* 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 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
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)