In what is becoming a very sad development, the more money (pardon, monetary base) Bernanke prints, the more silver coins Americans buy. According to the US Mint, November sales of silver just hit 4.16 million ounces or coins, an all time record, since the introduction of the coin in 1986, and that does not even include the last day of the month. The number is roughly a 30% increase to the 3.15 million one-ounce Eagles sold in October, and well above the previous 2010 record of 3.6 million sold in May. So far in 2010, the mint has sold 32.8 million ounces of silver, higher than the previous full year record of 29 million coins set in 2009.
More from Reuters:
"The underlying, basic reasons for the silver market's rise are really gold-oriented, but the speculative element of silver continues to be a big driver," said Bill O'Neill, partner of New Jersey-based commodities firm LOGIC Advisors.
O'Neill said that a well established retail coin-dealer network helped increase sales of the silver Eagles. He called silver a "speculative playground" and does not recommend trading it due to high volatility.
Silver, gold and platinum group metals have benefited from the fiscal crises in Greece, Ireland that could also spread to other European nations, lingering worries about economic growth and inflation concerns.
Oddly, the scramble for precious metals was not mimicked in a surge for gold, which sold "only" 103k ounces, including 99.5 one ounce coins. And to point out an error in the Reuters' article math, the June sales were not 452,000 ounces but coins, while the actual ounce equivalent sold was 151,500 ounces. So far the most active month in US mint gold coin purchases was May when 190k one ounce gold coins were sold.
We can merely speculate that the Krieger/Kaiser plan of bankrupting JPMorgan through a popular scramble for physical is if not working, then certainly getting ever more supporters.