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Time to hone your skills?

Do you trust OPEC, the world oil cartel led by Saudi Arabia?

Yes, that does seem like a loaded question.

What does it have to do with numismatics, anyway?

The OPEC World Oil Outlook is making financial headlines this morning with a forecast that oil will not return to $95 a barrel until the year 2040, 25 years from now.

Considering the fact that the record runs for gold in silver prices to peaks in 1980 and then again in 2011 were accompanied by huge run-ups in the price of oil, there might be a connection.

In 2011, when silver was trading at its $48 peak price and then gold at its $1,900 peak price, oil was fluctuating between $110 a barrel and $120.

Just a year and a half ago it was $105.

Oil this morning is just under $37 a barrel and it was recently trading between $34 and $35.

So I repeat my question: Do you trust OPEC?

If you do, and its oil price forecast is to be taken seriously, then it might be wise to prepare for a long slog of gold and silver trading for prices well below the recent peaks.

This long slog could last decades if it parallels the price of oil.

Was it just a coincidence that gold and silver perked up in the last half of 2001 when oil began its long ascent from $23 to its record of about $150 a barrel?

If we can set aside dreams of great wealth from bullion, gold and silver trading at more affordable prices is a good thing for coin collecting.

Collectors can once again evaluate anticipated purchases based on the time-honored criteria of mintage numbers and grades.

This is a much better numismatic environment than one where it just seems to be climb aboard the bullion gravy train.

Numismatic knowledge will once again be seen to be worth having instead of being pushed into the background by sensational bullion-related headlines.

Numismatic knowledge will be honored. And no small thing, it will be rewarded in the marketplace.

Since most collectors focus nowadays on series of coins that are made of silver or gold, an environment where the focus can be on their skills is a happy prospect.

Collectors of copper and nickel coins will no longer be the only ones to experience this.

And if you don’t trust OPEC? Well, then, never mind.

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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