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How big a pop?

We don’t have to wait until the end of the month to see whether the downward sales trend for one-ounce American Eagle gold bullion coins will be broken.

It has been.

For five consecutive months sales have slid from the April high down to just 8,500 coins in September.

October has seen 10,000 coins sold.

The figure is still a long way from April’s 187,500, but a break in a trend is a break in a trend.

There are still another two weeks of sales to register before the final October total is known. The question now becomes how decisive a break with the trend will the October numbers be?

Obviously the higher the sales number, the greater the likelihood that buyers are taking advantage of lower bullion prices.

This morning’s $1,264.70 price on the Kitco website is down just a tad from yesterday.

With the government shutdown’s end still not determined by Congress there can be surprises.

We just have to wait and see.

A continuing sales lull would give the U.S. Mint the opportunity to smoothly switch from production of 2013-dated pieces to coins dated 2014 as this year comes to an end.

That would in turn make the January 2014 sales experience better in terms of meeting the demand from all buyers for the new dates.

We know January’s arrival will pop sales higher. The question simply is the order of magnitude. An expectation by buyers that the Mint will be able to fulfill all orders from its Authorized Purchasers would reduce the size of the upward pop while an expectation that it will run short of coins as it did in 2013 will increase the numbers demanded.

That sounds perverse. It is. But it is human nature to want something all the more if you are told you can’t have it.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."