It is still cold in Iola, but the advance signs are it will be a colder day on Wall Street. How volatile it will get is anybody’s guess. The prices of precious metals are swinging to and fro. I will be watching as will many other people around the world. It is an opportunity to contrast the short term and the long term in my thoughts. I promised yesterday to provide the second part of my talk to the Sarasota Coin Club. It contains my forecasts for 2008. I guess now it will also serve as a long-term counterpoint to anything that might occur today.
One interesting thought popped into my head yesterday. It was the 28th anniversary of the last high point for gold prior to the recent record. Then it plunged. Is there something about January that incites wild swings in markets? That’s a topic worth pondering.
The Sarasota Coin Club is a great group. I had the honor of speaking to them Jan. 12 at the Florida United Numismatists convention.
I talked about my 10 forecasts for 2007 (see last week’s column) and offered 10 new forecasts. I had a great time at the meeting and sharing conversations with members before it began.
At the beginning of the talk I mentioned that I was right just six times out of 10 in 2007 and that if they simply flipped a coin, they could expect five correct answers. This was my way of confessing that even editors can’t see the future anymore clearly than anyone else.
At the risk of being wrong yet again, here are highlights of what I said:
1. My first forecast relates to the future holder of the executive director job of the American Numismatic Association. I said the ANA board would hire somebody with a numismatic hobby background. I pointed out that the prior hires of individuals who had no hobby background have not worked out, including one person who lasted all of six weeks. This time the board is going to lean in the other direction.
2. I wrote my talk before I arrived at the FUN show Wednesday. My second forecast was the ANA would be hit by more lawsuits. Even before I gave the talk, the ANA president was served on Thursday with a new suit filed by a number of grading services that have been affected by the new eBay policy about acceptable grading services. ANA was served, as were representatives of eBay and the Professional Numismatists Guild. I am right already, though it looks like hindsight now.
3. More coin shows will follow Baltimore’s lead in abolishing Sunday hours. Expenses of staging coin shows are rising and keeping up empty rooms is not cost effective.
4. Designs for the 2009 quarters for the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories will be outstanding and help overcome some collector resistance to the new coins.
5. In 2007, the Mint was given additional authority in the consumer protection field to control use of its name and trademarks. I pointed out that most collectors think this is a good thing, but then I forecast that something would occur in 2008 that would look to collectors like the Mint was going a little too far.
6. The paper money hobby is hot. It has no formally adopted grading standard. Companies use one that is a hybrid of tradition and the coin hobby’s numerical grades. I forecast that the paper money field will make progress in trying to forge a formal set of grading standards.
7. After my 2007 forecast, are you ready for gold? I said some time in 2008 it will hit $1,000 a troy ounce.
8. Silver will hit $20. Again, from the time I wrote the speech until I delivered it, silver rose by 10 percent.
9. I will repeat from 2007 that the compositions of the cent and the nickel will change. Wrong once. Wrong twice?
10. My off-the-wall forecast for the year was the Mint was going to do something that takes it further down the road of privatization.
That’s the list. The clock is ticking.