to gold, silver coins in uncertain times
Nationwide » The trend seems to be the same.
By Steven Oberbeck
The Salt Lake Tribune
There is a
gold and silver rush of sorts going on in Utah
Worries over the future of the nation's economy
and the looming possibility the federal
government's trillion-dollar deficits may ignite
inflation has many Utahns fleeing to the
perceived safety of gold and silver.
The result is a shortage of some of the more
popular bullion coins throughout the state.
"Where we have really seen a shortage is in the
'fractional' coins -- the American Gold Eagle,
Canadian Maple Leaf and South African Kruggerand
coins that contain a tenth, a quarter and
half-ounce of gold," said Bob Campbell, owner of
All About Coins in Sugar House.
A year ago, Utah coin dealers could hardly give
away such coins, said Campbell, a former
president of the American Numismatic
Association. "Now they are in high demand and we
can't seem to get enough."
The shortage, however, isn't just in Utah.
"It is a nationwide shortage," said Peter Grant,
senior market analyst at USAGOLD-Centennial
Precious Metals Inc. in Denver. "We're seeing a
huge unprecedented demand for gold as a safe
Gold and silver (known as the "poor man's gold"
because of its much cheaper price) are widely
viewed as offering a hedge against inflation and
a store of value in uncertain economic times.
Gaylen Rust, owner of Rust Rare Coin in downtown
Salt Lake City, said he is seeing an increasing
number of retirees and those nearing retirement
are quietly purchasing silver and gold coins as
insurance against what they fear will be an
eventual fall in the value of the dollar.
"A lot of them are approaching their (gold and
silver coin) purchases almost like a life or
fire insurance policy," Rust said. "It is
something they want to have, but pray that they
never have to use."
While the shortage of gold and silver bullion
coins may be nationwide, Utahns seem enamored
with the metals.
Campbell said a year ago only about 30 percent
of his business was bullion coin sales with 70
percent centered around the sale of rare coins
to collectors. Since last fall, though, those
percentages have reversed.
"The shortage does seem to be a little more
prominent here in conservative Utah," Campbell
said. "I know when we do manage to find a supply
of coins, a lot of times they come from the more
liberal eastern states."