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Proof silver Eagle premium up sharply

Set-up day at the tri-annual Long Beach Expo was very hot. The heat put a damper on dealer activity because they have no AC with the big loading dock doors open. Precious metals although coming back had taken a major hit in the previous 24 hours. The activity was at least at normal levels with a substantial number of new booths. It was certainly good to walk in and see 20, perhaps as many as 40 more tables. Someone has done the right thing here.

Prices are changing so frequently that the prices published here should be used only as indications. It is not unusual in these volatile markets for me to hit the send button with price changes and an hour later wish I had lowered or raised generic issues by several percent.

2012 U.S. Coin Digest: Bullion

This easy-to-search pricing and identification download is solely focused on U.S bullion coins.

The proof American Eagle complex, meaning gold, silver and platinum, remains active with premiums on the gold and platinum issues moderate. The silver issues are stronger with a hefty increase in premium of about 15 percent. This is primarily the result of the U.S. Mint raising the current 2011 price to over $68. Mint State bullion issues are in ample supply and premiums are at normal levels. The Ultra High Relief issue of 2009 has again increased.

The recent ANA show in Chicago was huge in size and equally so in market activity. There was little to complain about for collectors or dealers, perhaps with the exception of the ill-fated pre-show for dealers only. I have never been a fan of pre-shows as I believe they just diminish the importance of the main event. The ANA is caught between a rock and a hard place in respect to them because they must cater to all members across the spectrum and the handful of dealers that are primarily wholesale. They also have deep pockets and the powerful PNG membership behind them. The current executive officer has taken a lot of heat over this and while I disagree, he should be congratulated on sticking his neck out and trying new and innovative ideas. A truly successful event often takes years of trial and error, especially in difficult economic times.

I received an email complaint that I had called a market top in precious metals. Perhaps the person misread, or I was unclear in what I wrote, but for the record I am long-term bullish and simply try to offer explanations and urge caution when trading short term. What would change my view would be an increase in interest rates to traditional levels. This would most likely be coupled with some balance of economic sense in Washington.

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