U.S. Mint Temporarily Sold out of 2013 Silver Eagles Posted by Adam King on January 18, 2013
The United States Mint, which distributes through a network of authorized purchasers, has temporarily sold out of American Silver Eagle bullion coins. Intense demand for American Silver Eagles since their initial release on January 7, 2013, which has been breaking multi-year records, is cited as a cause.
On the first day the 2013-dated coins were made available to authorized purchasers, 3,937,000 one-ounce coins were ordered. This is the highest one-day sales record in the history of the American Silver Eagle program, which was introduced in 1986. Sales levels reported on the U.S. Mint’s website indicate sales have now reached 6,007,000 for the month of January, with two weeks left in the month.
The pace of orders for 2013-dated American Eagle Silver coins is described as frenzied and driven partially by a three-week hiatus of unavailability of the coins following the selling out of the 2012-dated Silver Eagles on December 17, 2012. As the Mint began accepting new orders on January 7, 2013, the buying rush reflected not only a demand for the newly dated coins, but also the pent-up demand that had been accumulating over those three weeks.
The Mint has said it expects the temporary sell out of the 2013-dated coins to last until the week of January 28, 2013, a reflection of how intense buying has been. At that time, sales will resume under an allocation process, which will ration available supplies among the primary distributors of the Mint. During previous periods of strong demand for gold and silver bullion coins, the Mint has also used an allocation process for distribution.
With the surge in interest in precious metals, periodic suspensions and rationing of Silver Eagle bullion coins has become a generally common circumstance, especially with the between 2008 and 2010. Previously, the rationing had led to a cancellation of collector versions of the coins and a Congressional hearing highlighting the inefficiencies of the Mint’s bullion coin programs in 2010. The Mint implemented process improvements at the West Point Mint, increased the number of precious metals blank suppliers, and added supplemental Silver Eagle production at the San Francisco Mint. For much of 2011 and 2012, the Mint kept pace with the demand for the bullion coins and resumed the numismatic products.
The extremely high levels of demand, however, have again forced the Mint to temporarily suspend sales and to implement a rationing system. Last year, 33,742,500 ounces of American Eagle Silver Coins sold from the Mint, marking the third highest sales levels year on year in the coin’s 27-year history. Every indication is that demand for physical bullion coin will continue at record levels.