It is the last month of the year and the U.S. Mint is about to run out of U.S silver American Eagle bullion coins.
On Friday, the Mint notified its Authorized purchasers that it expects to run out of the silver coins during the week of Dec. 15.
With sales currently about 300,000 beneath last year’s record output of 42,675,000 silver Eagles, anyone interested in the coin is waiting for the announcement of a new record sales figure.
Obviously, we won’t have long to wait.
The longer wait will be for the beginning of sales of the 2015-dated silver bullion coins.
The Mint said this will occur on Jan. 12.
That is more than a month away.
If you are interested in the new coins, and most collectors seem to be, that feels worse than what a kid feels waiting for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve.
There is something very satisfying about acquiring large and beautiful silver coins with a fresh new date on them.
Achieving this sense of satisfaction for many clearly outweighs any calculation of trying to get the most value for their money.
Buying a 2015 coin later in the year, would likely result in paying a lower premium to bullion value. However, this thought is easily trumped by the “I want it now” impulse.
Also, buyers can rationalize the purchase by thinking that the price of silver itself might rise, so acting quickly could mean getting it cheaper than what it will be.
This thought that silver might jump in value at times is perfectly rational. Uptrends have made suckers out of those who counsel caution.
However, downtrends make eager buyers look like the suckers.
Currently, we are in a silver price downtrend that began at the end of April 2011 during the Central States Numismatic Society convention.
This downtrend has shaved two-thirds of the value of the bullion content of a silver American Eagle.
To point this out, of course, is both true and irrelevant if the joy of getting the new date quickly is the only goal.
For collectors, that is a perfectly acceptable aspiration, especially if the number of coins purchased is restricted to a handful.
The Mint also detailed how the gold American Eagle and Buffalo programs will wind down for the year. It expects to run out of the fractional sizes before 2014 concludes, but there could be an overhanging supply of one-ounce coins, though this quantity will be small, according to the Mint.
Authorized Purchasers will have a clear field to buy 2015-dated gold American Eagle and Buffalo coins starting on Jan. 5, 2015.
However, on Jan. 20, the Mint will begin its version of forced buying of 2014-dated leftover one-ounce pieces if it is necessary to clear out remaining supplies.
Because demand for 2015 silver Eagles is expected to be higher than the supply available, the Mint will allocate supply according to its rationing formula for Authorized Purchasers.
The Mint is confident that gold 2015 Eagle supplies will be sufficient to satisfy demand, so there is no rationing planned at this time.
So on your 2015 calendar circle Jan. 5 if you are interested in gold and Jan. 12 for silver.
Then you can contact your favorite dealer to get your shiny new 2015 bullion coins.
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."