Markets act strangely when many players are away on a long holiday weekend.
Numismatics is a relative small fry compared to other world markets so we are always looking outward for cues for our behavior.
The question today is whether gold’s weakness is due to the distortions of a thinly traded market, or is in fact due to the fall in the value of the euro in dollar terms as announced in a news story on the www.kitco.com website?
I checked the site this morning as I usually do. I found that gold had slid to $1,169.80 a troy ounce, which is lower than the $1,183.90 at which it closed 2014.
The euro was trading at $1.2029.
What is the correct price for the euro?
With daily fluctuations of many currencies on the foreign exchange markets, it would probably be more accurate to ask what is a reasonable price?
When the euro was born as an accounting entry in 1999, it was worth $1.17. It’s price went into a tailspin from there. In 2002 when euro notes and coins were introduced, it reached a low of 82 cents.
Coinciding for a good chunk of that time was the falling price of gold, which reached the mid $250s a troy ounce just before the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001 on the World Trade Center in New York.
Gold began to rise from its low and the euro followed months later.
The euro peaked in 2008 at right around $1.60 if we like to look at round numbers. Then it began to fall.
Gold kept rising for three more years, not peaking until 2011 though it was clipped for a time by the panic during the early days of the financial crisis before resuming its ascent.
With news stories like this in the background, the coin industry’s participants simply have to make the best choices they can no matter where the market has placed gold and the euro.
Do they really care about the euro at all?
What will they do at the Florida United Numismatists convention next week?
Will they want to gobble up 2015-dated gold American Eagle bullion coins as they usually do to get the new date, or will they stand aside out of concern for potential falls in the price of the euro?
I would bet on seasonal factors trumping every other factor at least in the early days of 2015.
The attraction of a new date will trump the euro.
Authorized Purchasers can place their orders for gold Eagles with the Mint on Jan. 5.
They have many clients waiting to get their hands on the new coins.
Some of them will be at FUN.
We will see how they behave there.
Come February, it will perhaps be foolish to ignore what the euro is doing, but for a few days in January numismatics will be marching to its own pace fulfilling its own needs and the demand for 2015 gold American Eagles should be good.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."