Demand for almost every numismatic product fell according to the latest US Mint weekly sales report. In fact, just analyzing the raw numbers show a drop of over 70,000 total items from the prior week. Nearly every gold coin and all US mint proof and uncirculated sets retreated.
This is not completely surprising, however, as the previous week saw well above average demand for most coins. Also, demand for gold products has declined as the price of the precious metal has fallen. It is down nearly $70 from its peak of just a few weeks ago, and the Mint's prices were only adjusted this Wednesday for the decline. Accordingly, overall sales of the Mint's gold containing products (First Spouse Gold Coins, the American Buffalo Gold Coin, and Ultra High Relief $20 Double Eagle) should rise again in the near term.
A few highlights of the weekly sales report:
The 2009 American Platinum Eagle Proof Coins sold out last week after having reached the maximum mintage of 8,000 units. The sell-out was not unexpected as the Eagle Proofs are the only platinum issues available from the Mint this year. No uncirculated or fractional platinums were struck since they were removed from the Mint's portfolio last year. Also, the Mint announced in October that no platinum bullions would be minted in 2009.
The latest US Mint sales report shows stronger demand for proof and uncirculated sets, higher interest in all silver coins, and opening figures for three recently released products.
In a quick review of the new products:
7,207 of the allotted 8,000 American Platinum Eagle Proof Coins were purchased by collectors in four days. In contrast, the Mint sold 4,769 of the one ounce 2008-dated coins through all of last year. Given that the new eagles are the only platinum option available from the Mint this year -- no bullion versions, fractional sizes, etc. -- it seems likely they will sell out, and soon.
Northern Mariana Islands quarters in bags and rolls were released on Nov. 30. While the 1000-coin bags are not as strong as the opening numbers for the prior US Virgin Islands quarter, the 100-coin bags and two-roll sets are selling slightly better. Now that collectors have learned that the new quarters have the lowest mintages of any in decades, it would seem logical for short term demand to remain strong.
Margaret Taylor First Spouse Gold Coins went on sale Dec. 3. Opening numbers have the proofs at 1,791 and the uncirculated options at 1,048. They beat the inaugural sales of the September released Sarah Polk First Spouse Coins, which came in at 1,684 and 921.
The newest US Mint sales report is reminiscent of last week's, with few notables outside of bullion coins. Collectors were more stingy in their spending, or perhaps they simply stepped away from the buying table during the Thanksgiving holiday week.
In a change from the prior report that showed most US Mint coin sets had better than normal gains, only three stood out in this round -- the 2009 DC & US Territories Quarters Set, the 2008 Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set and the 2009 US Mint Uncirculated Set.
The 2009 Mint Set screamed the loudest, marking a two-week winning streak. Sales dramatically popped above 600,000 thanks to a huge weekly jump of 28,613 -- more than 9,000 above the previous increase.
Fewer numismatic products are shouting out with noteworthy gains in the latest US Mint weekly sales report, but bullion coins are screaming along with the record highs in gold and silver prices.
More visible on collector's radar were the debut of Zachary Taylor Presidential $1 rolls, clad US Mint Uncirculated Sets and US Mint Proof Sets, which are on a three week rise.
In fact, with the exception of the Lincoln and Silver Proof Set, all sets performed at least slightly better when compared to last week's report.
US bullion coins burned the brightest, as the following highlights describe:
2009 Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins hit 171,500 for the year, just 500 shy from matching all of those sold in 2008 -- and the 2009s were released only on Oct. 15. The US Mint sold 26,000 during the last seven days alone, bringing the November total to 55,000.
2009 American Eagle Gold Coins jumped up 49,500 in the same time frame for a November tally of 124,000. The month already ranks as the third best of the year.
2009 American Silver Eagles are 7,000 away from reaching 26 million this year. Numbers soared 986,500 in the last seven days, reaching 2,586,500 for the month. November is ranking as the fourth best in 2009 with several days left to place orders.
With gold prices pounding on new highs, many of the US Mint's gold coins enjoyed stronger sales last week, although $20 UHRs dropped back and proof Buffalo coins continue to slow.
The newly released Lincoln Presidency cent two-roll sets are visible in this week's report. The initial numbers are solid. Braille Silver Dollars, which will go off sale in less than a month, also picked up nicely. These and more highlights follow:
2009 Buffalo Gold Proof Coin sales continue to soften as compared to their first few days following their Oct. 19 launch. Another 4,316 were added, which is down nearly half from last week's reported increase of 8,487. On the other hand, the bullion one-ounce versions climbed 13,500 versus the prior 11,000.
American Silver Eagles topped 25 million this week. Their latest seven-day sales rose by 750,000, which is down from the prior 850,000. American Gold Eagles are moving faster. 41,500 were sold in the last seven days compared to the previous 30,000.
UHR $20 Double Eagles snapped a two-week winning streak. Numbers came in at 1,098 and lagged behind the last gain of 1,453. The year-to-date tally is at 104,862.
Gold coins are again the major talking points coming out of the latest US Mint sales data. Buffalo gold proof numbers are less spectacular than those from last week's report. But they are far from shabby and a retreat from the earlier blazing sales was to be expected.
Standing out also were Ultra High Reliefs, bullion Eagles, Braille dollars and the Mint's traditional annual sets. All improved over the prior week. Our bullet point analysis follows:
In less than two weeks, collector 2009 Buffalo Gold Proof Coins surpassed the 2008 sales figures of 25,896. Another 8,487 were added, raising the total to 27,955. In the same family, the sister bullion versions are now at 132,000 for an increase of 15,500 in the last seven days. They are 40,000 shy of topping the same sized 2008-dated sales.
American Silver Eagles climbed 850,00 during the same seven-day period, which was 151K better than the last. American Gold Eagles spurred ahead 30,000 -- more than double the prior figure. November is historically one of the better months of the year for bullion coins.
UHR $20 Double Eagles advanced for a second week. Weekly numbers came in at 1,453 for a year-to-date tally of 103,764. Last week's report showed a pick up of 1,045 while the week prior was a lowly 562.
US Mint collector coins moved like molasses when compared to sales figures of two weeks ago. But bullion coins -- especially gold -- still had a little swagger in their step. October will be a robust month for American Eagles and American Buffalos.
These and other highlights follow:
UHR Double Eagles took a significant hit, rising sadly by only 562. Since they went on sale Jan. 22, there has been one single instance when weekly sales were lower. The reason? Gold has been on a five day losing streak, which started last Thursday. It makes sense for collectors to be cautious in buying with expectations of a $50 price decline. We missed that reduction by just 28.8 cents.
In the Lincoln category, the Chronicles sets were taken off standby status last week with the max 50,000 officially allocated. Lincoln Cent Proof Sets climbed by 4,900, which was less than half of the prior 10,921 increase.
2009 US Mint and US Mint Proof Sets were the biggest unit gainers, rising 21,826 and 22,613 respectively. The proof sets were actually up a tad bit. Not so for the mint sets which previously climbed by 74,474. The 500,000 milestone is still nearly 11K away.