December 5, 2022

Monthly American Silver Eagle Sales Already in Record Territory

Gold and silver bullion coin sales at the United States Mint are showing exceptional strength. In the past week, authorized purchasers ordered 1,181,000 ounces worth of American Silver Eagles and 32,000 ounces worth of American Gold Eagles.

For the Silver Eagle bullion coins, total sales for the month have now risen to 4,588,000 ounces. With the month not even two-third complete, this total already represents a new record high for monthly silver bullion sales. The previous monthly sales record of 4,260,000 ounces was set in November 2010.

On January 3, the US Mint had begun sales of the 2011 Silver Eagle. Strong initial sales are typical when newly dated coins are available, however the strength has persisted, suggesting other factors are at play. Some new investors may making purchases following silver’s stellar performance during 2010. Existing investors may be adding to positions after silver experienced a brief 7% decline.

US Mint Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 1/19/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 1,181,000 4,588,000
American Gold Eagle 32,000 75,500
American Platinum Eagle 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 0 0

For the year to date, the US Mint has now sold 75,500 ounces worth of Gold Eagle bullion coins. This is comprised of 73,000 one ounce coins, 1,000 one-half ounce coins, 2,000 one-quarter ounce coins, and 15,000 one-tenth ounce coins. Sales of the 2011-dated one ounce coins began on January 3. Sales of the fractional weight coins are remaining 2010-dated coins.

The month to date total for gold bullion sales now approaches the full month sales level for the year ago period, when 85,000 ounces were sold.

US Mint Added New Silver Blank Supplier in 2010

For much of the past three years, the United States Mint has struggled to keep up with the boom in demand for physical precious metals. Although they have been required to mint and issue American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins in quantities sufficient to meet public demand, they have often fallen short of this mandate, resorting to sales suspensions and rationing programs.

The US Mint’s 2010 Annual Report details some of the specific steps they have taken to increase the quantity of precious metals blanks that they are able to acquire:

  • The US Mint worked with their existing precious metals blanks fabricators to revise delivery schedules to fit production levels. Level loading materials allowed these fabricators to increase productivity and increase output.
  • A new silver blank fabricator began delivering blanks late in the fiscal year. The US Mint also continues to pursue additional suppliers. The reliance on a small number of foreign suppliers was previous noted as the “heart of the problem” in the US Mint’s struggle to manufacture sufficient gold and silver bullion coins.
  • Productivity and efficiency enhancements were implemented at the West Point Mint. Coin encapsulation and packaging processes were automated, employees were trained to handle more areas of responsibility, and coordination with suppliers allowed continuous assaying, inspection, and coin production to take place.

The US Mint cited the results of their efforts during the year:

  • The average monthly supply of all gold and silver blanks from vendors increased from 2.6 million ounces to 4.1 million ounces.
  • Output at the West Point Mint increased from 175 ounces per labor hour to 215 ounces per labor hour.
  • By August 2010, the US Mint had sufficiently expanded supply to remove order limits and fully satisfy demand for silver bullion coins by August 2010.
  • Popular numismatic products like the 2010 Proof Gold Eagles and 2010 Proof Silver Eagles were launched in October and November 2010. These offerings had been canceled in the previous year.

US Mint 2011 American Silver Eagles Selling Quickly

United States Mint bullion coin sales remained robust for the two available options. In the prior week, authorized purchasers ordered 1,322,000 ounces of American Silver Eagles and 25,000 ounces of American Gold Eagles.

For bullion coin programs, the US Mint does not sell directly to the public, but distributes the coins through a network of authorized purchasers. A group of 11 primary distributors can order coins in bulk quantities from the Mint based on the market price of the precious metals, plus a mark up. In turn, they resell the coins to other precious metals dealers, coin dealers, and the public, as well as facilitate a two way market for the bullion coins.

The US Mint began sales of 2011-dated Gold and Silver Eagles on January 3, 2011. Because inventory of 2010-dated coins remained, the Mint required authorized purchasers to order the newer coins on a ratio basis. For every five 2011 Silver Eagles ordered, they were required to take one 2010 Silver Eagle. For Gold Eagles, the AP’s could order four 2011 coins for every one 2010 coin.

At this time, the US Mint only has available one ounce 2011 Gold Eagles, with fractional weight coins planned to be issued later in the year. The American Silver Eagle is only produced in one ounce size. The release dates for the 2011-dated American Platinum Eagle and 24 karat American Gold Buffalo coins have not yet been announced.

So far, the month of January 2011 is shaping up to be a strong one for silver bullion sales. The past week’s orders for 1,322,000 ounces, bring the monthly (and year to date) total to 3,407,000. In January 2010, the US Mint had sold 3,592,000 ounces for the entire month.

US Mint Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 1/12/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 1,322,000 3,407,000
American Gold Eagle 25,000 43,500
American Platinum Eagle 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 0 0

US Mint Sells Record 4.26 Million Silver Eagles in November

During November 2010, the United States Mint recorded sales of 4,260,000 American Silver Eagle bullion coins. This is significant since it represents the highest monthly sales total in the history of the program.

With the price of silver up more than 65% for the year to date, investment interest in “poor man’s gold” has been on the increase. This has had a big impact on silver bullion sales by world mints, as many prefer to invest in physical precious metals than exchange traded funds or other options.

The previous record for monthly Silver Eagle sales dates back to December 1986 when 3,696,000 of the one ounce silver bullion coins were sold. This had represented the first full month that the coins were available for purchase from the Mint, and reflected the high initial demand for America’s first silver bullion investment product.

In later years, sales of the American Silver Eagle declined, as the price of silver languished. In 1996, bullion sales hit their low as only 3,466,000 coins were sold for the entire year, an amount eclipsed by the monthly sales level a decade earlier.

For the year to date, the US Mint has sold 32,890,500 ounces of silver bullion, which will mark a fresh annual high.

American Silver Eagle Monthly Sales

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 4,260,000
December
Total 32,890,500

Will the US Mint Resume Silver Eagle Rationing?

During the course of the past several years, the United States Mint has implemented a rationing program for their popular American Silver Eagle bullion coins at times when demand has exceeded the available supply. Will a recent surge in demand for silver bullion cause them to reinstate the program?

The euphemistically titled “allocation program” was last implemented for Silver Eagles in December 2009. This followed a brief sales suspension during the last few days of November. At the time, the price of silver had been moving steadily higher, supporting increasing interest in precious metals investment. The US Mint experienced a slow month of silver bullion sales in September, followed by increasing demand in October and November leading up to the suspension and ensuing allocation program, which remained in place until this September.

During the past few months, the situation is shaping up to be eerily similar. In September 2010, the US Mint sold 1,880,000 ounces of silver bullion, which represented the lowest monthly sales of the year. In October, sales rebounded strongly to 3,150,000 ounces. For the current month date, sales have already exceeded this amount, measuring 3,175,000.

With the month a little more than half over, the total seems poised to set a new monthly sales record. The current record is 3,636,500 ounces achieved earlier this year in May. Annual sales are already in record territory.

Bullion sales have been rising against a backdrop of steadily rising silver prices. Since the end of September, the silver price has increased from $22.07 to $26.57, representing a gain of more than 20% in less than two months. Reports of tightening supplies or shortages for other silver bullion have also been reported. This may explain the recent move towards the higher premium bullion coins.

The American Silver Eagle is currently the only silver bullion product offered by the United States Mint. A second program known as the America the Beautiful Silver bullion coins has been scheduled to launch this year, but a release date has not yet been specified.

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
December
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.

Silver Eagle Bullion Coin Premiums Up Again

The US Mint has ratcheted up premiums for their popular American Silver Eagle bullion coins once again. Premiums charged to Authorized Purchasers were increased from $1.50 to $2.00 per coin. The increase was made effective today.

Authorized purchasers are the only ones allowed to purchase bullion coins directly from the US Mint. The increased premium level, will no doubt filter down through the distribution channels and result in higher prices paid for silver bullion at a time when spot prices continue to soar.

During the past two years, premiums have been raised on two other occasions. These were relatively modest adjustments compared to the current 50 cent per coin increase. On October 14, 2008, premiums were increased from $1.25 per coin to $1.40 per coin. Then on January 27, 2009, premiums were increased from $1.40 to $1.50 per coin.

The increase in premiums for silver bullion coins comes just a few days after the US Mint announced the depletion of their 24 karat gold bullion offering. The latest available information suggests that the coins will not be offered for the remainder of the year, with the start of sales for 2011-dated coins still undetermined.