Are Goldbugs Getting More Physical?

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Since hitting all-time nominal highs more than two years ago, gold has become one of the most hated asset classes in the market. The precious metal suffered an ugly correction last year and posted its worst annual decline in over three decades. However, many gold investors are still buying the precious metal in physical form.

Bargain hunters are coming out of the woodwork. Last year, Australia’s Perth Mint sold 754,635 ounces of gold coins and bars, up 41 percent from 533,333 ounces a year earlier. Even silver sales jumped 33 percent to 8.6 million ounces from 6.5 million ounces. Meanwhile, the Royal Canadian Mint recently reported record sales for coins in the third quarter of 2013.

“The quarter’s sharp increase in revenue in a few of the business lines is due to the steadily growing demand for the Mint’s products in Canada, Europe, the United States and Asia,” said Ian E. Bennett, president and chief executive officer of the Royal Canadian Mint. The Mint issued 54 new numismatic coins during the quarter, which resulted in 16 sell-outs.

In 2013, the U.S. Mint sold 856,500 ounces of its latest American Gold Eagle coins, representing a 14 percent increase from the 753,000 ounces sold in 2012. In fact, the U.S. Mint sold a record breaking 42.675 million ounces of American Silver Eagle coins. That is the biggest haul of silver coins sold in a single year since the U.S. Mint started producing the series in 1986.

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