Everybody has to pay bills.
The cash to do so has to come from somewhere.
For many in the coin business, selling bullion coins has helped keep the lights on.
Some have gone so far as to abandon numismatics in favor of all bullion all the time.
But was that wise?
Bullion sales move in waves with prices.
When prices rise, everybody seems to want it.
When prices fall, there are fewer buyers.
Since silver is down from its year-end value of $17.06, it is probably no surprise that sales of the 2018 silver American Eagle bullion coin have fallen with it.
In the first three months of the year, sales are down by 36 percent.
That’s a big number.
Worse, 2017 itself was a weak year.
So far, the Mint has sold 5,092,500 of the one-ounce silver bullion coins.
This compares to 7,957,500 sold in the first three months of 2017.
In fact, the one-month January 2017 sales total of 5,127,500 exceeds what has been sold so far in 2018.
How can bullion sellers keep the lights on with such a sales plunge?
If it were only silver, they could turn to gold. But it is even worse for gold.
Gold Eagle bullion coin numbers are down 65 percent compared to the first three months of 2017.
And again, 2017 results were nothing to brag about.
Total ounces of all sizes of gold Eagle bullion coins sold in 2017 was down by 69 percent.
If you look at just the one-ounce gold Eagle coin, which is popular with investors, the decline was 72 percent.
The name of the game in business is cash flow.
There is precious little cash flow coming with sales declines of those magnitudes.
Coin collectors have been worried about the future of numismatics.
Perhaps we need to worry about the future of the bullion coin business as well.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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