By CoinWeek News Staff ….
The last two years have seen quite the drop-off of sales of the United States Mint’s bullion coins. Many have speculated why; a clue lays perhaps in the years involved below. But for one reason or another, demand has dropped since the high water mark of 2015.
And while the year 2017 isn’t quite over, as of today the Mint has sold 18,065,500 ounces of its flagship American Eagle 1 oz silver bullion coin – almost 20 million (about 52%) less than what it sold in 2016. The equivalent 1 oz coin from the American Gold Eagle family of bullion coins sold 226,500 ounces in 2017, 591,000 coins (72.3%) fewer than the previous year’s total.
Additionally, 37,000 half-ounce, 64,000 quarter-ounce, and 395,000 tenth-ounce Gold Eagles have also been sold, for a total of 300,500 ounces and 722,500 Gold Eagles sold to the Mint’s authorized buyers. These totals are down 69.5% and 63.3% from 2016, respectively.
One-ounce Gold Eagles saw an end-of-the-year boost in October and November, with sales of 100,500 and 129,000 ounces/coins, respectively.
Sales of the American Gold Buffalo 1 oz coin totaled 99,500 ounces/coins in 2017, a drop of 54.67% (120,000 ounces/coins) from 2016. The Gold Buffalo’s best month was also its debut in January.
A total of 147,400 2017 America the Beautiful 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins have been sold to date. This is about 52% less than 2016’s total of 308,000 coins. The breakdown per issue in 2017 is as follows:
- Effigy Mounds National Monument: 35,000
- Frederick Douglass National Historic Site: 20,000
- Ozarks National Scenic Riverways: 20,000
- Ellis Island (Statue of Liberty National Monument): 40,000
- George Rogers Clark National Historical Park: 32,400
And representing something of a bright spot for collectors this year, the American Palladium Eagle made its debut after more than a decade of planning and speculation. It sold 15,000 units since its release on September 25.
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The worst monthly sales for Silver Eagles in 2017 were September, with a total of 320,000 ounces/coins sold, and November, which saw a total of 385,000 ounces/coins sold. Less than one million ounces/coins were also sold in April (835,000), June (986,000), and December (742,000)–though surprisingly, December sales saw a bump in sales over November, which is different from 2016 when December was by far the worst month of sales (240,000 ounces/coins).
The best month for 2017 Silver Eagle bullion coins was the debut month of January, which totaled 5,127,500 ounces and clearly represents anticipated demand for the issue. No other month’s sales total was even 50% of January’s.
Of course, the full impact of these declining numbers cannot be appreciated without looking back to 2015, which saw record-breaking sales for the third year in a row with a total of 47 million ounces/coins sold to authorized distributors. In that year, no monthly sales dipped below two million.
Such high numbers had many anticipating even greater sales in 2016, but there were almost 10 million fewer coins sold last year than in 2015. One has to go back to 2010 to see worse sales (34,662,500 ounces/coins) than 2016, and 2007 (9,887,000 ounces/coins) to sink lower than this year’s putative sales total.
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