The year 2020 was a very strong one for bullion coins sales by the major national mints, with the US Mint, Perth Mint and Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) all seeing phenomenally strong sales across both gold bullion coins and silver bullion coins.
Gold sales more than doubled at the Perth Mint and Royal Canadian Mint, while increasing by a massive 500% at the US Mint. The US Mint also took the lead in sales volume increases in silver, more than doubling its 2019 volumes. During 2020, the Perth Mint boosted silver sales by 42%, while the Royal Canadian Mint (based on the first three quarters of 2020) increased silver sales volumes by 34%.
Together the three mints shipped 87 tonnes of gold and 2359 tonnes of silver out the door to the market. (Note, as the RCM reports with a lag, the RCM volumes from the 4th quarter are annualized based on the first three quarters).
Now for the details:
The US Mint is famous for its American Gold Eagle and American Silver Eagle bullion coins, as well as the American Gold Buffalo coin.
US Mint gold and silver sales surged ahead in 2020 compared to recent years, with the Mint selling 1,086,000 troy ozs (33.78 tonnes) of gold coins across the Gold Eagle and Gold Buffalo bullion programs, and 30 million ozs within the US Silver Eagle coin program. This represented gold bullion coin sales that were a whopping 509% higher than volumes in 2019, and silver bullion coin sales over twice as high as in 2019.
While these sales and production figures were impressive, they were even more so given that the US Mint’s West Point production facility was at times closed during 2020 due to coronavirus shutdowns such as in April.
Specifically, during 2020, the US Mint sold 844,000 ozs of US Gold Eagles across the 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz and 1/10 oz denominations, and 242,000 ozs of the 1 oz Gold Buffalo coin. Of the US Gold Eagle sales, 747,500 ozs (or 88%) were in the 1 oz Gold Eagle weight. The highest sales months were in March, August and July. As a comparison, in 2019, the Mint sold 152,000 oz in the Gold Eagle program and 61,500 ozs in the Gold Buffalo program, or 213,500 oz in total. This means that during 2020, the US Mint increased Gold Eagle coin sales by 555% and Gold Buffalo coin sales by 393% compared to 2019.
Admittedly, 2019 was a weak sales year for US Mint gold bullion coins, but with these 2020 figures, the US Mint is returning to sales volumes seen earlier in the last decade, e.g. in 2012, 2015 and 2016.
Turning to silver, in 2020 the US Mint sold 30,089,500 Silver Eagle coins, all of which were in the 1 oz denomination. That’s equivalent to 936 tonnes of silver. The highest monthly sales totals for the US Silver Eagle in 2020 were recorded in March, August and November, although demand was generally strong across the entire year. As a comparison, in 2019 the Mint recorded US Silver Eagle sales of 14,863,500 ozs or 462 tonnes.
Monthly data on US Mint bullion program sales can be seen on the US Mint’s website here.