Silver American Eagles remain on allocation as U.S. Mint scrambles to alleviate planchet shortage

Global demand for silver puts pressure on planchet providers to produce more
By , Coin World
Published : 08/28/15
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The United States Mint continues to offer the American Eagle silver bullion coins to its authorized purchasers on an allocation basis, the result of being unable to acquire sufficient supplies of planchets.  

For the business week starting Aug. 24, the U.S. Mint’s authorized purchasers exhausted the weekly allocation of the silver bullion coins in just two days. The Aug. 24 allocation was 812,500 coins, 601,000 of which were purchased Aug. 24 and the remaining 211,500 on Aug. 25.

Investment and collector demand is absorbing the available silver coins faster than the West Point Mint can produce them.

The production shortages have had an effect on the secondary market, resulting in shipping delays and higher premiums on the buy and sell prices.

So what is the Mint doing to meet consumer demand for the silver bullion coins?

Adam Stump, deputy director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications, said by email Aug. 26 that the U.S. Mint currently has no plans to ramp up silver American Eagle output at the San Francisco Mint or Philadelphia Mint to augment the West Point Mint’s output. The silver bullion coins are being struck only at the West Point facility.

“Our Mint at West Point currently produces all gold and silver ounce bullion in addition to other numismatic products,” Stump said. “The plant operates with three shifts with employees working overtime to help meet demand.”

The problem in meeting consumer demand for the coins is not the result of lack of production capacity at the West Point Mint, but instead derives from the inability of planchet suppliers to meet the demands of mints worldwide.

Silver sales rising

The Aug. 24 and 25 American Eagle silver bullion coin sales bring the August 2015 sales total to 4.18 million coins.

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