Last week premiums on Silver Eagles jumped as word spread that the U.S. Mint had run out and would ship no more this year. However, at the start of this week, the Mint revealed that it would produce more Silver Eagles before year-end.
The Mint gave no indication of how many Silver Eagles will be turned out, but because premiums fell back to normal levels it appears that the wholesalers think sufficient quantities will be minted to meet demand over the next few weeks.
Rumors spread around the Internet that the shortage of Silver Eagles was because of a shortage of silver. That was not the case. The Mint routinely shuts down production in November to begin production of the next year’s coins so that they can be shipped in early January, usually the first week.
This time, however, the shutdown came with fairly strong demand, and dealer inventories were depleted rapidly. That the Mint would reopen production shows that it has some sensitivity to the marketplace.
Silver Eagles are the best selling government 1-oz silver pieces in the country. So, why give the Royal Canadian Mint a chance to fill the void with its 1-oz Silver Maple Leafs?
As noted in the November 23rd post, last week the Mint reopened production of its 1-oz Gold Eagles when dealers’ inventories became low. Gold Eagles are the best selling 1-oz gold bullion coins in the world, and they dominate the U.S. gold bullion coin market.
Still, if concerns about the dollar continue to grow, gold and silver buying could cause Silver Eagles and Gold Eagles could again be in short supply before year-end. Silver Eagles in a mint-sealed box sell at $1.75 each over spot. The U.S. Mint prices Silver Eagles on the London market, which normally runs a few pennies higher than the U.S. market.