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Do gold sales matter in January?

High demand in January for silver and gold bullion coins is a given.

For those of us who witness this phenomenon year by year, the question simply becomes one of asking how high is the demand?

Last year a record was set of 7,498,000 silver American Eagles.

Demand for gold was 150,000 troy ounces apportioned among four sizes of bullion coins..

This year there has been the usual blip higher in demand for bullion coins with the 2014 date, but it is not as strong as it was last year.

As of yesterday, the Mint had sold almost 4 million silver American Eagles. There is no way that the January 2013 sales number will be equaled, let alone improved upon this month.

For gold, sales this year have reached 84,500 ounces. Sales also will not likely reach last year's level of 150,000 ounces.

Does it matter?

Will January set the tone for the rest of the year?

While it is possible, it is hard to see why it should. The world does not change that much in a span of 31 days between the end of the year just past and February. Events during the other 11 months could surprise one way or the other.

January's market tone is usually set by individuals and companies who want to be the first on the block to buy and sell the new date. They are the ones who want to be first to obtain the early strikes and the MS-70 top grade designation. Nothing about his impulse has any effect on long-term reasons to own gold and silver.

It is all about collecting and some bragging rights.

So why do we watch so intently?

Because it is a good show. Because government in the 21st century is so large and enveloping, the little guys enjoy seeing the Mint unable to meet demand for silver coins.

Aha, we think. They haven't got it all figured out.

It makes us feel better.

But it is no reason to base any long-term investment decisions on the January spectacle.

The case for owning gold and silver does not change because the January sales fireworks are not as bright as those of 2013.

Let's enjoy the January show, whatever magnitude it is, and then return to real life when Feb. 1 rolls around.

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."