Will 2017 turn out to be the worst year for silver American Eagle sales since 2008?
It’s a distinct possibility.
I am jumping the gun by writing this with a week left in the month of September.
But the broad outlines are clear enough already.
So far this year, the United States Mint has sold 15,703,500 silver Eagles.
The number for the full year 2016 was 37,701,500.
Full year 2015 saw 47 million sold, a number that stands as the record for annual output.
The Mint would have to sell over 10 million coins a month for the rest of 2017 to equal the 2015 annual record.
Not gonna happen.
It would have to sell over 5 million a month to equal the 2009 annual total of 30,459,000.
That, too, probably is not gonna happen.
That brings us to consideration of just how bad a year it can be.
Let’s take the monthly sales average for the first nine months of 2017, and extend it out to the end of 2017.
Monthly average sales are 1,744,833.
Adding this to the running count would bring the annual sales total in 2017 to 20,937,999, which would just beat the 2008 sales total of 20,583,000 one-ounce coins.
That would generate the headline of worst Eagle sales year since 2008.
However, if the recent monthly sales downturn continues, that is if the October to December sales are as low as June to September, we would see additional sales of just 3,470,000 coins.
That would put the 2017 annual sales total at 19,173,500.
That definitely would be worse than the 2008 result.
Then we would have to pull up the 2007 number of 9,028,036 and proclaim the worst silver Eagle sales year since 2007.
Even with a week to go in September, the nine-month and three-month averages will not change much.
That means this part of the bad news is baked in the cake.
However, the final three months can be strong ones.
Buyers can come out of nowhere.
They have done so in some prior years.
What the catalyst might be for resumed silver Eagle buying this year is the question mark.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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