In a memo Wednesday to its network of Authorized Purchasers, the United States Mint announced the release date for what will be its two most popular bullion coins next year, the 2012 American Gold Eagle and 2012 American Silver Eagle.
According to the memo, the bullion coins, including the fractional sized Gold Eagles, will be available for order on Tuesday, January 3 — the same day last year’s issues launched.
In a sign of the Mint’s ability to now strike and stockpile the bullion coins to meet demand, the Mint has indicated that it expects to have sufficient inventory in place to fulfill all orders.
"As we plan on having sufficient quantities of all coins available, we do not anticipate having to allocate the initial release," the United States Mint memo states. "All coins ordered on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 will be available for pick-up on Friday, January 6, 2012."
This comes as a stark contrast to recent years when the Mint was unable to keep up with orders, leading to on and off-again rationing of both Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins. Unprecedented demand in 2009 brought about an allocation system that trailed into the following years. While Gold Eagle demand has since fallen slightly, Silver Eagle orders have soared in 2011, achieving an all-time annual record by October.
The United States Mint will continue to offer this year’s 2011 Silver Eagle as well as the fractional half-ounce, quarter-ounce, and tenth-ounce Gold Eagle for sale through December 30, 2011. Following the release of the 2012-dated bullion coins on the 3rd of January, the Mint will take a two-pronged approach to deplete its 2011 inventory.
First, 2011-dated half and quarter-ounce Gold Eagles will be offered to the Mint’s distribution network at a discount. Typically, the United States Mint sells the one-half ounce and one-quarter ounce gold bullion coins at premiums of 5% and 7%, respectively, over the current market price of the precious metal contained within them. However, in January and until the remaining inventory is sold, those premiums on the 2011 half-ounce Gold Eagle will drop to 2% and the quarter ounce Gold Eagle premium will go to 3%.
Second, the tenth-ounce 2011 Gold Eagle and the 2011 Silver Eagle will be sold to the purchasers on a 4:1 ratio in association with any new 2012-dated Eagles ordered. Like the discounts for the half and quarter ounce eagles, the ratio basis will remain in place until all the 2011 inventory is sold.
Both Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins made their debut in 1986. The programs were established by Congress as a means for investors to obtain small amounts of gold and silver bullion to add to their portfolios at near-market prices with the Eagle’s content and purity guaranteed by the government of the United States. As of Wednesday, the Mint this year has sold 39,868,500 Silver Eagles and 1,000,000 ounces of Gold Eagles.
In another memo detail, the United States Mint also indicated that it anticipates releasing the 2012 American Gold Buffalo bullion coin during the month of March 2012. The 24-karat gold coin featuring this year’s date remains available. Authorized Purchasers have ordered 174,500 ounces of the Buffalo coins to date.
To learn more about the above issues, visit this site’s bullion coins information section, or visit the Mint website at www.usmint.gov.