Jan. 19, 2013 -- As a result of high investor demand, the U.S. Mint has stopped selling its 2013 American Eagle silver bullion coins.
According to mint spokesman Michael White, 6,700,000 ounces of Silver Eagle coins were sold between Jan. 7, when the coins first went on sale, and Jan. 15. Until this year, the all-time high was 6,422,000 ounces, set in January 2011.
"We mint to demand," mint spokesman Michael White told ABC News.
In an email to authorized purchasers, the mint said it would resume sales around the week of Jan. 28, after it mints more coins.
One of the purchasers, Terry Hanlon, was very happy about the situation.
"I love it," said Hanlon of Dillon Gage Metals, a primary precious metals dealer in Dallas that buys directly from the mint and sells to bankers, coin dealers and jewelers. "We are very, very busy and we have been for the last several months. That would certainly reflect that people are worried that the financial situation in the U.S. isn't going to get any better -- so they're buying precious metals."
Peter Schiff, an economist and president of Euro Pacific Precious Metals, a precious metals dealer in New York, agreed.
"With the Federal Reserve clearly stating that unlimited money creation and dollar debasement are its intended policy goals, it's becoming painfully obvious to more and more investors that precious metals are a better savings alternative than zero-interest bank deposits," said Schiff. "For many of these first-time buyers, silver bullion coins like U.S. Silver Eagles are one of the easiest, most reliable and most cost effective means to get precious metal exposure."
But, he added, if investors can't buy Silver Eagles, they can also buy other coins like Canadian Maple Leaf silver coins, which are minted by the Canadian government and are "just as good."
"When people are buying bullion they're not collecting the coins, they just want to have reliable silver," he said.
The American Eagle Bullion program was launched in 1986 with the sale of gold and silver bullion coins. Platinum was added 11 years later.
The coins are produced at the mint's plant in West Point, N.Y.