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What's Next?
September 07, 2011



My how jaded I have become.

Gold is down $50 a troy ounce this morning to around $1,823.

My first reaction, more or less, was indifference.

Not that many months ago a $50 drop would have prompted me to rethink a front page of Numismatic News.

Not so this morning.

We have seen gold at record highs over $1,900 an ounce, most recently just yesterday.

Price swings of $50 now seemingly come and go on a routine basis.

The American Numismatic Association convention that concluded Aug. 20 saw gold move in a $200 range.

That seemed amazing. But now it so last month.

How quickly our internal guidance system adjusts to make shocking news routine or even boring.

How can a $50 drop be boring?

We seem to have all become bystanders as the world financial system seems to be standing on a ledge.

If it falls off the ledge, we won’t get paid on payday.

Many of us wouldn’t have jobs, so the issue of method of payment would be moot.

There will be no goods in stores to buy because suppliers can’t get paid either.

So what’s a mere $50 swing in gold’s price compared to that?

As a student of history, recent years have been a major education for me.

After 2008, I understand why my grandparents felt the way they did about the 1929 stock market crash and the massive wave of bank failures that followed.

It shaped their lives. How long will we live in the shadow of 2008?

History tells us that at the outbreak of World War I in 1914 people in the belligerent countries celebrated, apparently not realizing the horror that was to come.

That peculiar disconnect of a positive reaction to a pending catastrophe probably explains why so many bystanders react to the present world financial system on the ledge by saying, “jump.”

What’s next?

A 9/11 celebration?



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Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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