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Silver Eagle shortage eases a bit

Strong production totals, a rising silver price and cheaper alternatives could end the silver Eagle shortage that has stuck buyers with delivery delays and high premiums.

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Increased production, a higher silver price and other alternatives could signal the end of the silver Eagle shortage.

Ron Drzewucki, owner of Modern Coin Wholesale, Lakewood Ranch, Fla., said silver Eagle scarcity is loosening up now.

“Premiums were as high as $5 for a silver Eagle and now they’ve dropped to $4,” he said. “Shipping delays have dropped down. I think production is catching up.”

United States Mint data show silver Eagle production for 2015 is up. From January through the end of September, 36,054,500 coins were sold. The total for 2014 by the end of September was 32,331,000.

With October’s monthly sales standing at 1,920,500 as of Oct. 14, it will take just 6,031,000 more Eagles to reach 2014’s record of 44,006,000 pieces. Breaking the record looks like a cinch.

Julian Jarvis, owner of Jarvis’ Rare Coins, Greencastle, Ind., said the rise in silver price is encouraging some holders to sell what they have now, increasing the silver Eagle supply.

Prices of an ounce of silver spiked back up to $15.61 as of Oct. 13 after averaging around $14.71 in September when the Eagle shortage was at its peak.

“I’ve bought some silver Eagles back already,” he said. “I had one customer who bought a silver Eagle box (500 coins) from me some weeks ago and just sold me back 280 of them.”

He said buyers fed up with delays and high premiums are buying other forms of silver such as 90 percent silver pre-1964 U.S. coins and privately minted rounds.

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“The premiums on 90 percent silver (coins) have dropped,” Jarvis said. “It once cost $14.70 per a dollar’s face value worth of silver half dollars and $14.30 for 10 silver dimes or four silver quarters. Now I see where it has dropped to $14 for the halves and $13.40 for the dimes or quarters.”

Drzewucki said he steers bullion buyers to privately minted rounds from silver Eagles.

“Our sales (of privately minted silver) have quadrupled,” he said. “We thought that was a better idea to buy one-ounce silver bullion rounds at just 89 cents over spot.”

That looks like a smart choice as long as the premium for silver Eagles remains over four times that figure.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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