"The sales of new gold eagles have been impacted by several large institutional investors' liquidation of previous years' gold Eagles," Friedman. "Consumers and investors alike have been taking advantage of the lower-premium non-2014 coins."
Investors started liquidating stocks of older-dated coins in February due in part to the sudden recovery in bullion prices. The sales were conspicuous coming early in the year, usually a time when investors load up on new gold coins.
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The trend fed worries that investors are cashing in stockpiles hoarded during the long rally in bullion prices that ended last year. It also undermined hopes that tensions between Russian and Ukraine may reignite demand for gold as a safe-haven investment.
Last year, gold price fell $225 on April 12 and April 15, a record two-day drop that unleashed years of pent-up demand for gold coins among retail investors. However, the wave of strong retail buying faded by the second half of the 2013.
U.S. coin sales tend to be highly seasonal, with the strongest performance at the start of the year as investors seek the most-recent mintage, and the fourth quarter usually being the quietest of the year.
Meanwhile, sales of silver Eagles rose 60 percent year-over-year to 5.35 million ounces in March, the highest in 14 months, as dealers stocked up on inventory after the Mint had boosted its inventory.
Increased supply of silver coin blanks and stronger inventory at the U.S. Mint allowed dealers to buy more silver coins in March, Friedman said.