Inventories of newly struck 2013 American Eagle silver bullion coins are exhausted after United States Mint authorized dealers ordered 6,007,000 in less than two weeks.
Sales came to an unexpected end Thursday for the one-ounce, 99.9% pure silver coins. The U.S. Mint implemented a sales suspension that, it says, will continue until inventories build up to support at least rationed buying. The Mint’s target date to resume ordering on an allocated basis is on or about the week of Jan. 28, 2013.
2013-dated American Eagle silver bullion coins launched on Jan. 7, 2013. Opening sales hit 3,937,000 for a one-day record that spans through the Silver Eagle’s 27-year history. Pent-up demand boosted the numbers as the 2012-dated bullion coins sold out on Dec. 19, leaving distributors without new supplies for three weeks.
Additionally, demand is historically higher for newly dated American Eagles immediately following release. Though minted for investors as an option to add physical silver to their holdings, collectors join in with early year purchases for their collections. They tend to place varying orders with dealers, sometimes for 20-coin rolls filled with American Silver Eagles from each U.S. Mint facility that strikes them — the West Point Mint and more recently the San Francisco Mint.
The U.S. Mint in the latter part of the Great Recession faced similar Silver Eagle shortages and implemented suspensions as uncertainties drove safe-haven bullion demand to unprecedented levels. Along with improving manufacturing techniques and shoring up sources of coin blanks — the precious metal discs used in minting coins, the San Francisco Mint in 2011 began striking bullion Silver Eagles to augment inventories.
January Sales of 2013 Silver Bullion Coins Likely to Break Record
Until this latest suspension, Silver Eagle sales were tracking to thrash the all-time monthly record of 6,422,000 coins set in January 2011. Current sales rank third highest for a month, with second place belonging to January 2012 and its sales of 6,107,000. Still, this month is likely to hurdle to the top as long as Eagle sales resume on or close to the 28th.
From there and barring safe-haven economic news, demand is likely to retreat based on trends. Most recently, sales in February dropped to 1,490,000 for the weakest monthly showing of 2012. That, after January’s 6.1+ million surge. 2012 annual sales of 33,742,500 bullion coins stand third highest with 2011 the leader at 39,868,500 and 2010 following at 34,662,500.
Bullion coins do not carry a mint mark denoting their production origin. Next week, on Jan. 24, 2013, the U.S. Mint will offer this year’s first collectible American Silver Eagle. From West Point, in proof quality and bearing the denoting "W" mint mark, it will be available on the U.S. Mint website (www.usmint.gov/catalog) for $62.95.