Premiums up as silver slides

Demand for 90%, silver Eagles
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Published : 04/29/13
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It’s been a busy few weeks for the coin market as dealers have had to adjust to rapidly moving bullion prices and a shortage of American Eagle silver bullion coins.

At the start of 2013 silver was hovering at the $30 to $32 an ounce level, dropping to $28 at the start of April. The price then dropped from $27.40 on April 12 to $23.54 on April 15, and dipped below $23 an ounce as of April 23.

Many collectors and investors looked at silver’s sharp downturn as a buying opportunity and took advantage of lower bullion prices to stock up on classic circulated 90 percent silver U.S. coins and American Eagle silver bullion coins. As a result, premiums on these types of bullion-related coins have increased recently.

Demand for the 2013 American Eagle silver bullion coins reached a record high in January as 7,498,000 coins were sold to authorized purchasers. This high demand, combined with a planchet shortage, has created a supply issue. While the typical wholesale premium for new silver American Eagles is around $2.25 over the spot price, as of April 23, the wholesale premium was $4 to $4.50 over silver spot.

The retail premiums are even higher, with 2013 issues on eBay selling for $33 to $36 with free shipping, a hearty premium of $10 to $13 an ounce over the April 23 spot price of $23 an ounce.

Proof silver American Eagles have had a bumpy ride as wholesale prices for examples with original Mint packaging have fallen for all but the low-mintage 1994 coin, where wholesale prices rose from $85 at the start of April to $100 per coin. As of April 24, the Mint’s website listed Proof 2013-W silver American Eagles as temporarily unavailable, for product repricing.

Collectors seeking to speculate in coins a bit will have their chance in May with the release of the 2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin set featuring the new Enhanced Uncirculated 2013-W coin — the first of its finish type.

It is scheduled to be released on May 9, priced at $139.95, with a launch coinciding with the American Numismatic Association National Money Show in New Orleans. The set will have a 30-day ordering window.

The ordering window concept was introduced last year with the 2012 American Eagle San Francisco Two-Coin Silver Proof set. That set was offered at $149.95, and around 225,000 were sold. In online auctions the 2012 sets are now trading at the $180 level. ■

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