Human beings have long domesticated and interacted with pigeons. They are actually genetically indistinguishable from doves. Although feral pigeons are sometimes dismissed as “rats with wings” by city dwellers, a treasure discovery in England shows that these birds can be both a nuisance and a blessing.
As the generation young people known as “Millennials” enter their professions and begin to make up a larger proportion of consumers and investors, marketers the world over have turned their attention to the tastes and habits of this emerging demographic cohort.
In many cases, however, the marketing agencies and financial firms that are trying to appeal to Millennials (generally understood as those between the ages of 18 and 34) have yet to solve this puzzle.
Thanks to a disappointing reading of manufacturing on Friday morning, gold prices advanced $6 (+0.5%) to just shy of $1,260/oz. This snaps nearly a week of losses for the yellow metal. Spot silver added 1% (+16¢) to cross back above $16/oz.
Platinum managed to hold steady above $880/oz but has traded below the $900 threshold for the past week. Palladium slipped $5 (-0.5%) this morning but held onto most of yesterday’s gains, trading near $1,020/oz.
The markets were keyed in to the conclusion of the FOMC’s two-day meeting this afternoon. The Fed is expected to raise interest rates today, which would make three consecutive years of a December rate hike. The announcement comes at 2 pm EST and marks Chair Janet Yellen’s last press conference as a member of the Fed Board of Governors. Jerome Powell is set to take over as chair in early February.
Spot gold opened flat on Tuesday morning at $1,240/oz, weighed down by the nearly unanimous expectation that the Federal Reserve will raise rates at the conclusion of tomorrow’s FOMC meeting. The anticipation of higher interest rates knocked gold to nearly a five-month low.
Meanwhile, silver prices moved modestly lower to $15.64/oz. Platinum also slipped 0.9% to $878/oz while palladium was down about $6 per ounce (-0.6%) to $993/oz.
Markets awoke to the startling news of an explosion in Manhattan, although the reaction was largely muted. Gold prices opened flat on Monday at $1,248 per ounce, remaining stuck near its lowest in nearly five months. Spot silver lost 7¢ (-0.4%) to fall toward $15.75/oz.
Platinum traded slightly lower to $885/oz, the first time the precious metals has remained below $900/oz for any extended period of time all year. Palladium was also 0.2% lower to $995/oz.
When bitcoin prices gain about 10% on a single trading day, as they did during both Wednesday’s and Thursday’s sessions, the corresponding price increase is now more than $1,000. In one day! (However, prices then fell by more than $2,000 overnight on Friday.) The cryptocurrency sensation has clearly reached a fever pitch.
For those unacquainted, bitcoin is the oldest, most popular, and most trusted among the variety of cryptocurrencies (or altcoins) that now exist. Its dramatic price swings are earning it increasing attention from Wall St, and certainly from speculators.
Bitcoin is often abbreviated BTC, as if it were a security, but it’s not a share of equity or a bond. It lacks some of the fundamental properties of a currency, so it’s not that either. (Anything whose price can change $1,000 in a day doesn’t make for a useful unit of account.) Financial regulators, in fact, have had a hard time classifying it altogether the past few years. It seems strange to label something intangible a commodity, but that’s the categorization that some have been settled on.
The price of bitcoin has nonetheless increased roughly 1,000x—that’s a thousandfold, or more than 100,000%—over the past five years, rising from about $15 to over $15,000 in that span. It began the 2017 calendar year at $1,000; that means it’s up more than 1,000% year-to-date.
But the question so many people still have is, What is it?
There is no more famous South African coin than the Krugerrand. The iconic gold bullion coin is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
A handful of developments on Friday morning helped set markets at ease. Of course, it’s worth pointing out that the gradual slide lower for the precious metals means that there’s very little fear in the markets at the moment, anyway. Spot gold charted a path slightly above unchanged this morning, adding 0.25% to trade right at $1,250/oz. Spot silver rose 10¢ (+0.65%) to $15.80/oz. Platinum was slightly weaker at $890/oz—its lowest all year—while palladium lost 1.2% to tumble below $1,000/oz.
The precious metals trickled lower yet again on Thursday as traders bought the dip on Wall St and awaited tomorrow’s big jobs report. Spot gold fell more than $8 (-0.7%) at the open of Thursday’s session to trade at $1,254/oz, another new four-month low. Spot silver lost 13¢ (-0.8%) to trade around $15.80/oz. Platinum was mostly flat at $900/oz yet palladium surged 1.8% into the green to trade back above $1,000/oz.
The precious metals extended their December slide on Wednesday amid a broader market selloff that included seemingly everything but bonds. Spot gold lost about $2 to fall to $1,263/oz. Gold is still up 8% year-to-date but has tumbled 1.4% in the last month alone. If it ends the day around this level, it will be the lowest gold has traded since early August.
Most of the financial markets seemed to take a pause on Tuesday as more activity is expected at the end of the week when nonfarm payrolls for November are reported. Spot gold was down about $8 (-0.66%) this morning to $1,267 per ounce. It’s the lowest the gold price has been in more than a month.
The other precious metals posted deeper losses. Silver prices continued to lag behind, falling 16¢ (-1.0%) to trade just above $16.10/oz. Platinum slipped $8 to $916/oz. Although palladium only lost $4 to $982/oz, this was good enough for a five-week low.
Spot gold fell when markets opened in New York on Monday, trading down about $6 (-0.5%) to $1,273/oz. All of the precious metals were lower at the opening bell: spot silver lost 15¢ (-0.9%) to $16.27/oz, platinum was down $11 (-1.2%) to $926/oz, and palladium slid $13 (-1.3%) to $1,002/oz.
If you’ve had the privilege of owning a rare coin, the chances are good that the coin had an interesting ownership history. Tracing the chain of custody of a particular collectible coin is one of the pillars of the numismatic hobby.
A retirement home in South Africa recently received what appeared to be a package of nutritional drinks. There was nothing particularly exciting about this routine development—until employees at the facility discovered something hidden beneath the drinks.
In a box underneath the snacks, they were astonished to find a huge cache of gold coins!
Amid a flurry of economic data out of Europe this morning, spot gold remained stuck at a four-week low around $1,273/oz on Friday. There is often a distinct pattern of seasonality in the gold market, and year-end is typically a time when investors are cycling their portfolios into stocks in anticipation of a “Santa Claus rally” rather than buying safe havens. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a powerful animating force on Wall St, particularly as we approach January 1st.
Spot silver declined by 16¢ (-1.0%) to $16.25/oz, showing again that even when the argent metal trends in the same direction as its cousin gold, it is typically the more volatile of the two precious metals. Platinum prices slipped by a similar margin, losing $8 per ounce (-0.85%) to $932/oz. Palladium actually gained 1% to trade at $1,010/oz.
The markets awoke to a string of gold-negative news on Thursday, from higher inflation to a drop on jobless claims. Spot gold lost almost $4 (-0.3%) early in the session, trading at about $1,280 per ounce. Silver prices tumbled 12¢ (-0.7%) to $16.39/oz, its lowest in nearly four months. The Platinum Group Metals saw less action, as platinum was steady around $943/oz and palladium continued to trade just a hair above $1,000/oz.
After third-quarter GDP was revised higher on Wednesday, beating expectations, the precious metals lost significant ground, reversing Tuesday’s gains. Spot gold lost $10 (-0.8%) to $1,283/oz while spot silver slid 24¢ (-1.4%) to fall near $16.60/oz. Platinum was slightly below unchanged at $944/oz and palladium fared the worst of the four metals, losing about 1.4%. However, palladium remains above $1,000/oz.
Monday morning saw spot gold jump $10 per ounce (+0.8%) to nearly $1,300/oz before easing back to about $1,294/oz. The yellow metal hit a six-week high earlier in the session.
Silver prices were largely unchanged at $17.02/oz while platinum ($945/oz, +0.4%) and palladium ($990/oz, +0.1%) both advanced.
Sometimes estate sales and liquidation sales by retirees can uncover fascinating cases of multi-generational coin collecting.
From a numismatic perspective, this is especially interesting because it makes tracing the provenance—or “paper trail”—of the coins much easier. Provenance is important for authenticating particularly valuable antiques and collectibles. Knowing this backstory and chain of ownership adds to a collection’s narrative (in addition, possibly, to its value at auction).
This is naturally a more common and well-documented characteristic of the high-end of the industry, but even relatively modest family collections can yield wonders if kept long enough.
One such example was picked up by Coin World in November. An 89-year-old woman in Delaware (who remains anonymous) will soon liquidate a somewhat humble yet sprawling collection that was passed down through generations of women in her family.
The impressive lot of coins covers an incredible breadth of American numismatic history. It ranges in denomination from half cents to $20 gold double eagles and spans the better part of two centuries. The oldest coins are a pair of rare 1793 Flowing Hair Chain variety cents (pictured above) that are scheduled to go up for auction in March. Both coins are considerably worn, but have now been certified Fine-12 and Fine-15 respectively by PCGS.
Interestingly enough, the collection has spent decades in a box under the woman’s bed. It was primarily acquired by her grandmother, though her and her mother organized and added to it over the years. Experts haven’t even finished evaluating the hoard in its entirety!
Thus far, numismatists have identified the following types of U.S. coins in the collection:
- “18th and 19th century half cents and large cents”;
- “2-cent coins”;
- “copper-nickel and silver 3-cent coins”;
- “5-cent coins from different series”;
- “early Bust half dimes and dimes”;
- “Seated Liberty coinage of several denominations”;
- “Bust half dollars”;
- “Barber coinage”;
- “some early 20th century issues”;
- “and a number of gold coins.”
The two 1793-dated cents were set aside in a separate envelope by the Delaware woman’s mother, showing she had a sense of their particular numismatic importance.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.