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Smart silver Eagle buyers, not so smart Mint?

Congratulations are once again in order to all those silver American Eagle bullion coin buyers who stopped or reduced their purchases this year.

Silver bullion is trading today below where it ended 2016.

When I checked the Kitco website, it was $15.91 a troy ounce.

It closed last year at $15.936.

Add the normal coin premium to a purchase price and the loss is even larger for anyone who purchased these coins in January to get the new 2017 date.

For a collector buying one or two coins for his or her set, this is nothing.

It is a blip.

It cannot compete with the sense of satisfaction of getting a new date quickly.

However, for investors buying quantities, this is utterly disappointing on a short-term basis.

Since it became obvious in February that Eagle buyers have pulled back, I have been asking what they know that I don’t.

I still haven’t figured it.

Sales in January were 5,127,500, followed by 1,215,000 in February, 1,615,000 in March, 835,000 in April, 2,455,000 in May and now 986,000 in June.

In the first half of the year, buyers took a total of 12,233,500 silver Eagles.

If this sales pace continues, by the end of the year the U.S. Mint will have sold 24,467,000.

This has to be of great concern to the Mint.

Part of its bragging rights are tied up in selling the hugely popular silver Eagle bullion coin.

This projected sales number of less than 25 million means the Mint is looking at a sales decline of 35 percent for the year.

Yikes. Last year the decline was almost 20 percent.

Is the pace accelerating?

In May, it looked like the buyers’ strike was coming to an end.

If June had popped back to 3 million, things would look very different now.

But sales didn’t pop back.

The Mint has a problem.

Perhaps it should consider a major advertising campaign.

For too many years, bullion sales at the Mint simply involved handing as many coins as it could produce to its Authorized Purchasers.

That is no longer true.

It should get cracking.

Unfortunately, it probably won’t.

Bullion silver Eagle sales could jump again anyhow.

But is this possibility something on which to base a business plan?

I expect the Mint doesn’t know why buyers have pulled back this year any more than I do.

But it should.

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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4 Responses to Smart silver Eagle buyers, not so smart Mint?

  1. The mints problem are there own. There customer service people don’t have a clue when you have a problem. We all know about the choices and we all know most are wrong. So the problem is internal. I love the remind me app. This is funny. You key in on a product you want to be reminded about when it goes on sale. Oh it works. You get notified an hour after it went on sale. If the item is popular it’s gone. So why have it. The message should go out the day before. At least giving you a chance. Internal or deals made? I think we know the answer. Just my opinion. Mike.

  2. Sundance79 says:

    You are making the assumption that the mint really cares about production numbers. The mint is not a business. If they sell 100 million or 100 they will still be in business. For are we know they might even be relieved that numbers are down.

  3. Mint Master says:

    There is one reason and one reason only why sales are down at the Mint on Silver Eagles; JP Morgan has stopped buying! With more than 600.000.000 Silver Eagles/Maples/and others, JPM, who sits on one of the largest short positions in silver on the Crimex, is ready for the next moon shot in silver. As soon as JPM& Co have fleeced the managed money traders on the Comex they will let the Comex price take off. It is really that simple.

  4. JoeyT46 says:

    Maybe it is that the luster is finally off of Silver Eagles, no pun intended. I don’t buy the bullion coins, just the occasional Silver Eagle coin. Silver seems to be stagnated right now and who knows when it will if ever return to the glory it once held. Caveat Emptor friends

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