(Kitco News) - The U.S. Mint is working to finalize plans to produce 2011 American Buffalo one-ounce gold bullion coins after sales of the 2010 coins were halted last week.

The agency sent a memorandum to authorized dealers, dated Sept. 23, announcing that the inventory of 2010 American Buffalo one-ounce gold bullion coins was depleted. No additional ones will be manufactured.

Sales for the year to date were 209,000, said Tom Jurkowsky, director of public affairs for the U.S. Mint. The 2010 coins were first offered April 29. The figure is up from 200,000 of the coins sold in 2009, when they were only available for the October-December period.

“We are still trying to finalize plans for release of the 2011 American Buffalo gold one-ounce bullion,” Jurkowsky told Kitco News.

Demand for the 2010 Buffalo coins was strongest in April and May, when there were sales of 56,500 and 70,500, respectively, according to the Mint’s Web site. Sales were 15,000 in August and 10,000 in September.

“The demand for all the bullion has been extremely high, both silver and gold,” Jurkowsky said.

The Mint has sold gold Eagle bullion coins so far in 2010 totaling 942,500 ounces. This includes 878,000 in sales of one-ounce coins, with the rest of the sales consisting of half-, quarter and tenth-ounce coins. In 2009, only one-ounce Eagle coins were sold until December. Through September, the total was 954,000.

The Mint described the one-ounce Buffalo bullion coins as “a simple and tangible means to own and invest in 24-karat gold in the form of legal tender coins whose content and purity is guaranteed by the United States Government.”

Congress authorized the sale of the Buffalo coins in late 2005, and they were minted in 2006. The Mint’s Web site showed sales of 172,000 in 2008, 167,500 in 2007 and 323,000 in 2006.

By Allen Sykora of Kitco News; asykora@kitco.com

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