Tue 7 Oct 2008, 12:02 GMT
NEW YORK, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Unprecedented demand for precious metals and volatile markets forced the U.S. Mint to cease production for the half-ounce and quarter-ounce popular American Eagle gold coins for the rest of this year and to supply other bullion coins on an allocation basis.
"Due to the extreme fluctuating market conditions for 2008, as well as current market conditions, gold and silver demand is unprecedented and the demand for platinum is unusually high," the U.S. Mint said in a Monday memorandum to its authorized coin dealers.
"The U.S. Mint has worked diligently to attempt to meet demand, however, blank supplies are very limited and it is necessary for the U.S. Mint to focus remaining bullion production primarily on American Eagle Gold One Ounce and Silver One Ounce Coins," the Mint said.
The Mint said it would continue to supply one-ounce American Eagle gold coins and one-ounce American Eagle silver coins on an allocation basis to coin dealers.
For half-ounce and quarter-ounce American Eagles, the Mint said that inventory was depleted last week and no more coins would be produced for 2008.
Produced from gold mined in the United States, the American Eagles have been novel items among collectors and investors since their introduction in 1986. Each coin has a face value of $50 but it is sold by authorized dealers at a premium to the price of gold.
Coin dealers from the United States to Canada have recently reported a surge in buying of bullion coins and other gold products as a worsening crisis in the financial markets prompted people to seek a safe haven in precious metals. (Reporting by Frank Tang; Editing by John Picinich)