Precious Metals

American Eagle silver bullion sales lowest since 2012

The United States Mint sold fewer American Eagle silver bullion coins in 2016 than in any year since 2012.

Coin for Coin World photography provided by SilverTowne.

All good things must come to an end. 

For the United States Mint in 2016, it was a string of record-setting years for sales of its American Eagle silver bullion coin. 

The final 2016 tally from the Mint reports sales of 37,701,500 ounces of American Eagle silver bullion coin during the calendar year, which is down sharply from record-setting 2015 sales that finished at an even 47,000,000 ounces.

That 2015 total bested 2014's 44,006,000 ounces sold, which itself had set a yearly record at the time.

The 2016 total is the lowest since 2012, when 33,742,500 ounces were sold.

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Huge demand had led to the record-setting annual sales totals in 2014 and 2015, and as you can see in the infographic below, American Eagle silver bullion coin sales in the early months of 2016 continued the strong trend.

However, sales have been sliding since May. In July, the Mint lifted the weekly allocations that served as buying limits used to portion out the available inventory to its authorized purchasers. Those allocations were put in place in 2015 as demand for the silver bullion coin skyrocketed. The approved dealers are the only customers who buy bullion directly from the Mint. 

Precious Metals Basics: How does the bullion market work?

But the price of silver surged to over $20 per ounce in July, and authorized purchasers began sitting on stockpiles of the silver coins, which led to slower Mint sales to these buyers.

As of Jan. 4, 2017, Kitco reports the price of silver at $16.38 per ounce.

Only 240,000 ounces were sold in December 2016.

Mint officials announced Nov. 30 that production of 2016 bullion coins had ended, but indicated the Mint would continue selling remaining inventory until it is depleted.

The Mint will begin accepting orders  Jan. 9 from authorized purchasers, without allocation, for the 2017 American Eagle silver bullion coins.

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