US Mint limits its silver coin sales

A precious metals sell-off has lowered prices and lifted demand beyond production capabilities, which means new investors will have a tough time finding 'America the Beautiful.'

By Jason Notte May 9, 2013 5:28PM

America the Beautiful 2012 silver coin with El Yunque National Forest engraving (© United States Mint)As investors start to realize hoarding precious metals isn't such a great play anymore and consumers start flocking to whatever shiny cast-offs they can find, the U.S. Mint is putting the plug in its piggy bank.


After running out of 0.1-ounce gold bullion coins last month, the Mint is now limiting dealers' purchases of its 5-ounce "America the Beautiful" silver bullion coins when they go on sale next week. It just tightens the squeeze the Mint put on coin sales after gold plunged to a two-year low and investors sold off their silver holdings last month.


When the coin becomes available for sale on May 13, the Mint will distribute half of its inventory equally among its authorized dealers, and the other half based on each dealer's volume of "America the Beautiful" coin sales in the past two years, it said on Wednesday.


The Mint's move has little to do with the recent economic instability in Cyprus that boosted Bitcoin value or even the sluggishly improving U.S. economy. The Mint says it simply doesn't have enough blanks to meet demand.


That's not going to sit well with skeptics, but even seasoned investors are finding that doom just isn't as sound an investment as it used to be. Mining companies including Barrick Gold (ABX) have scaled back operations. Exchange-traded funds that track the metals -- like SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), down about 13% on the year, and iShares Silver Trust (SLV), down 22% -- are being liquidated as retail investors buy up more bullion and saturate the market, while institutional investors back out of precious metals entirely.


The U.S. Mint is keeping its own stingy allocation process in place until it can boost delivery and meet demand. The Mint had actually been doling out more silver coins in recent months after suspending sales late last year. But with prices still unstable and the consumer market gobbling up all the gold and silver it can find, the Mint seems bent on preventing heightened interest from becoming a full-on run on its supplies.


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May 9, 2013 11:36PM
So the story is trying to tell us that the mint is running out of coins  because people are NOT buying gold and silver?  That is probably the most backward premise I have seen on an MSN story. 
May 9, 2013 10:47PM
No matter what happens in today's market, precious metals will have their day. You just can't live a paper money "honeymoon" and print your way into prosperity.Metals will come out in the long term,paper will burn. Bullets will win in the end. (Buy ammo!) Food will fill your belly,and booze will buy favors.
May 9, 2013 10:54PM

What does this article mean, The U.S. mint is running out of silver and as it does so the price of silver goes down.

May 9, 2013 11:12PM
Everything goes in cycles. Study history. We went down this same path before. The Big Bubble is coming and nobody can stop it. 
May 9, 2013 6:37PM

Don't go through dealers, sell directly to pop, mom, their sister, and my brother Lou...I may buy one too.


May 9, 2013 10:29PM
when the high market crashes again and your stocks take a sheet  then you will wish you had bought silver and not paper that looses value. if you watch what the billionaires are doing. they are dumping bank and volatile stocks quickly so something is going to happen soon. then you'll wish you had hard currency. you don't have to buy coins you can get the ingots. just as good. its still silver. just saw an article said they were buying futures for copper, coal, natural gas, ex. there will always be a need for the necessities
Bernanke, is contributing to the eventual collapse of the dollar, by printing 85 billion dollars of new money, every month. Just a matter of time, before the dollar collapses completely, with our federal borrowing. You will wish you had money in silver, when that inevitable event, happens.
May 10, 2013 12:18AM
The first paragraph is such a contradictive statement...  The less there is of something the more value it has .... When stock go up, precious metal values go down..  The big guys a manipulating the exchange.
May 10, 2013 8:41AM

Silver eagles on ebay are a 40% premium above spot...... because demand is so low???????

Did the editor read this article? ETF's are selling off because they are paper. Coins are in great demand.

May 9, 2013 6:26PM
Some Billionaire is out buying up the billion market in silver again.  GREED>
May 10, 2013 6:12AM
Buying silver is a better play than buying gold. Silver is used in commerce inside cars,telephones,etc.Gold is for hoarders and to make discretionary items like jewelry.
May 10, 2013 10:24AM
Gov can't keep up with demand and we're told by MSN the value isn't there.  Hmmm... me thinks MSN is controlled by politicians or banksters or most likely... both.
May 10, 2013 9:52AM
Perfect! Tell you what, keep selling off, I will buy all your so called 'isn't such a great play anymore' precious metals at lower and lower prices that way I can sell it back to you when you panic again in the near future and buy at high prices. Good job, keep putting square pegs in round holes, you will go far.
May 10, 2013 9:37AM
I don't follow the story eaither. Exchange-traded funds that track the metals. . . are being liquidated [sold off] as retail investors buy up [purchase] more bullion and [what?] saturate the market, while institutional investors back out of precious metals entirely." What the hell does that mean? Institutional investors are backing out, but retail investors are stocking up? Incompetent writersshould be shot.
May 9, 2013 6:57PM
Are the "Hunt brothers" at it again ?
May 10, 2013 10:38AM
The precious metals market is an example of the tail wagging the dog.  There is actually extremely strong physical demand.  The price is being determined by "paper" people, if not outright manipulation.  Take advantage of the opportunity.
May 10, 2013 10:06AM
The U.S. Mint will never sell it's existing precious metals for less than what they've purchased it for. They are strictly in it for the business of making money and it's operating every bit like the oil company. So rather than sell it's silver coins at the current rate it concocts a spin story. Anybody who has ever purchased from the mint knows that it has a huge mark-up. Their cost overruns are huge. They will never sell for less than what they purchase, which is why so many freak out when they see a barrel of oil goes down 15% but the gas prices remain the same. Like the oil company they will sell the rest of the silver or none at all,  at the old going rate before selling at the most current rate. Personally I am surprised the government is even in the business of selling bullion coins period..... considering it's own financial crises.
May 10, 2013 10:22AM
Let me get this straight... the US Gov has known the demand for silver for almost 5 years now and can't keep up with production?  So now we trust them with our healthcare... where it is life or death and they won't be able to keep up with demand?  
May 10, 2013 10:21AM
Another precious metals article which sounds like it was written by the Politburo. 
May 10, 2013 2:52AM
Good thing I bought my 20 million in silver last month!!
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