Letter Re: Why Gold and Silver Investing? Will They Have Utility for Barter?

Hello Rawles Family,
First off let me say thanks for all the work y’all have put into sharing the knowledge you have. It has opened many eyes and caused may to be saved in the event something really does happen, I’m sure.
I have recently started preparing for several types of emergencies and one of them is the collapse of the American dollar. I have seen several times that you suggest pre-1965 [silver] coins, and gold coins. They are a good item to have in this situations but I continually find myself asking “Why?”. My position on this is, people (in general) can do nothing productive with silver or gold that I’m aware of, so why would it be “worth” anything. Sure it’s a commodity that governments are after but individuals on the street? I think not. It seems to me that salt, toilet paper and ammunition are a much wiser investment for survival than any form of government issued coins whether they be silver, gold or copper. It seems to me that everyone could use them and everyone would need them. Those are my thoughts, I would be interested in hearing the opinions of both you and your readers about this. Thanks for the time and any info you have to give, – Richard P.

JWR Replies: My opinion on precious metals differs from the majority of other “hard money” advocates. You are correct that in the midst of a “worst case” TEOTWAWKI situation that precious metals will have little or no utility for barter. In fact, during the depths of a socioeconomic collapse, do not expect even pre-1965 silver coinage to be accepted in barter. However, people will likely be willing to conduct barter via common caliber ammunition, flashlight batteries, and food in small packaged units (such as MREs or cans of soup) . It won’t be until the recovery phase that silver coins will be accepted in barter.

The real value of gold and silver will be to act as a “time machine”, preserving your buying from one side of a currency collapse to the other. There may come a day when paper dollars are made almost worthless (as in present-day Zimbabwe), but precious metals will hold their value. After a new –and presumably sound–currency is issued, you can convert part of you precious metals holdings into the current money. Meanwhile anyone that held all paper dollars will be left holding kindling. Thus, precious metals are a form of insurance for limited circumstances . Don’t expect anything more of them when the proverbial Schumer Hits the Fan (SHTF).