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Gold Eagle buyers have last laugh

Remember Y2K when the world’s computers were going to create an infrastructure Armageddon because old computer code didn’t use four-digit dates?

Even the municipal government in little old Iola, Wis., had to have a Y2K emergency plan in place.

I was reminded of this period of time as I was doing my expense report yesterday for the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Philadelphia.

Six days there run up quite a bill, but I had a good laugh when I noticed the dates on two receipts from the snack vendor on the bourse floor.

One was dated Aug. 21, 2000, and the other was dated May 26, 2005. I had made my purchases just two days apart.

Whoops. Obviously, Y2K fears have a little substance to them.

It was those very fears amplified by our imaginations that spurred buyers of gold and silver American Eagles to take extra helpings of these coins in 1999 as safeguards against calamity.

Calamity never arrived.

But their purchases might be considered the first wave in the current bullion uptrend. They might even be called smart.

True, gold prices did not reach their lowest lows until 2001, but once the new uptrend started, that fact made very little difference to any early American Eagle buyer.

So how can a bullion buying response to something with little more substance than the boogie man be considered smart?

Well, for individuals who had no gold or silver before then, the mere fact of acquiring some, even if for the wrong reason, proved to be very smart.

Financial advisors recommend that 10 percent of investable assets be in precious metals. I like to modify this by telling coin collectors that there is nothing wrong with having this percentage comprised of an intelligently assembled coin collection.

There is also nothing wrong with laughing at the past as I have just done, but it is gold and silver investors of that time who have the last laugh.

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