September 24, 2008
The U.S. Mint is temporarily halting sales of its popular American Buffalo 24-karat gold coins because it can’t keep up with soaring demand as investors seek the safety of gold amid economic turbulence.
Mint spokesman Michael White said Friday that the sales were being suspended because demand for the coins, which were first introduced in 2006, has exceeded supply and the Mint’s inventory of the coins has been depleted.
The Mint had to temporarily suspend sales of its American Eagle one-ounce gold coins on Aug. 15 and then later that month announced sales of the American Eagle coins would resume under an allocation program to designated dealers.
White said the Mint expected to soon start distributing available Buffalo gold coins through a similar allocation program.
Through Thursday, the day the Mint suspended sales of the American Buffalo, the Mint had sold 164,000 of the coins this year, up 54 percent from the same period a year ago.
“People are scared. Gold has become a safe haven,” said Michael Maroney, a vice president of sales at gold dealer Monex Precious Metals in Newport Beach, Calif.
Maroney said that demand for the one-ounce American Eagle coins was “through the roof.” He said Monex still had American Buffalos available Friday because the company had recently stocked up on them.