For the year to date, the United States Mint has now sold 34,673,500 American Silver Eagle bullion coins, which exceeds the record annual sales achieved last year. This will mark the fourth consecutive year of record breaking sales for the popular one ounce silver bullion coins.
The American Silver Eagle was introduced in 1986 as a one ounce 99.9% pure silver bullion coin, with its weight, content, and purity guaranteed by the U.S. government. The obverse design features Adolph A. Weinman’s Walking Liberty design used on the circulating half dollars struck from 1916 to 1947. The reverse features a heraldic eagle designed by John Mercanti.
When the coins were first available in November and December 1986, the US Mint recorded sales of 5,096,000. In the following year, when the coins were available throughout the year, sales reached 9,420,000. Annual sales registered lower for the next twelve years, bottoming with annual sales of only 3,466,000 coins in 1996. In 2002, sales exceeded 10 million for the first time and set an annual sales record at 10,475,500.
Demand for Silver Eagle bullion coins rose to new heights in 2008, which resulted in periodic suspensions and order rationing imposed by the US Mint. Despite these obstacles, annual sales achieved a new record at 19,583,500.
In 2009 and 2010, new annual records were achieved at 28,766,500 and 34,662,500, respectively. During these years, the US Mint continued to periodically ration sales to the small group of authorized purchasers that are able to buy the coins directly.
For the current year, sales have reached 34,673,500 with still more than two months to go. Monthly sales have averaged about 3.7 million coins, an amount which exceeds the annual sales totals for two separate years of the program.