This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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I had an interesting conversation recently. It was not numismatic. It was pretty standard two-way dialogue as we discussed things that could go wrong in the United States in the coming months.
The other person finally said the American people are simply tired of the bad times. They are deterimined to have a Merry Christmas and it will not matter what the Fed does, where the unemployment rate is, where the stock market indices stand, or what the price of gold is, though gold owners might be feeling particularly merry by year end.
This conversational point wasn’t quite stated in those words, but what I write here is the essence of their meaning.
The holiday season will mark the third anniversary of when things started to go wrong in the economy by official statistics and three and a half years since the first wave of mortgage-backed securities began to shake up the stock market.
To be sure, times are not good and real people are suffering real hardships, but there are still more than 90 percent of the population who have kept things together through all of their apprehensiveness. If they decide enough is enough and the kids and other family members deserve a little more this year, then the ripples through the rest of the economy might just begin to turn things around.
You might see a few more hobbyists attend the 2011 Florida United Numismatists as a result of this changed attitude.
You might see some people cash in some of their bullion gains to redistribute the funds to buy some of the classic coins they have always wanted in their collections. They might even want to buy a sports car as a personal reward for having been spectacularly right about the market. Who knows?
The point of surviving a crisis is to reach the point when you realize that you got through it. Other aspects of life loom larger, or can’t be ignored any longer. Collecting gets rather dull when bullion value becomes the primary concern about any given coin.
A change in outlook might even be as simple as seeing your favorite annual Mint products offered for sale in January instead of later in the year. Now is certainly the time to hunt for any of the non-silver proof sets you might need. Prices are attractive on the secondary market.
Since I had the conversation, I started to look at things even more than usual as the glass being half full rather than half empty. I am inclined to optimism anyway, but even I didn’t smile every day during the banking crisis. Who did?
Having pie at lunch at the Crystal Cafe is occurring a little more often than it should with me lately, but as the sign there says, “ Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”
We’ve had a good dose of uncertainty. If Americans take control of their holidays and make them the best they can be as I was told they will, then little by little normal times will return and the only things we will kick around will be the Mint and the American Numismatic Association.