Gold, Silver Decline in February; American Eagle Bullion Sales Slow

by on February 28, 2018 · 11 comments

Pile of American Eagle gold bullion coins

Precious metals tumbled in February. Sales of U.S. Mint bullion coins also slowed.

Gold futures declined for a second day in a row Wednesday, and logged their first monthly loss since October.

Gold for April delivery dipped 70 cents, or about 0.05%, to settle at $1,317.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The close is the weakest since Feb. 9.

"Even though the dollar is stronger and Treasury yields are higher, the gold market oversold itself yesterday," said Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.

Gold futures dropped 1.1% on Tuesday and they edged up 0.2% on Monday. The yellow metal traded 1.9% lower in February after three monthly increases had lifted prices by a combined 5.7%. Gold is 0.7% higher on the year so far.

Elsewhere, silver for May delivery declined 2.7 cents, or nearly 0.2%, to finish at $16.407 an ounce. Silver futures sank 4.8% in February following two monthly gains of 0.6% in January and 4.1% in December. They are down on the year by 4.3%.

In PGM futures on Wednesday and for the month:

  • April platinum rose $3.50, or 0.4%, to $988.10 an ounce, but fell 1.6% in February.

  • Palladium for June delivery gained $8.35, or 0.8%, to $1,037.60 an ounce, for a 1.4% monthly increase.

The two are divided on the year to date with platinum 5.3% higher and palladium 2.2% lower.

London Precious Metals Prices

London precious metals prices declined on Wednesday and in February. In comparing their levels from Tuesday PM to Wednesday PM:

  • Gold declined $7.90, or 0.6%, to $1,317.85 an ounce.
  • Silver fell 17 cents, or 1%, to $16.44 an ounce.
  • Platinum lost $15, or 1.5%, to $979 an ounce.
  • Palladium declined $21, or 2%, to $1,041 an ounce.

As for February in LBMA prices, losses reached 2% for gold, 4.6% for silver, 2.4% for platinum and 1% for palladium.

US Mint Bullion Sales in 2018

U.S. Mint sales of American Eagle and Buffalo bullion coins slowed in February, taking an expected break from their quickened pace in January when newly 2018-dated editions launched. They also dropped sharply from their year-ago levels. In headline comparisons across all U.S. Mint bullion products:

  • American Eagle gold coins totaled to only 5,500 ounces, falling 90.6% from the 58,500 ounces sold in January and dropping 80% from February 2017 when sales reached 27,500 ounces. For the year so far, Gold Eagle sales at 64,000 ounces are 56% lower than the 145,500 ounces delivered during the first two months of last year.

  • American Eagle silver coins totaled 942,500, down 70.9% from the January total of 3,235,000 and off 22.4% from the 1,215,000 ounces moved in February of last year. 2018 Silver Eagle sales at 4,177,500 are 34.1% lower than the 6,342,500 coins sold through the same time in 2017.

  • American Buffalo gold coins moved up by 2,500 ounces, marking declines of 89.6% from January sales of 24,000 ounces and 83.3% from the 15,000 ounces delivered in February 2017. Year to date sales at 26,500 ounces are 43.6% lower than the 47,000 ounces sold during the same two months of a year earlier.

  • American Eagle platinum coins reached 20,000, matching the amount that the U.S. Mint produced for sale in years 2016 and 2017.

  • America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins rose by 20,000 coins or 100,000 ounces. All sales came from the Michigan’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore silver coin. It launched this past Monday, Feb. 26, as the first 5 ounce release of this year. Last year’s first 5 ounce coin, depicting Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa, debuted on Feb. 6 and achieved February sales of 19,500 coins or 97,500 ounces.

Below is a sales breakdown of U.S. bullion products with columns listing the number of coins sold during varying periods.

US Mint Bullion Sales (# of coins)
Wednesday Last Week This Week December January February 2018 Sales
$100 American Eagle 1 Oz Platinum Coin 0 0 0 N/A N/A 20,000 20,000
$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coin 0 2,000 0 38,000 36,000 5,000 41,000
$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coin 0 0 0 3,000 16,000 0 16,000
$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coin 0 0 0 4,000 26,000 0 26,000
$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coin 0 5,000 0 25,000 80,000 5,000 85,000
$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coin 0 0 500 14,000 24,000 2,500 26,500
$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coin 0 70,000 237,500 742,000 3,235,000 942,500 4,177,500
Pictured Rocks 5 Oz Silver Coin 0 N/A 20,000 N/A 20,000 20,000

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

JAN M FOX February 28, 2018 at 10:34 pm

Wow…not buying gold…? What’s behind that?

Old Collector March 1, 2018 at 10:35 am


I followed one of the more pertinent links in today’s newsletter, and at its destination one of the possible answers to the question of why the interest in gold has diminished is that so much of the investor interest – and thus of course also their money – is now in the process of being transferred over to cobalt and lithium (the essential electric car battery elements), the fast growing field of cannabis (pun intended), and in spite of their recent decline in value, cryptocurrencies.

Seth Riesling March 1, 2018 at 10:55 am


The platinum group metals are taking a major beating down this morning. Amazing!

Happy coin collecting & metals investing everyone!


Old Collector March 1, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Precious metals appear to be involved in a regular game of whack a mole, as there seems to be hardly a break between when one or another of them is getting hit, and hit hard.

Mouse March 1, 2018 at 12:11 pm

This is the precious metals game and we all know how to play it….buy low / sell high – stack and safe for retirement. Gold and silver will always be an international form of recognized and accepted currency / let the other precious metal prices ride / short / long term value be dictated by their use in the manufacturing industries. I have not nor will I purchase Platinum or Palladium – not my bag. To each his or her own I always say…and lets see someone purchase a bowl of Pho (just an example lol) in Cambodia with a piece of Platinum or Palladium lol.


Old Collector March 1, 2018 at 9:15 pm


Come to think of it, I didn’t see any platinum or palladium metals handed out at the Winter Olympics either!

Old Collector March 2, 2018 at 11:00 am

Or cobalt and lithium either. 😉

Mouse March 2, 2018 at 5:07 pm

Old Collector – I never even thought about Olympic medals – very insightful. Gold, silver and bronze – internationally known and our historical start to modern currency – foundation.


Old Collector March 3, 2018 at 2:20 pm


Your reply led my mind to yet another footnote-ish inquiry, this one as to what these vaunted Olympic medals are in fact made of. I have to preface what I was able to find out by saying that apparently there is no set, absolute standard for the metal content of the gold and silver medals.
There is, however, an absolute minimum requirement for the composition of both, as such: that the gold medal consist primarily of silver with a minimum purity of 92.5 percent (sterling silver) coated with a minimum of 6 grams of 99.99 gold (24 karat). This minimum level precious metal arrangement requires a filler of copper to complete the gold medal. That being said, at the recent Winter Games the Korean host committee opted for the highest grade, employing 99.9 silver for both the gold and silver medals, thus doing away with the need for any copper in the gold medal.
As a result, the Pyeongchang medals shaped up this way:
GOLD – 580 grams of 9.99 silver with 6 grams of 99.99 gold plating.
SILVER – 580 grams of 99.9 silver
BRONZE – 90% copper, 10% zinc
I found it interesting that there isn’t much difference at all between the precious metal values of the gold and silver metals (with the application of the daily market rate in both cases), while on the other hand the bronze metal is worth roughly six dollars and change.

Old Collector March 3, 2018 at 11:01 pm

Oops, a slight correction is required here to my previous post. The Olympic Bronze Medal is in fact made of 90% copper and 10% tin, not zinc as I erroneously stated. Sorry about that. 🙁

Old Collector March 4, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Jumpin jehosaphat, egads and gadzooks; pray tell exactly where are my brains these days? I just spotted a major error in my post regarding the composition of the Olympic medals, in this case specifically the GOLD one. The “ingredients” of said item do not in fact include “9.99 silver” but rather “99.9 silver”. Mea culpa, carpe diem and namaste.

Leave a Comment