Seer's Forecasts for 2010 Continue Tradition
By David L. Ganz
year for the past 40 years, or so, I have let my
hair down, ceased being objective and gave an
unvarnished look at the coin market and some
other things. I call it my “Seer” column – like
the Oracle at Delphi, except this one’s on the
eastern seaboard, either in New York City where
my law office is located, or in nearby Bergen
County, N.J., where I’ve lived for the past
quarter century or so.
For a long time, I’ve kept a series of binders
designed to hold “Under the Glass” clips, and in
looking through these clips, the first reference
I can find to this prognostication business is
an article that I wrote on these pages in May
1971, entitled, “The unmasking of a seer.”
It was never a regular feature of this column,
though I did it from time to time, but starting
around 1980, I regularly did a feature once each
year for another periodical. It may have started
as a crystal ball in jest, but I always recall
that my dad was an amateur magician for more
than 70 years, and that gazing globe was part of
his act. In a word, I took it sort of seriously.
Historically, I’ve spent a lot of time in the
“seer business” when it comes to market
analysis. I never shrank from predicting the
price of gold, silver or platinum with varied
degrees of success. (When I have been wrong,
it’s a doozy – or an inability to read through
the gazing globe. This is particularly true of
my famous annual predictions for the 1881-S
silver dollar in MS-65 condition, something I
view as a bellwether of the marketplace as a
Perhaps my inaccuracy has something to do with
the fact that grading remains, after all these
years, a moving target.
I got started collecting coins in 1960 when I
found a 1906 Indian Head cent in pocket change.
The coin had three letters of the word “Liberty”
visible and was a classic “very good” condition;
probably worth a quarter (but that was 25 times
my investment of face value).
That fondness leads annually for the fair
recognition and representative pricing of all
Indian Head cents. (OK, finding a 1906 Indian
Head cent in pocket change in 1960 changed my
life – and yours.
Longtime readers may recall that I’ve been
involved in politics for virtually all of my
adult life and have frequently interviewed
members of Congress from both sides of the aisle
on coinage matters. In the 1970s, and 1980s it
was not uncommon to see interviews with
Representatives Wright Patman, D-Texas, who
chaired the House Banking and Currency
Committee, Leonor K. Sullivan, D-Mo., Robert G.
Stephens, D-Ga, and Walter Fauntroy, D-D.C., who
chaired the House coinage subcommittee, and some
others including Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who was
a 2008 presidential candidate and is now working
to audit the Federal Reserve.
As my own life has changed and evolved, I became
an elected official, serving first as mayor of
my community (fourth-largest in New Jersey’s
largest county, Bergen) for seven years, and
subsequently during the past seven years as a
county commissioner or supervisor known as a
freeholder. My interest in politics went from
local concerns to national predictions and some
very close calls on presidential races (mostly
accurate but finally off by only a couple of
So, for the 30th consecutive year, I’ve brought
out the Ganz Crystal Ball to offer you a window
to the future. For the next couple of minutes,
you can check out my scorecard in the seer
business from last year – a respectable .650
average – compare it with some whoppers from
years past, and see what I believe the future
When I quote my seer record – it usually is 50
percent or better – I am reminded that great
baseball players like Ty Cobb (.367 lifetime
batting average) couldn’t master his craft six
times or more in 10 chances. Maybe being a seer
isn’t so bad after all. Remember that even
soothsayers are sometimes wrong.
As many readers know, in real life I am a
lawyer, so please take a lawyer’s cautionary
note: everything that I write should be viewed
with a grain of salt. My track record in
predicting precious metal prices is pretty
dismal – though not this year. Almost any year
but this past one, monkeys tossing darts could
almost do better – but on some compelling hobby
and other issues, my overall track record
borders on the semi-skilled. Recently it has
been better than in years past. No one has
suggested I give up my day job as a lawyer.
This seer business is actually tough and takes a
lot of research, twice. The first is the datum
necessary to read the tea leaves of the future;
the other is checking on what happened in the
past. Both are time consuming, but also a lot of
fun. I hope you enjoy the swami’s musings as
much as the seer enjoys writing them.
Let’s start with how the seer did with
predictions for 2008, specifically:
2. Gold is on the way to $1,000 an ounce and
will reach it in November 2007 and December
2008, a 13-month window.
3. Silver, now at $14.66, will rise to $16 or
more in the next 13 months.
4. Watch for platinum to rise to over $1,600 an
ounce in the next 13 months.
Of course, as you’ve already noticed, I’ve
picked the right ones, only numbers 2 to 4, to
show you for 2008. Let’s see whether 2009 was
Selected 2009 Predictions
1. Gold. Spot as of this writing is $802. My
belief is that the compelling market realities
will cause a shift of more than 17 percent in
the next 12 months (by 12/09); that is, gold
will rise above $938.
We saw. We conquered.
2. Silver. Silver is now $10.16, or half of what
it was (more or less) in March. Silver has
industrial and commercial uses, and my guess is
that this inexpensive metal will have a run-up
of at least 25 percent during the year. So that
there is no misunderstanding, that means that
silver will exceed $12.70 during the year.
3. Platinum. Today, spot price for platinum is
$827; it has fallen $1,400 in the course of just
a couple of months. I look at the debacle
concerning Ford, Chrysler and GM and say
platinum is going to stay depressed, but will
move $50 an ounce to $877 or more this coming
Again! And, I foresaw the auto crisis!
4. Next Mint director. My vote goes to Reed
Hawn, the Texas collector and political
activist. Ed Moy, current director, has a
five-year statutory term, but it is likely that
he will depart in the spring.
Not yet and wrong horse.
5. End of the cent. The economy, stupid! The
powers that be are going to look at saving a few
bucks and in the end are going to decide that in
these economic times, symbols do matter, and the
cent will be safe, again, for a little while at
6. Mint will produce less. A large number of
cents and other denominations aren’t in
circulation. About $10.5 billion, or $93.75 per
household, is sitting idle, according to
Coinstar, which hosts coin-counting kiosks in
grocery stores, banks and other locations. Bet
those coins continue to get turned in at record
rates; that inevitably means that the Mint will
be producing fewer coins.
Wow, did I call this; everyone else seemed
7. ANA politics. Presidential contest this year
is between Clifford Mishler and Patti Finner,
both of Iola, Wis. It’s a small town – I lived
there once (1973-1974). My prediction of the end
result: Mishler, in a close race.
Politics is unpredictable. But at least I can
say I played golf in 1973 with today’s American
Numismatic Association president.
8. Coin Market: a prediction that it will hold
its own against the national economic trend and
change upward by more than five percent. Compare
that to the Dow, Standard and Poors or even
And then some.
9. 1881-S bellwether silver dollar, priced now
on Dennis Baker’s NumisMedia MS-65 at $185.
Price will go over $200 this year. That’s a
modest eight percent. How did the 1881-S do in
prior years: (2006) $152. It’s simply time.
OK, NumisMedia’s Fair Market Value (January 2010
issue) lists the 1881-S (DMPL) in MS-65 at $780.
And proof-like at $263. So it’s almost starting
to look good. But the regular Morgan dollar
listing shows it as $160 (increase). Not enough
for full credit. Heck, I’ll take no credit
• My batting average is 7/9ths or .778, or twice
the rating of Ty Cobb’s batting average.
• This seer average is great advertising for my
new book for Krause due out this summer, Invest
in Affordable Rare Coins.
• This isn’t even a matter of interpretation. Or
fakery. I really did it. But, as seer, I must
remain modest; in other words, I knew I would be
right this year. Not!
Now comes my predictions for 2010.
Read the following imagining that the song “with
a little bit of luck” is playing softly in the
background. So, now that we’ve established the
doctrine of the seer, here are the predictions
(and shortened rationale as to why) for 2010:
Let’s start with points of reference. Platinum,
gold and silver are priced as follows on Jan.
29, 2010: platinum, $1,501; gold, $1,080 and
1. I’m a contrarian and say that platinum falls
five percent sometimes during the next 11
months. No weasel words or imprecision: from
$1,501 it will fall down to $1,426 an ounce (or
Some quick rationale: the recession has hit
China, the greatest new market for platinum,
particularly hard. That means that production
goes to excess, and I predict it will be a sop
of five percent over production – i.e., too much
platinum chasing too few consumers. Classic
economic reason to see the price go down.
2. Gold will increase at least five percent
during the next 11 months. That is, by Dec. 31,
2010, gold will have popped through the
$1,134-an-ounce mark, rising $54 an ounce. For
those who measure declines, gold may go down to
$925 sometime this year, but will rebound; make
that a sub-prediction. Of course, it is the in
A fine distinction: gold’s large market is the
United States, where Chinese influence seems
limited to their buying our Treasury bonds. That
may force interest rates up, but gold is still
strong as a coinage metal, as jewelry and
increasingly for some modest but firm industrial
uses. More ominously, China produced 300 metric
tons of mined gold last year (leading the way
for the third consecutive year). Most of it is
intended for long-term government use (platinum
is a metal of the people).
3. Silver at $16.18 seems low by my
interpretation of historic standards. I say
silver rises 20 percent during the coming year
(i.e., a rise of about $3.23 to $19.41 an ounce
by year’s end. I set the down margin at $14.91;
if it goes below that, it could go into free
Silver remains popular as a jewelry item in Asia
and there has been some profit taking of late.
Nonetheless, U.S. commemorative coinage remains
a good customer for years to come.
4. New U.S. Mint director to be named this year.
My vote now is on a Michigan state legislator
who is also a coin collector.
5. New senator from Delaware: likely U.S. Rep.
Michael Castle, R-Del., who is known to
collectors from his involvement with state
quarters and the Statue of Liberty design on the
reverse of the dollar coin. Beau Biden, the
popular attorney general and vice president Joe
Biden’s son took a pass on a difficult race.
Castle, a popular former two-term governor has
the edge in my opinion.
6. Prediction for the 1881-S silver dollar in
MS-65: $185, a gain, for a compounded return of
12.5 percent. My rationale: its simply time.
Besides, as the recession starts to lighten up,
discretionary spending will be on the rise, and
this coin is the it girl of 2010.
7. The coin market went down last year as part
of the overall national picture. My prediction
for 2010 is a modest 7.5 percent overall
increase. Dennis Baker’s NumisMedia on the
extended Salomon index I maintain is the
arbiter. This is the one on MS-63 coins. Next
year, maybe we will have a mature database to do
it in MS-65.
Some of you may think that the seer is
disingenuous, or worse, inaccurate because of a
claim that the market changed upward more than
five percent, but also went down last year.
Lightning bolts from Zeus strike you down! It
did both. The extended and expanded Salomon
index shows a decline, of about three percent,
but the change in the price of gold was enough
to tip the balance in the other direction for an
overall market change. That the market for rare
coins has been affected by the recession, well,
duh! It has.
8. Next year a new ANA president. (August 2011).
I’ll line up now and guess it will be Tom
Hallenbeck, unopposed. I’d predict bourse rule
changes, but they’ve already done that.
9. Mint production for circulating coinage will
be down, Coinstar will be up. The Mint is a
victim of past successes, and excesses.
10. I will be spending my 59th birthday cruising
from Venice to Istanbul by way of Bulgaria,
Yalta, Ukraine and the Black Sea. OK this is a
gimme. We have made the reservations already.
And for the following year, 2011, I predict a
cruise from South Africa (Cape Town) to London
via most of the west coast of Africa and
Portugal. OK. Just made those reservations
through Paul Whitnah’s M&M Travel. Guaranteed it
will be a numismatic vacation of a lifetime.