NEW YORK, Dec 29 (Reuters) - U.S. Mint American Eagle gold coin sales are on track to fall nearly 40 percent in 2014, the biggest drop in eight years as prices failed to appreciate, discouraging purchases.
U.S. Mint data on Monday showed gold coin sales reached 524,500 ounces in 2014 so far, down from 856,500 ounces in 2013. This could be the biggest plunge in sales since 2006 when coin sales fell by 42 percent from the prior year to a much smaller 261,000 ounces.
Though spot gold prices rose by 15.5 percent earlier in the year, they are on track to close 2014 down around 2 percent from the end of 2013, which is seen curtailing physical buying.
“There have been several large liquidations where investors who have bought gold eagles in previous years, opted for selling those coins back,” said L.A.-based Roy Friedman, executive vice-president for Dillon Gage, a major U.S. coin wholesaler based in Dallas that distributes to dealers and institutional investors.
“In my opinion, more gold eagles were sold back in 2014 than in any other previous year.”
In January, the U.S. Mint began to mix 2014 coins with 2013-dated coins on a one-for-one basis, pressuring 2014-dated coin sales.
Sales of silver coins were at 44 million ounces so far this year, up slightly from 42.7 million ounces in 2013, Mint data showed. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by Nick Zieminski)