This September after more than two years, the United States Mint lifted the rationing of American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins. By law, the Mint is required to produce enough of both type of coin to meet public demand, but when they cannot supply enough coins, they resort to meeting as much demand as possible – by allocating the coins on a weekly basis.
The irony is that time and again the U.S. Mint imposes this limitation until it has sufficient coins to satisfy public need, at which time it ends the rationing, and consumers rush to buy the coins, draining the Mint’s resources within weeks or months.
The first time that the U.S. Mint imposed its ”allocation” program was in February of 2008, following a several-weeks’ suspension of Silver Eagles. This allocation rationed the amount of bullion coins amongst authorized purchasers, and the note of the Mint state simply said, “The unprecedented demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins necessitates our allocating these coins on a weekly basis until we are able to meet demand.”
Last year’s rationing of both the gold and the silver bullion coins ended in June 2009 but, as predicted, demand soon shot up, forcing the November 2009 suspension of sales -soon resumed under the all-too-familiar allocation program.
By March of 2010 the rationing had ended for Gold Eagle coins, and by this September, the Silver Eagle coins became fully available.
It seems unlikely, given the U.S. Mint’s unsteady history, that the allocation program for both Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins will not soon come around again.