Economics & Investing for Preppers

Here are the latest items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. And it bears mention that most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of JWR. (SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor.) Today’s focus is on buying Sterling Silver. (See the Tangibles Investing section near the end of this column.)

Precious Metals:

First, the big news this week is that spot gold gave up about $5 in early trading on Wednesday. This left the Gold Bull “Longs” unfazed.  They know that the long term trend for paper currencies is down, and gold is up.

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Frank Holmes: Brexit One Year Later, In Five Charts


Next, we have this from Brian Noble, over at Is A Big Move In Oil Prices Due?

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And over at MetalMiner: Lead Price Forecast, June 2017: Demand Exceeds Supply

Stocks and Bonds:

Global Bond Markets Gyrate as Investors Decipher ECB’s Next Move

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Mark Hulbert: Here’s how hard it is to get out of stocks before a bear market starts. JWR’s Comment:  Better to be several months too early than a day too late. So I’m saying this now“Eject Buckaroo, Eject!”


On to the foreign exchange (Forex) news, offered this: GBP/USD Forecast: nearing 2017 high, bullish

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Euro hits 14-month high in third day of gains

Economy and Finance (And the Financed Economy):

Yellen: “I Don’t Believe We Will See Another Crisis In Our Lifetime”.   So then, by inference, does this statement mean that Janet Yellen is predicting that her own demise in the near future?

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The Ultimate Regulatory Reform: Abolish Fractional Reserve Banking!

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Seattle No. 1 in home-price growth again; starter homes require half of incomeJWR’s Comment: This article ignores the market pressure created by buyers from mainland China.  They’ve been taxed out of the market in Vancouver, B.C.. So now they are strongly influencing the markets in major cities up and down the west coast of the United States.  Seattle seems to be their main target in their shopping spree.


Tangibles Investing (Sterling Silver):

Today, I’d like to address an often-ignored tangible investment:  Sterling silver tea sets and Sterling flatware.  These can sometimes be found selling for as much as 10% below their silver melt value!  Do your homework before you buy. Remember: Knowledge is power in any bargaining situation. So the more research you’ve done, then the better you will fare at the end of the day. Garage sales, estate sales, Craigslist, pawn shops, and antique stores are your hunting grounds for Sterling silverware.  The key basic number to remember is of course: .925. True Sterling silver is 92.5% silver by weight and 7.5% by weight of various metals, most commonly copper. So… Say that you find a few honest-looking silver spoons at an estate sale that are stamped with a “Sterling” or “925” mark, and hallmarks. Weigh them in Troy ounces (remember that there are 12 Troy ounces to a Troy pound) and then multiply that by .925. Then multiply that adjusted ounce figure by the day’s spot price of silver. That gives you the approximate aggregate melt value of the pieces.

There is collector’s value above and beyond melt value, but from a Prepper’s viewpoint, you should make cold, calculated buying decisions based solely on melt value. Anything above that represents just “nice to have” additional profit for when it is eventually re-sold or bartered.  Some brands like Buccellati, Jensen, and Tiffany bring a considerable premium, especially in particularly desirable patterns. But again, research is crucial.  So if the silverware you buy is genuine Sterling and if you never pay above melt value, then your downside risk will be minimal.

By the way, one other factor to consider is storage space.  Keep in mind that silver services are fairly bulky (per pound), when compared to storing coins or bullion ingots.


SurvivalBlog and its Editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. So please see our Provisos page for our detailed disclaimers.

News Tips:

Please send your economics and investing news tips to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who particularly watch individual markets. And due to their diligence and focus, we benefit from fresh “on target”  investing news. As a result, SurvivalBlog often “gets the scoop” on economic and investing news that is probably ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!


  1. I’ve wondered lately if Sterling Silver flatware or tea sets were desirable prepper items for trade or sale. My though arose just a month ago when my wife informed me that she accompanied her mother to our local coin shop to sell all of her sterling silver flatware, serving trays, tea set and so on. I wanted to get frustrated because this is the same place I’ve been going to for the past year and buying junk silver and silver rounds. I then thought about it and felt the coin shop could calculate the value better than I and besides if I had bought it from her, it would cause a storage issue and frustration with my wife over it cluttering up things. I’d rather stick with the old coins (junk silver) or the pure silver rounds that I like to buy. In fact just last night I received some mail order gold and silver that I ordered from an advertiser on Survivalblog. I made sure that I used the link here too in order to access their sight even though I already have an account with them.

  2. Using silver utensils for daily eating is a good way to get trace amounts of silver in your diet. Silver wine glasses also. Silver kills roughly 650 different pathogens. I believe historically it’s how the aristocracy was saved from the plague backin Old Europe. Just a thought.

  3. As JWR has noted, after TEOTWAWKI it will probably take a couple of years for organized exchanges for precious metals to develop. Even then, standardized pieces will be more functional than nonstandardized. This suggests that silverware and gold jewelry will be somewhat less accepted than rounds, coins, or bars. Also, silverware is heavier and takes up more room. I would be tempted to trade it for silver rounds, bars, or coins.

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