Gold Prices Reach 5-month High

For the first time since August 2014, gold has breached the $1,300 per ounce “barrier.” What does this mean? Can it continue?

Lance Roberts, who helps oversee $600 million as chief strategist for STA Wealth in Houston, says it’s still too early to tell if gold is on an uptrend. “What has changed over the past few months is that fear is coming back. Some investors are buying gold to hedge against uncertainties.”

Essentially, investors are seeking safe bets amid worldwide economic turmoil: ongoing troubles in Ukraine, political uncertainty in Greece, the Swiss National Bank's move to remove the peg against the Euro, etc. All of this is creating speculation that governments will implement new stimulus measures to counter economic stagnation. Meanwhile, investors are predicting (or fearing) that any growth won’t be enough to offset weakness in foreign economies and currencies. Since gold is widely considered a safe investment, demand is up, and so are prices.

With all this in mind, gold is likely to see stable or increased prices in the immediate future. As always, you can watch these price trends develop, and compare them to previous trends, by looking at our gold price charts

Platinum Used in Brain Surgery

An intracranial platinum-electrode grid for ECoG.

Recently, we had a very interesting refining request here at MGS: an intracranial platinum-electrode grid for electrocorticography (ECoG).

ECoG is a vital preliminary step for brain surgeons. During an ECoG, a network of electrodes is placed over an exposed brain and used to map the cortex or detect epileptogenic zones – regions of the cortex that generate epileptic seizures. This procedure is similar to an electroencephalogram or EEG. An EEG is non-invasive and uses electrodes placed on the scalp. Doctors will often use an EEG to do some preliminary mapping and determine the most effective electrode layout for the invasive ECoG.

Using information gathered during the ECoG, a surgeon removes epileptogenic zones and resections the cortex while avoiding areas of the cortex the ECoG has mapped as vital. After surgery, another ECoG is performed to detect any remaining epileptic activity and to determine the success of the surgery.

Like its other medical applications, platinum is the perfect material for this type of procedure. Platinum has good electrical conductivity and can be fabricated into small, complex components. Also, like gold, platinum is inert and does not corrode or react inside the body. This makes it ideal electrode material for ECoG grids, pacemakers, and more.

The New Law against Counterfeit Coins

During its final days in session last year, the US Congress passed a bill to help protect consumers from the glut of counterfeit antique gold and silver coins flooding the marketplace.

Many scammers appear to be getting their coins from websites based in China (which we won’t link to here) that promise coin designs “made to your specifications” – which could include something like, say, a gold-plated tungsten American Gold Eagle.

The legislation not only makes it illegal to sell imitation coins that are not clearly marked as a “copy,” but also criminalizes the manufacturing, importation, or selling of counterfeit coins. As for high-end forgeries that come with fake collection certificates, the owners of the trademarks on the certificates are entitled to seek damages via a civil suit.
   
This is sure to be welcome news for our sector of New York – where the rare coin trade is always bustling. Still, dealers should do their due diligence before committing to a large purchase by performing a battery of assays to verify authenticity.