October 2, 2022

Sales of US Mint Gold Bullion Coins Slower on the Week

Gold Eagle Sales Slower, Silver Eagles Little Changed

The number of ounces of gold sold through the US Mint’s bullion programs was slower the past week. Meanwhile, sales of silver bullion rose slightly, although they remain within the same basic range seen over the past several weeks.

The US Mint sold 17,500 troy ounces of gold bullion for the weekly period ending April 13, 2011. This consisted of 13,000 ounces of American Gold Eagles and 4,500 ounces of American Gold Buffalo coins. All gold bullion coins sold during the week were one ounce coins, with no fractional weight coins sold.

This sales level is down from the 32,000 ounces sold in the previous week. The drop may be the impact of seasonality, as precious metals sales tend to be slower around the US individual income tax filing deadline. For the year to date, gold bullion sales have reached 390,000 ounces.

US Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 4/13/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Month to Date Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 715,500 1,374,000 13,803,000
American Gold Eagle 13,000 45,000 344,500
America the Beautiful Silver 0 0 0
American Platinum Eagle 0 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 4,500 7,500 45,500

Silver bullion sales for the week reached 715,500 ounces, consisting entirely of the one ounce American Silver Eagle coins. As mentioned in previous reports, these bullion coins continue to be subject to the US Mint’s allocation program. This serves to ration the available supply of coins amongst the authorized purchasers. As such, the weekly sales levels are an indication of the number of coins the US Mint was able to produce and make available, as opposed to the level market demand.

The US Mint has plans to expand the production of Silver Eagles by utilizing the facility at San Francisco, which may be able to strike a few hundred thousand additional coins per week. Test strikes have reportedly begun, and full scale production is expected to begin some time next month. Hopefully, this will alleviate some of the excess demand for silver bullion coins, although it doesn’t seem like it will solve the problem completely.

US Mint Gold and Silver Bullion Coin Sales

The weekly sales levels for the United States Mint’s gold and silver bullion coins were little changed from the levels of the previous period. Across the available options for gold, sales reached 23,000 ounces. Meanwhile total sales of 697,500 ounces of silver bullion were recorded.

The American Silver Eagle bullion coins feature the obverse design from the classic Walking Liberty Half Dollar. These coins were designed by Adolph A. Weinman and issued for circulation from 1916 to 1947. The reverse design features a heraldic eagle designed by John Mercanti specifically for the series. Each coin is struck in .999 fine silver and contains one troy ounce of silver.

Under current law, the US Mint is required to issue the coins “in quantities and qualities that the Secretary determines are sufficient to meet public demand.” Currently, the bullion version of the coins are subject to rationing, as demand exceeds the available supplies. Recent reports indicate that the US Mint will start limited production at the San Francisco Mint to supplement the production at the West Point Mint.

US Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 3/30/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Month to Date Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 697,500 2,069,500 12,429,000
American Gold Eagle 17,000 56,500 299,500
America the Beautiful Silver 0 0 0
American Platinum Eagle 0 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 6,000 38,000 38,000

The American Gold Eagle bullion coins feature the obverse design of the Saint Gaudens Double Eagle struck for circulation from 1907 to 1933. The reverse design features an image of a family of eagles designed by Miley Busiek. Coins are struck in 22 karat (.9167 fine) gold and are available in sizes of 1, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/10 troy ounces. These gold bullion coins are not currently subject to rationing.

American Gold Buffalo coins feature the obverse and revers design of the Buffalo Nickel, issued for circulation from 1913 to 1938. These gold bullion coins are struck in 24 karat (.9999 fineness) and come only in one troy ounce size. The US Mint began sales of the 2011-dated versions of the bullion coins on March 14, 2011.

US Mint Gold Bullion Coin Sales Slower

The United States Mint currently has three gold and silver bullion coins available to its network of authorized purchasers. This includes the one ounce American Silver Eagle; the 22 karat American Gold Eagle available in one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce sizes, and the recently released 24 karat American Gold Buffalo coins.

The group of primary distributors is able to purchase the bullion coins directly from the US Mint in bulk quantities based on the market price of the precious metals plus an established mark up for each product type. The coins are then resold to other bullion dealers, coin dealers, and the broader public. The sales levels for US Mint bullion coins can be an indicator of the demand for physical precious metals.

For the weekly period ending March 23, 2011, the US Mint sold a total of 24,500 ounces of gold bullion coins, down from the 45,500 ounces sold in the previous week. The higher numbers in the previous week were in part driven by the release of the 2011 Gold Buffalo, although initial sales levels were not as strong as experienced in 2009 and 2010.

For all of 2010, the US Mint had sold 1,429,500 ounces of gold bullion across all product options. About twelve weeks into the current year, gold bullion sales have reached 314,500 ounces. Assuming the same pace of sales continues for the rest of the year, gold bullion sales would be 1,362,833.

US Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 3/23/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Month to Date Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 652,500 2,069,500 11,731,500
American Gold Eagle 14,000 56,500 282,500
America the Beautiful Silver 0 0 0
American Platinum Eagle 0 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 10,500 32,000 32,000

The US Mint sold 652,500 ounces worth of silver bullion coins. The Silver Eagles are currently subject to allocation, meaning that the supplies are rationed amongst the primary distributors based on the available supplies. The allocation program has been in place for all of 2011.

Year to date silver bullion sales have reached 11,731,500. If the rate of sales remains constant for the rest of the year, sales would exceed 50 million ounces. Last year, the US Mint sold a record 34.6 million ounces worth of American Silver Eagles.

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.

Silver Eagle Sales Slower as US Mint Rations Supplies

Sales of the United States Mint’s American Silver Eagle bullion coins were slower in the latest week. However, the slow down seems to be the result of the allocation program currently in place, as opposed to a reduction in demand. Sales for Gold Eagle bullion coins dropped to the lowest weekly total for the year to date.

For the weekly period ending March 9, the US Mint recorded sales of 668,500 of the one ounce Silver Eagles. This compares to 1,509,000 coins sold in the previous week.

Since the start of sales for the 2011-dated coins, the US Mint has carried out sales under their standard allocation program. Rather than accepting unrestricted orders, available supplies of silver bullion coins are rationed amongst the authorized purchasers. As such, sales figures reflect the number of coins that the US Mint is able to produce and make available, as opposed to the level of demand from the market.

There has been anecdotal evidence from bullion dealers indicating demand in excess of the available supplies. This reduced availability has caused premium levels for Silver Eagles to expand at the retail level.

Other world mints have indicated that they have been encountering problems obtaining the silver needed to produce coins and other bullion products. The US Mint has not provided any specific explanations.

US Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 3/9/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Month to Date Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 668,500 668,500 10,330,500
American Gold Eagle 12,500 18,500 232,000
America the Beautiful Silver 0 0 0
American Platinum Eagle 0 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 0 0 0

Sales of the bullion Gold Eagles were only 12,500 in the latest week compared to a previous weekly total of 37,000 coins. The demand for physical gold has not been as intense as the demand for silver. Since the start of sales for the 2011-dated coins on January 3, 2011, the US Mint has not used the allocation program.

US Mint Gold and Silver Eagle Bullion Coin Sales

Sales of the United States Mint’s gold and silver bullion coins remained on a relatively steady pace with recent weeks. Sales of 908,000 ounces worth of American Silver Eagle coins were recorded, along with 28,000 ounces worth of American Gold Eagles.

In the previous week, the Mint had recorded bullion sales of 833,500 ounces of silver and 31,500 ounces of gold.

The US Mint utilizes a network of authorized purchasers (AP’s) to distribute bullion products to the public. This small group of private sector businesses are allowed to purchase bullion coins from the Mint in bulk quantities, and in turn resell them to the public. The price charged to the APs is based on the market price of the metal plus a mark up.

The mark up for Silver Eagles is currently $2.00 per coin. The mark up for Gold Eagles varies based on the size of the coin. The premium levels are 3%, 5%, 7%, and 9%, for one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce sized coins, respectively.

US Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 2/23/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Month to Date Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 908,000 2,638,500 8,152,500
American Gold Eagle 28,000 83,500 189,000
America the Beautiful Silver 0 0 0
American Platinum Eagle 0 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 0 0 0

For the year to date, the US Mint has sold 8,152,500 ounces of silver bullion and 189,000 ounces of gold bullion. All sales have taken place for the American Eagle coins. Later in the year, 24 karat Gold Buffalo bullion coins and 5 ounce America the Beautiful Silver Coins are expected to be made available.

Pace of US Mint Gold and Silver Bullion Sales Ahead of Last Year

In the past week, the United States Mint sold 833,500 ounces of silver bullion and 31,500 ounces of gold bullion. Available products included the American Silver Eagle in one ounce size and the American Gold Eagle in one ounce or three fractional sizes.

For the year to date, the US Mint has now sold 8,152,500 ounces of silver, which is running well ahead of the pace of sales from the previous year. During 2010, the US Mint had sold 5,642,500 ounces through the end of February. Annual sales eventually reached a record 34,662,500 ounces from Silver Eagles, with an additional 875,000 ounces from the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins.

Gold bullion sales for the year to date are now 189,000. Once again, this is running ahead of last year’s pace when the Mint sold 169,000 ounces through the end of February. By year end, sales had reached 1,220,500 ounces worth of Gold Eagles, plus 209,000 ounces from the 24 karat Gold Buffalo coins.

US Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 2/16/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Month to Date Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 833,500 1,730,500 8,152,500
American Gold Eagle 31,500 55,500 189,000
America the Beautiful Silver 0 0 0
American Platinum Eagle 0 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 0 0 0

This month the US Mint began sales of the fractional weight 2011-dated American Gold Eagles. Throughout January, only the one ounce size was available bearing this year’s date.

Fractional Gold Eagle sales for the month so far include 100,000 of the one-tenth ounce size coins, 16,000 of the one-quarter ounce coins, and 5,000 of the one-half ounce coins. In recent years, the one ounce size coins have accounted for the bulk of bullion sales.

Weekly US Mint Gold and Silver Bullion Coin Sales

After the furious pace of sales experienced during January for the United States Mint’s American Silver Eagle and American Gold Eagle bullion coins, the current month is progressing at a more measured pace. For the week ending February 9, 2011, the US Mint recorded sales of 847,000 ounces worth of silver and 18,000 ounces worth of gold.

The US Mint offers several bullion coin options in order to provide investors with a convenient and cost effective method for physical precious metals investment. The programs include 22 karat gold coins in one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce sizes; 24 karat gold coins in one ounce size; .999 fine silver coins in one ounce and five ounce sizes; and platinum coins in one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce size.

For the year to date, the US Mint has only offered the one ounce Silver Eagle and 22 karat Gold Eagle bullion coins. The Gold Eagles are available in one ounce size bearing the 2011 date, with some remaining amounts of the fractional weight coins bearing the 2010 date. The remaining bullion coin options have not yet been released.

US Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 2/9/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Month to Date Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 847,000 897,000 7,319,000
American Gold Eagle 18,000 24,000 139,500
America the Beautiful Silver 0 0 0
American Platinum Eagle 0 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 0 0 0

Last year, the US Mint recorded sales of 34,662,500 ounces worth of American Silver Eagles and 1,220,500 ounces worth of American Gold Eagles. The amount of silver bullion sold represented an all time record.

American Gold and Silver Eagle Sales Slower

After generating some mainstream media attention for the record pace of sales, United States Mint bullion coins had a quiet week. According to figures provided by the Mint, only 136,000 ounces of American Silver Eagles and 7,500 ounces of American Gold Eagles were sold in the past week.

Some have noted the divergence in the sales of bullion coins, which are in record territory for the month, and exchange traded fund (ETF) holdings, which continue to decline. Both have an impact on demand for silver, although the nature the of the buyers for each type of investment are different.

Those purchasing ETF’s are more likely to be professionals or other investors trying to participate in short terms price gains. Since bullion coins are comparatively more difficult to buy and sell and carry larger spreads, these buyers are more likely to be making longer term investments.

US Mint Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 1/26/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 136,000 4,724,000
American Gold Eagle 7,500 83,000
American Platinum Eagle 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 0 0

The US Mint has now sold 4,724,000 of the one ounce Silver Eagles for the year to date. This includes a remaining quantity of 2010-dated coins, as well as the newly released 2011 Silver Eagles. This is the highest monthly sales total in the history of the program.

American Gold Eagle sales total 83,000 for the year to date. This includes sales of 80,500 one ounce coins, 1,000 one-half ounce coins, 2,000 one-quarter ounce coins, and 15,000 one-tenth ounce coins. The fractional weight coins represent 2010 Gold Eagles, while the one ounce coins included 2010 and 2011-dated coins.

United States Mint Bullion Program Net Margin Remains at 1.9%

Amidst increased demand for physical gold and silver investment products, the United States Mint achieved record revenue from the sale of bullion coins during their 2010 fiscal year. Annual sales totaled $2.86 billion, which yielded net income of $55.2 million for the segment.

The US Mint produces gold, silver, and platinum bullion coins which are distributed through a network of authorized purchasers. The various programs were authorized by Congress, and the weight, content, and purity of each bullion coin is guaranteed by the U.S. government.

During the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, the US Mint issued one ounce American Silver Eagles; one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce American Gold Eagles; and one ounce American Gold Buffalo coins. The American Platinum Eagle, which is typically produced in four different bullion weights, was not produced or issued during the year.

Because the purpose of the US Mint’s bullion coin programs is to provide investors with a convenient and cost effective method for investing in precious metals, the programs are managed to a nominal net margin. The bullion coins are sold to authorized purchasers based on the current market price of the metal plus a fixed or percentage mark up to cover minting, distribution, and marketing costs, as well as a net margin targeted at or below 2%. For the past three years, the net margin has remained steady at 1.9%.

The US Mint utilizes a hedging program to avoid the risk related to fluctuations in silver costs. Silver is purchased in large quantities on the open market and then an interest in that silver is sold to a trading partner. The US Mint maintains physical custody and title to the silver. As finished silver bullion coins are sold to authorized purchasers, the trading partner’s interest is repurchased. Transaction fees related to the hedging program were $170,000 for the 2010 fiscal year.