Uncertainty surrounding traditional investment and inflation concerns drove investor demands for bullion coins to exceptional highs last year, the U.S. Mint said in its recently issued annual report.
The U.S. Mint sold 27.6 million ounces of gold, silver and platinum bullion coins in fiscal year 2009, a 132.3% increase over annual bullion sales since FY 2005.
Total bullion revenue for the mint achieved a record high of $1.7 billion in FY 2009, a 78.65 increase from $948.8 million in FY 2008.
As bullion coin buyers were well aware, the U.S. Mint was initially unable to acquire sufficient planchets (blanks) to satisfy "the unprecedented demand for bullion coins."
Because of supply constraints, the mint diverted all available planchet supply to produce of 22-karat gold and silver one-ounce bullion coins. The mint also diverted blanks from discretionary numismatic and bullion programs, increased production capacity, and worked with suppliers to expand planchet supply. "Consequently, the bureau expanded bullion planchet supply from previous levels of eight to ten million ounces annually to over 27 million ounces in FY 2009," the report said.