Are silver American Eagle bullion coin buyers more committed, more loyal, more willing to carry on through the ups and downs of the marketplace than gold American Eagle buyers?
Yes is the answer if you look at the numbers as I did this morning.
Nearly everyone knows that 2018 was a bad year for Eagle bullion coin sales.
Gold Eagle sales were down.
Silver Eagle sales were down.
One-ounce gold American Eagle bullion coin sales dropped by 16.4 percent.
Silver Eagle bullion coin sales were down by 13.1 percent in 2018.
This will probably be considered a piddly difference proving nothing.
That is why I looked back at 2018 sales compared to the peak year of sales for gold and silver Eagles.
The peak year for one-ounce gold American Eagles was 2009, when 1,325,000 were sold.
The 2018 number is 191,000 coins sold.
From peak to 2018, the sales decline is 85.6 percent.
In the case of silver Eagles, the peak year was the relatively recent 2015, when 47 million were sold.
The 2018 sales figure of 15,700,000 pieces is a decline of 66.6 percent.
That’s huge, but still it is a much smaller decline than that experienced by gold Eagles.
Put another way, the loyal gold buyers were taking 14.4 percent of the peak level.
Silver Eagle bullion coin buyers are taking 33.4 percent of the peak level.
They are more than twice as loyal as gold Eagle buyers.
Or is there more to it than that?
Could you say that coin collectors have a greater influence on the silver Eagle bullion coin market than they do on the gold Eagle bullion coin market?
I would be willing to bet on it.
Silver is much cheaper than gold.
Average coin collectors can afford to buy these silver Eagles on a regular basis.
A one-ounce gold Eagle has a bullion value 83.5 times higher than silver Eagles do.
The numbers from Kitco this morning showed gold at $1,284.20, while silver was at $15.38.
Drastically fewer coin collectors can afford to collect the one-ounce gold American Eagle bullion coin.
Loyal silver Eagle buyers from the coin collector community is something that can be counted on.
The degree of loyalty seems all the higher when we compare potential losses.
Since the early September 2011 high of $1,900, gold has dropped by 32.4 percent.
On the other hand, silver’s peak price of roughly $48 in April 2011 has been shaved by 68 percent.
Loyalty clearly has a cost.
Silver Eagle buyers have kept up twice as much buying as gold Eagle buyers have in the face of losses twice as large.
Silver Eagle coin collectors are a plucky bunch.
This little exercise shows just how plucky they are.
My money, as always, is bet on coin collectors.
They stick around.
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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