U.S. Silver-Coin Buyers See Bargains While Investors Dump Metals

  • Coin sales up 13 percent from last year, Mint data show
  • Futures dropped to the lowest since 2009 on Wednesday in N.Y.

Buyers of silver coins in the U.S. are seeing bargains at a time when investors are dumping precious metals. 

Prices tumbled on Wednesday to a six-year low. Investors have been selling silver amid a rout across commodities and ignoring the precious metal’s haven appeal. While options contracts show that traders are bracing for more declines, the rout is only increasing the allure of silver coins for retail buyers. Sales at the U.S. Mint, the world’s largest, are on pace to a reach a record this year, according to an e-mailed statement.

Coin purchases are up about 13 percent this year through Aug. 24. Surging demand prompted the Mint to suspend sales last month for more than two weeks because of a lack of inventory. The physical buying has done little to stem the metal’s price plunge. Futures in New York are heading for a third straight monthly loss, and money mangers cut their net-bullish wagers by more than 90 percent since the end of May. 

Silver Futures Reach Six-Year Low
Silver Futures Reach Six-Year Low

“Most of the coin buyers are retail investors who see these levels as extremely attractive,” Lance Roberts, who helps oversee $650 million as chief strategist for STA Wealth Management in Houston, said in a telephone interview. “These investors do not look at the daily price movements to make their decisions.”

Purchases of American Eagle silver coins reached an all-time high of 44 million ounces last year, the Mint’s statement said. That topped 2013’s 42.7 million ounces, the previous all-time high, according to data on the website. Sales at the Canadian Mint has also been strong, according to an e-mailed response from the Mint.

Silver futures fell 9.6 percent this year to $14.095 an ounce as of 1:38 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices touched $13.95 on Wednesday, the lowest since August 2009.

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