Bullion 2010 American Silver Eagles slid in September, according to the most recent sales figures released by the United States Mint.
1,880,000 of the .999 fine silver strikes were ordered by the U.S. Mint’s network of Authorized Purchasers in September 2010. This is down 571,000 from August numbers. More interesting, the level is the lowest since September 2009 — also the slowest month of last year, when just over 1.7 million were sold.
September continues a declining trend that started in June 2010. The easing is not terribly surprising, however, as May 2010 was the second best ever month for the Silver Eagles and summer months are historically weaker for the series. September rarely shines.
The chart below shows the total coins ordered from the Mint for each month in 2010:
US Mint 2010 Silver Eagle Sales
While low in comparison to other recent months, the September figures are actually high when compared to the number typically sold by the Mint. Since the series debut in 1986, approximately 808,000 of the bullion silver coins have been sold on average each month. And that figure includes the record months set over the last few years. Eliminating the totals from the last three years, Silver Eagle sales have hovered around 600,000 per month.
Demand for the investment grade coins has been at record levels since 2008. In that year alone, 19,583,500 of the strikes were sold as investors turned to the precious metal coins during the onset of the American recession. The 2008 number shattered the previous annual record by over 85%, only to be smashed the very next year when 28,766,500 were sold in 2009.
2010 is on the precipice of becoming the best year ever. Sales from January through September stand at 25,480,500, leaving only 3,286,000 between it and the new record. Averaged out, buyers would only need to order 1,095,333 during each of the remaining three months of the year. A number that low has not been sold by the Mint since February 2008, almost guaranteeing that 2010 will go into the record books.
Bullion Silver Eagles do have more competition of late. Silver prices are much higher, the coin premiums just went up, and the Mint is releasing the proof version November 19.
Silver has been on fire. The precious metal has steadily reached new 30-year highs over the last three weeks, and it just breached $23 an ounce as of this writing. It started 2010 at just above $17 an ounce. In response to higher costs, the Mint recently increased the premium it charges for the coins. It stood at $1.50 per coin since February of 2009, but was elevated to $2 per coin beginning on October 1, 2010. (Read 2010 Silver Eagle Premiums Raised.) Also, the launch of the 2010 Proof Silver Eagles will mark the first time the numismatic grade coins will be sold since 2008. The 2009 versions were cancelled as the Mint was unable to keep up with demand for the bullion versions, something which it is required to do by law.
American Silver Eagle demand is rising to start October. 515,000 have already been purchased through the first five days of the month.