order unrestricted quantities of the coins, under the typical procedures.

Through March 16, 2011, the US Mint has recorded sales of 21,500 of the one ounce gold bullion coins.

This represents a slower start than the prior two years. In 2009, figures available for the first three days of sales indicated 71,500 coins sold. Last year, opening day sales figures had reached 48,500 coins.