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American Eagle gold coins sold out after spree

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Frank Tang
Thursday, August 21, 2008

NEW YORK -- A buying spree in the popular American Eagle bullion coins appears to have depleted inventory of major North American coin dealers, contributing to supply fears and sharply higher gold prices on Thursday.

Coin dealers in the United States and Canada said buying of gold coins and other bullion products has soared since last week as gold prices tumbled to near a nine-month bottom.

Blanchard and Co., one of the largest U.S. retail dealers of rare coins and precious metals, said the American Eagle and American Buffalo one-ounce gold coins -- novel items among collectors and investors -- are currently sold out.

"Nobody has the Eagles or the Buffalos right now. We bought 2,000 ounces late last week, and those were the last 2,000 ounces that we can find in the marketplace," said David Beahm, vice president of New Orleans-based Blancard.

"If we don't have them, nobody has them," Beahm said.

According to a Thursday report by the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Mint told dealers it was temporarily suspending all sales of the American Eagle coins due to depleted inventory and unprecedented demand.

Michael White, a spokesman of the U.S. Mint, did not return calls for comment.

Meanwhile, Canada-based dealer Kitco also said demand for gold bullion coins has increased significantly in recent days.

Kitco's Senior Analyst Jon Nadler said American Eagles are still in stock even though delays in supply and shipping of all bullion products could be possible due to high demand.

On Thursday, spot gold was up more than 3 percent to $837 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for December delivery scaled a one-week high at $845 an ounce.

George Gero, vice president of RBC Capital Markets Global Futures in New York, cited the gold coin shortage for Thursday's gold rally.

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