The US Mint released a statement confirming a global shortage of silver after the website outages during the pre-sale of the 2021 Morgan Dollar commemorative coins.
“The global silver shortage has driven demand for many of our bullion and numismatic products to record heights. This level of demand is felt most acutely by the Mint during the initial product release of numismatic items.”US Mint Press Release
This appears to be the first indication from a government agency acknowledging what many have been speculating for more than a year.
The lockdowns at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of many mines and the supply chains that turn raw ore into fine silver and gold.
The shutdown of the mines and supply chains led to refineries scrambling for raw materials and mints running out of product to sell.
After some backlash, the US Mint has revised its statement about the shortage.
“In more precise terms, the silver shortage being experienced by the United States Mint pertains only to the supply of silver blanks among suppliers to the U.S. Mint.”US Mint Press Release
Silver blanks are manufactured for the US Mint by private mints. The US Mint didn’t specify which private mints were having issues supplying silver blanks. It has been documented previously that the US Mint has bought silver blanks from private mints such as Scottsdale Mint, Sunshine Minting, Coins’n’Things and other major industry players.
The US Mint has delayed the remaining pre-sales of the 2021 Morgan Dollars and 2021 Peace dollars. The prospective launch dates have yet to be announced.