U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Sales Dive As Buyers Take Advantage Of Secondary Market

The U.S. Mint is on track for the lowest sales of American Eagle coins in almost a decade. The 2008 financial crisis began a historic ramp up in sales that lasted for years. 20,583,000 silver American Eagles sold that year, more than double the 2007 total of 9,028,036 coins.

In all but one year thereafter the Mint set a new record. Sales peaked in 2015 at 47,000,000 Silver Eagle coins – 5 times the number sold before the world discovered just how rickety the global financial system actually is.

Memories are short, however, and investor complacency is setting in.

Sales to date in 2017 are just short of 16 million coins and are set to finish the year very close to the 2008 totals.

U.S. Mint sales are viewed as a proxy for bullion sales in the broader market. There isn’t much else available in the way of published data. However, Mint statistics don’t tell the whole story.

While retail buying activity is still stronger than retail selling, we’ve seen a meaningful increase in customer selling of coins, rounds, and bars over the past year. A lot of the American Eagles traded today are therefore resale coins which don’t show up in the Mint’s reporting of new minting activity.

Government Mint Bureaucrats Don’t Respond to Market Conditions

Private mints and refiners are responding to weaker sales by lowering premiums on rounds and bars. The government bureaucrats which run the sovereign mints, including the U.S. Mint, largely ignore these competitive forces. To date, they have not adjusted pricing.

Demand for government-minted products therefore suffers the most as buyers take advantage of significant premium discounts available in other products and secondary market items.

While retail bullion demand in the U.S. is certainly weaker overall, it is way better than the Mint’s statistics might imply. In a sense, the bullion markets are more balanced. National dealers like Money Metals Exchange make more of a two-way market, both buying from and selling to clients.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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