CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-U.S. Mint runs out of 2013 silver coins, suspends sales

Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:06pm EST

(Corrects last paragraph to make clear that silver proof coins, not silver bullion coins, fetch $63)

NEW YORK Jan 17 (Reuters) - U.S. Mint has suspended sales of its 2013 American Eagle silver bullion coins after running out of stock due to soaring investor demand for the newly minted coins in the first two weeks of the year.

Sales to authorized dealers will resume on or about the week of Jan. 28 after the U.S. Mint has replenished its inventory, it said in an email to authorized dealers on Thursday. The coins are produced at the Mint's West Point, New York, facility.

While it is typical for collectors to snap up newly stamped coins, interest this year has ballooned due to investors seeking refuge from U.S. economic uncertainty.

Silver Eagle sales to Jan. 15 exceeded 5 million ounces and were on track to surpass the all-time monthly high of 6.1 million ounces, set in January 2012.

Physical coin sales had risen in the final months of 2012 as investors protected their nest eggs from a feared U.S. recession. Many economists predicted a U.S. economic downturn would occur if Congress and the White House did not act to stop pending huge tax hikes and automatic spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff."

It is not the first time the Mint has faced a run on its stock. It started allocating sales to authorized dealers in recent years after its supplies were depleted by unprecedented demand.

The Mint on Jan. 24 is due to start taking orders from the general public for silver proof coins, which fetch just under $63 each and are aimed at collectors. (Reporting By Josephine Mason; Editing by Gary Hill and Steve Orlofsky)

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