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Cover gold, ignore facts?

Looking at the Kitco website this morning I see gold is down $16 to $1,647.50 a troy ounce and silver is off by 69 cents to $32.23.

Market prices, of course, decline as well as rise, but there is a certain hobby mythology about precious metals fluctuations.

For many years it was observed that bullion always seemed to fall ahead of the Long Beach Coin, Stamp and Collectible Expo.

I don’t know that anybody ever did a study to look at prices in the week leading into the convention, which is held three times a year. It just simply became a hobby truism – even a joke – for a while.

The Whitman Baltimore Expo, which starts Thursday, has had rather better luck with bullion. No hobby truisms about declines have ever emerged surrounding this show.

Background chatter always surrounds markets because of the human need to want to know a reason for everything.

However, the stories we tell ourselves often hide more than they reveal.

A coin dealer who has made a significant purchase does not want other dealers to know the source if there is more to be found there. Why would you invite competitors to bid the material away from you?

If business is a little slow, no dealer is going to say his current inventory is a bit tired. It is far easier to point to a fluctuation in bullion for a drop in interest.

However, collectively, it is amazing how closely most dealers are able to follow the ups and downs of each other’s businesses.


Their future depends on it.

Numismatics still depends on mutual trust. This is a trait that shows the best in human nature. It is what makes the activity on a bourse floor tick. Trust, of course, does not mean blindness.

But what kind of headline is that?