From the Deep Archives: JWR’s Comments on Silver and Gold

Note: I posted the following to the Usenet newsgroup “misc.survivalism” on July 17. 1997, in response to an ongoing thread about gold and silver. OBTW, at the time, gold was selling for around $320 per ounce, and silver was around $4.25 per ounce.

[LOTS deleted]
> Gold coins frequently are only some part gold – in actuality an
>alloy comprised of MOSTLY gold, but not always.  Different gold coins have
>different gold contents and it’s not always clear what percent.  For
>instance, did you know that the US RARELY minted a .999 pure gold coin?
>That’s why Kruggerands [sic] and Canadian Maples are more pricey – they are pure
>gold.  US Gold coins are usually a 90% alloy.

That is not correct.  American Eagles weigh around 1.1 ounce, and are .9167
fine. (22 karat.)  You still get a full ounce of gold for your money.  They are made
22 karat for durability. The .999 fine bullion coins are too soft for
general circulation.  They wear quickly.

> Q: Is my preference for small denomination silver over large denomination
> gold sound?
Yes, if you have all your other logistics (food, weapons/ammo/medical)
squared away FIRST.  

> Q: How much of this stuff should I buy?  As much as I can? Some percentage
> of my ability?
Again, after you get everything else squared away, then I’d recommend
putting roughly half of your savings in precious metals.

> Q: What should I do with this stuff in the mean time?  “Safe Deposit” , er,
> isn’t.  “Creative Burial?”
Bury it!

> Q: Silver is a private store (ie, the govt cannot confiscate and doesn’t
> even know I have it).  How can I keep it that way?  The company does not
> report sales to the IRS.  Hell, purchases of $1,000 or more do not even
> require the collection of taxes.
Bullion coins–even silver .999 –trade dollars”–may eventually be
subject to confiscation (Like the gold confiscation in 1933.)  I’d stick
with “junk” silver (pre-1965 U.S. circulated silver coins), and MS-60 or
higher U.S. numismatic gold pieces, preferably PCGS or NGC encapsulated

> Q: Basically, am I on the right track to preparation for economic crisis?
Only if you buy your “beans, bullets & band-aids” first.  I can’t
emphasize that enough!