The United States Mint expects to have over one million 2014 American Silver Eagle bullion coins for sale by Nov. 17, according to a memo the agency sent to its authorized distributors.
Since the U.S. Mint cannot produce enough Silver Eagles, the Mint sold out of them after weeks of explosive demand, sales of the 99.9% pure silver coins will resume on a rationed basis.
"As you know, the drop in silver prices has led to significantly increased demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion coins in the last four weeks," the U.S. Mint told its authorized distributors on Monday, Nov. 10.
"We anticipate having over one million 2014-dated American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins available when we go back on sale, on an allocation basis, Monday, November 17th."
At some point, the Mint will no longer strike coins for this year. As a point of reference, the Mint sold its last batch of 2013-dated Silver Eagles on Dec. 9. Buyers then had to wait for five weeks until this year’s version launched on Jan. 13, and quantities were limited until May. Next year’s American Silver Eagles are due out in early January.
Update: Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications, sent CoinNews.net the following statement on Tuesday, Nov. 11:
"The recent volatility in silver prices, with silver dropping to five-year lows in the $15.00 per ounce range, has resulted in an increase in sales of United States Mint American Eagle Silver bullion coins. The weekly average sales of American Eagle Silver bullion increased to 1.16 million ounces in the weeks since October 1, up from 586,000 per week in the July-September quarter. This represents an increase of approximately 98% in a time span of just over one month. Calendar year (CY) to date, the Mint has sold 39,381,000 American Eagle Silver bullion coins. The Mint sold a record 42,675,000 coins in CY 2013.
When bullion demand exceeds the supply of ready-to-ship finished inventory, the Mint institutes a policy to allocate available American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins to its authorized purchaser distribution network. The allocation policy was in effect from January through May of 2014.
Over the last five years, the Mint has dramatically increased the supply of American Eagle Silver bullion coins with the majority of the raw material silver blanks coming from two suppliers-Sunshine Minting and Leach/Garner.
Near the end of every calendar year, the Mint plans the production transition to coins dated with the upcoming year. The Mint began the transition to build inventory of 2015-dated silver bullion earlier this fall. With demand for immediate delivery of 2014-dated coins exceeding supply, we are shifting all resources back to 2014 production."
The United States Mint does not sell bullion American Silver Eagles directly to the public. Instead, they are offered in bulk to "Authorized Purchasers" who buy them at melt value plus a premium of $2 per coin. Bullion coins are usually available to buy for a few percentage points above the spot value of their precious metal content.