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Don’t bet on my annual forecasts

Some people you don’t trust with sharp objects. The year 2018 proved that you shouldn’t trust me with forecasts.

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A toss of the coin would work out better once again.

I don’t know whether to evaluate my score as 4.5 correct and 5.5 wrong or 4 correct and 6 wrong. You be the judge.

1. I jumped in with a forecast that gold would rise in 2018. After a long period of decline, the month of December offered a glimmer of hope that I might somehow become right. In the end, I was wrong. Gold closed 2018 at $1,278.30, down from $1,306.30.

2. Silver was no contest. I said up. The market said down. It began the year at $17.06. The final close was $15.433.

3. Compounding my bullion follies, I said the Mint would sell more gold American Eagle coins in 2018. The 2017 number was 302,500 ounces. The 2018 number is 245,500. What’s falling 57,000 ounces short among friends?

4. I forecast that silver Eagle bullion coins sales would rise from the 18,065,500 mark registered in 2017. Final 2018 number, 15,700,000.

Four swings, four misses. This isn’t batting practice, either. I’m paid to write this.

My fifth forecast was an easy hit. I forecast that the Mint would sell out its first ever palladium proof coin. It did. But was there any breathing, thinking collector who would have taken the opposite side of this forecast?

My sixth prediction was correct. I said when the Professional Numismatists Guild offered its year-end assessment of the collector coin market it would show growth. It did. It went from a range estimate of $3.4 billion to $3.8 billion at the end of 2017 to an even $4 billion at the end of 2018.

Number 7 said a Chinese coin buyer would acquire an iconic American rarity as a trophy coin. Nope. With all the anonymous buyers these days, we will never know for sure, but I count my forecast as incorrect.

Forecast 8. Bitcoin will fall. It did. But, I didn’t stop there. I said it would fall by more than half from $20,000 to $7,000. It is under $4,000. Had I not been precise, I would have been totally right. I will count this as half right. Am I allowed?

Forecast 9: Circulating U.S. coin production will drop in 2018. It did, but as I write this, we are still awaiting the final numbers. You gotta trust me.

Number 10: No this isn’t the residence of the British prime minister, but I think I had a better 2018 than she did. I wrote that cents would continue to capture the imagination of newcomers. They have. I have been amazed that a now two-year old story on still outdraws new stories. Such is the power of the unique copper 1982-D cent error.

I will salve my ego before venturing 2019 forecasts in the Feb. 5, 2019, issue.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

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