Silver Coin Sales May Surge 50% in 2010


"Investors have bought coins 'because they are cheap.'"

Canada's sales of silver coins will jump more than 50% this year and will continue to climb in 2011, said David Madge, the director of sales at the Royal Canadian Mint.

"Sales of silver coins for 2010 are very strong and we expect them to be at least 50% higher," Madge said in an e-mail, declining to give a forecast for this year's sales. The Ottawa-based mint sold 10.3 million ounces of coins in 2009, he said.

Silver futures have jumped 59% in New York this year as demand rose for precious metals as an alternative to currencies. Investors have bought coins "because they are cheap," and are helping to support the price of the metal, Francisco Blanch, the head of commodity research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said today at a conference in New York.

In October, the mint boosted its premium on coins to $2 per ounce, from $1.50 because of increased production costs, Madge said.

"We have not seen a decline in demand," after the premiums increased for Silver Maple Leaf coins, Madge said.

Silver futures for December delivery rose $1.323, or 5.2%, to $26.834 an ounce on the Comex in New York today. Last week, the metal reached a 30-year high of $29.34.

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