Editor's Note: This blog was originally published as Dave Harper's "Class of '63" column in the Feb. 5, 2019, issue of Numismatic News.
Should I throw caution to the winds for my 2019 forecasts? I decided I should. Volatility is the name of the game these days as the future looks more and more uncertain.
Uncertainty means gold should be a winner. My first forecast will deal with this precious metal.
1. The price of gold will cross the $1,400 mark. We have to go back to 2013 to see the yellow metal trading this high. A gain of not quite 10 percent might seem tame, but I guarantee it will put a spring in the step of many a bullion coin dealer.
2. Silver will pass $17. This will also be good news for bullion dealers, but the gain is not so much as to make coin collectors notice unwarranted collector coin price hikes. In other words, it’s a sweet spot for both collectors and investors.
3. Gold American Eagle sales will rise, recovering the sales lost in 2018. Let’s say 300,000 ounces, up from 245,000.
4. Silver American Eagle sales will rise to 20 million from 15.7 million. If it happens, the Mint will feel that it has dodged a bullet after three years of strong drops from the 47 million coins in 2015.
I have often thought that the Mint should abolish clad proof sets and keep silver. Instead, we have both kinds, and sales of both are declining.
Prediction 5: The Mint will decide to offer coins from the standard silver and clad proof sets individually and by the roll. This is a product extension inspired by its five-quarter proof sets, four-dollar proof sets, and rolls and bags of uncirculated dollars and half dollars. Collectors are increasingly specializing in a single denomination, and they will be pleased not to buy full proof sets to get a single coin.
6. The Mint will take bids from PCGS, NGC, and other graders to slab its more popular coins so the Mint can sell slabbed coins directly to its customers. It is tired of seeing so much of the premium prices for MS-70 and Proof-70 coins captured by others. This will help support the decision to sell proof coins individually. It makes no sense for customers to buy a proof set where one coin is -66, another is -68, and perhaps another is a problem -62. Collecting by grade is here to stay.
7. The Mint will curtail its medal offerings as collector response disappoints.
8. Bitcoin will have more problems, perhaps a major exchange theft, causing its value to plummet below $1,000 from the present $4,000.
9. The Professional Numismatists Guild’s year-end market estimate in December will show collector coins have risen from the present $4 billion to $4.4 billion. Bullion won’t have all the fun.
10. In the 2019 American Numismatic Association presidential election, Don Kagin will narrowly beat Col. Steven Ellsworth. But not to worry, Col. Ellsworth will come back as president in 2021.
Are these forecasts too daring or too timid? You be the judge.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017. He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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