FILE PHOTO: A quality control officer examines a 2013 Enhanced Silver Eagle Silver Coin at the facilities of the United States West Point Mint in West Point, New York, June 5, 2013. REUTERS / Shannon Stapleton
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The United States Mint said on Tuesday it was unable to meet growing demand for its gold and silver coins in 2020 and through January, in part due to plant demand and capacity issues due to the pandemic.
Sales of U.S. gold coins increased 258% in 2020, while demand for silver coins increased 28%, the U.S. Mint said on Tuesday. Mass buying continued in 2021, he said, cutting back on supplies, which were already tight as the coronavirus affected production.
A social media-driven buying frenzy lifted silver futures to an eight-year high on Monday, but parts market dealers were already grappling with a supply shortage and delays. shipping before this rally.
The Mint, a division of the US Treasury, had limited distribution of its silver coins to vendors as it is currently changing the design of its American Eagle Gold and Silver Bullion coins.
“There would be a backlog in the silver bullion supply chain that would make Silver Eagles rarer anyway,” said Everett Millman of Gainesville Coins in Florida. He expects delays until mid-March for the most popular products.
“The silver coins and silver bars available have acquired significantly higher premiums,” he added.
In January, 220,500 American Eagle gold coins were sold, up 290% from 56,500 a year earlier, according to the mint.
For this year, the U.S. Mint has a limited window to produce its current gold and silver coins, with the redesigned coins set to debut this summer. It restricts the distribution of its gold, silver and platinum coins to specific dealers due to high demand and a limited number of metal suppliers, it said in a statement.
Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; edited by Richard Pullin