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Only final price counts

What’s the correct price for silver?

Will it sag to $10 an ounce this year?

That would be big news.

Will it jump to $30?

That would be big news in the other direction.

The point is nobody can know.

It fluctuates.

I came into the office this morning figuring I would point out that gold and silver have been remarkably stable since early December, with gold in the $1,220s and silver in the low $17s.

But, checking the Kitco website revealed that silver has fallen overnight to $16.36, down 96 cents.

Yikes.

That might undermine my point.

Or does it?

If you follow the two metals day by day, you know that they have jumped around quite a bit in the last 10 weeks, or so but have ultimately returned to the same place.

For silver, we have seen a slide to well under $16 only to see the metal turn around and soar to over $18. Then back to $17.

Only the fact that New Year’s arrived enshrined the $15.565 value as a year-end closing price for 2014.

For gold, the swings took the metal below $1,200 and to $1,300 and back again to the $1,220s.

Again, the year-end price firmly fixes $1,183.90 in memory.

So what is the correct price?

Anybody can go online and read that silver should be $50 or $100 and gold should be $2,000 or $5,000.

The cases for these values always seem plausible.

But so far they haven’t persuaded buyers to bid prices up that high.

In fact both metals are far beneath their 2011 highs.

It might be better for buyers to take a page out of the stock market investors’ book and diversify, buy on weakness, but never go all in.

Better yet from my point of view is to collect coins made of precious metals and treat the daily price swings as only curiosities in a long numismatic career. They are interesting, entertaining even, but ultimately of little importance.

The correct price then is the final value of the entire collection assembled over decades.

That value is much more easily determined and obtained.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

 

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