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Florida a great place to start today

It is six degrees below zero. My car’s engine turned over, but it was stiff. Time to cast my mind back to my recent trip to Florida. Ah, that’s better. I want to provide readers of my blog the contents of a speech I gave there.

I will divide it into two parts as I did for Numismatic News. The first part covers my forecasts for 2007. The second part, which I expect to post tomorrow, will cover 2008.

Part I

My speech before the Sarasota Coin Club Jan. 12 at the Florida United Numismatists convention will have been given by the time you read this. It has not yet been delivered as I write this.

Deadlines require that I get this down on paper before I leave for 2008’s opening U.S. coin and paper money convention in Orlando. I am looking forward to going and feel a bit restless to get on the move.

My speech has two parts. Both involve 10 forecasts. The first half involves toting up my 2007 results. The second half involves making new forecasts. Will I have the courage to make new ones after I have confessed the prior results? That part will come in next week’s column.

I hope the results here show that I have some rational basis for making my forecasts. For sure, I am not always right.

The way I score last year’s results, I think I was right in six of 10 forecasts. I spectacularly missed what I would consider the two most important ones. A news story would start with those two failures, but let me proceed in the order that I made the forecasts.

Last year’s FUN convention opened with the failure of a 1913 Liberty Head nickel to sell at auction. My first forecast was posed as a question: do coin price run-ups end when someone rings a gong? Basically, I answered it as “yes.” I told the story of the end of the 1980 bull market at the Lincoln, Neb., Central States show when everyone got the message simultaneously.

While I don’t think that the coin bull market has ended, it is quite clear that we shifted gears a little lower in 2007. Prices can only rocket ahead so long before there is a pause. The gong rang. We listened.

2. More consolidation in the business? I think the answer is yes. Sources for funding are getting more concentrated. How do I prove it? In this space I cannot, but I think the facts are on my side and I call this a correct forecast.

3. Gold at $600. Whoops. My mistake was thinking the rare coin market and bullion would move in tandem. They didn’t. I need a heaping spoonful of humility. I repeat $834.90 over and over.

4. Silver $12. Actual, $14.797.

5. 2007 proof Buffalo mintage. I got to play with numbers so I was dead on target. I said 60,000 pieces. The number in the Jan. 1 report was 58,634. Basically I said historical experience put output at one-quarter of the first year of issue.

6. There would be a feeding frenzy for First Spouse coins. This is a winner, though the frenzy ended by the fourth issue.

7. It would be a great year for average collectors. For this you have to take my word. With all the avenues available to average collectors now, they cannot help but have better years than collectors of the past. My e-mail, mail and direct contacts indicate increasing activity for the average hobbyist.

8. More lawsuits. Looking at the American Numismatic Association alone made this accurate.

9. New compositions for cent and nickel. Treasury tried to get the ball rolling in the autumn but nothing happened. Mark this down as wrong for 2007.

10. New alloys will involve plated steel. Mark this down as wrong for 2007.

There you have Part I. Of course, the best part of these forecasts is being able to make them to a great group of people in a wonderful place to be in January.