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Change in the Wind
By Harry Miller
Coins Magazine

Change is in the wind. The Christmas season was less than booming and the Florida United Numismatists show was well attended, but business was far from booming.

There were the usual inquiries for all those difficult-to-find early mintmarked Barbers and the ever popular and scarce Civil War-period Seated coinage. The Bust half nuts were also out in force along with the early U.S. copper fanatics. If you had what they were seeking it was invariably sold.

Those who had coins in the rarity class priced $5,000-$250,000 did very little business even though many were willing to entertain offers 25 percent less than ask.

Lincoln cents remain strong at all levels from common wheat cent rolls and bags to key and semi-key circulated issues and all high-grade BU issues as well.

The silver dollar market continues active with a few upward and downward adjustments on the thinly traded rarities that are mainly affected by the cash position of those who trade them. The silver dollars that most of us collect or trade in are active and firm.

Modern proof sets have been quiet. The 1999-S silver set dropped below $300 for the first time in years. The 2008 clad proof set seems to be in short supply and is moving upward rather strongly along with the 2008 dollar set that it also contains.

The premium on silver Eagles is down to around the $4 level for quantity purchases and the premium on most gold bullion has dropped close to normal historical levels. It turns out that what many were conceiving to be a conspiracy to hold down precious metals pricing may have been strongly related to the banking crisis in a more direct way.

There was a great disconnect between paper bullion and physical bullion. The cause of this was the huge demand for physical supplies at a time of the year when demand is often moderate and major trading firms' inability to create new positions and maintain or roll forward old positions.

This was caused directly by the banking crisis where major dealers, mines, refineries and trading houses could not get credit to finance their activities, thereby forcing the unraveling of many trading positions. It would not, however, surprise me to hear that the central banks of the world were pleased with this aspect of the crisis.


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