Demand Eases for Gold and Silver American Eagles

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The United States Mint said on Wednesday it has enough American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins to meet demand and does not expect to allocate them in early 2012.

Sales of the U.S. gold and silver bullion coins have slowed in the fourth quarter as precious metals prices retreated from record highs, bucking a trend earlier this year when investors flocked to physical gold and silver as safe havens.

“As we plan on having sufficient quantities of all coins available, we do not anticipate having to allocate the initial release,” U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White said in a note.

The Mint had allocated its sales of gold and silver Eagle bullion coins to its authorized dealers in the last several years as unprecedented demand and a lack of coin blanks led to depletion of its supplies.

White said on Wednesday the Mint’s recent supply was adequate to meet demand and allocation to dealers was no longer necessary.

Silver Eagles December sales were around 2 million ounces, sharply below its record of 6.4 million ounces set in January — the highest monthly sales since the start of the American Eagle bullion coins in 1986.

Gold Eagles sales were at 65,000 ounces, about 20 percent below its monthly average this year, the Mint’s data shows.

Bullion coins are mostly sold to investors, while the Mint also produces proof and uncirculated coins targeting collectors.

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