May 23, 2024

U.S. Mint Gold Coin Sales Soar 273% in October

gold-bullionAlthough sales totals vary from month to month, annual sales of the U.S. Mint American Eagle gold bullion coins are running at triple the levels prior to 2008 when the wheels came off the world financial system and central banks began an orgy of money printing.

From 2000 to 2007 the average yearly purchases of the American Eagle gold bullion coins totaled 341,500 ounces per year.  From 2008 to 2013 annual purchases of the gold coins have spiked by 300% to an average annual rate of 1,011,000 ounces.

After lackluster sales of gold coins in the slow months of August and September sales soared in October as investor demand for physical gold surged.  Total sales of the American Eagle gold coins for October 2013 came in at 48,500 ounces, an increase of 273% over the September total of 13,000 ounces.   October sales of gold bullion coins for the comparable prior year period totaled 59,000.

The U.S. Mint American Eagle gold bullion coins remain the premier method of building wealth through periodic purchases.  The American public can’t seem to get enough of the bullion coins and the desperate actions of global central banks to keep the financial system afloat with a deluge of paper money can only cause more financial anxiety and more gold purchases going forward.

2013 sales through October 2013

With two months still remaining in 2013, investors have already purchased almost the same amount of gold bullion coins that were sold for all of 2012.   Year to date sales of the American Eagle through October total 752,500 ounces compared to 753,000 ounces for all of 2012.


Gold Bullion U.S. Mint Sales Since 2000
         Year                           Total Ounces
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 753,000
2013 752,500
 TOTAL                               8,755,000
(above 2013 totals through October 2013)

The American Eagle gold bullion coins cannot be purchased by individuals directly from the U.S Mint.  The coins are sold only to the Mint’s network of authorized purchasers who buy the coins in bulk based on the market value of gold and a markup by the U.S. Mint.  The authorized purchasers sell the gold coins to coin dealers, other bullion dealers and the public.  The Mint’s rationale for using authorized purchasers is that this method makes the coins widely available to the public with reasonable transaction costs.


The public is allowed to purchases numismatic versions of gold coins directly from the U.S. Mint.   One of the most popular numismatic gold coins is the American Buffalo, available in both one ounce gold reverse proof and one ounce gold proof.

US Mint Gold Bullion Coin Sales Shift Back to American Eagles

In the past week, the level of gold bullion sales at the United States Mint rose to a three week high at 35,000 ounces. The level of silver bullion sales remained little changed from recent weeks at 658,500 ounces, as coins continue to be subject to the US Mint’s allocation program.

Buyers shifted their focus back to the American Gold Eagles, which accounted for 32,000 ounces worth of sales. In previous weeks, a larger portion of sales had taken place for the recently released 2011 Gold Buffalo. These one ounce 24 karat gold coins were made available to authorized purchasers starting on March 14. Prior to that date, the coins had last been available from the Mint on September 27, 2010.

US Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 4/6/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Month to Date Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 658,500 658,500 13,087,500
American Gold Eagle 32,000 32,000 331,500
America the Beautiful Silver 0 0 0
American Platinum Eagle 0 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 3,000 3,000 41,000

The US Mint sold 658,000 ounces of silver bullion in the form of one ounce American Silver Eagles. Since the 2011-dated versions of the coins were first released, the coins have been subject to the Mint’s allocation program. This program serves to ration the available supplies amongst the eleven authorized purchasers. While the rationing is taking place, the level of silver bullion sales represents the number of coins the US Mint has made available, rather than the demand of the market place.

At a House subcommittee hearing on the US Mint’s bullion coin programs held earlier today, one of the witnesses estimated that the US Mint loses about a third of potential bullion sales because they cannot meet full demand.

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.

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.

2010 Gold Buffalo Bullion Coin Inventories Depleted

Even though its only September, US Mint sales of the 2010 American Gold Buffalo bullion coins are done for the year. Availability for the one ounce 24 karat gold bullion coin has become erratic in recent years, with the coins only available for a few months at a time, rather than throughout the year.

A memorandum sent to the US Mint’s authorized purchaser network included the following brief statement: The United States Mint has depleted its inventory of 2010 American Buffalo One Ounce Gold Bullion Coins. No additional inventory will be made available.

The 2010 Gold Buffalo bullion coins originally went on sale April 29, 2010. After just under five months of availability, the US Mint recorded sales of 209,000 coins.

The American Gold Buffalo series was introduced in 2006, in part to compete with the 24 karat gold offerings of other world mints. The US Mint’s popular American Gold Eagle is struck in a composition of 22 karat gold.

The 2006 Gold Buffalo was launched on June 22, 2006 and the coins were available throughout the remainder of the year. In 2007, the coins were available all year, although sales levels took a dip from the strong levels of the inaugural year. The following year, the more erratic availability would begin.

In September 2008, the US Mint announced their inventory of Gold Buffalo bullion coins depleted. The offering remained unavailable for more than a month. In November sales briefly resumed to sell one last batch of 25,000 coins. After that point, Gold Buffalo bullion coins were not available again for nearly a year.

The 2009 Gold Buffalo coins finally went on sale October 15, 2009 and only lasted until December 4, 2009 before inventories were depleted.

Will we ever see a return to normalcy when bullion coins are available throughout the year and not subject to depletion, suspensions, and rationing?

US Mint Silver Bullion Sales on Record Pace, Gold Sales on Pace for Fourth Highest

Through June 30, 2010, the United States Mint has sold 18,168,500 ounces of silver bullion and 833,500 ounces of gold bullion. If the current pace is maintained for the rest of the year, US Mint silver bullion sales will break another record and gold will be within the top four annual sales totals.

The United States Mint currently offers the one ounce American Silver Eagle. This has been the US Mint’s only silver bullion coin option since its debut in 1986. Annual sales totals have ranged from a low of 3,466,000 ounces sold in 1996 to a high of 28,766,500 ounces sold in 2009.

This year’s mid-year total sales of 18,168,500 suggests that a new record high for annual sales will be extremely likely. Monthly sales figures have been relatively steady with four months above the 3 million level. It should be noted that this is not necessarily indicative of steady demand, as sales of the coins are currently subject to an allocation program, which rations the available supply amongst the US Mint’s authorized purchasers.

Later this year, the US Mint will be releasing a new series of America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins. These coins will contain 5 ounces of silver and feature designs which are duplicates of the current quarter program. It’s still uncertain just how many of these new silver bullion coins the US Mint will produce and whether this will have a meaningful impact on overall silver bullion sales.

On the gold bullion side, the US Mint current offers the American Gold Eagle and the American Gold Buffalo. The first is a 22 karat gold coin available in one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce sizes. The latter is a 24 karat gold coin available in one ounce size only.

The mid-year gold bullion sales total of 833,500 ounces is made up of the following:

  • 618,500 American Gold Eagle 1 oz
  • 31,000 American Gold Eagle 1/2 oz
  • 44,000 American Gold Eagle 1/4 oz.
  • 280,000 American Gold Eagle 1/10 oz.
  • 160,500 American Gold Buffalo 1 oz.

According to the latest information I have read, the one ounce bullion coins are not subject to allocation, however the fractional weight gold bullion coins are subject to allocation. These coins available to authorized purchasers starting on June 10, 2010.

The highest annual US Mint gold bullion sales was achieved in 1999 when 2,055,500 ounces were sold. This is followed by 1998 at 1,839,500 ounces, 1986 at 1,787,750 ounces, and 2009 with 1,625,500 ounces. The lowest annual gold bullion sales total occurred in 2002 when only 164,500 ounces of gold were sold for the entire year. The US Mint actually sold more gold bullion than this last month when 185,000 ounces were sold.

2010 Proof Gold Buffalo and 2010 Fractional Gold Eagles

Closely behind the release of the 2010 Gold Buffalo bullion coins, the United States Mint has two more gold products on the way. This includes the collectible proof version of the Gold Buffalo and fractional weight American Gold Eagles.

The 2010 Proof Gold Buffalo is now scheduled for release on June 3, 2010. Since this is a collector coin, it will be available for sale directly from the US Mint via their website. Each coin will contain one ounce of 24 karat gold and feature the design from James Earle Fraser’s Buffalo Nickel. Pricing for the coins won’t be known until the week of release, since it will be based on the average weekly price of gold. At the current gold price, the coins would be $1,510.

Last year, the 2009 Proof Gold Buffalo wasn’t available for sale until October 29, 2009, amidst delays and cancellations across many of the US Mint’s precious metals products. The coins remained available for sale until March 29, 2010 and sold 49,388 coins.

The US Mint has reportedly begun production of the fractional weight versions of the 2010 American Gold Eagle bullion coins. I’ve always felt that these smaller weight coins were an important part of the bullion program, as they allow for different investment levels. The US Mint has historically offered one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce size coins.

A release date for these coins has not been established. Once available, they will be sold via the US Mint’s network of authorized purchasers, like other bullion offerings.

US Mint Begins 2010 Gold Buffalo Coin Sales

Today on April 29, 2010, the United States Mint began accepting orders for 2010 American Gold Buffalo coins from their network of authorized purchasers. The earlier offering of these 24 karat gold bullion coins is a signal that the US Mint is catching up with their bullion offerings after years riddled with suspensions and delay.

During 2009, the US Mint’s 22 karat Gold Eagle bullion coin was subject to rationing from the beginning of the year until June 15. The rationing was resumed on December 15, 2009 after a resurgence in demand caused a two week sales suspension. Going into the following year, the offering of 2010-dated coins was delayed by several weeks.

Last year the release of the 24 karat Gold Buffalo coins experienced even more significant delay. The coins were not available for sale to the authorized purchaser network until October 15, 2009. Throughout the preceding ten months, there were significant doubts raised as to whether the coins would be offered at all. The bullion coins only ended up being available from October 15 to December 4.

After a slow start in 2010, the situation has improved significantly. In March, the US Mint lifted the allocation program which had rationed supplies of the 22 karat Gold Eagle bullion coins. This month, they will begin selling the 24 karat Gold Buffalo bullion coins. This comes more than five months before last year’s offering began.

The next steps will be for the US Mint to begin sales of fractional weight American Gold Eagle bullion coins and the collectible 2010 Proof Gold Buffalo. This will finally clear the way for the US Mint to offer collectible proof and uncirculated versions of the 2010 Gold Eagle. These offerings were canceled last year, since the US Mint was not meeting full demand for the bullion versions of the coin.

While it would be nice to say that the progress in catching up with bullion demand is the result of increased production, it seems likely that a reduction in demand for gold bullion is responsible. So far this year, the US Mint has recorded sales of 324,500 ounces worth of gold bullion. This compares to sales of 489,500 ounces of gold in the comparable year ago period. The 34% reduction in sales has no doubt freed up some the Mint’s precious metals blank supply and production capacity.

2009 Proof Gold Buffalo Coin

In addition to bullion coins, the United States Mint will also be producing a collectible proof version of the 2009 American Gold Buffalo. The status of this product was uncertain for much of the year, until the tentative release of the coin on October 29, 2009 was finally announced in early October.

In the prior year, the US Mint had offered a wide array of collectible products related to the Gold Buffalo. This had included a full range of proof coins in one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce sizes with a four coins set. The same range of options were available for a collectible uncirculated version of the coin with the “W” mint mark. Additional products included a Double Prosperity Set, which contained the one-half ounce collectible uncirculation version of the coin, and the Buffalo Celebration Coin, which was a specially packaged one ounce bullion coin.

All of these products were discontinued at the end of 2008, except for the one ounce proof version. When the American Gold Buffalo series had first been launched in 2006, the US Mint had only offered this one collectible option. After the great expansion of products during 2008, the situation had reverted back to the starting point.

The 2008 Gold Buffalo products have now become a favorite of collectors. The collectible proof and uncirculated coins are in constant demand and sell for premium prices. Following the announced discontinuation many collectors gained a new appreciation for these products, which would now represent a single year issue with relatively low mintages.

The one ounce 2009 Proof Gold Buffalo is expected to be in high demand. Pricing and ordering limits for the product have not yet been announced by the United States Mint.