Sales of U.S. Mint-issued gold bullion coins soared more than five-fold in 2020, reaching their highest level in four years. American Eagle gold coin sales totaled 844,000 ounces across denominations, with 1,273,500 individual coins sold.

Silver bullion coin sales more than doubled, to 30 million ounces.

The sales jump came in spite of severe supply chain disruptions that limited the manufacturing and distribution of bullion coins to dealers due to global lockdowns and the spread of COVID-19. 

The devastating impact of the pandemic became clear in March of 2020. That was the U.S. Mint’s busiest month, as it sold more than 150,000 ounces of gold bullion coins in response to investor demand to shift assets into safe havens.

Late that month, the U.S. Mint facility in West Point, New York, which manufactures American Eagle gold and silver coins, temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus. In mid-April, the Mint again closed for cleaning and disinfection. While the Mint claimed it “consistently continued to meet orders of gold bullion coins,” dealers did not receive orders, resulting in a severe shortage in April, May, and June for retail buyers who purchase through authorized dealers.

The shortage of bullion coins eased over the summer, and, as the price of gold surged above $2,000 an ounce in August, the Mint had its second busiest month of the year for bullion coin sales.