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Time to buy

I just wrote a mildly negative story about business conditions on the dealer bourse floor at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money held last week in Anaheim, Calif.

One market professional with whom I conversed yesterday said he had heard far worse reports when I used the term pretty mediocre.

Indeed, my story could have been even more negative than it was.

One dealer at his table used a mild expletive when I asked how he had done.

I requested that he put it into words that I can print.

His reply was to ask, “Why should I advertise that I had a bad show?”

He makes a good point.

Another dealer was eating a sandwich when I approached his table and asked how he had done.

He refused to comment. He said he was eating.

I could see that. Had he made a million dollar sale earlier in the day, I don’t think the sandwich would have been all that important to him.

What should collectors make of this?

Anyone who is approaching their hobby over a span of many years has seen this before. The key is to identify opportunities if there are any.

When the market turns active again, prices usually also turn higher.

The most active market on the bourse floor for dealers turned out to be collectible gold coins. The premium over melt value has just about vanished.

These are the very same coins that in the panic buying of 2008 were bringing premiums of 30, 40 and 50 percent over gold melt value.

The premium would not have disappeared had collectors or investors been avidly buying the pieces in recent weeks.

If you want collectible U.S. gold, now is the time to buy and take advantage of the absence of the usual crowd.

I think it is more fun to own a classic Liberty Head gold $20 in a lower Mint State grade than a 2016 bullion American Eagle, isn’t it?

The Liberty Head has .9675 ounce of gold in it, almost as much as the one-ounce Eagle.

If it is an “S” mint it might have crossed the bar in the Old West.

Markets go up. Markets go down. Collecting goes on and on.

Do yourself a favor and buy when few others are.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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