(Rewrites throughout to add milestones, background) NEW YORK, Feb 29 (Reuters) - American Eagle gold coin sales in February more than quadrupled year-over-year as bullion prices surged to a one-year high, U.S. Mint data showed on Monday, confirming anecdotal information that the rally has spurred a flurry of demand.
In February, the mint sold 83,500 ounces of American Eagle gold coins, down 33 percent from a four-month high reached in January but more than four times the 18,500 ounces sold in February 2015, the data showed.
Gold has regained its safe-haven appeal so far in 2016, with spot gold prices surging more than 16 percent this year on global economic growth concerns and decreasing expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in the near future.
On Feb. 11, the metal gained the most in one day in more than seven years to $1,260.60 an ounce, the highest in a year. U.S. dealers said this spurred a coin buying frenzy, with small and large investors betting that volatile currencies and global economic concerns would lift its value even higher.
The foray back into gold came after John Paulson, one of the world's most influential gold investors, slashed his bullish bets on bullion at the end of last year. Others, such as Soros Fund Management LLC and Jana Partners LLC, had already eliminated large stakes in the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF earlier in the year and stayed out.
Sales of American Eagle silver coins reached 4.78 million ounces in February, down 20 percent from January but up 58 percent from a year ago, the data showed.
(Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)