US Mint's gold coin sales down 60 pct in Feb as old-coin supply rises
NEW YORK, Feb 28 (Reuters) - 0Sales of the U.S. Mint's American Eagle gold coins fell around 60 percent year-on-year in February as a surge in secondary sales by institutional investors dented new-coin sales, dealers said. The U.S. Mint sold a total of 31,000 ounces of American Eagle gold bullion coins in February, compared with 80,500 ounces in the same month last year, the Mint data showed. "Last few weeks, large players such as hedge funds sold a lot of coins in sealed boxes which they bought from a few years ago," said Michael Kramer, president of Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, a major U.S. coin wholesaler in New York. Dealers said that a move by the U.S. Mint to mix 2014-dated coins with 2013 coins to deplete last year's inventories continued to dampen new coin sales. Gold prices rose 7 percent in February, their biggest monthly rise in seven, as persistent concerns about a slowdown in the U.S. economy boosted bullion's safe-haven status. A continued sharp recovery of gold prices could rekindle bullion coin interest among retail investors, dealers said. In January, typically the busiest month of the year, U.S. gold coin sales were 91,500 ounces, representing a 40 percent drop year-on-year as uncertainty over bullion prices continued to dampen interest from collectors. For American Eagle silver bullion coins, the U.S. Mint sold a total of 3.75 million ounces in February, versus the 3.37 million ounces sold in February 2013. Since January 2013, the Mint has been selling silver coins on an allocation, or rationing, basis to its dealers due to limited coin blanks. (in ounces) Gold Silver 2014 2013 2014 2013 January 91,500 150,000 4,775,000 7,498,000 February 31,000 80,500 3,750,000 3,368,500 YTD Total 122,500 230,500 8,525,000 10,866,500
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