Gold, Silver Soar in August; US Mint Silver Bullion Sales Strong

1000 g gold bars
In August, gold rallied 6.3% and silver soared 19.8%. US Mint bullion coin sales split. They were very strong for Silver Eagles but weak for Gold Eagles.

Gold and silver futures declined for a third straight session Friday, though gold still logged a modest weekly gain and both metals soared in August.

In U.S. Mint bullion coins for the month, American Silver Eagle sales maintained a record pace while American Gold Eagle sales whimpered to a six-year low.

Returning to precious metals, gold for December delivery shed $16.80, or 1.2%, to settle at $1,396.10 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices rallied $83.10, or 6.3%, in August but they climbed just 30 cents for the week.

Gold saw a second straight month of gains, "which is bullish from a momentum and technical perspective, especially as equities came under pressure this month," MarketWatch quoted Mark O’Byrne, executive director at GoldCore in Dublin.

"We are now entering the seasonal sweet spot for gold as September and November are two of gold’s strongest months as seen in the data going back to 1975," according to O’Byrne.

The precious metal notched a three and a half month high on Tuesday with its close above $1,420 an ounce. It went down from there, opined analysts, on speculation of Fed changes to stimulus and mixing safe-haven demand with the ebb and flow of Syria tensions.

"Many believe that the Fed will announce changes to its stimulus policy in September," Peter Hug, the global trading director of Kitco Metals Inc., in Montreal, said in a report according to Bloomberg News. "Notions of an imminent U.S. military attack on Syria have receded significantly in the past 48 hours, putting pressure on gold."

For the year-to-date, gold has declined $279.70, or 16.7%, from its final 2012 settlement of $1.375.80 an ounce.

Gold Forecasts

U.S. markets are closed Monday in observance of Labor Day. Analysts and traders weigh bullish for gold when trading action resumes.

"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 36 participants, 22 responded this week. Of those 22 participants, 11 see prices up, while nine see prices down and two see prices moving sideways or are neutral," reports Kitco News.

"Market participants who see weaker prices cited gold’s inability to build on its mid-week gains… Those who see higher prices listed several factors including the potential for escalation in the Syrian conflict and upward momentum."

The latest gold survey by Bloomberg News is the most bullish since March. Twenty-three participants cast their vote for higher gold prices next week compared to 6 who were bullish and 5 who were neutral.

Silver, Platinum and Palladium Futures

Silver was headed for a sixth straight weekly win until pounded on Friday. Silver futures for December delivery tumbled 62.7 cents, or 2.6%, to finish at $23.51 an ounce.

For the week, prices dropped 22.5 cents, or 1%, but silver still soared in August by $3.89, or 19.8%. Its monthly percentage gain was about three times that of gold and platinum. Saying that, silver remains the worst performer for the year so far with its 22.2% loss.

PGMs ended with weekly losses. They split Friday and on the month. In their closings:

  • October platinum gained $4.70, or 0.3%, to $1,527.10 an ounce. It dipped 0.9% for the week but shot 6.8% higher in August.

  • Palladium for December delivery plunged $16.25, or 2.2%, to $723.85 an ounce. It fell 3.6% on the week and 0.3% for the month.

For the year-to-date, platinum has fallen 1% while palladium has advanced 2.9%.

London Fix Precious Metals

London precious metal fixings declined across the board on Friday. In breaking down their weekly, monthly and Thursday PM to Friday PM bullion fix prices:

  • Gold lost $13, or 0.9%, to $1,394.75 an ounce, but still gained 1.3% for the week and 6.1% for the month.

  • Silver dropped 47 cents, or 1.9%, to $23.64 an ounce, yet advanced 2.5% for the week and 18.6% in August.

  • Platinum fell $13, or 0.9%, to $1,514 an ounce. It declined 1.6% this week but gained 5.7% for the month.

  • Palladium declined $14, or 1.9%, to $727 an ounce. It losses for the week and August tallied to 3.3% and 0.8%.

U.S. Mint Bullion Sales in August

August tends to be a more tepid time of the year for United States Mint bullion sales. That proved very true for bullion gold. In monthly breakdowns across Mint bullion products:

  • On Monday alone, American Eagle silver coin soared 1,179,000 for one of the best days of the year. They have been silent since but the gain lifted August sales to 3,625,000 and their year-to-date sales to 33,075,000. The bullion coins remain on track for a new annual sales record. In record-year 2011, the Silver Eagles did not top 33 million until October 1, 2011. While the pace in August was down from July’s tally of 4,406,500, the month ranks twelve all-time. Impressive for a series that began in 1986.

  • August sales of American Eagle gold coins came in at 11,500 ounces with 4,500 of that from this week. There is not a lot to impress here. The August tally is the weakest monthly showing for the gold coins since July 2007.

  • Weekly sales of American Buffalo gold coins rose 1,500 with sales for the month at 10,000, or 8,500 less than the prior month. In related coin news but on the numismatic front, the U.S. Mint also sold 40,804 reverse proof Gold Buffalos in August. The reverse proof celebrates the 100th anniversary of the designs on the American Gold Buffalo.

  • August sales of America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins hit 19,000 coins. That compares to 17,000 in July; 25,300 in June; 25,800 in May; 19,800 in March; and 14,340 in February; and 28,960 in January. The Mint’s supply of the five ounce coins sold out in early March and new ones were not offered until May. Sales this month were supported by the Ft. McHenry silver coin release on Monday.

U.S. Mint bullion sales on Friday, the week, in August and the year-to-date follow.

American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Sales
  Friday Sales Last Week Weekly Sales August Sales YTD Sales
$50 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 500 3,500 4,000 9,000 596,500
$25 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 0 0 1,000 48,000
$10 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 4,000 2,000 6,000 100,000
$5 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 0 0 5,000 455,000
$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins 500 4,000 1,500 10,000 190,000
White Mountain 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 100 100 1,200 1,300 31,200
Perry’s Victory 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 100 1,300 1,200 2,800 23,600
Great Basin 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 100 1,700 2,900 4,600 22,000
Fort McHenry 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 100 N/A 10,300 10,300 10,300
American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins 0 850,000 1,179,000 3,625,000 33,075,000


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

Current US Silver Coin Melt Values

Silver coin melt values rose sharply in August with gains taking away some of the earlier losses this year. The following grid offers current and past melt values of older U.S. circulating coins that were composed of 90% silver.

US Silver Coins Silver Coin Melt Values (12/31/2012) Silver Coin Melt Values (7/31/2013) Silver Coin Melt Values (8/30/2013) Net Change in August Net Change Year-To-Date
1942-1945 Jefferson Nickels $1.68 $1.12 $1.33 $0.21 -$0.36
1892-1916 Barber Dimes $2.17 $1.44 $1.71 $0.27 -$0.46
1916-1945 Mercury Dimes $2.17 $1.44 $1.71 $0.27 -$0.46
1946-1964 Roosevelt Dimes $2.17 $1.44 $1.71 $0.27 -$0.46
1892-1916 Barber Quarters $5.42 $3.61 $4.28 $0.67 -$1.14
1916-1930 Standing Liberty 25c $5.42 $3.61 $4.28 $0.67 -$1.14
1932-1964 Washington Quarters $5.42 $3.61 $4.28 $0.67 -$1.14
1892-1915 Barber Half Dollars $10.83 $7.21 $8.55 $1.34 -$2.28
1916-1947 Walking Liberty 50c $10.83 $7.21 $8.55 $1.34 -$2.28
1948-1963 Franklin 50c $10.83 $7.21 $8.55 $1.34 -$2.28
1964 Kennedy Half Dollars $10.83 $7.21 $8.55 $1.34 -$2.28
1965-1970 Kennedy Half Dollars $4.43 $2.95 $3.50 $0.55 -$0.93
1878-1921 Morgan Dollars $23.16 $15.42 $18.28 $2.86 -$4.88
1921-1935 Peace Dollars $23.16 $15.42 $18.28 $2.86 -$4.88
1971-1976 Silver Eisenhower $1s $9.47 $6.30 $7.47 $1.17 -$1.99
1986-2013 American Eagles $29.95 $19.94 $23.64 $3.70 -$6.31
2010-2013 ATB Silver Coins $149.75 $99.70 $118.20 $18.50 -$31.55


Silver coin melt values are based on the final London Fix silver prices in 2012, July and August.

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