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Diehl of the day

My body clock might not know what time it is at the World Money Fair, but my mind knows that it is time to be in Berlin to find out what is going on in world numismatics now and for the rest of 2013.

There is a sense of relief among Europeans that the euro crisis is now winding down. This expectation is perhaps at the root of forecasts for sales of popular gold and silver bullion coins to be down somewhat in 2013.

This does not mean 2013 won’t be a good year for sales, but that when overall results are tallied that the numbers might not match the levels achieved in 2012.

But even if the market does not grow in volume, there are still opportunities. It should be the object of every buyer of bullion coins to maximize the amount of gold or silver that can be acquired with a given quantity of money. That, though, is not the case, and that spells opportunity for dealers who are on the ball.

German gold buyers prefer the South African Krugerrand. Mixed date quantities are popular. This is such a given that buyers acquire Krugerrands in the United States and ship them to Germany for a profit.

Going the other way are British sovereigns. We American buyers seem to prefer these old-fashioned coins when we are not buying gold American Eagles. The result is buyers acquire them in Germany and elsewhere in Europe and ship them to the United States at a profit.

In a perfectly efficient market, these buy-ship-and-sell opportunities would not exist.

So however rational the impulse to buy gold might be given the economic uncertainty we all live with, there is still a little part of all buyers that is not as rational and this can lead them to pay more for gold than they otherwise might have to simply because they are used to it coming in the form of a Krugerrand or a sovereign.

However, the most important aspect of the World Money Fair are the personal relationships that are forged here. Everybody you meet has a list of meetings to attend and we all seem to be rushing here and there, but we pass through the main lobby of the Estrel Hotel.

It was there I met American Numismatic Association President Tom Hallenbeck, who had just arrived. He was catching up with Jeff Shevlin and Kim Kiick of the ANA staff, whom I encountered last night as we all headed for a reception at the French embassy.

In the back of the Fritz Kuenker auction room I met former U.S. Mint Director Phil Diehl. He was already busy even though he had just arrived this morning.

I was given a preview of a series of dog and cat coins. They were stunning. I will be watching to see how they perform in the marketplace. I also saw a series of opera coins. As an American who lives in a rural area, naturally I had a better sense of dogs and ats rather than opera.

The official opening of the show is tomorrow morning and booths are still being constructed. Between meetings I wander in to see how the Krause booth is going.

It is going to be a good event. I can feel it. All of the pre-show meetings have a strong upbeat quality to them.

Gotta go.

It is almost time for my next meeting.

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