Sales of silver Eagles by the US Mint were 4,087,000 ounces in April, compared to 3,356,500 ounces in March and 1,520,000 in April 2012. Year to date silver sales are a record 18,310,000 ounces and up 57% from 2012.
Sales really jumped in April, presumably with the drop in prices that occurred in mid-April. Sales are well on track for a record year, but growth is not as fantastic as the year over year rates suggest because 2012 was a slow year.
At first glance it is surprising that the US Mint had this much gold and silver on hand to sell. However, the US Mint did stock out of 1/10 ounce gold Eagle coins in April. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/23/usmint-gold-suspension-idUSL2N0DA22N20130423
Authorized buyers were able to respond to the mid-April price drop quickly so pricing from the US Mint must be consistent with paper market benchmarks and updated frequently. I would expect the US Mint to have some sort of delay or rolling average pricing mechanism. Apparently not: the US Mint's website is not entirely clear about its pricing mechanisms. However, from the US Mint website:
Prices for American Eagles are based on the prevailing price of platinum, gold, and silver, plus a modest premium. Prices may change on a daily basis, as the platinum, gold, and silver markets fluctuate. The United States Mint does not sell its bullion coins directly to the public. Instead, the United States Mint distributes the coins in bulk, through a network of official distributors called Authorized Purchasers who, in turn, sell them to secondary retailers.
The United States Mint charges a modest premium above the current market price of platinum, gold, and silver to cover minting, distribution and marketing costs.
- For the Silver Eagle, we charge the United States Mint's Authorized Purchasers the price of silver plus $2.00 per coin premium. Minimum ordering requirement is 25,000 coins.
- For the Gold Eagles, we charge 3%, 5%, 7% and 9% premiums for the one, one-half, one-quarter and one-tenth ounce coins respectively. Minimum ordering requirements are 1000 ounces.
- For the Platinum Eagles, we charge 4%, 6%, 10% and 15% premiums for the one, one-half, one-quarter and one-tenth ounces coins respectively. Minimum ordering requirements are 1000 ounces.
So prices change on a daily basis and prices are apparently based on the London Fix since that is the market benchmark that the US Mint uses for Numismatic and Commemorative products.
2013 Pricing of Numismatic and Commemorative Gold and Platinum Products
Pricing could vary weekly dependent upon the London Fix weekly average gold price. Pricing is evaluated every Wednesday and is modified if necessary. See next page for
Can anyone can help me with the exact pricing mechanism and order lead times at the US Mint for Authorized Purchasers?