Within year end ordering guidelines provided to authorized purchasers, the United States Mint indicated that certain 2011-dated Gold Eagle bullion coins would be available at a discount. The Mint also stated that they planned to have sufficient quantities of 2012 Silver Eagle bullion coins available to meet demand from initial orders.
The US Mint’s American Eagle bullion coins are not sold directly to the public, but rather they are distributed through a network of authorized purchasers (AP’s). The AP’s purchase the bullion coins in bulk quantities based on the market price of the precious metals plus a fixed or percentage mark up, and then resell the coins to the secondary retailers. The authorized purchaser system has been in place since the launch of the American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion programs in 1986. It was viewed as the most efficient and effective method to distribute the coins widely to the public and ensure that prices were competitive with bullion products produced by other world mints.
As of December 28, 2011, the US Mint had a remaining quantity of 2011-dated Gold Eagle bullion coins in half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce sizes. These coins will remain available for ordering through December 30, 2011. If an inventory of 2011-dated coins remains into the following year, the half ounce and quarter ounce coins will be available at a discount. The US Mint will sell the bullion coins to authorized purchasers at premiums of 2% for half ounce coins and 3% for quarter ounce coins, rather than the standard premiums of 5% and 7%. Any remaining quantities of 2011-dated tenth ounce coins will be sold on a 4:1 ratio basis to AP’s ordering the 2012-dated coins. This means that for every four 2012-dated coins ordered, one 2011-dated coin must also be ordered.
The US Mint will begin accepting orders from AP’s for 2012 Gold Eagle bullion coins on January 3, 2012. This will include one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce bullion sizes. This is a change from recent years when the newly dated fractional weight coins were released at a later date than the one ounce coins.
As of December 28, the US Mint also indicated a remaining quantity of 2011-dated Silver Eagle bullion coins from the West Point Mint. These coins will remain available for ordering through December 30. Any inventory remaining into the following year will be sold on a 4:1 ratio basis to AP’s ordering the 2012-dated coins.
The US Mint will accept orders from authorized purchasers for the 2012 Silver Eagle bullion coins on January 3, 2012. According to the ordering guidelines provided, the Mint plans on having sufficient quantities of the coins available and therefore does not anticipate allocation of the initial release. In previous years, the US Mint has allocated Silver Eagles amongst authorized purchasers when the available supply could not meet full public demand.
For the 2011 year to date, the US Mint has sold 1,000,000 troy ounces of American Gold Eagle bullion coins and 39,868,500 ounces of Silver Eagle bullion coins. The total for gold is down about 18% from the previous year, while the total for silver is up by 15%.