From National Public Radio's Planet Money:
All the instability in the global economy this year has been good for the United States Mint. People in search of a safe place to put their money have been buying gold and silver coins in record numbers.HT: Real Time Economics
"Precious metal coins were up $800 million dollars last year and that's approximately thirty some percent," says Richard Peterson, deputy director of the Mint.
According the the Mint's annual report, they sold 45.2 million ounces of gold and silver coins in 2011.
You can also find what looks like good news for the U.S. economy in the Mint's report — demand for quarter, dimes, nickels, and pennies was up this year. During the financial crisis, demand had plunged.
"People went into their piggy banks and their coin jars and spent those coins, " says Peterson. "Those coins flowed back into the banks and then ultimately back to Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve vaults started filling up and they turned off the spigot of new coin production from the United States Mint."
In 2011, coin shipments increased by 37 percent, a sign that people are no longer tapping their piggy banks for extra cash.
For its entire history, the Mint has managed to make a profit, minting coins for general use....MORE