January sales of American Buffalo and American Eagles exploded with newly dated 2014 bullion coins attracting buyers even as the precious metals market was mixed for the month.
Gold coin sales by the United States Mint jumped the most since April and the bureau’s silver coins moved the quickest in a year.
American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins
January sales of one-ounce, 99.9% pure American Eagle silver coins hit 4,755,000, the highest tally since the same time last year. Introduced in 1986, only three other months — all January’s — scored higher sales:
- January 2013 with 7,498,000,
- January 2011 with 6,422,000, and
- January 2012 with 6,107,000
This year’s 2014 American Silver Eagles debuted on Jan. 13, or about a month after the 2013 American Silver Eagles sold out on Dec. 10. United States Mint distributors could not order as many as they wanted, as sales were rationed. The U.S. Mint allocated how many it sold during the first week to fewer than 3.6 million, and then reduced the amount to less than 600,000 for the second week so it could "begin the process of slowly building weekly inventories." The final week of Silver Eagle sales reached 741,000.
American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins
January sales of one-ounce, 22-karat American Eagle gold coins reached 91,500 ounces, the highest monthly total since 209,500 ounces moved in April 2013. Sales surged 63.3% from December, though they dropped 39% from a year ago.
American Gold Eagles are sold in four sizes — 1 ounce, 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce and 1/10 ounce, and they correspond to denominations shown on the coins of $50, $25, $10 and $5. All sizes advanced in January, with a breakout for each one published further below.
New 2014 American Gold Eagles debuted on Jan. 2. To rid itself of older inventory, normally the U.S. Mint requires its distributors to order new Gold Eagles along with the prior-year’s coins. They still had to, but not from the start like normal. The Mint accepted orders for 2014-dated one ounce and one-tenth ounce Gold Eagles for two weeks. Then on Jan. 21, the Mint mixed 2014 coins with 2013 coins with orders fulfilled on a one-for-one basis.
American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins
January sales of one-ounce, 24-karat American Buffalo gold coins advanced 41,500, jumping 492.9% from December for the highest monthly total since 72,500 sold in January of last year. The 2014-dated coins launched alongside the 2014 American Gold Eagles on Jan. 2.
America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins
No sales were registered last month for America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins because all the 2013-dated issues sold out by Dec. 10 and none of the 2014-dated versions are released. Those 2014 issues will include:
- 2014 Great Smoky Mountains National Park Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins
- 2014 Shenandoah National Park Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins
- 2014 Arches National Park Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins
- 2014 Great Sand Dunes National Park Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins
- 2014 Everglades National Park Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins
While much larger and composed from 99.9% fine silver, these coins are companions and bear the same designs as the corresponding 2014 America the Beautiful Quarters. Release dates for this year’s three-inch, five ounce bullion coins have yet to be announced.
US Mint Bullion Sales by Product
Below is a breakdown of U.S. Mint bullion coin sales in January by product type. For comparative purposes, included are monthly sales totals from last month and from a year ago.
|January 2014 US Mint Bullion Coin Sales (# of coins)|
|January 2013||December 2013||January 2014|
|$50 American Eagle Gold Coins (1 oz)||124,500||53,500||62,500|
|$25 American Eagle Gold Coins (1/2 oz)||8,500||0||12,000|
|$10 American Eagle Gold Coins (1/4 oz)||6,000||4,000||28,000|
|$5 American Eagle Gold Coins (1/10 oz)||11,000||15,000||160,000|
|$50 American Buffalo Gold Coins (1 oz)||72,500||7,000||41,500|
|American Eagle Silver Coins (1 oz)||7,498,000||1,200,000||4,755,000|
U.S. Mint bullion coins are sold to authorized distributors who resell them to the public and other companies like coin and bullion dealers. Bullion coins, whether gold or silver, are usually available for a few percentage points above the latest value of their precious metal content.