October 2, 2022

American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Sales Drop Sharply from Previous Month and Year

american-silver-eagleSales of the US Mint American Eagle silver bullion coins dropped sharply during February from both the previous month and comparable prior year period.

The US Mint reported total sales of 3,022,000 ounces during February which is down by 19.4 percent from the comparable prior year period and down by a considerable 45.4 percent from the previous month.  Due to strong January sales, however, total sales of the silver bullion coins is up slightly by 0.3 percent on the year.

There were four months during 2014 in which monthly sales of the silver bullion coins dropped below the 3 million level and yet sales hit an all time record high of 44,006,000 troy ounces.  Average monthly sales of the silver bullion coins during 2014 came in at about 3.6 million ounces per month while the average monthly sales year to date during 2015 is at 4.3 million ounces.  The silver bullion coins remain extremely popular with precious metal investors despite the decline in the price of silver since 2011.  Long term silver investors allocating a portion of their portfolio to physical precious metals view the current bargain price of silver as an opportunity to load up as evidenced by 2014 record breaking sales.

The chart below shows the trend of sales for the US Mint silver bullion coins since 2000.  Sales for 2015 are year to date through February 28, 2015.  Ever since the financial crisis when the banking system can close to completely imploding, sales of silver bullion coins have exploded by about 500 percent and remained strong despite the so called recovery in the economy and banking system.

While the sales of gold bullion coins has declined since the financial crisis, silver bullion coins remain as popular as ever with investors seeking a store of value in physical precious metals.

The price of silver has declined sharply since the highs of 2011 as investors have fled what seems like a losing proposition, especially in comparison to stocks and bonds which have been pumped up in value by the Fed’s easy money policies and zero interest rates.  Silver has seen volatile price action since the financial crisis but most investors who have made purchases since 2008 are now at about a break even price level or sitting with losses making this an interesting price juncture for silver investors.

10 year silver

Whether it be stocks, bonds, or precious metals, it is classic psychological behavior for investors to pile in at the top as prices are reaching bull market highs and then refuse to buy at the bottom when everyone is bearish.  No one can predict the timing of future price moves, but with silver prices in the bargain bin and little interest by investors, this is probably an area that deserves additional investment by long term buy and hold investors.  Silver has been considered money and a store of value throughout the ages and this is not likely to change, especially as desperate and over indebted governments rely upon printing press money from the central banks to keep the wildly over leveraged financial system from crashing again.

The sales of silver bullion coins by year since 2000 is shown below.  The figures for 2015 include year to date totals as of February month end.

American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins

               YEAR

OUNCES SOLD

2000

 9,133,000

2001

 8,827,500

2002

 10,475,500

2003

 9,153,500

2004

 9,617,000

2005

 8,405,000

2006

 10,021,000

2007

 9,887,000

2008

 19,583,500

2009

 28,766,500

2010

 34,662,500

2011

 39,868,500

2012

33,742,500

2013

42,675,000

2014

44,006,000

2015

8,552,000

             TOTAL

 327,376,000

 

American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Sales Up From Previous Year and On Track For Record Breaking 2014 Sales

silver eagleThe US Mint American Eagle silver bullion coins remain more popular with investors than ever, despite the decline in the price of silver.  Apparently there are plenty of long term silver investors who prefer to hold the physical metal and are viewing the decline in the price of silver as an opportunity to load up at bargain prices.

The latest report from the US Mint shows that November sales of the silver bullion coins totaled 3,426,000 ounces, down from the previous month but up by 1,126,000 ounces or 49% from the previous year.  October 2014 was the highest selling month of the year with total sales of 5,790,000 coins.

Sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins year to date through November 30 now total 41,547,000, just shy of the all time record sales year of 2013 when the Mint sold 42,675,000 coins.  If December sales of the silver bullion coins surpass 1.1 million coins, which is very likely, 2014 will be another record breaking sales year.

Gold and silver investors can only shake their heads and wonder at investor confidence in central banks as an orgy of money printing continues worldwide and leveraged debt piles up at a rate and amount never seen before in history. The attitude seems to be “who cares – my stocks and bonds and real estate are going straight up.”

At some future point that no one can predict you can count on another financial accident on par or greater than that of 2008-2009 that will destroy confidence in paper money and the ability of governments to repay debt with sound money.  At that point the exchange rate between dollars and precious metals will amply reward the investors now buying bargain gold and silver.

Silver has now given back the bulk of its gains from the highs reached in early 2011 and could well go lower given the bearish sentiment and declining price pattern.

Since 2000 investors have purchased over 300 million American Eagle silver bullion coins.  Below are the sales by year with the 2014 total through November 30.

 

American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Sales Soar 100%

silver eagleSales of the US Mint American Eagle silver bullion coins has been extremely robust ever since the financial system can close to collapse in 2008.  Prior to the financial crisis sales of the silver bullion coins averaged about 9 million coins per year.

Over the past five years, despite the large correction in the price of silver, yearly sales of silver bullion coins have run well over 30 million coins per year with sales reaching an all time record high of almost 43 million coins in 2013.

Purchasers of physical silver bullion coins buy for the long term to diversify their wealth and hedge against ruinous monetary and fiscal policies fostered by both the government and the Federal Reserve.  While the financial system has been held together over the past five years by the Fed’s zero interest rate policy and money printing, the long term financial health of not only the United States but the world is beginning to look increasingly fragile as debt levels continue to explode world wide resulting in a financial system leveraged beyond comprehension.

Silver has dipped below $17 per ounce this year, off 13% on the year after plunging by 36% in 2013.  While this decline has obviously been painful for silver investors, it has put silver in the bargain bin and silver bullion coin investors are responding accordingly.  If silver bullion coin sales continue at the current pace, sales for all of 2014 could hit an all time high.

Courtesy: Kitco.com

Courtesy: Kitco.com

The US Mint reports that September sales of the silver bullion coins for September 2014 totaled 4,140,000 ounces, double August sales of 2,007,500 and up 37.4% from September sales of the prior year.

Due to a slump in sales during the summer months, year to date sales of silver bullion coins through September are running behind comparable prior year sales.  Year to date sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins through September 30, 2014 totaled 32,251,000 down from 36,088,000 from the prior year.

Since 2000 investors have purchased over 300 million of the one ounce US Mint silver bullion coins as shown below.

Silver Bullion Coin Sales Soar In March, Gold Coin Sales Slump – Are Coin Buyers Stupid?

2014-proof-gold-eagleThe March sales report of American Eagle bullion coins by the U.S. Mint showed a large drop in gold bullion coins while sales of the ever popular silver bullion coins soared.

Sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coins in March totaled 21,000 ounces, down by 32% from February’s total of 31,000 ounces and down by a dramatic 66% from March 2013 when 62,000 coins were sold.  Year to date sales through March of 143,500 ounces of the American Eagle gold bullion coins plunged 51% from the comparable period last year when the U.S. Mint sold 292,500 ounces.

The decline in sales of gold bullion is in marked contrast to last year when sales boomed despite an almost 30% decline in gold prices, the worst performance since 1981.  Investors in physical gold across the globe viewed the decline in gold as a buying opportunity.  Sales of gold coins in 2013 by The Perth Mint soared over 40% while sales by the Royal Canadian Mint surged over 80%.  Sales of American Eagle gold coins by the U.S. Mint in 2013 jumped by 6.3% to 800,500 ounces.

Are Gold and Silver Bullion Coin Buyers Stupid?

While gold rebounded in 2014 from a low of $1221 to as high as $1385 before pulling back to a current price of $1284, perhaps buyers are waiting to see if the rally in gold will continue or if gold will decline again in 2014 as predicted by the likes of Goldman Sachs.  Long term it does not matter since the entire concept of fiat money has never ended well over the long term.  According to Bloomberg, the “long term” may be upon us sooner than many think.

Sound money and sound banking policies of governments have always been suspect but since the financial crisis of 2008, the entire concept of sound money has been utterly abandoned on a global basis as central banks printed trillions of dollars to support a financial system that imploded due to over indebtedness.  “Curing” the problem of too much debt with more debt and printed fiat money has in many people’s mind saved the world financial system, a tenuous theory at best.

1881-CC-Morgan-Dollar

According to the Bank for International Settlements, the amount of global debt (primarily government borrowings) has soared by a staggering 40 percent to $100 trillion since 2008 with the U.S. in the lead increasing the national debt to $12 trillion from $4.5 trillion at 2007 year end.  Fast forward to the next recession which could have its roots in a variety of events from the collapse of Japan’s epic empire of debt to the start of a serious military conflict over Ukraine driven by the warmongering military industrial complex in the U.S.  Another serious economic crisis, whatever its genesis, will result in money printing on an unimaginable scale as central banks do the only thing they can do which is to print more money.

Buyers of physical bullion are long term investors who understand what’s happening and are buying the only true money that cannot be debased by government profligacy and rapacious tax policies.  In the meantime, fluctuations in the price of gold caused by speculators such as hedge fund operators who can push around the price of physical gold without ever owning it through the use of futures contracts or options merely provide fantastic buying opportunities when they slam down gold prices.  Long term gold and silver are the only protection to preserve wealth against governments determined to debase fiat money to keep the highly leveraged financial system from imploding.  Current gold buyers will at some point will be holding an asset that soars in value as confidence in central banks completely evaporates as the value of paper money collapses.

American Eagle silver bullion coins meanwhile continue to soar and are a much more affordable option for many buyers compared to gold.  March sales of American Eagle silver bullion coins soared in March to 5,354,000 ounces, up by 43% from the prior month’s sales of 3,750,000 ounces and up by 60% from the March 2013 sales of 3,356,500 ounces.   Sales of silver bullion coins also increased dramatically in 2013 to a new record high of almost 42 ounces, up from almost 34 million ounces in 2012.  Based on annualizing the year to date sales of silver bullion coins, 2014 could turn out to be another block buster year with sales approaching another record of over 55 million ounces compared to 42 million ounces in 2013.

Buyers of physical gold and silver are long term investors who are intelligently protecting their wealth against governments hell bent on inflation and debasement of the currency in order to keep the house of debt cards from collapsing.  Accordingly, short term declines in the sale of gold bullion coins is totally irrelevant.

Silver Bullion Coin Sales Heading for Record Highs In 2013

Sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins soared in March, continuing a trend of record breaking sales that has been in force for the past five years.

american-silver-eaglePrior to the financial crisis, sales of the one ounce American silver eagles averaged about 10 million coins per year.  The near collapse of the financial system in 2008 raised profound questions about the integrity of the financial system and the rush to precious metals was on.  Since 2008, annual sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins have soared with average annual sales of over 31 million coins.

According to the U.S. Mint, sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins totaled 3,356,500 ounces in March, up 32% from comparable sales of 2,542,000 ounces during March 2012.   Total sales of 14,223,000 ounces through March 31, 2013 soared by 40.3% over the comparable prior year period.

The previous record year for silver bullion coins was in 2011 when 39,868,500 coins were sold. The 2011 record may wind up looking like a low number compared to projected total sales for 2013.  Based on sales for the first three months of the year, annualized sales for 2013 could hit a record shattering 57 million ounces although even this estimate may be too low.  As the slow motion collapse of the European banking system speeds up, the looming specter of  huge losses by bank depositors could create a total loss of confidence in paper money and ignite a panic move into gold and silver.

The U.S. Mint has vastly underestimated demand for the American Eagle silver bullion coins and was recently forced to suspend sales twice as physical demand for silver soared (see U.S. Mint Sold Out).

Since 2000, investors have purchased almost a quarter billion ounces of silver bullion coins from the U.S. Mint, worth almost $7 billion based on the current price of silver.

American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins

YEAR

OUNCES SOLD

2000

                 9,133,000

2001

                 8,827,500

2002

               10,475,500

2003

                 9,153,500

2004

                 9,617,000

2005

                 8,405,000

2006

               10,021,000

2007

                 9,887,000

2008

               19,583,500

2009

               28,766,500

2010

               34,662,500

2011

               39,868,500

2012

33,742,500

2013

14,223,000

TOTAL

            246,366,000

Total sales for 2013 are through March 31, 2013.

Gold Bullion Coin Sales Up 13% In June, Silver Bullion Coin Sales Remain Steady

According to the latest report from the U.S. Mint, sales of gold bullion coins increased by over 13% during June, while total sales of the silver bullion coins were essentially unchanged from May.

Monthly sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coin have fluctuated considerably during 2012 with sales reaching a monthly high of 127,000 ounces in January and a monthly low of 20,000 ounces in April.  Sales rebounded strongly in May to 53,000 ounces and continued higher in June with the sale of 60,000 ounces.

Sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coin can vary dramatically from month to month based on many factors.  The all time yearly sales record for the gold bullion coins of 1,435,000 ounces was reached in 2009  when many people feared that the financial system would collapse.  Sales volume of the gold bullion coins have not, however, had a direct correlation to the price of gold.  Gold closed 2009 at $1,087.50 per ounce and subsequently went on to hit a 2011 high of $1,895 on September 5th.  Despite the fact that gold increased by over 74% since year end 2009, total gold bullion coin sales declined in both 2010 and 2011.

If the European financial storm continues to unwind into a collapse similar to what we experienced in 2008, sales of the gold bullion coins could easily expand dramatically over the record levels seen in 2009.  With each passing day, there seem to be fewer reasons to maintain confidence in the paper money system as central bankers and governments attempt to prop up a debt burdened world economy with additional debt and money printing.

Listed below are the yearly sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coins since 2000.  The total for 2012 is through June 30th.

Gold Bullion U.S. Mint Sales By Year
Year Total Sales Oz.
2000 164,500
2001 325,000
2002 315,000
2003 484,500
2004 536,000
2005 449,000
2006 261,000
2007 198,500
2008 860,500
2009 1,435,000
2010 1,220,500
2011 1,000,000
2012 343,500
Total 7,593,000

If the sales trend of American gold bullion coins continues on the pace it has been on thus far, 2012 may turn out to be the fourth year in a row of lower sales.  The graph below shows gold bullion coin sales since 2000 with figures for 2012 annualized based on sales through June 30th.

U.S. Mint sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coin continued strong in June at 2,858,000 ounces, down slightly from the May total of 2,875,000 ounces.  After a strong start in January with sales of over 6 million ounces, sales dipped below 2 million ounces in February and April.  Year to date sales through June 2012 of the silver bullion coins total 17,392,000 ounces, down by 22% from the comparable sales period in 2011 when 22,303,500 ounces were sold.

If sales of the silver bullion coins continue at the same pace for the remainder of 2012, total sales could exceed 34 million ounces, not far below the record set during 2011 of 39.9 million ounces.   Considering that silver has corrected in price from $48.70 reached during April of 2011, the volume of silver bullion coin sales is very robust, with buyers taking advantage of lower prices.

In addition to gold and silver bullion coins, the U.S. Mint sells numismatic series of both gold and silver American Eagle coins which the public can purchase directly from the U.S. Mint.  Bullion versions of the gold and silver American Eagles are only sold to Authorized Purchasers who in turn resell the product to the general public and other dealers.

Total annual U.S. Mint sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins since 2000 are shown below.  Sales totals for 2012 are through June 30th.

American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins
YEAR OUNCES SOLD
2000 9,133,000
2001 8,827,500
2002 10,475,500
2003 9,153,500
2004 9,617,000
2005 8,405,000
2006 10,021,000
2007 9,887,000
2008 19,583,500
2009 28,766,500
2010 34,662,500
2011 39,868,500
2012 17,392,000
TOTAL 215,792,500

Gold and Silver Bullion Coin Sales Rise In March

Production figures from the U.S. Mint for March show a sharp increase in the sale of both gold and silver bullion coins from the previous month.

Total sales of the American Gold Eagle bullion coins increased in March to 62,500 ounces, up from 21,000 ounces in February.  Total sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins totaled 2,542,000 ounces in March, up from 1,490,000 ounces in February.  Sales of both bullion coins for the first quarter of 2012, however, declined from the prior year.

Sales of the American Gold Eagle bullion coins totaled 210,500 ounces for the first quarter of 2012, down 29.7% from the 299,500 ounces sold in the first quarter of 2011.  Total sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins amounted to 10,139,000 ounces during the first quarter of 2012, down by 18.4% from the 12,429,000 ounces sold in the prior year’s first quarter.

The all time record year for sales of the American Gold Eagle bullion coins occurred in 2009 with 1,435,000 ounces sold.  The all time high record for sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins was in 2011 when a total of 39,868,500 one ounce coins were sold.

Gold Bullion U.S. Mint Sales By Year
Year Total Ounces Sold
2000 164,500
2001 325,000
2002 315,000
2003 484,500
2004 536,000
2005 449,000
2006 261,000
2007 198,500
2008 860,500
2009 1,435,000
2010 1,220,500
2011 1,000,000
2012 210,500
Total 7,460,000
Note: 2012 totals through March 31, 2012

The amount of physical gold bullion purchased purchased from the U.S. Mint over the past 12 years remains relatively small compared to the amount of gold invested in the two largest gold trust ETFs.  The SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) is the world’s largest physically backed gold exchange traded ETF fund with current holdings of 41.4 million ounces of gold.  The iShares Gold Trust ETF (IAU) currently holds 6.2 million ounces of gold.

The total sales of gold and silver bullion coins detailed above do not include U.S. Mint gold and silver numismatic coin sales which are directly sold to the public.  American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins are only sold to a network of authorized purchasers  who in turn resell the coins to secondary retailers and the public.  The U.S. Mint decided that using  Authorized Purchasers to sell gold and silver bullion coins to the public was the most efficient means of selling the coins to the public at competitive prices.

Shown below are the U.S. Mint sales figures for the American Silver Eagle bullion coins since 2000.  Sales totals for 2012 are through March 31st.

American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins
YEAR OUNCES SOLD
2000 9,133,000
2001 8,827,500
2002 10,475,500
2003 9,153,500
2004 9,617,000
2005 8,405,000
2006 10,021,000
2007 9,887,000
2008 19,583,500
2009 28,766,500
2010 34,662,500
2011 39,868,500
2012 10,139,000
TOTAL 208,539,500

US Mint Gold and Silver Bullion Coin Sales By Month

Through the end of April, the United States Mint has now sold 466,000 ounces of gold and 16,375,000 ounces of silver through its bullion coin programs. In both cases the figures are far ahead of the numbers from the comparable year ago period, despite the higher market price per ounce for the bullion.

Last year through the end of April, US Mint gold bullion sales were 388,000 troy ounces, while the price of gold ranged from a low of $1,058.00 to a high of $1,179.25 per ounce. Silver bullion sales during this period were 11,531,000 with the market price ranging from a low of $15.14 to a high of $18.84 per ounce.

US Mint Gold and Silver Bullion Sales (in ounces)

January February March April Total
American Gold Eagle 133,500 92,500 73,500 108,000 407,500
American Gold Buffalo 38,000 20,500 58,500
Total Gold in ounces 133,500 92,500 111,500 128,500 466,000
American Silver Eagle 6,422,000 3,240,000 2,767,000 2,819,000 15,248,000
ATB Silver 1,127,000 1,127,000
Total Silver in ounces 6,422,000 3,240,000 2,767,000 3,946,000 16,375,000

During the latest month of April 2011, the US Mint recorded sales of 128,500 troy ounces of gold bullion, comprised of 108,000 ounces worth of American Gold Eagles and 20,500 ounces worth of American Gold Buffaloes.

Meanwhile, silver bullion sales for the latest month reached 3,946,000 ounces, the second highest level of the year. For three months running, the pace of sales for the American Silver Eagles had remained approximately the same base level, despite indications of higher demand. The restrained sales are presumably the impact of the US Mint’s allocation program, which rations the available number of bullion coins amongst the authorized purchasers.

The boost in silver bullion sales seen in April was due to the release of the 2011-dated America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins. These coins each contain five troy ounces of silver and have a diameter of 3 inches. Sales began on April 25, 2011, and authorized purchasers immediately purchased coins accounting for 1,127,000 troy ounces of silver.

US Mint Gold and Silver Bullion Sales Flat as Prices Hit New Highs

Currently, the United States Mint has three bullion products available to its network of authorized purchasers. The American Silver Eagle is struck in one ounce of .999 fine silver. The American Gold Eagle is struck in 22 karat gold and comes in one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce bullion weights. The American Gold Buffalo is struck in 24 karat gold and available in one ounce size only.

Authorized purchasers may order bullion coins from the US Mint in bulk quantities based on the price of the previous metals plus a fixed (silver) or percentage (gold) markup. In the latest week, bullion sales at the US Mint were little changed from recent levels, even as the price of gold hit a fresh all time high and the price of silver trades at a 31-year high, approaching its all time high price.

US Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 4/20/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Month to Date Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 727,000 2,101,000 13,803,000
American Gold Eagle 13,500 58,500 358,000
America the Beautiful Silver 0 0 0
American Platinum Eagle 0 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 5,000 12,500 50,500

The US Mint sold 727,000 ounces worth of Silver Eagles during the period. For several weeks running, sales have stayed around this same basic level, which is a more reflection of the US Mint’s production capacity than market demand. Since the start of sales for the 2011 Silver Eagles, the US Mint has imposed its rationing program, allocating available supplies amongst the authorized purchasers.

Gold bullion sales were 18,500 ounces in the past week, up slightly from the 17,500 ounces sold in the prior period. Sales consisted of 13,500 ounces of Gold Eagles and 5,000 ounces of Gold Buffalo coins.

Next week, the US Mint will expand their bullion offerings when the first two designs of the 2011 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins go on sale. Production has been indicated at 126,500 units for each design, representing 1,265,000 troy ounces of silver since each coin has a weight of 5 ounces.

2011 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins Release

On April 25, 2011, the United States Mint will make the first of the 2011-dated America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins available for purchase. This year’s release and distribution of the 5 ounce silver bullion series is expected to be much different than experienced for the previous year.

As with other bullion programs of the United States Mint, the coins are distributed through a network of authorized purchasers. A group of primary distributors may purchase the coins directly from the Mint in bulk quantities based on the market price of the metal plus a modest premium. For the 5 oz. ATB silver bullion coins, this premium is $9.75 per coin. After acquisition, the authorized purchasers resell the coins to other bullion dealers, coin dealers, and the broader public.

For this year’s offering, the US Mint will start by releasing two different designs featuring Gettysburg National Military Park and Glacier National Park, each with a mintage of 126,500 units. This will be followed by three additional designs released later in the year featuring Olympic National Park, Vicksburg National Military Park, and Chickasaw National Recreation Area. The US Mint has stated that their goal is to produce a minimum of 126,500 coins for each of these designs.

For the 2010-dated issues, all five designs had been released on the same date, late in the year. Each of the designs had production of only 33,000 units. This extremely limited mintage generated excitement with collectors, as the coins were viewed more as low mintage numismatic products than bullion coins. In an attempt to prevent price gouging, the US Mint would halt sales and impose terms and conditions on the distribution of the coins at the authorized purchaser level. This included capping the premiums on the coins and distributing directly to the public, with a household limit imposed.

For the upcoming releases, mintage levels are high enough that the US Mint will not impose similar terms on their distributors, except for the standard allocation (rationing) program and a requirement to certify that all of the prior year coins have been distributed in accordance with the rules previously set.