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Bullion coin sales make fast start

Bullion buyers gave the United States Mint a strong start to 2017.

First day sales of the ever popular silver American Eagle totaled 3,747,500 coins on Jan. 9.

This one-day total is up almost 35 percent from last year’s first day offer.

Gold American Eagles also began quickly. There were 68,000 ounces sold of the four sizes, tenth-ounce through one-ounce.

This is up about 15 percent from last year when 60,000 ounces were sold to the Mint’s Authorized Purchasers, the only buyers the Mint will sell to.

The dominant coin for gold was the ounce.

The 2017 first day saw 46,000 coins go out the door compared to 41,500 in 2016.

For the half ounce the numbers are 16,000 in 2017 and 12,000 in 2016.

The quarter ounce figures are 26,000 in 2017 and 22,000 in 2016.

The tenth ounce recorded 75,000 coins sold on the first day of 2017 and 70,000 last year.

Only the one-ounce gold Buffalo failed to improve upon its 2016 first day number.

Buyers took 20,500 compared to last year’s 21,000.

As a percentage, that is a decline of just over two percent.

Unlike the silver Eagle, gold bullion coins had a second day of sales on Jan. 10.

The gold Eagles padded their numbers by another 5,500 ounces to reach 73,500.

There were 4,000 additional one-ounce coins sold, bringing the running tally to 50,000 pieces.

The half ounce added 1,000 coins to reach 17,000.

Another 2,000 increased the quarter ounce tally to 28,000 coins and 5,000 tenth-ounce coins swelled the running total to 80,000.

The gold bullion Buffalo also improved its number on the second day of sales by 2,000 to reach 22,500.

There is no update for silver, presumably because the Mint cupboard is bare until next week.

But the 2017 sales race has started.

Participants have come out of the blocks faster than last year.

Will the race end with January 2017 monthly totals beating the 2016 numbers?

Last year silver reached 5,954,500 Eagles for the entire month.

Gold Eagles recorded 124,000 ounces.

Buffaloes stampeded to 34,000.

As with any race, rooting for a winner makes it more fun.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."