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Gold, silver in short supply
By Doug Page

If you are thinking of diversifying your portfolio to include gold and silver, you may have to stand in line.

Richard Hana of Belmont Coin said his shop ran out of pure gold and silver coins two weeks ago.

"We people come looking for gold or silver, we take their name and when something comes in, we call them," Hana said Wednesday, Oct. 8. "In a sense, it is already sold before it comes in the door."

Hana said business is up 300 percent to 400 percent, particularly in the past weeks.

"People are scrambling to buy gold and silver," said Ed Fritz of Centerville Coin & Jewelry Connection.

"There is huge shortage worldwide. People are pulling money out of economy, which has created a huge demand," said Fritz, who has been in the business for 40 years.

Gold was selling around $910 a troy ounce by midday and silver at $11.70.

There was plenty of gold in March when the metal was selling for over $1,000 an ounce. Then customers were coming in to sell. Now they want to buy, but few wish to sell.

"Everybody wants a different hedge with all the problems going on," said John Eckman of Dixie Coins & Stamp. "They want to buy something that will be worth something in the future. But there are no guarantees."

Fritz called gold "liquid cash". Following last month's windstorm, a customer came in to sell a 1-ounce gold coin so he could fix his roof.

"People see it as something tangible that won't disappear on you like the numbers on Wall Street," Hana said.

Eckman has a customer who took a General Motors buyout and is now investing in precious metals. Another, an older woman, bought 20 ounces of gold last week.

"When she has some extra money, she buys," Eckman said.

"There is plenty of gold out there, but nobody wants to sell right now," he said.

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