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Where will 2012 silver Eagle sales fly?

Few cars were in the parking lot this morning as I pulled into work. Many employees won’t be back in the office until January while a hearty or unlucky few of us are here to keep the wheels of business turning.

Even though I am in the office, my mind is frequently turning to January and what will happen.

Silver American Eagles are always a good story during the first month of the year. Even before the current bullion boom began, collectors eager to add the next date to their Eagle sets clamored for examples of the one-ounce bullion coins. Sales tend to be higher in January on average than in surrounding months.

Demand for silver American Eagles was huge in January of 2011. Buyers snapped up 6,422,000 of the standard bullion coins.

That number was almost double the January 2010 figure of 3,392,500 bullion coins and triple the 1,900,000 bullion coins sold in January 2009.

With the sales numbers currently available to me, fully 16 percent of all of the silver bullion American Eagles sold in 2011 were vended in January.

For comparison, the first month’s sales totals were 11 percent in 2010 and 6.6 percent in 2009. The 2009 figure is unusual because of the shortage of Eagles. Had the Mint had the coins, it would have sold more. The January monthly total for 2008 was 11 percent of the annual total.

Will January bullion silver Eagle 2012 numbers be higher than the January 2011 figure? That is a number worth watching. It will tell us much about what will follow.