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Mint sets another silver record

It is an anti-climax. But now we know how many silver American Eagles were sold this year. Since Nov. 30 we have known it would be a record amount.

The total is an even 47 million. Throw the confetti.

That is 2,994,000 more than in 2014.

In percentage terms, the gain is 6.8 percent.

The market has been waiting for a final number more out of curiosity than for any impact it might have on the bullion coin business.

There will now be a gap of availability of silver Eagles between now and Jan. 11 when orders for the 2016 coins will be accepted from the Mint’s Authorized Purchasers.

Retailers have been running ads for at least a week urging buyers to place their orders for 2016 coins.

The race to be the first on the block to have a 2016-dated coin is on.

Financially, this is a foolish temptation to give in to, but there is no question that there is something emotionally satisfying about having a coin with a new date on it early in the year.

Years ago before the crazy market conditions set in, I used to regularly buy an example or two at the annual Florida United Numismatists convention.

It was fun to hold the new coin in my hand.

It was professionally important to know what the premium over melt value was at that instant.

With the current rationing regime and Mint production schedule, it is not possible to acquire the coins at FUN nowadays.

In the Mint’s announcement, it noted that it is employing three shifts of workers each day at the West Point Mint to meet demand for gold, silver and platinum Eagles as well as gold Buffaloes and some numismatic products.

I am glad that numismatic dollars at least are putting food on the table for those employees.

But I am also concerned that in the rush to buy 2015 Eagles, virtually every buyer this year is now nursing a loss.

I checked the Kitco website before I began writing this.

Silver was at $14.02 a troy ounce.

Gold is not really germane to this discussion, but I note it anyway. It was $1,060.70.

Where will buyers push the silver Eagle in 2016?

The Mint has now set three annual sales records in a row.

In 2013 the sales total was 42,675,000.

In 2014 the figure was 44,006,000.

A gain of 6.8 percent in 2016 would put the figure at 50,196,000.

Will we see that nice, round number reached?

I guess if silver buyers can’t have profits, they can have the sense of being part of Mint history.

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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