American Eagle Silver Coin Sales for 2012 Top 33 Million Ounces—Sold Out at Mint

As the New Year begins, markets look back on 2012 as a very mixed year with some telling signs for the future of the precious metals markets. Among the most important and indicative of these is the record sale of American Eagle Silver Coins, which topped 33,742,500 ounces to sell out at the U.S. Mint.

In early trade one Wednesday, the price of gold rebounded following Congress passing a bill avoiding tax hikes and spending cuts, known as the fiscal cliff. The spot price of gold gained $18.10 or 1.08 percent to $1,693.10 per troy ounce. U.S. gold futures for February delivery gained $18.70 to $1,694.80 per troy ounce, a gain of 1.12 percent on the fiscal cliff agreement.

Retrospectively, sales to authorized distributors from the U.S. Mint of American Eagle Silver Coins totaled only 1,635,000 ounces in December of 2012, a decrease of 18.6 percent from the 2,009,000 coins sold during December 2011. This change, however, reflects reduced production at the Mint, rather than reduced demand. The 2012-W Proof American Silver Eagle sold out on November 13, 2012 and Uncirculated 2012-dated American Eagle Silver Coins sold out by December 17, 2012, creating a three week window, until January 7, 2013, when the current year coin would be offered.

The U.S. Mint does not sell Silver Eagle bullion coins directly to the public, instead distributing them through a network of authorized purchasers. The Mint began accepting orders for the 2012 Silver Eagle on January 3, 2012, leading to the strongest sales month for the year with 6,107,000 coins being sold. February saw volatility in the precious metals markets and a resulting drop in sales levels to 1,490,000 ounces sold. Sales then tracked levels from the previous year until October, when demand reached multi-year records. This strong sales trend continued through December 17, when the Mint announced it had sold out 2012-dated American Eagle Silver Coins and would not strike any more.

Based on sales levels, figures for December would likely have exceeded 3,000,000 ounces if the Mint had produced enough of the American Eagle Silver Coin to meet demand. Sales totals for the Silver Eagle for the entire year of 2012 were the third highest on record with a total of 33,742,500 coins sold. In 2011, almost 40,000,000 Silver Eagle coins were sold. 2012 constitutes the third time in the coin’s 27-year history it achieved sales over 30,000,000 coins. Since 2000, investors and collectors have purchased an astonishing 232,143,000 American Silver Eagle one-ounce coins now worth over $7 billion at current market prices.

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