(Updating to add table and detail in 6th and 7th para)
NEW YORK, Jan 30 (Reuters) - U.S. Mint American Eagle gold coin sales in January rose from December but were the lowest for that month since 2008, as a rally in prices discouraged collector buying in what is typically a period of peak demand, data showed on Friday.
The U.S. Mint sold 81,000 ounces of gold bullion coins this month, down from 91,500 ounces in the first month of last year and the lowest since 2008 when 26,000 ounces were sold.
Sales were still more than four times December’s total of 18,000 ounces.
Silver also had a slow start to the year, with 5.53 million ounces sold in January, more than double December’s total but the lowest for January since 2010.
U.S. sales tend to be highly seasonal, with the strongest performance at the start of the year as investors seek the most-recent mintage, and the fourth quarter usually being the quietest of the year.
Spot bullion had its best month in three years as the oil and base metals rout and the euro-zone instability have reignited its appeal to investors even as the dollar remains strong and the U.S. Federal Reserve reins in its years-long stimulus program.
On Friday, spot gold XAU= rose 2 percent to $1,281 an ounce and was up 8 percent for the month, its biggest increase since January 2012.
The Mint didn’t sell any platinum coins for a third straight month.
Below are year-to-date coin sales (all figures in ounces):
2015 2014 2015 2014 January 81,000 91,500 5,530,000 4,775,000 February 31,000 3,750,000 March 21,000 5,354,000 April 38,500 3,569,000 May 35,500 3,988,500 June 48,500 2,692,000 July 30,000 1,975,000 August 25,000 2,087,500 September 58,000 4,140,000 October 67,500 5,790,000 November 60,000 3,426,000 December 18,000 2,459,000 (Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Alden Bentley)