I jumped the gun eight days ago when I proclaimed bad silver American Eagle sales.
They were bad. They stayed bad. I wanted to mention it first.
Others waited for the calendar to say October has arrived.
The financial press proclaimed the worst quarterly silver Eagle sales in 10 years yesterday.
Pointed out in these reports was the July-September sales total of 3,665,000 coins being the worst quarterly figure since 2007.
Gold sales are remarkably weak as well, though that was not the focus of my blog Sept. 25.
In the first nine months of the year, 171,000 one-ounce gold American Eagles were sold.
In all of 2016, 817,500 were sold.
The current number is just 21 percent of the 2016 number.
To equal 2016, buyers would have to take another 646,500 coins, or 215,500 a month, for the rest of 2017.
Financial writers like to call attention to the Trump Bump, which is the jump in U.S. stock market averages since the President’s election.
For American Eagle coins, are we experiencing the Trump Dump?
Who needs a physical hedge against calamity when the sun is shining?
Is that what the various markets are telling us?
Gold and silver bullion prices are up this year.
Why aren’t sales of the bullion coins made of the two metals rising as well?
Perhaps buyers are content to purchase them in the financial markets in the form of an exchange traded fund or futures contracts.
Why bother with the real stuff when you can push a few computer keys and get all the bullion you want?
Why stop at electronic bullion?
Bitcoin has generated enormous attention.
It is every speculator's dream.
It has no physical form whatsoever.
Yet the price keeps rising.
The Kitco website, which I like to check each morning, reports not only the price of Bitcoin but seven other cryptocurrencies, which is the generic term for these electronic units of value.
But you cannot collect cryptocurrencies.
They have no physical form despite the best efforts of some to market medals purporting to be cryptocurrencies.
The implication of buying bullion electronically is that those who want a hedge against calamity are letting their guard down.
Convenience triumphs as the sun shines.
The cryptocurrency explanation would seem to indicate that bullion buyers are like cats watching a new object.
I don’t think so, but I can’t prove it today.
All that is knowable today is gold and silver Eagle sales are down sharply.
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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