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Not good enough to get me noticed


Am I becoming more clairvoyant? You wouldn’t think so if I simply declare that my forecasts for 2012 resulted in six out of 10 being right, three being wrong and one that I have to call incomplete.

I seem to get six out of 10 right every year lately, but rather than patting myself on the back I think I am just becoming a little better at picking subjects and then going ahead and stating the obvious.

Readers, of course, are entertained by my gold and silver forecasts, so I have to include these whether I want to or not.

1. Last year my first forecast was that the U.S. Mint will make the reverse proof silver American Eagle an annual issue. Since then there was a 2012 issue and one now announced for 2013. I score this as correct.

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2. I suggested that “S” uncirculated American Eagles would become a regular Mint product. They have not, though the Mint had two “S” proof Eagle products last year. I count this as incorrect.

3. I wrote sales of silver bullion Eagles would not exceed the number sold in 2011. The 33,742,500 sold in 2012 was well below the 39,868,500 number for 2011 so I count this as correct.

4. How do I judge my forecast that the Mint would get its new website up and running in the second half of the year, preventing future ordering headaches? The website has a new look. The bottlenecks have eased, but technically, the back end was not fixed. I will count my forecast as correct until readers object or until we hit the next Mint website ordering snafu.

5. Collectors will continue to complain about the Mint, I forecast. Correct. Does the sun rise? At least I admitted in last year’s column that I needed an easy-to-hit forecast. This was it.

6. The American Numismatic Association will abandon its fall show, I said. It did. I will call this forecast correct.

7. My gold forecast was that it would be below its $1,565.80 2011 closing price. Instead, at $1,674.80 it was 7 percent higher. So I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

8. I said silver will be lower than the $27.87 close for 2011. The close was $30.173, or up 8.23 percent. Another one wrong.

9. My forecast that the U.S. dollar would rise on average was correct, though just barely up by 0.59 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.

10. My final forecast last year was that progress would be made in cracking down on Chinese counterfeits. I have to call this incomplete. There have been no highly visible successes, nor failures for that matter, since I made the forecast. This is an issue that will be with us for years to come unfortunately.

Most issues of the day don’t lend themselves to straightforward outcomes, but I also don’t believe in offering so many weasel words that I can claim some sort of success no matter what happens. So I will take my lumps.

Once again, my forecast record will not get me noticed. I could predict $3,000 gold, or $1,000 gold, and gain the limelight, but after 12 months I would likely not only be wrong but embarrassed.

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