I have lunch with my old boss Clifford Mishler from time to time at the Crystal Cafe here in Iola.
Yesterday’s topic was the Strawberry Festival sponsored by the Historical Society held June 23. He had overseen it the day before. I had been a volunteer.
At the event there is a portion of the area dedicated to appraising items people bring with them. The items run the gamut from paintings to firearms to coins. One person even brought in a regimental history of a Norwegian unit in the Union Army during the Civil War.
When it came to coins, though, it was deadly dull. I didn’t see any. Perhaps others did. One woman apologized to me because she said she had some coins at home and she had forgotten to bring them.
Coins seem to have gone out of sight and out of mind for people who don’t collect. The excitement of the state quarter program is now an increasingly distant memory. The record prices of gold and silver now date back two years.
The present decline in gold and silver prices may prove to be a buying opportunity, but it does nothing to bring out the casual crowd’s coins in Iola.
Three years ago I had a conversation with a fellow that I volunteer with. He was anxious to acquire some gold. I got the impression that it would be a small amount, perhaps even on the order of one ounce.
I tried to talk him out of it because he was not a collector and not likely to become one. With the trouble and premium associated with such a purchase by someone who knows nothing of bullion coins, it just didn’t seem like a good fit.
Well, at another event somewhat later in the year, a brat fry at which we were both working, he raised the issue again. Gold had gone up since our prior conversation and he was itching to get in. The price of the metal was trading somewhere in the $1,300s.
I relented and gave him some contact information where I expected he could get his gold coin or two for the lowest possible premium.
Since that time, we have never talked about gold even though we continue to work side by side on various community projects.
Gold set a record near $1,900 an ounce at the end of August 2011. Had he made his purchase, he would have been solidly profitable.
With gold now back under $1,300, had he made his purchase and still retained the gold, he would be nursing a loss.
I have to admit I am curious. I saw him at the Strawberry Festival, but I did not have the nerve to bring up the topic of gold. The timing isn’t right. If I did not bring the topic up with him when gold was at a record high, it might be construed now as rubbing salt in the wound. In consequence, during the Strawberry Festival we just visited.
Perhaps someday the market will allow me the opportunity to open a conversation with, “Whatever happened after our gold conversation?” If I ever get the chance to ask, I will fill you in.
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