Investor demand for physical silver stretches supplier capacities

Shortfalls of available coins, rounds, bars seen at supplier, distributor levels
By , Coin World
Published : 08/07/15
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Investment demand for physical silver, especially American Eagle silver bullion coins, is stretching the ability of suppliers to meet demand. 

Silver coin and bar distributors contacted by Coin World indicate they’ve had difficulty in filling orders, with product delays or shortfalls from their suppliers translating to delays in sending product to their customers.

U.S. Mint sales of silver American Eagles in July reached 5,529,000 coins — just 1,000 coins fewer than were sold during the month of January when the 2015 coins were first made available.

July’s sales are remarkable in that they were accomplished although sales were suspended July 7, for the U.S. Mint to rebuild its inventory, and resumed July 27.

January is traditionally the strongest month for American Eagle silver bullion coin sales at the U.S. Mint, as the Mint’s authorized purchasers order the incoming year’s newly released coins to meet demand from American Eagle collectors and investors. Sales for 2015, however, appear to be breaking with tradition somewhat.

Stefan Gleason, president of Money Metals Exchange in Eagle, Idaho, says public demand for gold and silver bullion coins, bars and rounds from the firm climbed 135 percent from June 16 to July 31 from the preceding 45-day period.

The number of first-time customers rose 365 percent over the June 16 to July 31 period, Gleason said. 

During the 45-day period ending July 31, Money Metals Exchange sold 797,711 ounces of silver, he added, a 116 percent increase from the previous 45-day period.

Mints at all levels

Many government and private mints, including the U.S. Mint and the Royal Canadian Mint, have been unable to keep up with demand and have either temporarily halted silver sales or rationed their insufficient supply of silver coins, Gleason notes. Other minters are also feeling the demand from their customers.

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