2008 Predictions: Gold, Coinage and Politics By David L. Ganz
- December 20, 2007
I have authored this column since 1965, when
I became a professional writer dedicated to covering the numismatic
field. At times, I even gaze into the future of the hobby
and the world around us.
In looking through my clips, the first reference I can find
to this line of work 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.
Historically, I've spent a lot of time in the "seer
business" when it comes to market analysis. I've always,
for example, predicted the price of gold, silver and platinum
with varied degrees of success. The same is also true of my
famous predictions for 1881-S silver dollars in MS-65 condition,
something I view as a bellwether of the marketplace as a whole.
Less accurate is my plea for Indian Head cents to be given
their fair recognition and representative pricing. (Okay,
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 on coinage matters, from both sides of
the aisle. In the 1970s and 1980s it was not uncommon to see
interviews with Representatives Wright Patman, D-Texas, Leonor
K. Sullivan, D-Mo., Robert G. Stephens, D-Ga., Walter Fauntroy,
D-D.C., Ron Paul, R-Texas, James McClure, R-Idaho, Steve Symms,
R-Idaho, Senators Mark O. Hatfield. R-Ore., Peter Dominick,
R-Colo., Jacob Javits, R-N.Y., Jesse Helms, R-N.C., Hubert
Humphrey, D-Minn., and others on pressing issues of the coinage
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
during the past five 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 in this century (mostly accurate but
finally off by only a couple of electoral votes).
Next year, 2008, is a Presidential election year and a leap
year. It affords a unique opportunity for being a seer. Before
getting to that, however, it might be worthwhile to revisit
my predictions for 2007 (written in October 2006) before the
general election took place.
Predictions for 2007:
1. Political shift. I always write this before the general
election. I may have the numbers wrong, but I see the GOP
losing eight Senate seats and in any event losing control
of the Senate. I see a loss of nine seats in the House with
control staying with the GOP. (If I get the exact numbers,
I want double credit). Paul Sarbannes is out as lead Democrat
on the Senate Banking Committee. He should be replaced by
Chris Dodd, who will in my opinion become chairman.
Let me hedge my House bet and go for extra credit with a
contradiction: Barney Frank will be the next House Financial
Services Committee chair (handling all coinage matters) and
Nancy Pelosi will be the next Speaker. Coinage subcommittee
chair Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, won't be back in the next Congress,
and will be defeated at the polls.
How the seer did: The Dems have control of the House and
Senate; Pelosi is Speaker, Frank and Dodd are chairs. Pryce
won a narrow re-election victory. Credit for 5 of 6 points.
2. Congress next year will finally pass the state quarter
extension for Washington, D.C., and the five trust territories:Puerto
Rico, Guam American Samoa, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana
Islands, American Virgin Islands. Goose egg, but see the prediction
3. A bill will be introduced in Congress to reinstitute a
$3 gold piece for collectors. Nope.
4. The ANA board will ultimately vote new bylaws about how
its board of governors are elected. There will be intense
debate and a lot of public opinion expressed beforehand. They
may even go with Internet voting. They tried and failed. (Half
5. Florida United Numismatists will offer a second convention
besides its January one - a June or July show - to broaden
its membership appeal and give the circuit another show. Yes!
6. Precious metals prices will go up in the next 12 months.
Silver will increase by at least 7 percent to at least $12.70
an ounce at some time during the cycle. Gold will go over
$630. Platinum will top $1,150 sometime in the next 12 months.
3 for 3. Triple credit. (3 points.)
7. Legislation will move in Congress for consideration in
eliminating the cent, and maybe the nickel, which both cost
more than face value to produce. They are moving (see new
prediction). (2 points.)
8. Look in your bookstores for a slew of new coin books in
the coming 12 months. The hobby of 139 million people has
caught the attention of large publishing houses. Topics will
be diverse. So will the authors. Bingo! (1 point.)
9. Price for an 1881-S Morgan dollar, MS-65, will top $165
in fair market value. It'll be about time. Result: Only as
MS-66. Goose egg.
10. Indian cents will move: a typical 1906 MS-65 in brown
Unc. will go above $110, a movement of 14 percent. Bingo!
11. Platinum eagles from the U.S. Mint will develop market
scarcity and real numismatic value. Yes. Yes! (1 point.)
12. If you leave this out and circle it, someone in your
life will make it a "numismatic holiday" next December
(or this one). It could be a book you want, or coin supply,
or even a newsletter. How handy it is to circle what you want.
Total: 14 of 20 (.700)
So, for the 27th consecutive year, I've brought out the Ganz
Crystal Ball to offer you a window to the future.
A lawyer's caution: take everything that I write with a grain
of salt. My track record in predicting precious metal prices
is pretty dismal - zoo monkeys tossing darts might do as well
- 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 and
local political figure (except for the local voters who voted
for the other guy in the 2005 mayor contest).
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
In gearing up for this year's article, I drew on a 2006 visit
Kathy and I made to the Oracle at Delphi. The journey took
us 180km from Athens, and took all of three hours by tour
bus. A three-hour tour awaited us, and our guide Dimitris
was too knowledgeable and yapped incessantly with information
that overloaded me en route.
It did not get better at the site, as the other group lapped
us, leaving little time to explore the magnificent archeological
site. In a way, it reminded me of Machu Picchu and the Inca
City of the south.
Dimitris says that Delphi is the center of the earth, where
it all began. The ruins, and the partial restorations, show
it was a magnificent place of veneration. The archaeological
museum was very special, although not air -conditioned; there,
some partial restorations of ancient sculpture is magnificently
displayed. We arrived there the day before my 55th birthday.
All that by way of preparation, I am now a better seer for
the experience. We'll see if the Delphi Oracle's wisdom continues
to rub off as I make predictions for 2008.
Predictions for 2008:
1. Political predictions. First, California will retain the
traditional winner-takes-all electoral block. The Democrats
will take the White House in a close electoral vote contest,
widespread popular vote. No Supreme Court challenge this time.
My guess is 391-157.
2. Gold is on the way to $1,000 an ounce in 2008. Once $800
an ounce was breached, my crystal ball says a run on $1,000
is likely. Watch for it.
3. Silver, now around $14.66, will rise to $16 or more in
2008. There are industrialized reasons why this is likely;
and while $16 sounds high (it is), the price represents a
9.1 percent rise over the 12 percent in the past dozen months.
My predictions on this metal have been weak over the years,
but I think I have a good view for the next year.
4. Watch for platinum to rise to over $1,600 an ounce in
2008. The ratio between silver and platinum, currently 100:1
or thereabouts suggests to me that it will continue into the
future. Purchases in China are the reason; as a consumer nation,
they have trusted in platinum more than gold. The demand for
platinum in China - as indeed its demand for copper - goes
a long way to explaining how that metal is now viewed. Anyhow,
watch for a rise of more than 8 percent.5. Congress is going
to try and give up on - or abdicate - its constitutional responsibilities
in setting weight, size and composition of the nation's coinage
- but will retain rights to name the coin and define its design.
Oddly, it will pit Ds versus Rs - with the Democrats willing
to sign rights over to the Mint, in evident violation of Article
I, Section 8, of the federal Constitution - which gives Congress
non-relegable power over the nation's coin and currency.
6. Watch for hearings and a vote on elimination of the cent
and the nickel - on the faulty logic that it costs more than
a cent to produce the one-cent coin and nearly a dime to produce
a nickel when overhead is added in. The problem is that the
fixed costs never go away; eliminate the lower denominations
and the cost of a quarter goes from 8 cents to nearly 20 cents.
But the end result may be that the metallic composition of
both coins change (not a bad concept if carefully tested).
The Mint will back a compositional change - they've expected
it for a while - but the seer notes that they also favor giving
administrative authority to make the change.
7. Lawsuits and administrative hearings are likely to occur
over the use of the word "Mint" in 2008, now that
regulations have been issued to clarify that in the U.S. Mint's
view, no one but it or another lawful government facility
can use the word "Mint" in advertising. It says
disclaimers don't cut it and only make slight mitigation.
The Mint has trademark status on the phrase "U.S. Mint"
and a host of other product names including "U.S. Mint
Proof Set," "Uncirculated set" and so forth.
Watch for (1) the lawsuit and (2) the suit to cancel the trademarks
on the basis that they are longstanding generic names that
have lapsed with common usage.
8. The 1881-S Morgan dollar, MS-65, will top $150 during
the coming year. Call it intuition, a rising market ("all
boats in the water rise with the tide") or a wish and
a prayer, but the $115 level now should start to move. This
could be the year.
9. The giant ANA lawsuit involving former executive Chris
Cipoletti and some former ANA employees will sputter to a
halt well before the mid-year trial. My prediction is that
this is one that is going to go away, even if the ANA has
to buy its peace. What a colossal waste of resources.
10. Look for my wall of honor to grow with some new photographs
in the coming year as we go into re-election cycle. Look for
Mint Director Ed Moy to testify at least three times on Capitol
Hill in the coming year. Watch for a clarification on "first
spouse" coinage as the Presidential race for 2008 tightens.
Look for the Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA) to
take on new leadership responsibilities in the regulatory
Hope you've enjoyed the "seer's" predictions. If
I get positive feedback, it'll become a regular feature of
the column as I enter my 40th anniversary of my first article
for Krause Publications, in the old "Coin Shopper"
in 1968 and Numismatic News the following year.