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Gold just like winter coats?

Most consumers know that they will get a better deal on winter clothing during the clearance sales just ahead of the spring line being put on display.

Similar savvy thinking might be needed for purchasers of bullion coins with the new dates on them.

Do you really need them in January?

The action on the bullion market this month looks suspiciously like marking up inventory at the height of the season and then rapidly marking it down as it passes.

How else do you explain yesterday’s big tumble in prices, especially for silver, the metal of the date collector’s favorite Eagle coin?

Of course, there probably will be other potential explanations.

The question will be whether these explanations are simply rationalizations of a phenomenon that is as plain as the nose on our faces.

When the public wants something right this minute, the price is higher. It is that simple.

It is true that even today both metals are higher than what they were on the last trading day of 2014.

Gold is up $77.70 from its $1,183.90 close in 2014. That is a gain of 6.56 percent at this morning’s gold trading price on the Kitco website of $1,261.60.

Silver is up $1.255 from its $15.565 2014 close, a gain of 8.06 percent with this morning’s price of $16.82.

We will have to see how things play out in February.

Will bullion coin sales numbers drop as their usual trading pattern indicates they will?

Will bullion prices continue their decline through the month?

That is much less certain as trading on the exchanges is affected by many other factors than simply demand for bullion coins.

Collectors will have to look and to judge for themselves.

Is getting a spiffy new date worth an extra January premium?

What about an early release in MS-70?

These are the sorts of questions that only individuals can evaluate for themselves.

Some will pay any price willingly.

Others might be willing to wait until the initial excitement dies down.

After all, one year from now, five years from now, or 10 years from now, what difference will it have made to have gotten the 2015 dates in January?

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."