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Viewpoint: Best year ever for annual forecasts

By Dave Harper

I did it. My forecasts for events of 2014 were my best ever. I have been doing these since the early days of the 21st century when all I had to do was forecast gold and silver would go up from their extreme lows of 2001.

One-ounce silver American Eagle bullion coins went on sale Nov. 17 since rationing began.

The American Silver Eagle saw its best year on record in 2014.

This success follows my worst ever year with just three correct forecasts out of 10 for 2013.
For the year 2014, my record really improved. Nine of 10 forecasts that I made were correct.

I jumped right into gold and silver, which has been a source of embarrassment over the years. Shouldn’t a numismatic editor know which direction precious metals are likely to go? For some years I forecast a downward value correction that never seemed to come.

However, my first forecast for last year was that gold would decline. It did, though only by $18, or 1.5 percent. It closed 2014 at $1183.90 a troy ounce.

My second forecast was that silver would also fall. It did. It dropped $3.774, or 19.5 percent to $15.565 an ounce.

I might have been on a roll last year, but my third forecast is where I tripped. I thought lower silver would lead to lower sales of silver American Eagles. Nope. They rose. In 2014 the Mint sold 44,006,000, up 1,331,000 coins, or 3.1 percent.

Forecast 4: I wrote gold Eagle sales would fall. They did in spades. The one-ounce coin slid by 44 percent to 415,500. If I look at ounces of gold sold including fractional sizes, the decline was 38.7 percent to 524,500 ounces.

Forecast 5: I said the Kennedy 50th anniversary program would be popular even without knowing what would be offered. It was. The clad, silver and gold options did well.

6. I said more coins would be struck for circulation as the economy grows. We don’t know the final number as this is written, but through November the 12.4 billion coins exceeded the 2013 total of 11.9 billion.

7. I thought quarter output would continue its comeback. It did. Through November 1.58 billion were struck compared to 1.46 billion in all of 2013.

8. I thought the summer American Numismatic Association convention would be a success. It was. It wasn’t the best ever. It wasn’t the worst ever. But it had the excitement of gold Kennedy sales.

9. What I am particularly proud of is I forecast that Congress would pass legislation that cracks down on Chinese counterfeits. It did in December thanks to ICTA.

10. Platinum Eagle bullion coins returned. I forecast sales would fall short of the number sold in 2008, the last year they had been available. This was correct as 16,900 were vended compared to 21,800.

(Originally published in Jan. 20 Numismatic News Express. Reprinted for comparison with 2015 predictions on page 6.)

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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