US Mint Bullion Sales: New Annual Record for Silver Eagles

United States Mint bullion sales experienced somewhat of a slow down for the month of December 2010. As measured in ounces, the monthly totals for American Gold and Silver Eagles were the lowest of the year. Nonetheless, the annual total for Silver Eagles represented a new all time record high.

During the month the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins made their debut, although the extremely low mintages have caused these coins to be treated more as numismatic items than bullion. The American Gold Buffalo and American Platinum Eagle were not available during the month. The former has been unavailable since inventories were depleted in September, while the latter has not been offered in bullion format since 2008.

The table below summarizes the US Mint’s bullion coins sales for December 2010. The first number column represents the total sales for the month, while the second column represents sales for the full year ending December 31, 2010. This report includes bullion coin sales only, and does not include numismatic products.

December 2010 US Mint Bullion Coin Sales

December 2010 YTD 2010
American Gold Eagle 1 oz 58,500 1,143,000
American Gold Eagle 1/2 oz 1,000 46,000
American Gold Eagle 1/4 oz 2,000 62,000
American Gold Eagle 1/10 oz 5,000 390,000
American Silver Eagle 1 oz 1,772,000 34,662,500
America the Beautiful Silver 5 oz 165,000 165,000
American Gold Buffalo 1 oz 0 209,000

Across the available one ounce and fractional weight Gold Eagles, the US Mint recorded sales of 60,000 ounces for December. This is down by almost half from the previous month when sales had reached 112,000. It also ranks as the lowest monthly total of the year behind April 2010, when 60,500 ounces were sold. For the full year, sales accounted for 1,220,500 ounces of gold, short of last year’s sales of 1,425,000 ounces.

The American Silver Eagle had a similar pattern with monthly sales of 1,772,000, far below the prior month’s sales of 4,260,000. The total sales for December represent the lowest monthly total of year year behind September when 1,880,000 ounces were sold.  The annual sales total of 34,662,500 represents a fresh all time annual high for Silver Eagle bullion sales, exceeding last year’s previous record high of 28,766,500.

Some of the pull back in sales is likely attributable to the upcoming release of the 2011-dated coins. The 2011 American Silver Eagle and Gold Eagle bullion coins went on sale to authorized purchasers on January 3, 2011. Once the calendar turns over, many collectors and investors seek out the newly dated coins, diminishing demand for the older issues.

The United States Mint began sales of the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins after briefly halting the program to formulate specific terms and conditions for authorized purchasers. Nine out of the eleven primary distributors agreed to the new terms and ordered their allocations. The US Mint produced 33,000 of each of the five available designs. With 5 troy ounces of silver per coin, this accounts for 825,000 ounces of silver.

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