After experiencing record demand over the first week of 2013 sales, the US Mint has stopped taking orders for 2013 American Silver Eagles, as they simply do not have the inventory. Opening day sales on January 7th totaled nearly 4 million coins, which was a single day sales record for the American Silver Eagle.
Thus far in January, the Mint has sold over 6 million Silver Eagles total. The enormous demand has been due to a few primary factors:
- The Mint actually sold out of 2012 Eagles in mid December, so many retail and wholesale companies were “floating” 2013s for weeks before they actually came out. This lead to an enormous backlog of orders that hit the Mint all at once.
- The fiscal cliff situation in the USA drove enormous physical silver demand, which all occurred during the downtime between 2012 and 2013 sales, thus backing things up even further.
- The Royal Canadian Mint also has had supply issues with their 2013 coins, which increased demand for Silver Eagles.
Although the Mint is completely out of 2013 Eagles at the moment, they have estimated resuming shipping on January 28th using an allocation system, shipping Eagles to their Authorized Purchasers based on historical need.
Despite the fact that temporary inventory issues have plagued the US Mint several times over the past few years, the retail market reacted swiftly, and premiums on Silver Eagles rose from $2.50-$4 up to $4.50-$8 depending on the source.
Surprisingly enough, premiums on other silver products have skyrocketed as well, despite the fact that most private mints do not have such shortages.
For example, Canadian Silver Maple Leafs also skyrocketed in price, with premiums nearly doubling. The Royal Canadian Mint is virtually caught up on orders, so it is strange that their premiums followed Silver Eagles up the ladder. Other products seeing shortages lately include 90% junk silver, where premiums have risen from roughly $0.25 over spot to $0.75 or $1 over spot – the highest they have been in quite some time.
On the gold side, PAMP and Credit gold bars have been seeing roughly 1 week delays, while fractional gold Eagles have also had 1-2 week delays. The physical market as a whole has been slightly backed up since late December, as the fiscal cliff drove enormous demand, which coupled with holiday vacations left suppliers and retailers severely backed up.
We will keep an eye on the Silver Eagle situation and post updates as they become available.