As 2014 comes to an end, precious metal investors overwhelming chose Silver Eagles as the clear winner. Not only did the sales of Silver Eagles hit a new record in 2014, the ratio to Gold Eagle sales were off the charts. In just five years, sales of Silver Eagles compared to Gold Eagles, quadrupled.
One year after the collapse of the U.S. Investment Banking and Housing Market, Silver Eagle sales shot up nearly 50% from 19.5 million in 2008, to 28.7 million in 2009. Gold Eagle sales also reached a new record at 1.4 million oz in 2009. That was the year, the Silver-Gold Eagle ratio was 20/1. Investors purchased 20 Silver Eagles for every Gold Eagle in 2009.
Then over the following years as the Fed and Central Banks started to prop up the global financial and economic system with massive liquidity, demand for Gold Eagles started to decline. Even though the price of gold hit a new high of $1,900 in 2011, investors only purchased one million oz of Gold Eagles that year.
However, Silver Eagle sales continued into record territory even as the price of silver skyrocketed towards $50. The U.S. Mint sold 39.8 million Silver Eagles in 2011, doubling the Silver-Gold Eagle ratio to 40/1.
As we can see from the chart above, both Gold and Silver Eagle sales dropped in 2012 as investors became unsure of the future price trend of the precious metals. Then in 2013, Gold and Silver Eagle sales picked up significantly (especially Silver Eagles) as investors were taking advantage of bargain-basement prices… courtesy of the Federal Reserve trading desk.
In 2013, Gold Eagle sales increased to 856,500 oz, while Silver Eagles topped 42 million. Sales of Silver Eagles were so strong, the Silver-Gold Eagle ratio swelled to 50/1.
Investors hoping for a turn-around in the prices of the precious metals in 2014, were disappointed as gold and silver fell to new lows. While the lower price of gold negatively impacted Gold Eagle demand, it did the opposite for Silver Eagle sales. As of December 23, total Silver Eagle sales for the year hit a new record of 43,950,500, while Gold Eagle sales fell to 524,500 oz. If the U.S. Mint still has a few Silver Eagles to sell before closing shop this year, that should easily push sales over 44 million for 2014.
Amazingly, retail investors purchased 84 Silver Eagles in 2014 for every ounce of Gold Eagles. It will be interesting to see how 2015 unfolds. With all the geopolitical, financial and economic uncertainty… next year just may be GANG BUSTERS for the U.S. Mint.
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