Checking the totals again yesterday afternoon showed that they had changed.
This was not the normal sort of accretional change requiring an update but a significant change indicating that everything written on Monday was completely wrong.
Let’s start this morning where I began my blog Monday morning two days ago.
I checked out the Mint’s bullion silver American Eagle sales numbers.
Silver Eagle sales since the month of December began total just 150,000 – not the 1,645,000 mentioned in my Monday blog.
That’s quite a difference.
Absent the Monday report, nobody would think much of anything about this 150,000 coin figure. It is routine. It is not the sort of number that would inspire a blog post.
However, since my Monday blog was written, I must write this second blog of the week to call attention to the fact that those sales numbers I saw no longer exist.
Did they ever? Was I seeing things?
Perhaps I stumbled into a Mint website update in progress that I shouldn’t have seen?
It sure got me going, I must admit.
Today, instead of writing that 10 percent of all 2018 silver Eagles were sold in just a couple of days in December, now I can correctly write that the real number is just 1 percent of all Eagles sold in 2018.
The 150,000 figure is roughly 1 percent of the 15,360,000 silver American Eagle bullion coins sold so far in 2018.
The November monthly sales number has changed from the 1,270,000 I saw two days ago to 1,645,000.
Since the latter number is now what is listed for November sales, I can begin to see the outlines of the goof.
But like double-entry bookkeeping, I wasn’t just accidentally viewing something on the wrong line.
The 2018 Eagle sales total that adds up the cumulative sales from all months in 2018 was listed Monday at 16,480,000.
It is now 15,360,000.
The difference is 1,120,000 coins.
But the incorrect 16,480,000 number is what you get if November sales are 1,270,000, and the incorrect December number of 1,645,000 is added to the 2018 total.
What this means is at least I have satisfied myself that I was not delusional in what I was seeing. Delusions don’t usually include rigorous accounting.
So where does that leave us as 2018 comes to an end?
The 15,360,000 2018 sales total as of today is 15 percent less than the 18,065,000 sold in 2017.
There is no year-end holiday rush to buy.
Now, no gold Eagles are reported sold this month.
Looking ahead to 2019, the words I wrote Monday are doubly true. So I will end this blog with the same conclusion.
We know January 2019 likely will see sales between 3 million and 4 million silver Eagles.
Things might have gone better if I had just been late to work Monday morning.
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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