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Cover Gold, Ignore Facts?
March 20, 2012

Looking at the Kitco website this morning I see gold is down $16 to $1,647.50 a troy ounce and silver is off by 69 cents to $32.23.

Market prices, of course, decline as well as rise, but there is a certain hobby mythology about precious metals fluctuations.

For many years it was observed that bullion always seemed to fall ahead of the Long Beach Coin, Stamp and Collectible Expo.

I don’t know that anybody ever did a study to look at prices in the week leading into the convention, which is held three times a year. It just simply became a hobby truism – even a joke – for a while.

The Whitman Baltimore Expo, which starts Thursday, has had rather better luck with bullion. No hobby truisms about declines have ever emerged surrounding this show.

Background chatter always surrounds markets because of the human need to want to know a reason for everything.

However, the stories we tell ourselves often hide more than they reveal.

A coin dealer who has made a significant purchase does not want other dealers to know the source if there is more to be found there. Why would you invite competitors to bid the material away from you?

If business is a little slow, no dealer is going to say his current inventory is a bit tired. It is far easier to point to a fluctuation in bullion for a drop in interest.

However, collectively, it is amazing how closely most dealers are able to follow the ups and downs of each other’s businesses.


Their future depends on it.

Numismatics still depends on mutual trust. This is a trait that shows the best in human nature. It is what makes the activity on a bourse floor tick. Trust, of course, does not mean blindness.

But what kind of headline is that?

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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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