High demand may limit supply of silver coins

Driven largely by the recent spike in silver prices, it would appear that sales of silver coins have begun to exhaust mint supplies in several cases.  The head of bullion sales at the Royal Canadian Mint claimed; “We have sold everything we can produce in silver and have demand for at least twice that volume” (Financial Times http://tinyurl.com/5rezws8).

In addition, the Austrian Mint, which produces the highest-selling silver coin in Europe announced that it was boosting production to 2.2 million ounces of its’ silver Philharmonic coin for February and March after sales of 1.5 million ounces in January alone.

Across the Atlantic the US Mint reported sales of 6.4 million ounces of the Silver Eagle coin; 50% more than the previous record month.  Faced with such a tide of consumer demand, sales may well be rationed in the highest-selling mints; making already limited issues even more sought after.

It seems unlikely that diminishing supply will in any way slow demand for silver coins.  With the price of silver continuing to rise, its profile as a relative safe haven compared to far more volatile options has risen correspondingly.  The ‘numismatic premium’ of silver coins, or the value a coin can attract above its’ intrinsic metal value, make coins especially attractive to those wishing to own silver.  With a boosted demand for silver coins, buying premium quality silver coinage looks not unlikely to become an even more significant numismatic purchase.

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