2015 was the year of the Silver American Eagle, with the U.S. Mint selling more of the 1-ounce .999 fine silver bullion coins than in any other calendar year since the series was introduced in November 1986. Sales totaled 47 million coins, eclipsing the previous record of 44,006,000 recorded in 2014.

In December silver prices dropped 2% and registered an annual decline of 11.5%. Like gold, silver has fallen for three straight years. Prices fell 19.5% in 2014 and they tumbled 35.9% in 2013..

More than half of the week's allocation sold on Monday 04.01.2016 , the first day of 2016 sales, the U.S. Mint said, a sign that demand remains strong as spot silver prices hovered above a 6,5-year low of $13.60 per ounce hit in December.

First-day sales of American Eagle gold bullion coins were also strong at 60,000 ounces, compared with the 81,000 ounces that sold in the entire month of January 2015, mint data showed. On Monday (11.01.2016), spot gold prices traded just below $1,100 an ounce, which is up about 5% from the near six-year-low of $1,045.85 reached in early December.

2016 is already shaping up for the possibility of being another record sales year, since it is the 30th anniversary of the series and since the market for investment silver remains strong. With a depressed silver price staying below $16 per troy ounce for most of the year and strong investment demand, there is no doubt the Mint could have sold more coins. The Mint just couldn't deliver sufficient struck product because of the worldwide competition for the necessary planchets. The Mint's contracted vendors supplying the planchets were trying to balance satisfying the needs of their commercial customers like the U.S. Mint while also marketing struck products bearing their own hallmarks.

The scenario is not likely to change significantly in 2016. Secondary market premiums above silver's spot price were driven up several dollars per coin in 2015 as dealers tried to fill customer orders, often waiting weeks for physical delivery.