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Why Did The US Mint Lift Its Rationing Of American Silver Eagles?

On Friday the US Mint announced it would stop rationing its popular American Silver Eagle bullion coins due to falling investment demand.

The Mint began rationing the American Silver Eagles last year due to sustained demand but recently told its authorized dealers they could buy as many Silver Eagles as they wish starting Monday.

The US Mint has been rationing coin sales to its authorized dealers since late January, 2013 following a suspension due to unprecedented demand, which depleted silver coin blanks.

May 2014 sales of Silver Eagles reached 3.99 million ounces compared with April 2014’s 3.57 million ounces. On a year-over-year basis, May sales were up from 3.46 million ounces in

In May, sales of silver Eagles were 3.99 million ounces versus April’s 3.57 million ounces. On a year-over-year basis, May sales were up from 3.46 million ounces.

The allocation program, as the rationing is officially called, is not uncommon, and the Mint deploys this strategy when demand exceeds available supply. Allocation was used for the first time in 2008. Sales resumed shortly after, but allocation was typical during 2009 and 2010 because production fell continually short of the market demand.

Year to date Silver Eagle sales have not been overly affected by the allocation, as sales reached 21,436,500 ounces according to the Mint website. There could be another sales record in 2014. As I wrote in a post, “The Silver Eagle Is Doing Something Most Are Unaware Of“:

US Mint Sales of bullion coins increased across most selections. Overall sales of gold coins rose 3,000 while silver coins increased 399,000, underscoring how silver’s reasonable price spurs silver buying among wider swathes of the population than gold.

Sales of American Silver Eagle coins topped 17.3 million in year-to-date sales. The coin has been around since 1986 and has never sold as much as during the January through April 22 period. Tuesday marks the first time that the Silver Eagle sales surpassed those from last year which were at 17,291,000 on April 22, 2013.

Here is a sales breakdown for US Mint bullion products.

AMERICAN EAGLE AND BUFFALO BULLION SALES (# OF COINS)
Tuesday Sales Sales Last Week Week-To-Date Sales March Sales April Sales YTD Sales
$100 American Platinum Eagle Bullion Coins 100 300 100 10,000 1,000 11,000
$50 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 1,500 7,500 1,500 16,000 21,000 121,500
$25 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 0 0 2,000 1,000 18,000
$10 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 2,000 8,000 2,000 4,000 20,000 62,000
$5 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 5,000 10,000 5,000 30,000 35,000 275,000
$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins 500 3,000 500 12,000 13,500 79,000
$1 American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins 399,000 1,085,000 1,090,500 5,354,000 3,519,000 17,398,000
Great Smoky Mountains National Park 5 Oz Silver Bullion Coins N/A* 7,400 600 12,400 10,600 23,000

The falling investment demand cited for the lifting of the allocation comes after a long consolidation period in silver. Despite prices that are well of their highs, both gold and silver are still well in the green for the past decade.

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