US Coins

January sales second highest

June’s sales from the U.S. Mint of American Eagle silver bullion coins dropped 9.8 percent from May’s levels.

Coin World images; coin for photography courtesy of SilverTowne.

January’s sales by the U.S. Mint of 6,107,000 American Eagle silver bullion coins is the second highest monthly sales total since the coin was introduced in 1986.

The highest monthly sales total for the 1-ounce .999 fine silver American Eagle was registered for January 2011, when 6,422,000 pieces were recorded sold.

During January 2012, the Mint also recorded sales of 127,000 ounces of American Eagle gold bullion coins — 84,500 in 1-ounce coins, 24,500 ounces in half-ounce coins (49,000 coins), 9,500 ounces in quarter-ounce coins (38,000 coins) and 8,500 ounces in tenth-ounce coins (85,000 coins).

January’s .9167 fine gold American Eagle sales were nearly double that of December, when 65,500 ounces were sold, all in 1-ounce coins.

American Buffalo 1-ounce .9999 fine gold $50 coin sales reached 13,500 coins in January, down from December’s total of 21,000 coins.

For the third consecutive year, the Mint’s authorized purchasers have not been able to order the incoming year’s coins until January.

Until the end of 2009, the authorized purchasers were permitted to place orders for the following calendar’s coins in the closing days of December of the previous calendar year, with the new coins not available for delivery until after the first of the year. In December 2008, for example, authorized purchasers could place orders for the 2009 coins for January 2009 delivery.

While those orders were counted in December’s sales totals, the coins were actually dated for the incoming year and counted in the incoming year’s mintage totals.

In December 2009, U.S. Mint officials announced that due to heavy demand for American Eagle bullion coins and the need to continue striking 2009 coins, orders for the 2010 coinage would not be accepted until Jan. 19. In 2011 and 2012, orders for each year’s new bullion coins were accepted on the first business day of the year.

The U.S. Mint has not produced nor sold any platinum American Eagle bullion coins since November 2008, but is contemplating bringing the program back.

The U.S. Mint does not directly sell bullion coins to the public, except in rare instances when a bullion coin is included as a feature of a limited edition collector’s set. The Mint instead sells the 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 Mint’s Web site at for American Eagle platinum, gold and silver bullion coins and Uncirculated 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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