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Eagles gain more altitude in July

Silver American Eagle bullion coin sales are showing more signs of life in July.

Weak demand has been a hallmark of 2017.

July results could be construed as a turning point – but we have to wait for the follow-through to know for sure.

So far this month, the Mint’s Authorized Purchasers – the only buyers the U.S. Mint will sell bullion coins to – have taken 1,875,000 coins.

This number might at first seem low.

However, you must look at the numbers for every month in 2017.

Then you will see that July now ranks third highest among the seven months so far in 2017.

January was highest. Naturally.

Sales were 5,127,500.

May was second highest at 2,455,000 silver Eagles.

This can easily be eclipsed if next week sees the same number of coins purchased as this week has done.

In my blog of July 13, the sales figure was 986,000.

Buyers took 889,000 pieces since then.

Another 889,000 by the end of July would put the July sales number at 2,764,000

This would be 309,000 more than May’s total.

Will this happen?

Nobody is publicly declaring that they are buying massive amounts of Eagles, so we will have to wait and see.

However, the price of silver bullion is stabilizing after the flash crash uproar.

At $16.24 this morning on the Kitco website, the precious metal is back above the $15.936 closing price from year-end 2016.

If buyers have confidence that the $15.90s trades last week form a baseline, then they can act on that conviction by buying the popular silver American Eagle bullion coins.

Gold American Eagle bullion coins are not sending as strong a signal as silver, but then gold bullion has not been as weak as silver this year.

It has not given up all of its price gains since Jan. 1 as silver did.

The July gold sales total ranks only fifth highest for the year.

At 14,000 ounces, it could vault past May’s 14,500 total, or March’s 21,000 total and even February’s 27,500 figure.

Wait and see.

What is clear, is like silver, July gold Eagle sales will not equal their 117,500-ounce total from January.

If you are keeping track, so far this year, the Mint has sold 14,108,500 silver Eagles.

For gold, the one-ounce is 151,000 coins, half ounce 27,000, quarter ounce 52,000 and tenth ounce 290,000.

These are far cries from last year’s totals.

The silver Eagle was 37,701,500 in 2016, which itself was down from the record 47,000,000 of 2015.

Last year’s gold totals were 817,500 ounce, 74,000 half ounce, 152,000 quarter ounce and 925,000 tenth ounce.

Whether July is a recovery month or not, there is little likelihood that 2017 silver and gold Eagle sales numbers will approach those achieved in 2016.

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

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