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What's the story, morning glory?

What is the mental state of the average gold and silver American Eagle buyer?

This sounds like a setup for some sort of insult.

It isn’t.

It is more puzzlement over the huge drop in gold and silver Eagle sales in the past week or so.

In late October sales of gold Eagles dropped to nothing in the reporting period covered by the weekly Mint Statistics pages that are compiled by Numismatic News.

Silver Eagle sales were just 40,500.

Ordinarily, such fluctuations can be dismissed as what happens in a free market.

Perhaps we are concluding the wild and woolly period that began when July arrived and buyers suddenly wanted everything the Mint could throw at them.

The question is why the sales slide now?

Bullion prices have hardly budged since the beginning of July. Gold was at $1,168.30 an ounce July 3 and silver was $15.69.

The prices this morning are $1,153,20 and $15.75, respectively.

Were it not for the huge fall in gold’s price this morning, the prices for the two dates would be almost identical.

In July it seemed like everyone proclaimed prices to be a bargain. If that was the case and was true, are prices not still a bargain?

It might be easy to dismiss current sales data as the product of a one-week anomaly.

However, the numbers for Eagle sales for the entire month look like they are coming in at the lowest level since the month of May. The gold ounce is 22,500 and the silver ounce is 2,931,500.

So what are buyers thinking?

There are usual rally forecasts online as well as the standard gloom and doom warnings.

Have bullion buyers set their minds to saving up for holiday purchases?

Black Friday sales are now less than a month away.

I could suggest that the high individual coin premiums over bullion value are deterring buyers, but this has only applied to silver Eagles. Gold premiums remained reasonable throughout.

But gold and silver Eagle numbers have tumbled together this week.

For the year as a whole, gold Eagles are having a pretty good year.

So far 542,500 one-ounce coins have been sold by the Mint.

In the whole of 2014, only 415,500 were taken by buyers.

The gain this year works out to 31 percent.

That’s a large annual gain, especially with the year not yet finished.

Silver on the other hand might break last year’s record of 44,006,000.

But then again it might not.

So far in 2015 38,986,000 silver Eagles have found new owners.

So what is the mental state of the average gold and silver American Eagle buyer?

I would really like to know.

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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