October 2, 2022

Gold And Silver Bullion Coin Sales Plunge In April – What Is John Q Public Thinking?

The latest sales figures from the U.S. Mint show a continuing trend of lower gold bullion coin sales. Sales of American Gold Eagle bullion coins hit an all time high in 2009 when the Mint sold 1,435,000 ounces. During 2010, sales declined to 1.2 million ounces and in 2011 only 1 million ounces of gold bullion coins were sold.

Sales of the American Gold Eagle bullion coins in April totaled only 20,000 ounces, the lowest monthly sales figure since June 2008 when 15,500 ounces were sold.  Total year to date gold bullion sales of 230,500 ounces through April 2012 are down a substantial 43% from the first four months of 2011 when the U.S. Mint sold 407,500 ounces.

If sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coins continue at their present pace, 2012 could turn out to be the fourth year in a row of declining sales.

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 230,500
Total 7,480,000
Note: 2012 totals through April 30, 2012

Total sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins for April 2012 totaled 1,520,000 ounces, down from 2,542,000 ounces in March.  Year to date sales of the Silver Eagle coins through April 30 totaled 11,659,000 ounces, down by 23.5% from total sales of 15,248,000 ounces in the first four months of 2011.  Sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins reached an all time record high of 39,868,500 ounces during 2011.

Shown below are the U.S. Mint sales figures for the American Silver Eagle bullion coins since 2000.  Sales totals for 2012 are through April 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 11,659,000
TOTAL 210,059,500

The American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins cannot be purchased by the public directly from the U.S. Mint. Instead, the Mint sells the coins to a network of authorized purchasers who in turn resell them to the public and secondary retailers.

Sales figures shown above do not include U.S. Mint sales of gold and silver Eagle numismatic coins.  The public is allowed to purchase numismatic versions (uncirculated and proof) of gold and silver coins directly from the U.S. Mint and sales of these coins have also been declining during 2012.

According to Mint News Blog, sales of the 2011 Proof Gold Eagles declined by about 50% from 2010 and sales of the 2012 Proof Gold Eagles have declined by over 60% from the previous year.  The same trend has been seen in the proof version of the American Silver Eagle with 2012 sales down 19% through April.

There are a number of factors likely contributing to the drop off in sales. Over the past few years, the US Mint has caught up with demand for bullion coins, allowing more certainty for the numismatic offerings. The sense of urgency and pent up demand that characterized the product return in 2010 has greatly diminished. There also seems to be a shift away from precious metals in recent months, with some moving back to collector coins. Sales of the US Mint’s Gold Eagle bullion coins were down 30% in the first quarter.

Gold prices may also be having an impact in various ways. For the past two years, the Proof Gold Eagles were released in an environment of rising prices. For the current year, prices have fallen over the past two months leading up to the release. Despite this recent drop, the initial prices for this year’s offerings were higher by the equivalent of $200 per troy ounce compared to last year, possibly making affordability a factor for some collectors. Finally, some collectors may have been delaying orders in anticipation of the price decrease which will take place later today.

With the world economy on the brink of collapse in 2008, Americans decided that they needed to prepare for a financial hurricane and subsequently purchased record amounts of both gold and silver.  Perhaps the public has not noticed that a financial crisis potentially worse than 2008 (and certain to impact the U.S. economy) is brewing “across the pond” with European governments and banks tottering on the brink of insolvency and many countries already in full blown depressions.

With the global economy drowning in debt and facing unprecedented financial problems, it is almost comical that many Americans are avoiding the only asset class able to preserve their wealth.

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

U.S. Mint Sales of Gold and Silver Bullion Coins Jumps 100%

The U.S. Mint reports that March sales of the American Eagle Gold and Silver Bullion coins are on track to more than double from February sales levels.  Sales during February were unusually low with gold bullion sales down 77.3% and silver bullion sales down 54% from the prior year.  Shown below are the U.S. Mint sales figures for gold and silver bullion coins through March 15, 2012.

The U.S. Mint bullion program has been extremely popular with the public and sales of the bullion coins has soared since 2007.  The gold and silver American Eagle bullion coins are sold by the U.S. Mint to authorized purchasers who pay the U.S. Mint for the cost of the metal plus a mark up to cover operating costs.  The dealers, who are required to maintain a market for the coins, sell to the general public at the market price of the coin plus a premium to cover operating costs.  The weight, purity and content of each bullion coin is guaranteed by the United States Mint.

During the U.S. Mint’s fiscal year 2011, demand for bullion coins reached all time highs with sales of 45.2 million ounces of silver and gold bullion coins, up 26.2% from the prior year.  Total U.S. Mint revenue from the sale of the bullion coins also hit an all time record high of $3.5 billion.  Demand for the American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin was especially robust with sales more than doubling from the previous year’s total.   Last year’s sales of the American Eagle Gold Bullion coins, however, declined by 22.7% due to the higher price of gold and a change in the product release schedule for the American Gold Buffalo Bullion coin.

U.S. Mint Bullion Sales

The U.S. Mint also produces numismatic proof versions of the American Gold and Silver Eagles coins which are sold by the Mint directly to the public.  Due to unprecedented demand for gold and silver, the U.S. Mint was unable to offer the proof coins during fiscal year 2009.

The top selling numismatic coin for the past two years was the American Eagle Silver Proof 1 ounce coin with sales of 850,000 coins  in 2010 and 751,000 coins in 2011.

The 2012 American Silver Eagle Proof coin is scheduled to go on sale April 12, 2012 at an expected price of $59.95.

Gold And Silver Bullion Coin Sales Plunge In February

The latest production figures from the U.S. Mint show a dramatic decline in the sale of both gold and silver bullion coins.

According to the U.S. Mint, sales of American Gold Eagle bullion coins in February 2012 totaled 21,000 ounces, a decrease of 83.5% from January sales of  127,000 ounces.  Gold bullion coin sales declined by 77.3% from the prior year when a total of 92,500 ounces were sold in February 2011.

Sales of the American Gold Eagle bullion coins during February is the lowest since June 2008 when the Mint sold 15,500 ounces.  During 2011, the U.S. Mint sold an average of 83,333 ounces of gold bullion coins each month and rang up annual sales of 1,000,000 ounces.  During 2011, sales of the gold bullion coins declined for the third consecutive year.

Sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins also declined dramatically during February.  The U.S. Mint reports total February sales of 1,490,000 silver bullion coins, down 76.6% compared to 6,107,000 during the previous month.  Sales of the silver bullion coins during February declined by 54% from February 2011 sales of 3,240,000 ounces.  Sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins were the lowest since November 2011 when the U.S. Mint sold 1,384,000 ounces.

Gold and silver sales detailed above do not include U.S. Mint gold and silver numismatic coins which are sold directly to the public.

The American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins cannot be directly purchased by the public from the U.S. Mint.  The U.S. Mint sells the gold and silver eagle bullion coins only to a network of authorized purchasers (AP’s) who in turn resell them to the public and secondary retailers.  The U.S. Mint determined that the AP distribution system was the most efficient means of retailing coins to the public at competitive prices.

Total yearly U.S. Mint gold bullion coin sales from January 1, 2000 to February 29, 2012 are shown below.

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 148,000
7,397,500
Note: 2012 total through February 29, 2012

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

American Silver Eagle Bullion Coin Sales
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 7,597,000
TOTAL 205,997,500

The U.S. public has acquired over 200 million ounces of American Silver Eagle bullion coins since 2000 which are now valued at roughly $7.4 billion.  By comparison, the iShares Silver Trust ETF (SLV) currently holds 313 million ounces of silver bullion valued at $11.7 billion.

Silver ETF Holdings Increase Slightly In January As The Stealth Silver Advance Continues

Silver has started off the new year with a scorching performance

For the month of January, silver gained $5.42 per ounce closing at $33.60, up 19.2% from the 2011 closing price of $28.18.  January’s gain has more than erased the 8.1% loss on silver during 2011.  Silver has far outperformed gold which closed at $1,738.00 on January 31st, up 10.4% on the month from the 2011 closing price of $1574.50 (all prices from the closing London PM Fix Price).

The large gain in silver’s price has been somewhat of a stealth advance, with little coverage in the press.  In addition, an apathetic response to silver by investors can be seen in the volume statistics and bullion holdings of the iShares Silver Trust (SLV).

Silver holdings of the iShares Silver Trust reached a record 11,390.06 tonnes on April 25, 2011, shortly before silver reached its peak price of $48.70 on April 28th.  The value of silver held by the SLV on April 28th was $17.3 billion compared to its current value of $10.4 billion, representing a decline in both the price of silver and total ounces of silver held by the Silver Trust.

Although silver prices have soared since the beginning of the year, holdings of the SLV have increased only modestly.  At the end of 2011, the SLV held 9,605.79 tonnes of silver compared to 9,608.95 on January 31, 2012, a negligible increase of only 3.16 tonnes.  The small increase in silver held by the iShares Silver Trust indicates that investors are not participating in the silver rally, a very bullish sign from a contrarian point of view.

The silver ETF is structured in a somewhat complicated manner in which authorized participants (AP) buy or sell shares of the SLV depending on the discount or premium of the SLV to the market price of silver.  High buying demand for the SLV results in premium pricing which results in the accumulation of physical silver by the trust due to hedging activity by the APs.

SLV - courtesy yahoo.com

Investor indifference to the silver rally can also be seen in the low volume trading of the iShares Silver Trust.  We are nowhere close to the high volume seen last May that preceded the rapid correction in silver prices.  The low trading volume in the SLV, despite rising prices, is bullish from a contrary viewpoint since it suggests that many investors are still on the sidelines.  As these sideline investors start buying, prices will continue to advance.

Also supporting future price advances by silver is the relentless physical demand for silver as seen in the record purchase volume of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins.  Sales of the silver bullion coin hit at all time record of almost 35 million coins during 2011. Large demand continues in January with the U.S. Mint reporting sales of over 6 million ounces.  2012 could turn out to be a sterling year for silver.

Silver Prices Will Soar To Record Levels In 2012 – “Record Breaking” Demand For Silver Bullion

Corrections are the norm in any long term bull market and silver is no exception.  The correction that began in May of 2011 and ended in December has set the stage for what will be an explosive move up during 2012 and beyond.

Since hitting the 2011 low of $26.16 on December 29, 2011, silver has climbed steadily, closing on Monday at $33.18, up 17.4% on the year and up 26.8% from last year’s low.  Today’s price should be viewed by long term silver investors as an exceptional opportunity for capital appreciation and wealth preservation.

The underlying fundamentals that will drive silver higher this year include unprecedented demand for both physical silver and silver ETFs, virtually limitless money printing by central banks worldwide to prevent a debt implosion and a growing realization by the public that the Federal Reserve is deliberating and systematically debasing the U.S. currency.

Sales of American Silver Eagle bullion coins by the US Mint may hit an all time record in January.  As of January 30th, the Mint has already sold 6,082,000 bullion coins.  The previous all time record for sales occurred in January 2011 when sales were 6,422,000 ounces.

Last January was atypical in that monthly sales of the Silver Eagles coins tapered off to about 3 million coins per month thereafter and only in September 2011 did sales exceed 4 million coins.  In the three previous years from 2008 to 2010, January sales volume established the baseline of monthly sales for the rest of the year.

For example, in 2009, January sales of the Silver Eagle came in at 1,900,000 coins and average sales for the remaining 11 months averaged 2.44 million coins.  If 2012 follows the pattern of 2008 through 2010, sales of the American Silver Eagle Bullion coins could average 6 million coins per month.  Average silver bullion coins sales of 6 million per month during 2012 would result in a record shattering purchase of 72 million coins, up 80% from last year’s record of 39,868,500 ounces.

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

The vast majority of holders in the iShares Silver Trust (SLV)  are solidly committed to owning silver and refused to sell positions during the sharp correction of 2011.  When silver hit a high of $48.70 (London PM Fix Price) on April 28th, the iShares Silver Trust held 11,053 tonnes of silver.  After a rapid and sharp correction to $32.50 on May 12th, the SLV silver holdings declined modestly to 10,516 tonnes as short term speculators and over-leveraged investors sold out at the bottom.

On December 29, 2011, as silver hit its low for the year at $26.16, the iShare Silver Trust held 9,605 tonnes.  A correction from the price high on April 28th to the low on December 29th took silver down by 46.3% but holdings of the iShares Silver Trust declined by a very modest 13.1%.  The vast majority of long term silver investors did not sell out during the correction in expectations of sharply higher prices in the future.

Silver - courtesy kitco.com

 

According to Reuters, precious metal dealers are reporting record breaking silver sales and “dollar sales of silver and gold products reached parity in January for the first time in its history – even though bullion costs 50 times more.”  In addition, dealers are selling record number of the Silver Eagle “Monster Boxes” which hold 500 one-ounce coins.

The European Central Bank, which in December lent a massive €489 billion of freshly printed euros to a collapsing banking system may have to provide double that amount (for a total of $1.27 trillion dollars) during the next round of emergency lending scheduled for February.  According to the Financial Times:

European banks are preparing to tap the European Central Bank’s emergency funding scheme for up to twice as much as the ECB supplied in its debut €489bn auction last month, providing further evidence of the sector’s liquidity squeeze.

Several of the eurozone’s biggest banks have told the Financial Times that they could well double or triple their request for funds in the ECB’s three-year money auction on February 29.

The gold to silver ratio, which on a long term historical basis, has been in the range of 16 is now at the bargain ratio of 52, suggesting strongly that silver could outperform gold on a relative value basis.  At a gold to silver ratio of 20, silver would currently be selling at $87 per ounce.

The Sprott Physical Silver Trust (PSLV) just completed a follow on offering of Trust Units in which investors snapped up additional trust units representing about 11 million ounces of silver.

Silver’s rapid price gains during January is a harbinger of what could turn out to be a very good year for silver investors.

American Silver Eagle Bullion Sales Soar As Investors Buy At Bargain Prices

The US Mint’s latest monthly reports on the sale of American Silver Eagle bullion sales show that investor buying has hit all time record levels.

Total sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins in 2010 came in at a record high of 34,662,500.

With over two months remaining in 2011, sales of the American Silver Eagle have already surpassed the record level of 2010 with sales of 36,375,500 ounces.  If sales of the Silver Eagle for November and December match the levels of 2010, total sales for 2011 should total over 42 million ounces or more than 20% above the record breaking sales level of 2010.

A review of sales by month for 2011 indicate solid fundamental buying by silver investors.  Typically, buying of an asset will increase as prices go higher and decrease as prices decline.  This was not the case with the American Silver Eagles – despite a sharp sell off in May and September, monthly sales increased as investors took advantage of bargain prices.

Silver had a volatile year, selling at $30.67 per ounce at the beginning of the year and moving up to a high of $48.70 (as measured by the London PM Fix Price) on April 28th.  Silver closed yesterday at $33.47, up $2.80 or 9.1% on the year.

Based on strong fundamental demand for physical silver, expect silver prices to end the year considerably higher.

US Mint Silver Eagle Bullion Sales On Pace For Record High

Since Congress authorized the production of American Eagle Bullion coins in 1986, it has become one of the easiest ways for investors to accumulate a physical position in precious metals.   American Eagle Bullion coins have been available in gold and silver since the program’s inception.  Platinum has been available under the Bullion coin program since 1997.

The bullion coins are priced at the current market price of gold, silver or platinum plus a dealer markup.  The US Mint does not sell the bullion coins directly to investors but instead sells the coins to a network of Authorized Purchasers who resell  the coins to the public.  Unlike commemorative or numismatic coins, the bullion coins will closely track the price of the underlying precious metal making it easy for investors to follow the value of their bullion holdings.

The American Eagle Silver bullion coin is available only in the one ounce size and is particularly attractive to small investors as a cost effective way to hedge against inflation and debasement of paper money.  The US Mint’s American Silver Eagle Bullion program has been successful from the start.  The first year’s sales of bullion Silver Eagles in 1986 was 5,096,000.

Between 1987 and 2007 sales of the Silver Eagle averaged 7.1 million coins per year.  The lowest year on record for sales was in 1996 when sales of the coin were only 3.6 million.  Since 1986, sales of the American Silver Eagle  exceeded 10 million coins only two times during 2002 and 2006.

The financial crisis of 2008 resulted in a surge of Silver Eagle sales as worries intensified over the integrity of paper money and the soundness of the financial system.   During 2008 Silver Eagle sales soared to 19,583,500 coins which was a record high.  In 2009, sales continued to explode reaching 28,766,500 coins and 2010 was another year of record sales at 34,662,500.

Year to date sales of the Silver Eagle bullion coins during 2011 has now reached 25,530,000.  Based on average monthly sales during 2011, sales for the entire year could easily reach 42 million coins, up 20% over last year.

Investors in silver have preserved their purchasing power and increased their wealth.  As previously discussed, the dip in silver prices during May was a buying opportunity and silver prices should be hitting all time highs before year end (see How Soon Will Silver Hit New Highs?).

American Silver Eagle Bullion Sales 2011

 

 

US Mint To Increase Production Of Silver Bullion Coins To Meet “Unprecedented” Demand

The United States Mint announced that it will commence production of American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins at its San Francisco Mint.  For several years now, the Eagle Silver Bullion coins had only been produced at the Mint’s West Point facility.

In a press release this week, the US Mint noted that “Demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins remains at unprecedented high levels.   Adding production at the United States Mint at San Francisco provides manufacturing flexibility across the bullion and numismatic product lines to meet customer needs.”

In the face of huge demand for the silver bullion coins, the US Mint has been allocating orders among its authorized purchasers.  The high demand and limited production has lead to high premiums of up to $5 per coin for purchasers of the silver bullion coins.

The US Mint recently came in for criticism for its failure to meet demand for physical bullion coins.  In early April, during a hearing by the House Financial Services Subcommittee, Rep. Ron Paul criticized the Mint for its failure to meet public demand for silver and gold bullion coins.  Ron Paul linked the shortage of bullion coins to the “huge debasement” of the United State currency and said that it was “imperative” that the US Mint meet public demand for bullion coins.

The US Mint said that it has capacity to mint up to “several hundred thousand coins per week” at the San Francisco facility.  The Mint will use the same packaging and manufacturing process at San Francisco that it uses at West Point and the coins will not have a mint mark.

Although demand for the American Eagle Silver Bullion coins remain high, the purchase of 90% silver coins is becoming a more cost effective and popular way to invest in silver.  There is a very small premium or even a discount from bullion value on the purchase of 90% silver coins.

APMEX is currently selling a $1,000 face value bag of 90% silver coins which contain 715 ounces of pure silver for $27,541.80.  Based on today’s closing New York price for silver of $38.16 per ounce, the silver value of the bag of coins being sold by APMEX is $27,284.

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.