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When will Mint run out?

Silver American Eagle one-ounce bullion coins were put back on sale by the U.S. Mint yesterday.

The Mint had run out of the coins in early July.

It took almost three weeks to build up a supply of 3 million coins that could be sold to the Mint’s Authorized Purchaser network.

There was no one-day sellout Monday. The Mint would have sold all 3 million pieces had buyers wanted them, the Mint’s Tom Jurkowski said.

However, when Monday sales were added up, buyers took 1,323,500 coins, leaving 1,676,500 for today.

Jurkowski said a couple of its big buyers place their orders on Tuesday. So we will watch to see if the Mint runs out of coins today.

The Mint has sold 4,032,500 coins thus far in the month of July.

Should all 3 million coins be taken by buyers before August rolls around, the monthly sales total could reach 5,709,000.

That figure would make July the top silver Eagle sales month in 2015.

The January sales total was 5,530,000.

Demand in that first month of the year is supercharged by the strong universal desire to get the new date. There is no such aspect to July demand.

For example, silver Eagle sales recorded by the Mint in July 2014 was the lowest of the entire year at 1,975,000 pieces.

Obviously, this year’s sales have traced a new path. Or maybe not as much as we might think.

If you look at sales numbers for the entire calendar year to this point in July, the comparison of 2015 to 2014 shows an almost identical number sold.

In 2014, Jurkowski said the figure was 25,768,500. In 2015 at 25,818,500, buyers have taken just 50,000 more.

Last year set a calendar year sales record of 44,006,000. Perhaps a new record will be achieved in 2015.

The biggest sales month in 2014 occurred in October, when 5,790,000 coins were sold.

Because of silver’s declining price, $14.62 an ounce when I checked the Kitco site this morning, the $2 per coin the Mint charges for Eagles is becoming a bigger and bigger piece of the overall sales price per coin.

At the current bullion price it works out to a markup of 13.7 percent.

Then the Authorized purchasers and sellers farther down the distribution chain add their markups.

On the APMEX retail site, buyers can get the 2015 coins for as little as $3.59 over bullion value, or a 24.6 percent markup. This is a quantity figure.

If you only want, say 10 coins, your markup is $4.59 and that is 31.4 percent.

Clearly, at this level of markup, buyers of silver Eagles put great emphasis – and trust – in this particular form of silver.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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