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Bullion Buyers Getting Picky
Bullion Eagles are crashing. February sales took a sharp dive. Silver American Eagles in that month saw sales drop by 75 percent from February 2016. The 1,215,000 number compares to 4,782,000 a year ago. Gold Eagles dropped in sales volume too, but by a slightly less jarring monthly decline of 67 percent.
There were 27,500 ounces of gold sold in four weights compared to 83,500 in the same month of 2016. These figures aren’t just a minor monthly swing. On the other hand, there is no news to account for them. Did most of the buyers take a winter vacation, or is there something more ominous afoot here?
The Mint has begun to sell quantities of 2017 half dollars. Where do you put them? There were 3,224 200-coin bags sold and 10,455 two-roll sets. Lions commemorative silver dollars are catching up with Park Service dollar numbers, equaling 72 percent.
Another point is whether coin collectors are in a “stealth” mode? The current market for gold bullion has been described this way by at least one expert. Common date, common grade circulation strike U.S. gold coins have increased in value and are trading in a very tight range regardless of condition. Gold is usually a fear trade, but fear doesn’t seem to be a driving factor right now.
Silver advanced 1.7 percent by the week ending Feb24, and is up five percent since the beginning of February. Both gold and silver, however, are being seen as decentralized currencies in much the same way as Bitcoin is being seen.
All of this is making the gold and silver coin markets, regardless of whether they are in bullion or collectible coins, more attractive to hard asset oriented investors. An increasing number of buyers are appearing who are more interested in coins simply for their intrinsic value.
How many of these buyers will migrate to more collectible coins is yet to be seen. The scarce to rare coin market may be beyond the reach of many collectors who enjoy coin collecting as a hobby, but it isn’t beyond the reach of the really serious buyers and investors with deep pockets.
Some of these investor-driven buyers may soon decide that rare coins are attractive enough, especially if they are drawn to the classic rarities such as the 1804 dollar in the fifth part of the D. Brent Pogue Collection auction that was offered on March 31 of this year.
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