With the events of the 2011 election behind us, and the expiry of the first session of the 112th Congress in the rearview mirror, the question now is what does 2012 portend. With a presidential election upon us, what does this mean for those looking to Washington, and elsewhere, and where does this put organized numismatics?
Let’s start with the premise that I’ve been writing a column like this every year since the late 1960s, and that my ability to sniff out a direction is better than Ty Cobb’s lifetime batting average (.367), but hardly perfect. My track record on gold and silver has been better – though, in fairness, for the last 10 years it’s been hard to go wrong with a suggestion that gold or silver or both will end the year higher.
Back in 1987, for example, I wrote: “Gold’s price up to $500 an ounce in 1987 ... Silver’s price will go above $5.50 ... and then some.” It would have been too daring to even mention $7.50, $8, or $9 an ounce. And unthinkable.
Imagine what I might have said if I had really thought hard about it. Well, don’t think too hard, because somewhere in the next 450 words that’s going to be covered, too. It’s not easy when gold is at around $1,600 and silver is around $29 – given that they were both poised for a run to greatness just a few weeks ago.
Well, my new book (published Dec. 28 by Krause Publications) on investing in precious metals has a lot to say – but let me say that, long-term, my vote remains with gold and silver for a bright future. And higher prices – silver to $50 within the next 26 months, gold to the Rubicon of $2,000 by April 2014.
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So what then becomes of Congress and its numismatic agenda? Look for them, in their silliness, to talk of abolishing the 1-cent piece, and maybe even the nickel, ostensively to save money as unit cost goes down – but which will have the opposite effect. Without the cent and nickel coins to counterbalance, costs of the dime and quarter will also go up dramatically.
It’s a reminder of what they must have thought in 1955 when the decision was made to close the San Francisco Mint in the name of economy – only to force the nation into a coin shortage by the mid-1960s. Today, of course, after years of acting as an assay office, San Francisco is a full-fledged mint.
That aside, look for the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee to complete the dream started by mint directors Henrietta Fore and Ed Moy to have American coin designs that are worthy of our art, and our culture. And of the tradition that Theodore Roosevelt truly began when he engaged Augustus Saint-Gaudens to redesign American coinage, into the golden age. They have the right stuff. And their vision will soon be evident in our circulating coinage.