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Gold collector and investor

Bullion gold American Eagle buyers relaxed in May after their incredible buying frenzy in April when 187,500 one-ounce gold American Eagles were sold by the U.S. Mint to its Authorized Purchasers.

The May figure dropped by roughly two-thirds to 61,500.

Did buyers run out of money or are they less convinced that gold bullion’s price will move higher quickly from the present $1,395.70, according to the Kitco website this morning?

Who knows?

More importantly, does it matter for numismatics?

Sure, bullion buyers contribute to the cash flow of the commercial segment of numismatics, but beyond that, there is very little overlap between collector activity and bullion buyers.

Yet there is some overlap. My experience of Friday proves that.

A longtime reader of Numismatic News stopped by the office at 11 a.m. He had called ahead to tell me that he was coming. He brought his collection of Saint-Gaudens double eagles with him.

I can say that in my time at Krause Publications I have met very few collectors of double eagles who are building a set by date and mintmark. My guest Friday was the first one to come through our doors in my time.

He is building a set slabbed by third-party grading services in MS-62 with a few detours to MS-64 or AU-55.

He was very aware of the price of gold because the bulk of the value of most of these coins derives from the price of bullion. Having some gold was very clearly an important part of his motivation, but he also was a pure collector.

When it came to the rarities, he was carefully watching them online and at the auctions conducted by major firms. He told me when certain dates came on the market, what they sold for and if they didn’t sell whether they might show up again.

He had a methodical approach that would be recognized by any collector. His knowledge was in-depth. This takes him out of my simple either/or classification of being a bullion investor, or a collector, but there are exceptions to every rule and I had the pleasure of meeting one of them last week.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."