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Gold eagles soar while silver dips

Gold American Eagle bullion coin sales jumped higher by 30 percent in 2016 at the U.S. Mint.


In the same period, sales of the one-ounce silver American Eagle bullion coin dropped 20 percent.

While we might try to figure out whether bullion buyers are becoming unpredictable, it pays to remember that there were record sales of silver Eagles in 2015 while gold Eagle sales that year were nowhere near a record.

Anything can look good coming off a low base.

Silver Eagles sold in 2016 totaled 37,701,500, down 9,289,500 pieces from the record 47 million vended in 2015.

Gold one-ounce Eagles sold in 2016 numbered 817,500, up 191,000 from 626,500 in 2015.

This is the highest annual gold total since 2011 when 910,000 one-ounce coins were sold.

The year 2011 was also the year gold bullion peaked in value at just over $1,900 a troy ounce.

For comparison, sales of the silver Eagle totaled 39,868,500 in 2011. Silver bullion was over $48 at its peak price that year.

By Dec. 6, 2016, the U.S. Mint said it had sold all of its Eagle supplies for the year except for the half-ounce weight.

Sales of that size stood at 73,000 pieces.

For the quarter-ounce, 2016 sales were 152,000 coins.

The tenth-ounce Eagle had sales of 925,000 pieces.

Taking the four weights of gold Eagles together, the Mint sold 984,500 ounces of gold bullion as of Dec. 6. That figure, too, is the highest since 1 million ounces were sold in 2011.

This ounce total is up 23 percent from 2015.

Sales of the few remaining half-ounce gold Eagles will not affect the overall sales totals by much.

Supplies of gold one-ounce Buffalo coins had not run out as of Dec. 6.

As of that date, buyers had taken 212,500 of the coins, which was below the 220,500 sold in 2015.

In 2011, 174,500 were sold.

The first year the gold Buffalo bullion coin was introduced saw its highest sales, with a total of 323,000 pieces.

The lowest annual gold Buffalo sales figure is the 132,000 sold in 2012.

Strong one-ounce gold Eagle demand has a ways to go before it reaches the 1,511,000 figure from 1999.

The Mint will begin accepting orders for 2017-dated bullion American Eagles on Jan. 9, 2017.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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