September 25, 2023

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.

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