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As gold again soars to record, local dealers say business is brisk

By Christina Lane
Aug. 9, 2011 at 11 p.m.

Tuesday was a bizarre day in the realm of gold coins and gold jewelry, local experts said. The price per ounce of gold hit a record high of about $1,780 early in the day and even trumped the value of platinum at one point.

"I've been in the jewelry business since 1971, and I'm pretty sure gold has never been higher than platinum," said jeweler Jud Murray, owner of Murray Jewelry in Longview. "Today was a really unusual day for gold."

The reason? The decline of the U.S. dollar.

"We'll see gold continue to stay very high because of a lack of confidence in the economy, and basically in the U.S. government," Murray said. "People have more confidence in the U.S. government than anybody else's government, but right now there's just not much confidence in the U.S."

Gold's price has more than doubled since the recession began in late 2007.

Julie Beck, who co-owns The Coin Investor with her sister, Carrie Jackson, said more people have been buying and selling gold in recent months. The Coin Investor's second end of quarter sales doubled from the year before, she said.

"It's a great time to sell that broken chain," Beck said.

"A little gold ring that might have been worth $10 or $20 is now worth about $100," she said. "Sometimes I weigh things two or three times to make sure I've got it right."

More people also are buying gold from The Coin Investor, she said. Gold bullion and silver sales are soaring.

There are two primary types of gold coins - bullion and numismatic. Numismatic coins are characterized as historical coins and involve the earliest forms of money. Bullion coins are typically kept as an investment with prices based on the market price of gold.

"Some people are buying bullion to get an edge on inflation," Beck said.

Murray said he expected new trends to show through in terms of jewelry with the higher price of gold.

"We're already trending back toward yellow gold," he said. "The high price of gold will push that trend faster and faster to yellow gold. When you look at metal and you see white, you can't tell whether it's silver, gold or platinum."

Murray also expects to see a trend in gold coin jewelry.

"With a coin," he said, "you can easily see what a person is wearing."



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