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Big bang in gold not likely

Yesterday gold was up $17.10 on news of a tragic event in Ukraine where an airliner was shot down by rebels.

Today it is backing off $9.90, according to my morning check of the www.kitco.com website.

Trading at $1,308.30 a troy ounce, gold is down 0.7567 percent on the Kitco site over 24 hours.

Is that even worth noticing? Unless you are an inveterate trader or a coin dealer hedging the value of his gold coin inventory, it does not much matter at all.

You might even be a collector who is contemplating buying a gold $20 for a set today, or the upcoming gold Kennedy half dollar at the American Numismatic Association convention.

Otherwise, gold is intended to be put away for the long term as a means of diversifying investments. It is not meant to provide lunch money, or a house payment on a short-term basis.

Yet everybody seems to crave a story. We seem to need an exciting narrative to justify a long-term position.

This is not necessary. In rare moments of large price swings, it might even be harmful if the online narrative causes individuals to deviate from their long-term plans.

How boring it would be if we could know and report that today 37 people are selling some gold they bought 20 years ago to help fund their retirement.

Dull would be the word for 52 people who plan to sell gold today to pay upcoming tuition bills for their childrens’ college.

How about a gold purchase to cover the fabrication of 5,273 wedding rings?

It is far more interesting to read about titanic battles between dastardly central bankers and plucky individuals who are wise to their plans.

This is more entertainment than sound investment advice.

You don’t read much anymore about the inflation in Weimar, Germany, as was cited during the financial crisis of 2008. Why? Well, the German inflation crisis from beginning to end lasted five years from the surrender of the imperial state in 1918 to the blow-off in 1923.

The sixth anniversary of the Lehman Brothers failure is in September.

Inflation, which the online narrative alleges is far higher than what statistics show, is not anywhere near the stage where people are trundling down the street with wheelbarrows full of money, or racing to the store on payday to spend the whole amount before prices rise again.

So why be concerned with such stories? We just can’t help ourselves.

Buying gold, putting it away for many years and forgetting about it is just so uninteresting. But that’s just it. If you invest in gold properly, it should be uninteresting, unless you do it like a coin collector and spend your time chasing down specific dates and mintmarks in suitable grades.

For other forms of entertainment, you can watch the “Big Bang Theory.” That’s better than waiting for a big bang in gold that hardly ever comes.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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