Congressman Demands Answers From US Mint About Silver Eagle Program

Treasury Secretary in Apparent Violation of Requirement to Mint Silver Eagles in Quantities “Sufficient to Meet Public Demand”

 

By Stefan GleasonMoney Metals Exchange ……
 

U.S. Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV2) is calling out Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and United States Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson for the “long-running production slowdown” in the Silver American Eagle bullion coin program that has caused “shortages and dramatically higher market prices for this iconic silver coin as compared to its peers worldwide.”

Many Americans have sought to hedge against high rates of inflation by acquiring hard assets, including gold and silver. Overall market demand for bullion coins, bars, and rounds has risen to higher levels than seen in recent years, if not ever.

Most gold and silver bullion forms do not carry much markup (also known as “premium”) over the actual market value of the metal itself, thereby enabling investors to acquire more precious metal for each dollar they invest.

However, this has not been the case with the Silver American Eagle since 2020.

In a letter dated August 25, Mooney cited 31 U.S. Code § 5112(e), which states,:

“[T]he [Treasury] Secretary shall mint and issue, in qualities and quantities that the Secretary determines are sufficient to meet public demand coins which— (1) are 40.6 millimeters in diameter and weight 31.103 grams; (2) contain .999 fine silver; (3) have a design— (A) symbolic of Liberty on the obverse side; and (B) of an eagle on the reverse side.”

But, as Mooney pointed out, the U.S. Mint has only made 11.6 million ounces of the silver bullion coin available to the public through July 2022 – barely half of what has been supplied through the first seven months of prior years when demand has been similarly strong.

“This shortage in U.S. Mint production has apparently led to extremely high market-based premiums on Silver Eagles (as high as 70% over the silver melt value) – even as comparable items produced by other sovereign mints and private mints were not beset by such shortages or historically high premiums,” Mooney wrote.

“The high costs resulting from the U.S. Mint production shortage directly harm U.S. citizens wishing to avail themselves of a U.S. legal tender means of protecting their financial security from the effects of inflation.”

Rep. Mooney is demanding Yellen and Gibson provide answers to the following questions:

1. Does the Secretary believe the Silver American Eagle coin is being produced in “qualities and quantities that … are sufficient to meet public demand”?

2. Why is only a single supplier currently allowed to (or willing to) provide the U.S. Mint with silver blanks for its Silver Eagle program?

3. Given its statutory mandate to amply supply these coins to the public, why doesn’t the U.S. Mint have a policy to build a reserve of silver blanks during periods of slower demand in order to create a buffer for periods of higher demand?

4. Has the U.S. Mint examined the practices of other sovereign mints – such as Britain’s Royal Mint, Australia’s Perth Mint, the Austrian Mint, or the Royal Canadian Mint – to learn from their relative success in meeting high public demand for their own silver coins? If so, what were the resulting findings or recommendations?

5. What actions are currently being undertaken to address the Mint’s production problems (which reportedly extend beyond the Silver American Eagle coin program) and when will the U.S. Mint once again be able to fulfill its mandate to meet public demand?

“We are thankful that Rep. Mooney is seeking accountability for the chronic mismanagement plaguing U.S. Mint operations – and the resulting costs and frustrations it imposes on new silver investors as well as the precious metals industry at large,” said Stefan Gleason of Money Metals Exchange and President of the Sound Money Defense League.

A copy of Rep. Mooney’s letter can be accessed here.

* * *

The Sound Money Defense League is a non-partisan, national public policy group working to restore sound money at the state and federal level and publisher of the Sound Money Index.

Money Metals Exchange is a national precious metals investment company and news service with more than 500,000 readers and 350,000 customers. It also operates Money Metals Depository for vaulting of gold and silver, and Money Metals Capital Group, a collateral lending institution.
 

15 COMMENTS

  1. Why does the government not produce coins that are available to the public without going through a coin broker? To get coins through a broker raises the price to aquire them. Seems like if the government produces coins they should be available at any bank.

  2. Have you ever tried to call the mint customer service line to resolve a problem. It’s like talking to a chair. Why can’t they hire people with some semblance of cognition? This is a symptom of mismanagement at the mint.

  3. I agree with the other comments.
    The prices for American Eagles are
    outrageous ! Acquiring them through
    a bank is the right thing to do— after all
    they are American legal currency !

  4. Not only is it hard to get through to the mint, why is it that when they short run an item you get run over by a bot just trying to purchase anything from the mint, they still don’t have their purchase crap fixed, I had a 2019 75th anniversary silver eagle in my cart and when I tried to pay for it,it was to late

    • Sue them in court is the remedy which we have if the courts still even work for the people and nation.
      Honest services fraud is a crime defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1346

  5. Es muy costoso adquirir monedas de oro o plata por medio de las compañías o corredores de monedas. COBRAR 5 dólares sobre el spot oficial de los metales y agregar los impuestos,designar una compañía de correo pagando extra para entrega personal. ES POSIBLE EVITAR TODO ESTO?

  6. One issue not mentioned by the Congressman is that the US Mint has created an artificial choke point by only selling to a handful of “Authorized Purchasers”, typically five or fewer corporations like A-Mark, APMEX, Coins N’ Things (that big, and awkwardly named, Massachusetts wholesaler that also sells metal to the Mint), and a couple of others.

    The Mint makes a business go through an overly complex and stringent song and dance application process just to be able to buy coins from them. Some of the requirements are that the business has already existed for many years and is a big player in the bullion market, so it discriminates against upstarts and newcomers straight away. That’s very convenient for incumbents, and it’s the same corruption pattern of rigged markets we see over and over when government gets co-opted by incumbents. This case is unusual because it’s a government entity that manufactures a good, and it’s rigging the supply chain to benefit outside firms that it has no business carrying water for.

    They probably think it benefits them to only deal with a handful of firms, the same four or five firms for the last decade, but that’s just laziness and the comfort zone dynamics of unaccountable government employees. They shouldn’t be allowed to restrict the supply chain like this.

    In general, the US Mint has a lot less energy and can-do culture than other national mints. I think part of it is that others like the Royal Canadian Mint and (British) Royal Mint are actually businesses to some extent. They compete to mint circulation coinage for other, smaller countries worldwide. The US Mint is content to just waste US taxpayer dollars, doesn’t try to branch out. The RCM is always innovating, both in its circulation coins and bullion. They and the RM both have lots of smart security features on the bullion now, whereas the US has nothing. They’re using plated steel for circulation coins while our mint is still losing millions and millions of dollars on copper and nickel (a net loss on nickels, and a huge opportunity cost on dimes and quarters, and a net loss on zinc pennies). The US Mint is lazy and lethargic, and even their reports to Congress on alternative metal compositions for US coins are full of ridiculous errors (look at their cost tables).

    The rigged supply chain should be nixed by Congress ASAP.

    • You make a very good point, however I tend to suspect corruption and some form of malfeasance always finds it’s hand manipulating events especially where it relates to tangible assets, laziness combined with government almost guarantee disregard for law and sooner or later “theft of honest government services” will occur.

      Honest services fraud is a crime defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1346

  7. We’ll consider this, historically with the advent of hindsight, whenever a large bullion dealer had went from being top of its game to suddenly not fulfilling orders, then scandalous demise, wittingly or unwittingly (negligence or actual criminal intent) funds and metals were misapropried, same thing happened with treasuries and mints of long ago fallen empires, many jewelry manufacturing firms that went under from internal theft or mismanagement by owners or upper management also showed symptoms prior to their collaps. A forensic accounting from the perspective of loss prevention and uncovering criminal negligence is appropriate in this case and it is warranted on behalf of the potential or current victims, this is our United States Treasury and we must promptly respond and remedy this matter.

  8. Does CoinWeek not bother to do basic fact checking for their articles? Not only has production risen in the last several years, and 2022 on track to have the more produced than the last several years, but the sale price of them is no different than the Canadian silver Maple. It seems Alex Mooney is doing what is expected of American politicians, and is tilting windmills.

    I suppose not doing even basic fact checking is now what we expect from even niche media sources.

  9. The reason is simple. Nobody cares about gold and silver when things like Bitcoin have proven to be far superior in every facet.

    Why make more silver coins when future generations don’t want them…

    • Maury;

      Lets see how valuable your bitcoin is when there is no internet service. Having gold and silver in hand will trump all crypto currency when the sh&t hits the fan. In case you didnt read the article the issue the mint cant make enough so the demand is there. Crawl back into your parents basement.

  10. 1s and 0s on a computer are Not a tangible asset . Bitcoin is the greatest scam since the Dutch Tulip bulb fiasco , It may take a a little bit of time simply because of all the zillionaire techys who are invested in the bitcoin nonsense but you mark my words ” Bitcoin is a giant ponzi scam ” .

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