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Investors are a scream

We have reached the portion of winter in Iola, Wis., where it really begins to drag.

We want sunshine and a thaw. What we get are snowfalls and below zero temperatures.

American Eagle investors are in the same sort of predicament. February is proving to be a drag.

You cannot blame coin collectors for wanting to get examples of new dates as early as possible. After all, that is what we do. That is what we have always done.

If you look at the sales figures for January, it was exciting to see 7,498,000 silver Eagles change hands. You can be sure that more than just collectors were buying.

The same is true of the 1-ounce gold American Eagle at a record 124,500 for January.

For February, sales are tapering off. So far 2,098,000 silver Eagles have been sold. While rationing accounts for some of the decline, if you look at the sales pattern in 2012, you can see the same pattern: 6,107,000 followed by 1,490,000.

For gold in 2012 it was 84,500 1-ounce coins followed by 20,000 in February.

What can investors be thinking?

Everybody knows that in periods of high demand the premiums get larger and larger. If your object is to buy the greatest amount of gold or silver possible for the least amount of money, you should not be buying in January with collectors in a frenzy.

With gold now sliding under $1,600 an ounce (it stands at $1,591.40 as this is written) insult has been added to injury.

Silver is down to $29.06 an ounce.

Investors should be keeping their financial powder dry when collectors are going crazy for new dates and quietly buy when collectors run off with their newly acquired prizes.

Instead investors seem to act like Beatles fans of my youth (I liked them too, but there was no financial penalty for doing so.) Investors seem to get wound up by the screaming collector fans of new Eagle dates and join the melee.

Those investors who did so in January are now nursing losses.

What’s their excuse?

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