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Summer might be dangerous

It was 87 degrees in Iola, Wis., yesterday. That is much above normal. It serves as a reminder to me and others that summer is coming. That could have an effect on the coin market.

Summer historically has meant a seasonal slowdown in collector activity. Average collectors trade the indoor activities of the winter season for the outdoor pleasures and chores of the summer season.

The economic impact is a drop in purchases and cash flow within the commercial sector of the numismatic community. Many dealers used to schedule vacations.

Newcomers, or those with a short memory might be surprised by this, as we all live now in a 24/7 culture where business long-term planning is simply making the next quarterly set of numbers. Their perception is reinforced by the fact that the coin market was so hot last year and the year before that the usual pattern was obscured. Nobody wants to go off on a vacation when deal making activity is so intense that they can pay for their summer home with the profits. That’s like leaving the poker table in the middle of a hot streak.

This year it is a different story. Activity has not been hot. It has held up, but it is not hot. Following the Long Beach show at the end of this month, we just might see a traditional summer lull. The next major show after that is in Baltimore a month later, making the whole month of June ripe for a pause.

Contributing to this is the move out of June of the Memphis paper money show, which historically was Father’s Day weekend. This year it is July 6-8.

None of this should be a cause for worry except the nagging doubt of debt. How deeply in debt to carry their inventory are the market players? Can they survive a pause, or are they stretched like the housing market was last year.

Will what happened to the housing market happen to the numismatic market? These are the questions to keep in mind as you hear Nat King Cole sing about those lazy days of summer.