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How many Eagles are enough?

With demand for the one-ounce silver and gold American Eagles running so heavy, it is probably a good idea to pause and look at the numbers sold so far in 2008 as supplied by the U.S. Mint.

The silver American Eagle has passed through the 12-million mark at 12,125,000 here near the end of August. The Mint is ramping up to produce nearly two million a month more. That would put total sales over 20 million pieces, which would be nearly double any top total from prior years. Will the Mint hit that total? It all depends on its privately produced supply of blanks.

Naturally, because gold is more valuable, the totals for one-ounce gold American Eagles is lower. It is currently 307,500, but here too production is being ramped up. So far in August, the total produced is 80,000 pieces.

Even maintaining that pace would still bring the annual total to hardly more than 600,000 pieces. Here, too, the supply of blanks is a critical factor.

That would be a reasonably high number compared to most past years, but in 1986, 1987, 1998 and 1999 the annual total was well over 1 million, with the 1999 holding the top production spot of 1.5 million. Remember Y2K demand?

Production for gold fractional Eagles is much lower, but then so is demand. The Mint says it has a supply on hand, unlike the situation for the one-ounce coin.

Half-ounce total is 20,000, quarter ounce is 24,000 and tenth ounce is 95,000.

Buffalo one-ounce coin production stands at 109,500 pieces so far this year. Supply here has so far been adequate.

With platinum, numbers are really tiny, but that has been true in past years as well.

The one-ounce Eagle stands at 1,200, the half ounce at 2,200, the quarter ounce at 4,400 and the tenth ounce at 5,000.

Now let’s see what happens over the next four months.