Barron:  “I’m at an auction today in Zurich (Switzerland) of ancient Greek and Roman coins.  The most expensive item so far has gone for 800,000 Swiss francs.  The auction is shattering all of the previous records.  I think this is very significant.

Also, today in New York Christie's had a contemporary art auction and they sold $495 million of art.  That’s the highest total in auction history.  They established 16 new world auction records.  Nine works sold for more than $10 million, and twenty-three for more than $5 million....

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“This is very symptomatic of what’s going on.  We see a lot of manipulation taking place in the gold and silver markets, but the big money is going for portable wealth, and they are doing that in the form of buying hard assets.  They are getting it out of dollars and other paper currencies, and they are putting it into tangibles, especially portable wealth.

I’m not talking about real estate, although if you try to buy an apartment facing Central Park it will cost you a great deal of money, and the same thing is true if you want to buy a flat in Mayfair, in London.  But what is happening is high end people are looking to protect their wealth.

At this auction today I am seeing a lot of Europeans and a lot of Russians buying up these ancient coins that are for sale.  This isn’t the sort of auction that attracts Asian collectors, but I would note that Chinese coin prices are going through the roof right now. 

The highest price paid for a coin was $14 million earlier this year for a US silver dollar from 1793.  That was the first year they ever minted them.  So fine art, furniture, high end sculptures, classic cars, all of these types of collectible items are skyrocketing in price.

What you are seeing in the gold and silver markets right now is preposterous.  We’ve seen the gold market smashed below $1,400 once again, and yet the premiums in Shanghai for physical gold will cost you $50 over the spot price.  It will cost you even more if you want physical gold in Vietnam right now. 

What we are seeing is a divergence between the paper gold and the physical gold markets around the world.  If you want physical gold you are going to have to pay up for it because there is not a lot of available physical gold out there.  For what it’s worth, the shenanigans which have gone on recently were orchestrated and designed to allow a couple of major entities to cover who were short gold.

The next time there is a short situation, they are going to be forced to bid up the price because I firmly believe they simply are not going to be able to find the physical gold out there in the market, or even the physical silver.  We’ve seen massive demand for both one ounce gold and silver coins in the US to cite another example. 

So this is what’s going on in the real world, and so you have a tale of two markets:  A paper gold market, and a physical gold market where we are seeing premiums on gold coins which we haven’t seen in decades.  This is because of market demand.  So you either pay up for gold, or you wait a considerable length of time, weeks or even months, to get deliveries, especially for large amounts of gold coins or bars.”

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Eric King

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