Precious Metals

American Eagle silver bullion coin sales fall

American Eagle silver bullion coin sales in March declined for the second straight month, but average sales so far in 2011, if maintained, would exceed the record annual sales total set in 2010.

Images by Alix Filer, courtesy of Paul Sims Inc.

After a record-setting sales month in January, United States Mint sales of American Eagle 1-ounce silver bullion coins to authorized purchasers dropped 49.5 percent in February to 3.24 million coins.

During January, the Mint sold 6.422 million American Eagle .999 fine silver bullion coins, the single highest monthly total since program sales were inaugurated on Oct. 20, 1986. The January sales total eclipsed the previous record of 4.26 million coins set in November 2010.

While the January sales total may include some 2010-dated coins, most of the sales total comprises 2011-dated coins. The first week in January was the first time authorized purchasers could place orders for 2011-dated coins.

Sales the first two months of calendar-year 2011 averaged 4,831,000 coins. Should sales be maintained at that pace, the annual record of 34,662,500 coins set for calendar year 2010 could be pushed to nearly 58 million coins.

The Mint has posted successive record sales of American Eagle silver bullion coins in 2008, 2009 and 2010, driven by investor demand for alternative investments during the worldwide economic crisis.

For American Eagle gold bullion coins, demand also dropped in February for the 1-ounce gold coins compared with January sales, but fractional gold American Eagle bullion coin sales in February climbed sharply over the previous month’s sales.

During February, the U.S. Mint sold to its authorized purchasers 67,500 of the 1-ounce coins, 6,000 ounces in half-ounce coins (12,000 coins), 4,000 ounces in quarter-ounce coins (16,000 coins) and 10,000 ounces in tenth-ounce coins (100,000 coins).

In January, the Mint recorded sales of 130,500 of the 1-ounce coins, 500 ounces of half-ounce coins (1,000 coins) and 500 ounces in quarter-ounce coins (2,000 coins).

The Mint has not offered authorized purchasers any American Buffalo gold bullion coins in 2011. The American Buffalo gold coins are .9999 fine; the American Eagle gold coins are .9617 fine. Each coin contains the same amount of pure gold by weight, with the American Eagle coins containing additional alloyed metals.

The U.S. Mint sells American Eagle and American Buffalo bullion coins to a network of authorized purchasers, who acquire the coins from the Mint for the spot price of the precious metal on a given day on the metals market plus a small premium. The authorized purchasers may then sell the American Eagle and American Buffalo bullion coins to dealers and the public.

Monthly sales totals, posted cumulatively on a daily basis over the United States Mint’s Web site at for American Eagle platinum, gold and silver bullion coins and American Buffalo gold bullion coins, may include coins dated from more than one calendar year and do not represent mintages for a particular date. ¦

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