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Mint Stats: Weak bullion hurts 5-oz debut

Plunging silver prices did not help the debut of the 2011-P 5-ounce Gettysburg uncirculated silver collector coin Sept. 22. By the 26th, the Mint had recorded sales of 9,549, about half the number recorded for the opening sales of the 2010 designs. Further, the mintage ceiling was raised to 35,000 from 27,000, leaving the Mint with yet another 25,451 to sell. The fifth and final 2010 design for Mount Hood is still being offered. Sales there crept up by just 580 pieces to reach 22,452.

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Sales of both pieces and others have since been suspended as the Mint reprices, a process that takes days. Even if the new prices follow the market lower, the break in sales momentum will be hard to make up by the Gettysburg coin. The rate of sales of the Mount Hood had already slowed significantly.

If you compare regular set numbers for 2010 and 2011, you will see that collectors this year are buying anywhere from 20 percent to 60 percent fewer.

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