(Adds analyst comment, market details) By Renita D. Young NEW YORK, May 31 (Reuters) - Sales of American Eagle gold coins in May increased by 433 percent from April, and were the highest May sales since 2015, U.S. data showed on Thursday. U.S. Mint sales of American Eagle gold coins totaled 24,000 ounces in May, up from 4,500 ounces in April, the data showed. May figures were the highest since 2015, when 21,500 ounces of American Eagle gold coins were sold by the U.S. Mint. Geopolitical jitters from concerns of a planned, then canceled, then revived United States-North Korean summit to seal a denuclearization deal likely drove investors to purchase gold coins in May, said Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals. Additionally, spot gold prices saw a brief rise during the last few days of the month as a political crisis in Italy provoked heavy selling on European financial markets. Gold is seen as a safe haven in times of political uncertainty. However, spot gold prices were headed for a May close about 1.3 percent lower than April. "Even though the (U.S.) Mint sold more gold coins this month, the low demand is keeping the premiums low, between 1 and 1-1/2 percent," Pehowich said, muting further gains. U.S. Mint May American Eagle gold coin sales were up 54.8 percent from the same month last year, when the U.S. Mint sold 15,500 ounces of gold coins. May sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle silver coins fell 58.5 percent from April to 380,000 ounces, the lowest May since 2005, the data showed. Spot silver prices rose 0.26 percent in May, the first monthly increase since January. "One of the reasons why silver prices aren't going anywhere, is because there's an abundance of silver in the market right now," Pehowich said. The silver coin sales were down about 85 percent from the year prior, when the U.S. Mint sold nearly 2.5 million ounces of American Eagle silver coins. U.S. Mint American Eagle platinum coin sales totaled 10,000 ounces in May, compared with none in April. The U.S. Mint last sold platinum coins in February, when it posted 20,000 ounces. (Reporting by Renita D. Young Editing by Leslie Adler and Chris Reese)
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