As sales of silver coins and bullion surged in early February, the U.S. Mint announced it would be forced to continue limiting its allocation of silver bullion coins to authorized dealers.

“Due to continued exceptional market demand, a limited number of blank suppliers, and plant capacity, the allocation model currently in place for distribution of the U.S. Mint’s silver bullion coins to Authorized Purchasers will remain in place for the foreseeable future,” the Mint said.

The statement came on the heels of a huge spike in the price of silver after the precious metal was talked up on the financial speculation forum, “WallStreetBets,” part of the Reddit website.

The jump in silver prices triggered a parallel rise in buying of American Eagle silver coins.

Inventories are low and may remain so in the coming weeks because the U.S. Mint has reduced manufacturing capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and availability of precious metal blanks. The Mint is also scaling down production of the American gold and silver Eagles as it prepared to begin production of a new design for gold and silver Eagles, coins that will be launched this coming summer.

Silver coin sales through the U.S. Mint hit 4.8 million ounces in January, the strongest first month of sales in four years.

The U.S. Mint also announced it is beginning to strictly allocate gold and platinum coins to authorized dealers.