As you look back at the last several years of American Eagle Bullion sales at the United States Mint, the performance of its programs largely matched the economic factors impacting the broader market for precious metals. As the American Eagles peaked in 2015, investors were still suspicious of the global recovery and geo-political factors were driving investors toward safe-haven metals.
From 2017 to 2019, the global economy improved, geo-political stressors eased, and interest rates sank to record lows. This resulted in less demand for precious metals as investors sought out higher returns in the stock market. The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down and created a jump in demand for precious metals. However, while 2022 brought its own slate of unique factors creating chaos, the US Mint saw a surprising drop in sales while other mints surged.
What Impacted Precious Metals in 2022
Three major factors played out in 2022 that sent investors, globally, away from stock markets and toward safe-haven assets. The first shock to the global economy was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The start of this war sent prices for everything from gas to food skyrocketing. The war in Ukraine served to compound the existing issue of inflation around the world, with the inflation rate in the United States eventually hitting a 40-year high. Finally, the Summer of 2022 saw the housing market in the United States pull a swift 180 as mortgage interest rates flip from record lows to highs not seen in 20 years. With all of these factors in play, how did the US Mint perform?
2022 Sales Figures
Across the board, the United States Mint experienced a drop in demand for gold and silver coins in the American Eagle Series, as well as other collections. Here are the latest sales figures for the US Mint’s major bullion collections in 2022:
- 2022 American Eagle Silver – 15,963,500 coins
- 2022 American Eagle 1 oz Gold – 850,000 coins
- 2022 American Eagle 1/2 oz Gold – 75,000 coins
- 2022 American Eagle 1/4 oz Gold – 140,000 coins
- 2022 American Eagle 1/10 oz Gold – 575,000 coins
- 2022 American Buffalo 1 oz Gold – 410,000 coins
- 2022 American Eagle Platinum – 80,000 coins
Analyzing 2022 Sales Figures
Without a doubt, the American Eagle Series was down significantly compared to 2021. Comparing these sales figures to 2021, the American Eagles saw a drop of 43.5% for silver coins and a 22% drop for gold coins in 2022. The final figures of 2022 American Eagle Silver Coins were the lowest since 2019 and the gold coins dropped back from a 12-year high in 2021.
While sales at the US Mint were down, this was reflective more of individual factors impacting the US Mint and not factors that impacted the industry as a whole. Another of the market’s major producers, the Perth Mint in Western Australia, actually moved upward in 2022. In 2022, Perth Mint saw sales of 1.11 million ounces of gold, a jump of 6.3% compared to 2021. At the same time, Perth sold 23 million ounces of silver in 2022, representing an increase of 21% compared to 2021.
What Impacted US Mint Sales?
With Perth Mint seeing jumps in demand amidst a favorable market, the US Mint stumbled. The biggest issues facing the US Mint were supply and production related. The US Mint struggled to secure enough quality planchets to strike the coins in greater volumes. This resulted in higher premiums for American Eagle coins compared to its major competitors on the market. As a result, many American investors turned to other collections with lower premiums.
2023 at the US Mint is starting with some shocking news as well. With the 117th Congress having failed to advance any coin legislation beyond the committee level, there will be no numismatic issues with a 2023 date mark from the US Mint. This is the first gap year since 1985. How the US Mint rebounds in 2023 will depend on its ability to solve the factors within its control.
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