Precious Metals

American Eagle bullion coin sales from Mint nosedive

United States Mint bullion coin sales in 2017 are down in comparison to previous years, as its network of authorized purchasers continue to draw from their stockpiled inventories of the coins.

The authorized purchasers are large-volume buyers and sellers who provide a secondary market for the Mint’s bullion products.

The nearly 8.8 million American Eagle 1-ounce silver bullion coins sold during the first four months of calendar year 2017 reflect a sales reduction of a more than 53 percent in comparison to the 18.9 million ounces sold over the same time frame in calendar year 2016. The 835,000 ounces sold in April 2017 present a 48-percent drop from March sales.

American Eagle gold coins

April sales in 2017 of 6,000 ounces of gold comprise several sizes of the American Eagle gold bullion coins and present a 71 percent drop from March sales totals, which were themselves at a 15-month low. The April 2017 sales reflect just three of the four sizes offered: 1-ounce gold $50 coins, quarter-ounce gold $10 coins, and tenth-ounce gold $5 coins. No sales were recorded for the half-ounce gold $25 face value bullion coins.

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The four-month cumulative sales of 172,000 ounces of American Eagle gold coins in 2017 is down 51 percent from totals for the same period in 2016. April 2017 sales of 6,000 ounces present a steep drop from the 105,500 ounces of American Eagle gold coins sold in April 2016.

American Buffalo gold coins

Sales of the American Buffalo gold coins during the first four months of 2017 total 59,000 coins, 20,500 fewer than were sold in the same period in 2016.

April 2017 sales of 3,500 coins is 5,000 fewer than were sold in March, and 16,000 coins fewer than were sold in April 2016.

Unlike the gold American Eagles, which are composed of .9167 fine gold, the American Buffalo 1-ounce gold $50 coin's composition is .9999 fine gold.

American Eagle platinum coins

2017 sales of American Eagle 1-ounce platinum $100 coins total 20,000 coins, with all sales thus far recorded in January. U.S. Mint officials have not disclosed whether any additional coins will be offered for sale. 2016 sales totaled 20,000 coins cumulatively, with 19,000 sold in July 2016 and the remaining 1,000 coins sold in August 2016.

America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver coins

The authorized purchasers also purchase from the U.S. Mint and distribute into the secondary market the bullion versions of the America the Beautiful 3-inch 5-ounce .999 fine silver coins.

Overall production of the 5-ounce coins for 2017 has been limited to 150,000 per issue, with 20 percent of the total reserved for the collector Uncirculated version, sold directly to the public, and the remainder dedicated to the bullion sales. The Uncirculated version has the P Mint mark of the Philadelphia Mint and is sold as a numismatic product, at a premium above the intrinsic value of the silver each coin contains. The bullion version bears no Mint mark. 

For calendar year 2017, the Mint reports cumulative sales of 20,700 Effigy Mounds National Monument 5-ounce silver bullion coins, the first release for the program in 2017, and 18,400 of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site coins, which were released for sale to the authorized purchasers on April 3. However, monthly sales are not posted and cannot be compared year to year.

Authorized purchasers

The United States Mint does not sell its bullion coins to the general public. Instead, it sells the coins through a dedicated network of approved buyers called “authorized purchasers” who offer a two-way market buying and selling the coins. The authorized purchasers buy from the Mint at prices based on the London PM closing price per troy ounce of metal in each coin, plus a small premium.

The coins are then resold into the secondary market at markups to other dealers, investors and collectors.

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