US gold coin sales surge in Oct. on price drop, Washington impasse
* American Eagle gold coin sales reach 10,000 oz on Tuesday
* Bargain hunting rises as prices drop below $1,300
* American Eagle silver sales also greater than usual
NEW YORK, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Demand for U.S. gold coins has surged in October, reversing recent weak sales, boosted by bargain hunting as prices plunged below $1,300 an ounce and some safe-haven buying due to the U.S. budget impasse.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Mint sold 10,000 ounces of the most-popular 22-karat American Eagle gold coins, for total sales of 22,000 ounces so far in October, a Mint spokesman said.
The October sales are already the highest sales in three months and are nearly double sales of 13,000 ounces in September and 11,500 ounces in August.
Dealers also bought 4,000 ounces of 24-karat American Buffalo gold coins.
Michael Kramer, president of Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, a major U.S. coin dealer in New York, said his firm's gold business has picked up since last Friday, when the price of gold fell 1.5 percent to a three-month low.
"We are under $1,300 for a few days, so people are thinking this is a good time to step in," Kramer said.
Manfra, Tordella bought gold coins from the U.S. Mint on Tuesday.
Uncertainty over whether U.S. lawmakers will clinch a budget deal to avert a debt default and reopen the federal government also spurred safe-haven bids, though the major driver appeared to be the lower prices, dealers said.
The U.S. Mint also reported higher-than-usual American Eagle silver coins sales at 750,000 ounces on Tuesday, bringing the October total to 1.6 million ounces, on track to surpass sales of 3 million ounces in September. (Reporting by Frank Tang; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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