Posted on July 12, 2017
After years of economic uncertainty and strong performance for the price of gold and silver, the United States Mint has become accustomed to sky-high demand for its American Silver Eagle coins, along with other bullion offerings. However, the cooling effect that has hit the precious metals market so far in 2017 has resulted in sales doldrums at the United States Mint. So far, the first half of the 2017 sales year has seen the Silver Eagles drop in demand by 53%.
The American Silver Eagle is the unquestioned rockstar in the United States Mint lineup of bullion coins. So far in 2017, investors have had a tepid response to the Silver Eagle compared to recent years. While 2017 sales through June 30th total an impressive 12,233,500 coins, that’s down 53% from 2016 when sales were 26,250,500 by the same point in the calendar year.
Some of the dip, though certainly not the entirety of its 53% decline, can be attributed to 2016 being the 30th anniversary issue of the coins. Compare the first six months of 2015 to both 2016 and 2017, and you’ll find sales that year hit 21,786,000 through June 30, 2015. That’s less than 2016, but sales for the whole of 2015 hit a US Mint record 47 million coins while 2016 finished around 37.7 million.
To date, January 2017 proved the strongest month for sales of the 2017 American Silver Eagle with 5,127,500 coins sold. April was the lowest month so far this year at 835,000 coins, but the 986,000 sold in June is down from 2.455 million in May.
Silver Eagles aren’t the only products from the US Mint lineup struggling to gain traction in 2017. The American Gold Eagle’s sales through the first half of 2017 are down 62% from last year’s pace. With the Gold Eagle available in four weights from 1 oz to ½, ¼, and 1/10 oz, the total ounces sold through six months in 2017 is just 192,500 ounces. That’s down from 501,000 ounces in 2016.
Breaking down the performance of each coin, you’ll find first-half totals of 141,000 ounces for the 1 oz coin, 13,500 ounces for the ½ oz coin, 12,000 ounces for the ¼ oz coin, and 26,000 ounces for the 1/10 oz coin. In June, the US Mint reported just 6,000 ounces of gold bullion sold, with 4,000 ounces in the 1 oz weight and 2,000 ounces in the 1/10 oz weight, with no sales recorded for the ½ or ¼ oz coins.
Just as the American Eagle Series is coming off its 30th anniversary in 2016, the American Gold Buffalo coin is coming off its 10th anniversary celebration from the prior year. Again, it’s a big assumption to pinpoint such big drops in demand to the presence and subsequent passing of an anniversary year, but it can account for some of the drop.
The American Gold Buffalo coin is down the least, though at 40% the drop is still significant. Gold Buffalo sales total 66,000 coins through the first half of 2017, compared to a robust 112,500 through the first half of 2016. To date in 2017, American Gold Buffalo sales hit their high in January with 32,000 coins sold, with a low recently registered in June at just 2,000 coins.
For comparison’s sake, the 2016 issue of the coin also hit its high in January at 34,000 coins, with its low for the year coming in March with just 7,000 coins sold.
The 2017 issue of America the Beautiful coins have so far resulted in three design releases of the five planned arriving during the first half of the year. Through the first half of the year, the Effigy Mounds National Monument coin has a sales figure of 35,000 coins. The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site and more recently released Ozark National Scenic Riverways coins both have figures of 20,000 so far.