By CoinWeek News Staff….
An Analysis of Year-to-Date Demand
2016 appears to be another record year for American Silver Eagles, because they’re already breaking records even only as winter turns to spring. United States Mint sales figures show that 5,954,500 Silver Eagles – nearly six million pieces – were sold in January, with 4,782,000 distributed during the short month of February and 2,263,500 barely halfway through March.
That’s a total of 10,736,500 pieces sold just through the first two months of the year and a full 13 million as of the most recent sales update.
It’s possible to extrapolate the 2016 figures to a whopping total of around 64 million American Silver Eagles potentially sold by the end of this coming December if ASE sales continue at the pace that was seen in January and February. It wouldn’t seem hard to beat 2015’s record 47 million pieces at the rate American Silver Eagle sales are going these days.
While it can be fun to guess what type of mintage figures may be placed in the history books for 2016 American Silver Eagles, there are several important bits of analysis to consider before getting too carried away with overzealous speculation. One of the most vexing matters at this point is that, despite the tremendous sales volume for 2016 American Silver Eagles thus far, the U.S. Mint still cannot keep up with the demand for the popular silver bullion coin. Mint spokesperson Michael White could not provide an explanation behind this, but did say that the current allocation for the American Silver Eagle is one million pieces per week. If allocations continue, this could certainly put a lower ceiling on potential sales numbers going through the foreseeable future.
While February and March have been great months for the Silver Eagle, it’s important to consider what might have pushed the January 2016 sales figures so high.
In comparison, January 2015 was also a strong month for American Silver Eagles – 5,530,000 pieces were sold then. That is significantly lower than the January 2016 sales figure, but the robust January sales figures in both years speak to at least two important factors:
- Silver Eagles sales are usually high early in the year as collectors, dealers, and investors all rush to buy the newest silver bullion issue with the latest date; and
- The marked volatility in silver bullion prices during both January of 2015 and 2016 spurred on buyers.
Here’s a little more perspective on that latter point. On January 1, 2015, silver traded for roughly $15.80 an ounce; by January 22 of that year, it was selling for $18.45. January 2016 saw similar, if less impressive, pricing fluctuations, with silver opening the new year at around $13.95 an ounce.
By January 26, silver had reached $14.61.
A 70-cent increase in just a few weeks pales in comparison to the $2.65 cent increase during the course of January 2015, but nevertheless is the type of positive pricing activity that brings bullion investors to their feet. Silver has bounced between $14.80 and $15.90 since the early days of February 2016, representing the strongest prices for the metal since mid-October through early November 2015. Price rallies almost always lure investors, even cash-strapped silver bugs, to buy more bullion as price increases instill a sense of urgency to act immediately in case we are in the midst of the “next big bullion spike,” a la spring 2011 or even late 1979.
Nobody has a crystal ball on where silver bullion is going pricewise for the long haul, and there have been too many $1- or $2-range ups and downs to suggest that any single sign of movement upward is the start of a long-term trend. Still, silver and gold are bullish as of late, and the quick pace of 2016 American Silver Eagles sales suggests bullion investors are, whether rightfully or not, excited about what may lay down the road.
American Gold Eagle Sales
Last week’s sales of the 2016 American Gold Eagle range of bullion coin products saw marked improvement over the previous week.
10,000 additional 22-karat (.9167 fine) 1 oz gold American Eagle bullion coins were sold, bringing March totals to 18,000 ounces (coins). 2016 YTD sales now total 174,500 ounces (coins).
It’s hard not to improve on sales of the half-ounce gold eagle, which sold zero ounces two weeks ago. Last week, 1,000 half-ounce coins were sold, brining total ounces for March up to 500. Sales for 2016 so far equal 15,000 ounces (30,000 coins).
Demand for quarter-ounce American Gold Eagles holds steady, with another 2,000 coins (500 ounces) ordered last week. March sales total 1,000 ounces (4,000 coins) and YTD sales total 13,000 ounces (52,000 coins).
Tenth-ounce gold eagle bullion coin sales increased 150% over the previous week, with only 2,500 ounces (25,000 coins) sold. Altogether, the popular fractional weight has sold 35,000 coins this month and 280,000 coins since January.
American Gold Buffalo Sales
2016 American Gold Buffalo sales remained compared to the previous week, with 2,000 ounces (coins) sold last week. 4,000 coins (ounces) have been sold in March and 57,000 coins (ounces) have been sold over the last three months.
U.S. Mint Product Debuts
The 2016 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set debuted on March 7 and has sold 53,791 units.
2016 American Silver Eagles Available on eBay