Silver Coins in Demand | VideoBrenton Burkett | 2/11/2013
Owner Larry Schneider has a few hundred Silver Eagle coins but feels lucky to have any. Last month, the U.S. Mint suspended minting these coins for the first time since 2009. They were on hold for more than a week, surprising salesmen like Schneider.
"With the high level of purchases, we thought they would have an adequate inventory to cover these sales."
But they weren`t expecting these numbers. Even with the delays, in January, the Mint sold 7.4 million silver eagles. This shattered the record set last January, when 6.1 million coins were sold.
Schneider says North Dakotans want their money in what they see as "stable assets." Now, it`s one of the country`s strongest markets. "North Dakota people are buying silver at record levels the last two years."
"If nothing else, silver is a hedge for protection of your assets," said customer Wayne Papke.
Papke buys silver not only for others, but for his portfolio. He`s one of a growing number of people investing in this precious metal.
Prices are also on the rise; they`ve doubled from five years ago, and are six times higher than a decade ago. With prices still rising, more North Dakotans are investing in silver eagle coins, sometimes buying them by the box.
But after last January`s record sales, they fell sharply and stayed down the rest of the year. Some experts predict a similar drop this year. With concerns over the dollar and the national debt, Schneider says it`s a buyer`s market and his customers will keep coming.
Papke agrees, and says the future is looking up. "I believe they`re going to do it for the value of silver. The collector`s market has its own set of criteria."
The numbers for the rest of 2013 remain to be seen. But if January is a sign, investors will keep pouring money into metals, if the Mint can keep up.
Silver is currently worth about $31 per ounce. Schneider estimates it could reach $40 by the end of the year.