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OPINION

Gold, Rare Coins and Chuck Todd Shine in First Quarter of 2017

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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For the first quarter of 2017, gold rose 8.5% and silver rose 12.6% while most other commodities fell. The widely-watched 19-commodity CRB Index fell 3.4%, while crude oil fell 5.8% and natural gas fell 14.3%. This underlines gold’s role as a currency, not just a commodity. Gold has limited industrial uses. Gold’s major role is for investment and adornment (jewelry). In that sense, gold competes with cash more than stocks, but gold also beat the Dow Jones stock index, which rose only 4.6% in the first quarter.

The Pogue Auction Concluded Last Friday

Fox Business, Reuters, Associated Press and other major news outlets were abuzz with the news of the record setting Pogue sale.

One of America’s most important early silver dollars, the Dexter specimen 1804 silver dollar PCGS Proof-65 from the collection of D. Brent Pogue, fetched almost $3.3 million dollars as part of a record-breaking coin collection auction last week. The five-part sale of the Pogue collection ended last Friday with a total sales amount of almost $106.7 million.

In addition, two small-denomination coins sold for almost $1 million – an 1811 half-cent PCGS MS-66 RB brought $998,750, and a 1793 Liberty Cap cent PCGS AU-58 sold for $940,000, making the 1793 cent the most valuable circulated cent ever sold. Both of these coins sold for far more than what experts estimated they would bring.

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Record-setting auctions often raise the interest of the collecting and investing public in buying rare coins which can appreciate over time. Great rarities selling for large amounts with broad media coverage bodes well for the overall coin market. Experts see this as a sign of big money being ready to enter the market which would benefit collectors and investors. Brent Pogue began collecting in the early 1970s as a teenager. Those starting out at a young age now have a chance to replicate these results. Older investors can also use their accumulated wealth to start a grand-child collecting coins for long-term wealth accumulation, as well as a wonderful way to learn American history and the value of gold and silver compared to paper money.

On April 2, 1792 – 225 years ago – the U.S. Congress passed the Coinage Act, which launched the U.S. Mint and Thomas Jefferson’s new decimal-based currency system, based on gold and silver. The Coinage Act authorized building the first Mint in America’s capital, Philadelphia. President George Washington soon named a top astronomer and mathematician, David Rittenhouse, as the Mint’s first Director. The first silver dollars were struck by the U. S. Mint in 1794.

I Met Chuck Todd of Meet the Press

As the result of a fund-raising auction, I earned the opportunity to spend 30+ minutes in Washington, D.C. at coffee with Chuck Todd, the host of Meet the Press since 2014. Chuck was generous in donating his time and talent for a worthy cause. Meet the Press is the longest-running program on television, by a long shot. It was launched in 1947, the first year that network television programming began. In its 70th year, it has pioneered the Sunday morning televised political talk shows. In watching Meet the Press over the years, I have found Chuck Todd to be the fairest of the mainstream media news hosts. If I could borrow a phrase from another network – ABC’s “Good Morning America” – I would use three words to describe Chuck – Kind, Prepared and Balanced. He was very warm and kind in our meeting and you can see his basic kindness in the smiling way he interviews even the most reluctant guest on Meet the Press. I find him to be exceptionally prepared, considering his data analysis segments alone, and I find his approach to be balanced, treating Republicans and Democrats essentially alike.

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He is also personally balanced, in that he is a dedicated family man and a sports fan – two traits we have in common. He and I both loved the Sporting News in our youth. He typically closes his show with a reference to a sports event that day. He often mentions one or more of his favorite teams, including the University of Miami Hurricanes, Los Angeles Dodgers and Green Bay Packers. In last Sunday’s show, he wished good luck to the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day.

Regarding his political balance, Sunday’s show provided an excellent example in the opening segment, in which he seemed confrontational when interviewing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about the coming Supreme Court filibuster by the Democrats. But without a pause, he welcomed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and I thought he was equally tough in his interrogation of the Democrat leader.

In my meeting with Todd, I described the experience I had at the 9/11 Museum banquet Last September. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was inclusive and balanced in his commentary. So was the musical headliner, Bon Jovi, but then came comic Samantha Bee. I counted 14 attacks on conservatives and only two light glancing blows targeting liberals. In a non-political event like this, I said, neither Samantha Bee nor conservative comic Dennis Miller fit the inclusive spirit of the occasion. Chuck Todd agreed that the best choice would be a more middle-of-the-road comic like Jay Leno, who was always careful to divide his jokes 50-50 between making fun of liberals and conservatives in his opening monologue.

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I spent a pleasant 30+ minutes with Chuck Todd. I recommend you watch Meet the Press on Sunday mornings to see what I am talking about. He’s Kind, Prepared and Balanced. In a word, he’s a mensch!

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