Gold Edges Up Week, Silver Surges; US Mint Bullion Coins Mixed

Gold bars, seven side-by-side
Gold, silver and other precious metals advanced this week. Sales of U.S. Mint bullion coins weakened from a week ago, though Silver Eagles continue to impress.

Gold advanced for a third straight session after logging six consecutive losses previously. The three days of gains turned prices around for the week as the yellow metal scored a modest weekly increase of $1.70, or 0.1%.

Other precious metals logged sharply higher advances to pad their string of weekly wins.

On Friday, gold for December delivery added $2.30, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,312.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold prices on Thursday soared $24.60, or 1.9%.

"Both gold and silver broke their short-term downtrends, which we interpret as a sign of growing investor interest," Commerzbank analysts said, referring to Thursday’s gains. "It would help the prices to bottom out if both metals could stay above the psychologically important thresholds of $1,300 and $20 per troy ounce respectively as the week closes."

Gains since mid-week came on the heels of weakness in the U.S. dollar and on better-than-expected economic data out of China.

"There is optimism about higher demand from China as the economy improves," Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview according to Bloomberg News. "The bullish mood in the industrial-metal complex is helping gold and silver."

Surveys Mixed on Gold Prices for Next Week

Last week there were pretty strong bets, incorrectly as they turned out, that gold would decline this week. Two gold surveys diverge in overall expectations for gold prices next week. The weekly survey from Kitco News weighs bullish.

"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 36 participants, 18 responded this week. Of those 18 participants, 12 see prices up, while 2 see prices down and four see prices moving sideways or are neutral," reports Kitco News.

"Participants who see higher prices said given the strength in commodities in general and gold’s so-far sustained move over $1,300, they expect the gains to continue… Several who said they were neutral or saw prices moving sideways said gold will likely remain range-bound, but could test the upper end of the range… Those who see weaker prices said gold prices could dip back down under $1,300 next week…"

Conversely, the survey by Bloomberg News is the most bearish since June. Fourteen participants expect lower gold prices next week compared to nine who were bullish and seven who were neutral.

With the latest weekly increase, gold trimmed a tad from its loss for the year so far. The precious metal is off $363.60, or 21.7%, since the end of 2012.

Silver, Platinum and Palladium Futures

While gold prices declined last week, other precious metals gained and have now extended their weekly winnings streaks — silver to three with platinum and palladium to two. The latest weekly advances include 2.5% for silver, 3.4% for platinum and 1.6% for palladium. As for Friday:

  • Silver price for September delivery jumped 21.4 cents, or 1.1%, to close at $20.41 an ounce. The white metal has moved higher for two consecutive days.

  • Up for a third session, October platinum added $9, or 0.6%, to finish at $1,500.60 an ounce.

  • Palladium for September delivery climbed $2.45, or 0.3%, to $741 an ounce. The PGM metal also has advanced for three straight sessions.

Year-to-date, silver has fallen 32.5% and platinum has lost 2.7%. Palladium is alone with its pick up, advancing 5.4% from the end of last year.

London Fix Precious Metals

London precious metals fixings advanced on Friday, excluding palladium which remained unchanged. When comparing PM London Fix prices between Thursday and Friday:

  • Gold gained $10.75, or 0.8%, to $1,309 an ounce,
  • Silver advanced 58 cents, or 2.9%, to $20.31 an ounce,
  • Platinum added $27, or 1.8%, to $1,492 an ounce, and
  • Palladium was unchanged at $739 an ounce

Gold inched 25 cents lower on the week. Other London precious metals notched weekly gains of 4.4% for silver, 3.9% for platinum and 1.2% for palladium.

US Bullion Coin Sales

U.S. Mint weekly bullion sales slowed significantly for gold coins and weakened for silver coins. In weekly breakdowns:

  • Silver coins gained 850,000 ounces — a respectable showing but down from the 950,000 ounces in the previous week. All sales came from American Silver Eagles. America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins have not advanced for two weeks.

  • Gold coins limped in at 2,500 ounces compared to last week’s solid score of 20,500 ounces. Splits were 500 ounces in 22-karat American Gold Eagles and 2,000 ounces in 24-karat American Gold Buffalo coins.

Year-to-date Silver Eagle sales are at 30.3 million, a record pace that was supported by soaring July sales. Until Friday, the quickest the level had ever been reached was in record year 2011. Then, it took until September 21, 2011 to reach above 30 million in sales for the year.

The following are the available daily, August and year-to-date bullion coin sales totals as published by the United States Mint.

American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coin Sales
  Friday Sales Last Week Weekly Sales August Sales YTD Sales
$50 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 500 12,500 500 500 588,000
$25 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 1,000 0 1,000 48,000
$10 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 2,000 0 0 94,000
$5 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 10,000 0 0 450,000
$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins 500 6,000 2,000 3,000 183,000
White Mountain 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 0 0 29,900
Perry’s Victory 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 0 0 20,800
Great Basin 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 0 0 17,400
American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins 58,000 950,000 850,000 850,000 30,300,000


Figures above are in the number of coins sold, not in ounces.

Current US Silver Coin Melt Values

Coin melt values continue to climb in August, but huge earlier losses have them well lower for 2013. The following grid has the melt values of older circulating U.S. coins that happened to be composed of 90% silver. These coins, at least those that have little numismatic value because they are too common or too worn, are the ones often sought for their silver value.

US Silver Coins Silver Coin Melt Values (12/31/2012) Silver Coin Melt Values (7/31/2013) Silver Coin Melt Values (8/9/2013) Net Change in Aug Net Change Year-To-Date
1942-1945 Jefferson Nickels $1.68 $1.12 $1.14 $0.02 -$0.54
1892-1916 Barber Dimes $2.17 $1.44 $1.47 $0.03 -$0.70
1916-1945 Mercury Dimes $2.17 $1.44 $1.47 $0.03 -$0.70
1946-1964 Roosevelt Dimes $2.17 $1.44 $1.47 $0.03 -$0.70
1892-1916 Barber Quarters $5.42 $3.61 $3.67 $0.07 -$1.74
1916-1930 Standing Liberty 25c $5.42 $3.61 $3.67 $0.07 -$1.74
1932-1964 Washington Quarters $5.42 $3.61 $3.67 $0.07 -$1.74
1892-1915 Barber Half Dollars $10.83 $7.21 $7.35 $0.13 -$3.49
1916-1947 Walking Liberty 50c $10.83 $7.21 $7.35 $0.13 -$3.49
1948-1963 Franklin 50c $10.83 $7.21 $7.35 $0.13 -$3.49
1964 Kennedy Half Dollars $10.83 $7.21 $7.35 $0.13 -$3.49
1965-1970 Kennedy Half Dollars $4.43 $2.95 $3.00 $0.05 -$1.43
1878-1921 Morgan Dollars $23.16 $15.42 $15.71 $0.29 -$7.46
1921-1935 Peace Dollars $23.16 $15.42 $15.71 $0.29 -$7.46
1971-1976 Silver Eisenhower $1s $9.47 $6.30 $6.42 $0.12 -$3.05
1986-2013 American Eagles $29.95 $19.94 $20.31 $0.37 -$9.64
2010-2013 ATB Silver Coins $149.75 $99.70 $101.55 $1.85 -$48.20


All coin melt values above are based on the final London silver fixings in 2012, June and August. For reference, melt values of newer bullion silver coins are also provided.

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