Letter Re: “German Silver” and Silver Purity

Jim: German-silver is a Brass – or in the family of brass thereof anyway just like bronze – don’t catch me out with too much details as an expert will tell me how far off I am on that statement! Regardless, “German silver” has NO silver at all, it is to varying degrees of composition depending on its intent etc, basically: copper, from 50% to 61.6%; zinc, from 19% to 17.2%; nickel, from 30% to 21.1%. Developed by the way by the German scientist Geitner. There is a related alloy called Tuetenag (see the German connection???…which is very “gold” looking …




On Gold, Silver, and Barter

I am often asked in e-mails about gold and silver coins and their value, both in the present day and their eventual worth (post-TEOTWAWKI) for barter purposes. The basic unit of measure for most of us that are in preparedness circles is the $1,000 face value bag of circulated U.S. silver coinage, minted in or before 1964. (Some folks mistakenly call these coins “Pre-’64”, but properly they should be termed “Pre-’65.”) 1964 was the last year that 90% silver coins were minted for circulation in the U.S. All of the dimes and quarters minted from 1965 onward are “clad” copper …




Survival On a Shoestring Budget

I often get e-mails from readers claiming either directly or indirectly that preparedness is “only for wealthy people”–that working class people cannot afford to prepare. That is nonsense. By simply re-prioritizing your budget and cutting out needless expenses (such as alcohol, cigarettes, convenience foods, and cable television) almost anyone can set aside enough money for a year’s worth of storage food in fairly short order. It is amazing what can be done with hard work, ingenuity, and very little money. While I do not endorse interloping on public lands nor do I suggest that you live like a hermit, the …




On Financial Freedom by “Mr. Yankee”

Everyone agrees that the more self sufficient you are, the greater your personal freedom is. If you are making monthly payments for your mortgage, car loans, and to credit card companies, you are obligated to work so that you can pay those bills and your time is not your own. Your freedom is limited by your debts. But, if we are financially free, we can choose how to spend our time. And the freedom to use our time as we please is a goal worth striving for. To that end, I will offer a few tips that are easy to …




Letter Re: Sources for Pre-1965 U.S. 90% Silver Coinage?

FYI, I have dealt with Don Stott of www.coloradogold.com. Don is an honest man and has prices competitive with the best dealers I have found. There will be no excitement in dealing with him…call him, he answers the phone, takes your order, and when your money arrives your product is shipped pronto. – Bruce A.




Letter Re: Sources for Pre-1965 U.S. 90% Silver Coinage?

Mr. Rawles: What is a good source for pre-1965 junk silver coins? JWR Replies: I recommend that you call for prices from several coins shops in your local area. Because a $1,000 face value “junk silver” bag weighs 55 pounds, insured shipping is problematic. So it is advisable to buy locally, but definitely shop around for the best price! As previously mentioned, buying bags of pre-1965 dimes is best for barter. If you don’t have any nearby coins shop and don’t mind paying for the freight, contact the folks at Swiss America Trading. They are very reputable.




Letter Re: Reinvesting a 401(k) Into Precious Metals

Mr. Rawles, Congratulations on the success of your website. I follow it everyday and have gleaned much info from it. My wife and I have been working at getting our “beans, bullets and band-aids” together and have made what we believe is good progress. With the state the economy is in and considering your advice about investing, I have a question that I hope you can/will help me with. I am thinking about taking out a loan against my 401K to: 1) Pay off our home @ approximately $18,000; 2) Round out our “beans, bullets and band-aids” and 3) Invest …




Letter Re: Other Web Sites and Newsletters

Sir: I subscribe to the [name deleted] investment e-mail newsletter. If you go to the web page listed below, he has an article where he gives his opinion of the “doom-and-gloom” naysayers. I don’t think he was speaking about you specifically, but I thought you might be interested in reading what he has to say and maybe responding to him with a rebuttal. I also wonder how you feel about someone like [name deleted], who claims he runs a survival, not a survivalist web site. I had never considered that there was a difference until he pointed it out. Thanks …




Inflation–Past, Present, and Future

It has been said that nothing is inevitable except death and taxes. But personally, I add inflation to that list. Inflation is an insidious hidden form of taxation We’ve been robbed! According to The Inflation Calculator, what cost $100 in 1905 would cost $2052.36 in 2005. The U.S. dollar has lost 95% of its value in that time. (If you were to buy exactly the same products in 2005 and 1905, they would cost you $100 and $4.87 respectively.) The inflation rate jumped considerably in the 1960s and 1970s. It is no coincidence that the U.S. Treasury stopped minting real …




The Big Picture — Grid Up Versus Grid Down–Oil, Soil, and Water

Before selecting retreat locale, It is crucial that you decide on your own worst case scenario. A location that is well-suited to surviving a “slow-slide” grid up scenario (a la the deflationary depression of the 1930s) might not necessarily be well suited to a grid down situations. As stated in my post on August 15, 2005, a grid down situation will likely cause a sudden onset variation of TEOTWAWKI with a concomitant mass exodus from the big cities resulting in chaos on a scale heretofore never seen in modern memory. (See below.) My own personal “best case” scenario is an …




Investing Philosophy + Free Economic Newsletters and Websites

You may have noticed that I only write sparingly about economics and investing. I do follow economic trends closely, but I don’t consider myself an expert. If you want to categorize me, then you could say that I fall into the “Guns and Groceries” school of survivalism rather than the “Krugerrands and Plane Tickets to Offshore Havens” school. My current advice is fairly terse: Concentrate on buying tangibles. (Namely: productive farm land, storage food, practical tools, guns, and common caliber ammunition.) Then after you have your retreat fully squared away with logistics, it is time to consider buying some gold …




Letter from “Dr. Buckaroo Banzai” on Living Debt Free and Retreat

Shortly before Katrina hit I eliminated all of my unsecured debt. At the moment we have just the mortgage and two car payments (aside from utilities and insurance payments.) We put a 48 month plan into action. Every month we ‘bank’ a percentage of our income, roughly $1,000 USD a month. At the moment it’s going into the safe and we are entering month 3 and are at $2,000 and right on track. Our car payments will be done before the 48 months are up and 100% of that will then also be going towards our new home/retreat. We are …




The Precious Metals Bull Market Continues

I was gratified to see that the spot price of gold went to a 17 year high ($459 per ounce) yesterday, while silver closed at $7.21 per ounce. (See my metals price ticker.) I expect some brief profit taking for a few days (and perhaps into October–which has traditionally been a weak month for precious metals prices), but then the metals bull will probably resume his full-tilt charge in the winter. How high will the top be? Who knows… But consider that when adjusted for inflation, the $805 top that gold saw 25 years ago would equate to around $2,200 …




Zimbabwe’s Tragedy Continues

If you want to see a full scale “slow slide” economic collapse in action–one that rivals the severity of what I portrayed in my novel Patriots–then just look at modern day Zimbabwe. Comrade Mugabe and his ZANU-PF cronies have absolutely ruined a once prosperous nation. Please take the time to read the August and September letters archives at the Cathy Buckles web site. IMHO, Zimbabwe needs our prayers, and a vigorous counter-revolution!




Letter Re: Silver Coinage and Ammunition for Barter

Dear Jim: I am thoroughly enjoying your web site and appreciate very much all of your quality information. Recently you had an article about storing coins and ammo for barter and trade purposes. I would like to ask several questions about this subject. 1.) You mentioned pre-1965 silver dimes, but what about silver quarters and half-dollar coins? 2.) Do you recommend gold coins? I understand the inherent problems with gold bars and bullion, but what about .10, .25, and .50 ounce gold coins for barter? 3. What types and quantities of .22 ammo do you suggest? Stingers, hollow points or …