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Impact of $1,000 gold positive but variable

Since gold jumped over the $1,000 mark Sept. 11, Kirk Kelly of the Coin Depot, Greenville, S.C., says his sales of the precious metal have increased dramatically.

“Our sales are up probably 50 percent,” he told Numismatic News Sept. 23.

“We’ve certainly seen an increase in the American Eagles and any of the bullion stuff.” He ticked off the Canadian Maple Leaf coins and the South African Krugerrands, too.

Kelly has noticed the decline in the premiums over bullion value in recent weeks as compared to last year and the early months of 2009.

“They are a fair amount cheaper,” he said of  the gold coin premiums.

With silver trading over $17 a troy ounce, he said there is an “increase in silver purchases, too.”

People were buying “just about every which way you can buy.

“We’re selling a bunch of 100-ounce bars. We’ve sold out of 10-ounce bars.”

He noted he was also selling 5-ounce and 1-ounce bars.

Demand for $1,000 face value bags of 90 percent silver U.S. coins was also higher, he said.

One reason perhaps is premiums on the bags are also down.

“Oh yeah, 90 percent, it’s a cheap premium now. It’s just a little over melt,” Kelly observed.

How about people selling precious metals back to him at the current high prices?

“We’ve seen an uptick in that. It hasn’t been as dramatic as our sales,” Kelly said.

Where will gold be in the future?

“Well over the next week or two it could go almost anywhere. The IMF is thinking about selling off some of their gold. There are a lot of little things in the market that could affect it.”

Kelly was more comfortable talking about the more distant future.

“Six months or a year out it will be higher,” he predicted.

Glenn Malone of Glenn’s Coin Shop in Downey, Calif., said his view at street level is the opposite of Kelly’s experience.

“Now everybody is on the waiting deal hoping it will go back down. Now they are on the fence,” he explained.

In his shop he does not do that much in gold sales. He explained that margins for him work out to $10-$20 on a $1,000 coin.

“It’s really not a lot of fun messing with it,” Malone said.

However, meat and potato collector coin sales are doing well, he pointed out.

“There are just an awful lot of people buying coins,” he explained.

Why might that be?

People are “not making a lot of money in the bank.”

As an alternative to getting almost no interest, Malone said collectors are “filling in collections with better coins and upgrading.”

He cited an example of a customer who saw his ad in Numismatic News. He visited the shop and bought $1,000 in BU quarters.

“He liked the grades and took them,” Malone said.

Gold may have jumped, but business at American Precious Metals Exchange in Edmund, Okla., has not.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s been a jump. It’s been steady,” said Scott Thomas of APMX.

“Some say it is time to sell, but there are equal amounts of people buying,” he said. “There are plenty of both.”

In addition to the popular bullion coins, Thomas said the pre-1933 gold is selling “very well.”

The year 1933 saw the end of regular American gold coinage as the United States left the gold standard.

Thomas also concurred with the view that demand for 90 percent silver bags is strong.

“We’re selling a lot of bags of 90,” Thomas said. “The silver American Eagles are always good sellers. We sell a ton of those.”

When asked if he wanted to make a forecast about gold’s future price, Thomas replied, “No, I don’t think so.

“To be honest with you, we’ve been at this number before. I think this stimulus plan has helped to settle everything down. The run now is due to inflation fears. If the fear of inflation goes away, gold will go back down.”

If inflation fears prove true, Thomas forecast that gold “could easily go up.”

Gold over $1,000 obviously has gotten the attention of many people. What they do in light of this new price level seems not effectively to have become a pattern.

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