December 2, 2022

Two Masterpiece Gold and Silver Medals

Precious metal investors who have a deep appreciation for the artistry of gold and silver coins are likely to be blown away by the latest medals issued by the Royal British Mint.

As reported by World Mint News Blog, the Royal Mint has issued two magnificent gold and silver medals that showcase the skill and craftsmanship of mint engravers.  Both coins have extremely limited mintage with the gold medal issue limit set at only 25.  The purchase price of the gold medal is £23,500.00 or $36,843.  I would expect both of these low mintage medals to be priced substantially higher in the secondary market if they ever become available for sale.

The obverse of the medal depicts Arthur as a Warrior King defeating the Saxons as Merlin stands in the background. The battlefield is shown with mist and smoke rising into the air and the dragon flags planted by the cavalry symbolizing victory. The reverse depicts Arthur as a wounded and defeated King offering his sword Excalibur to his Knight Bedivere. In the background appear Arthur’s wife Guinevere embracing Lancelot and Arthur’s half sister Morgana holding her staff with a raven atop.

Both the gold and silver medals feature the same intricate design and are struck in high relief. Both are oversized to provide a large canvas for the work. The .999 silver coin has a weight of 250 grams (8.04 troy ounces) and diameter of 80 mm. The .999 gold coin has a weight of 313 grams (10.06 troy ounces) and diameter of 65 mm.

As might be expected, these are extremely limited in mintage and premium priced. The silver medal has an issue limit of 500 and is £695.00, and the gold medal has a limit of just 25 and is priced at £23,500.00. The product pages can be found here and here.

The U.S. Mint should pay attention to the artistry of coins produced by other world mints.  Imaginative new gold and silver coin designs by the U.S. Mint would not only be appreciated by numismatists but would probably broaden investor interest in standard gold and silver bullion coins.

Gold Bullion Coin Sales Plunge 50% In July, Silver Sales Off 20%

The latest sales figures from the U.S. Mint show that sales of both gold and silver bullion coins declined dramatically during July.  While sales of silver bullion coins have remained at historically high levels, sales of the gold bullion coins have been in a steep decline since 2009.

American Eagle Gold Bullion Coin Sales

Sales of the American Eagle Gold Bullion coins during July totaled 30,500 ounces, a 49.2% decline from June sales of 60,000 ounces.  Two previous months of the year had lower gold coin sales than July.  During February 21,000 ounces of gold bullion coins were sold and in April only 20,000 ounces were sold.   The year to date average monthly sales figures for gold bullion coins total 53,428 compared to a monthly average of 83,333 during 2011.

The all time yearly sales record for the American Eagle gold bullion coins was set during 2009 when it looked as if the entire U.S. banking system was about to collapse.  Sales in each subsequent year have been lower than 2009 despite the increase in the price of gold since then.  In 2009 gold closed the year at $1,087.50 per ounce, subsequently hit a high of $1,895 on September 5, 2011 and closed today at $1,615.90 in New York trading.  If sales during 2012 are annualized, total gold bullion coin sales will reach approximately 641,000 ounces, the lowest amount since 2007 when yearly sales came in at 198,500 ounces.

Listed below are yearly sales figures for the American Eagle gold bullion coins since 2000.  Sales for 2012 are through July 31st.

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 374,000
Total 7,623,500

The graph below shows gold bullion coins sales since 2012, with sales annualized for 2012.

American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Sales

According to the U.S. Mint, sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins totaled 2,278,000 ounces during July, a decline of 20.3% from June’s total of 2,858,000.   The highest monthly sales of the silver bullion coins during 2012 was 6,107,000 ounces recorded in January followed by the lowest monthly sales of 1,490,000 ounces in February.  Average monthly sales of the silver bullion coins through July was 2,810,000.

The silver bullion coins have showed resilient demand despite the drop in silver prices since mid 2011.  Based on year to date sales figures, total sales of the silver bullion coins could approach 34 million ounces, not far below the record sales figure recorded in 2011 when almost 40 million ounces were sold.

Total annual sales by the U.S. Mint of the silver bullion coins since 2000 are shown below.  Sales for 2012 are year to date totals through July.

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
Jul-12 19,670,000
TOTAL 218,070,500

The American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins are sold by the U.S. Mint only to Authorized Purchasers who in turn resell the coins to the general public and other dealers.  Numismatic versions of the American Eagle series gold and silver coins can be purchased by the public directly from the U.S. Mint.

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 Rebound Strongly In May

According to the latest report from the U.S. Mint, sales of both gold and silver bullion coins rebounded strongly during May.

Sales of the American Gold Eagle bullion coins during April had declined to only 20,000 ounces, the lowest monthly sales since June 2008 when 15,500 ounces were sold.  During May, the U.S. Mint sold 50,000 ounces of gold bullion coins, up 150% from April sales of 20,000 ounces.

The monthly sales figures for bullion coins can vary dramatically for a number of reasons, but support for the increase in demand during May may be due to the recent pullback in gold prices.  During May, the closing London PM Fix Price for gold declined by 6.3% from $1,664 to $1,558 per ounce.  Through the end of May, gold has declined by $40 from $1,598 at the beginning of 2012.  Gold reached a 2012 high of $1,781 on February 28th.

Sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coins hit a record high during the financial turmoil of 2009 as investors eagerly purchased 1,435,000 ounces of gold.  Ironically, sales of gold declined during the next two years despite the fact that the financial system has become more unstable as sovereign governments worldwide continue to borrow and print fiat money on an unprecedented scale in an effort to prop up a world economy burdened by unsustainable debt levels and nonexistent economic growth.  The ongoing simultaneous collapse of the banking systems and economies of the Eurozone is the most obvious trigger for the next phase of the financial crisis.  As confidence in paper money evaporates, expect gold to soar as investors stampede into the only currency that governments cannot debase.

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 280,500
Total 7,530,000
Note: 2012 totals through May 31, 2012

Sales by the U.S. Mint of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins for May almost doubled from the previous month.  Total sales of  silver bullion coins for May totaled 2,750,000 ounces, up 81% from sales of 1,520,000 ounces in April.  Year to date sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins through May 31st came in at 14,409,000, down by 23.8% from the first five months of 2011.  Sales of the silver bullion coins reached all an all time high during 2011.   Since reaching a multi decades high of $48.70 during April of 2011, silver has since corrected, closing out the month of May 2012 at $28.10.

Total annual U.S. Mint sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins since 2000 are shown below.  Sales totals for 2012 are through May 31.

In addition to gold and silver bullion coins, the U.S. Mint also sells numismatic versions (uncirculated and proof) of gold and silver American Eagle coins which can be purchased by the public directly from the U.S. Mint.  Gold and silver bullion coins are sold by the U.S. Mint only to authorized purchasers who in turn resell them to the general public and secondary retailers.

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 14,409,000
TOTAL 212,809,500

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. Treasury Wants To Eliminate The Only Currency That Still Has Intrinsic Value

News that Canada will stop production of the penny has fueled speculation that the United States will also eliminate production or change the composition of both the penny and the nickel.  According to Bloomberg, Canada will withdraw the penny from circulation this year due to high production and transaction costs.  The Canadian penny currently costs 1.6 cents to produce.

The Royal Canadian Mint, which has produced 35 billion pennies since it began production in 1908, will cease distribution this fall due to the coin’s low purchasing power. Production and handling cost for the one-cent coin are a C$150- million drag on the economy, according to a 2006 study by Desjardins, a Levis, Quebec-based financial institution.

“Pennies take up too much space on our dressers at home,” Finance MinisterJim Flaherty said in the text of his budget speech in Ottawa. “They take up far too much time for small businesses trying to grow and create jobs.”

A story in the Wall Street Journal (Treasury to Cut Cost By Remaking Coins) seemed to suggest that a change in the composition of both the penny and the nickel were imminent.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner outlined how his department will find savings, including $286 million in the next fiscal year, by changing the materials that go into coins, replacing paper with electronic communications and consolidating internal agencies.

“Currently, the costs of making the penny and the nickel are more than twice the face value of each of those coins,” Geithner said in his remarks.

Treasury Secretary Geithner, in testimony to Congress this week, further pressed the argument that the penny and nickel should be made with cheaper materials.

The Budget also proposes legislation to provide Treasury with the ability to change the composition of coins to utilize more cost-effective materials.  Currently, the costs of making the penny and the nickel are more than twice the face value of each of those coins.  In addition to this proposal, Treasury is implementing measures to improve the efficiency of coin and currency production, including improved manufacturing practices and administrative cost reductions, which will save more than $75 million in FY 2013.

Is the long and rich history of the penny and nickel about to disappear from the American landscape?  It may not happen as soon as some seem to think.  Obama’s 2013 budget proposal was resoundingly rejected by Congress along with the request to  transfer authority over coinage composition from Congress to the Treasury.  According to Coin Update,

President Obama’s recently submitted 2013 Budget includes a proposal to provide the United States Mint with greater flexibility in the material composition of circulating coins. Specifically, the Budget seeks to enable the Treasury Department to explore, analyze, and approve new, less expensive metals for all circulating coins.

Currently, the authority to establish the composition of coins rests with Congress. In December 2010, the Coin Modernization, Oversight, and Continuity Act of 2010 was signed into law, which provided the Secretary of the Treasury with the authority conduct research and development activities for alternative metallic coinage materials. Within a required report due to Congress by December 2012, the Secretary may make recommendations for changes to the composition for circulating coins, however any changes would still need to be accomplished through an act of Congress. By contrast, the proposal included in the 2013 Budget would bypass Congress and provide the Secretary with direct authority to alter coin compositions.

The Budget provides justification for the change based on “volatile metal prices” which have contributed to negative margins on both the penny and nickel. During the 2011 fiscal year, the United States Mint’s unit cost to produce and distribute the cent was 2.41 cents and the unit cost for the nickel was 11.18 cents.

Since 2006, it has cost the US Mint more than the respective face value to produce the cent and the nickel. In the latest fiscal year, the losses generated from producing cents and nickels was $116.70 million. Since 2006, total losses from producing the two denominations has reached $359.80 million.

As a monetary unit, the penny and nickel are relics of the past, costly to produce and almost irrelevant as a unit of value.  Nonetheless, the penny and the nickel represent the only remaining general circulation U.S. “money” that still has an intrinsic value based on the metal content.  If Congress decides to retain their control over the composition of U.S. coins, Mr. Geithner may never get his chance to debase the penny and nickel.

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 News and Headlines – Gold Owners Get Nervous

Precious metals advanced across the board today, with palladium the stellar performer with a 2.86% gain.  Gold gained $9.70 to $1685.30, silver tacked on $0.48 to $33.53, platinum rose $18 to $1633.00 and palladium jumped $19.00 to $689.00.

Although precious metals recently hit a selling storm (see The Flash Crash in Gold), precious metals remain up strongly on the year and gold is up $257.20 per ounce or 18% over the past year.  The following chart show the gains for the year on the precious metals group.  All prices per the London PM Fix closing price.

GOLD SILVER PLATINUM PALLADIUM
JAN 3RD $1,590.00 $28.78 $1,406.00 $664.00
MARCH 7TH $1,677.50 $33.17 $1,627.00 $678.00
$ GAIN $87.50 $4.39 $221.00 $14.00
% GAIN 5.50% 15.25% 15.72% 2.11%

Here’s a brief round up of some of the latest thoughtful coverage on gold and silver related news.

Free Von Nothaus from the tyranny of unjust government actions – Judging Silver or Something Else?

As I look at the circumstances, I do not see that von Nothaus or his Liberty Dollar products victimized anyone. In contrast, those who chose to keep Federal Reserve Notes and coinage of the U.S. Mint have been victimized by loss of purchasing power. If anything, and I say this with all due respect, it seems to me that it would be more sensible and appropriate to prosecute those who have victimized American citizens through the depreciation of the “money” issued by the U.S. government.

US Mint Drops Price of Gold Products

With all of the pricing data now available, the US Mint’s gold numismatic products are set for a two tier decrease. This will reduce prices by the equivalent of $100 per ounce of gold content.

Owning gold is a “privilege, not a right”.  Why The US Confiscated Gold in 1933 and Can It Happen Again?

We previously stated that gold ownership was made illegal on 1st May 1933. What we did not tell you was that U.S. citizens, under Order 6102, were allowed to own up to $100 in gold coin [+5 ounces].

Congress could easily revoke the privilege again. In fact, at no time during this century has the U.S. government recognized the right of private gold ownership.

The privilege, not right, to own gold was restored to U.S. citizens on the 15th August 1974 (not 1971, when Nixon floated the USD against gold and stopped foreign central banks from converting USD to gold). It is pertinent to the thinking behind this series, to understand the importance to government of gold and that the right to confiscate may not be restricted to individuals or institutions but could embrace a nation or two.

It’s believed that some 60% of Germany’s gold is stored outside of Germany and much of it in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. If this is the case one has to ask, in the light of the massive currency swaps engineered by the Fed and the E.C.B. to raise the two tranches of cheap money for European banks, “Was gold swapped too, or was it pledged as collateral?”

The public pressure to repatriate national gold reserves has heightened considerably in the last year. Should Germany want its gold back home, we ask, “Can it get it back or has it already been used in these ways?

Germany to Review Bundesbank Gold Reserves in Frankfurt, Paris, London and Federal Reserve Bank of New York

German lawmakers are to review Bundesbank controls of and management of Germany’s gold reserves.  Parliament’s Budget Committee will assess how the central bank manages its inventory of Germany’s gold bullion bars that are believed to be stored in Frankfurt, Paris, London and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, according to German newspaper Bild.

There is increasing nervousness amongst the German public, German politicians and indeed the Bundesbank itself regarding the gigantic risk on the balance sheet of Germany’s central bank and this is leading some in Germany to voice concerns about the location and exact amount of Germany’s gold reserves.

The eurozone’s central bank system is massively imbalanced after the ECB’s balance sheet surged to a record 3.02 trillion euros ($3.96 trillion) last week, 31% bigger than the German economy, after a second tranche of three-year loans.

The concern is that were the eurozone to collapse, Bundesbank’s losses could be half a trillion euros – more than one-and-a-half times the size of the Germany’s annual budget.

In that scenario, Germany’s national patrimony of gold bullion reserves would be needed to support the currency – whether that be a new euro or a return to the Deutsche mark.

Bernanke Spooks Gold

Instead, this selloff was sparked not by a development, but a non-development. In his address to Congress, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke offered no clue as to when the Federal Reserve would unleash its next round of quantitative easing.

The markets took this as a sign that the monetary madness is coming to an end, which would bode poorly for precious metals. Metals are increasingly seen as substitutes for continuously debased fiat money, and tend to do well when new liquidity injections are announced.

Bernanke’s failure to telegraph more printing means nothing. Investors are craving a return to normalcy, which means more prudent monetary policy. As a result, many are grasping at straws. But I believe these hopes are premature, and that gold will be buoyed by easy money for quite some time.

In addition, gold will likely be favored by the greatest financial struggle of the coming decade: China’s plans to replace the United States as the dominant economic power.

Buy Japanese Bonds At 0.05% And Get A Gold Coin

Japan began selling special government bonds Monday aimed at raising funds for reconstruction from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, saying it will present buyers with commemorative gold coins imprinted with an image of the “miracle pine” that survived the killer tsunami when the bonds mature in three years.

The coins — worth ¥10,000 each, and silver coins worth ¥1,000 — are engraved with the design of the 30-meter-high pine in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, that was the only one of about 70,000 pines on a stretch of coast to survive the massive tsunami.

Peter Schiff on why Buffett is wrong about gold – Buffett’s Bursting Bubble

The gold doomsayers have found their champion in the media’s favorite financial advisor and one of the world’s richest men. Warren Buffett, the man dubbed the “Oracle of Omaha,” has repeatedly and publicly denied that gold is an investment, and called gold buyers “speculators” and people “who fear almost all other assets.” In fact, Buffett claims that gold’s rise has the same characteristics as the housing and dot-com bubbles, and it is only a matter of time before it reverses course. He doesn’t mean that the price will decline because of austerity measures and a free-market interest rate, mind you. He just asserts that because he’s deemed it a bubble, it will inevitably burst.

Gold prices will only go down when governments change course and make significant cuts. Until then, gold is not in a bubble. It’s the only way to protect your wealth; and in the current economic condition, it’s poised to go much higher. I think it’s high time Buffett takes to heart his father’s wise words: “For if human liberty is to survive in America, we must win the battle to restore honest money.”

The Volatile Ride To Higher Gold

Back in 1980, Phase Three only lasted for 21 days, but increased 66% in that time span. Considering the ten year time span of Phase One, and my projection for Phase Two, I feel that Phase Three (which starts in 2015) will last for six months and drive gold up to over $6,000 per ounce. If the world’s financial leaders decide to return to a Gold Standard, or if gold bullion confiscation becomes the government’s reaction to severe inflation, my projections would escalate. Possible other government reactions that can affect my projections negatively are: limiting gold ownership, restrictions on transporting or trading, and any Gold windfall profits tax.

 

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.