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Golden year ahead in 2014?

The best thing about  the first business day of any new year is the sense that everybody starts with a clean slate and whatever begins to happen is fresh and interesting.

While we note that gold and silver declined during 2013, our focus is already looking to its future track in 2014.

But, for those who like neat and tidy base lines, and I plead guilty to that, let’s sum up 2013.

Gold’s last close in 2012 was $1,674.80 an ounce. It’s final close in 2013 was $1,201.90. The difference of $472.90 works out to a 28.24 percent decline, breaking a 12-year run of successively higher closes.

Silver’s decline was more severe. It’s final close in 2012 was $30.173 an ounce. The last close in 2013 was $19.339. The difference of $10.834 is a 35.91 percent decline.

What will the future bring? That’s what everyone wants to know.

Both metals have begun 2014 by trading higher. Gold was at $1,225.10 when I checked the Kitco website first thing this morning and silver was trading at $20.15.

Silver will mark its third anniversary of its recent peak at the end of April. Gold reaches the second anniversary of its all-time high in August if you measure it by market closing prices and September if you mark it according to how high it traded during the day.

Neither metal will likely challenge these highs in 2014 unless some crisis hits like a bolt out of the blue. That is always possible. That’s why gold is considered a hedge investment, a form of financial insurance.

Real estate might have a good year in 2014. Stocks might have a good year. But holding up to 10 percent of one’s investable funds in gold are a just-in-case investment.

For coin collectors, the best of all possible worlds would be for investors to keep buying American Eagles and other bullion coins so as to maintain the dealer community’s cash flow, but yet not create  such a stir as to distract us from putting our sets together.

Is that possible? Let’s see.

I look forward to seeing the first 2014 gold American Eagles at next week’s Florida United Numismatists convention. The silver Eagle will not be available from the Mint until Jan. 13, which is after the show closes, but I look forward to seeing one of these somewhere down the road..

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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