Economics & Investing For Preppers

Here are the latest news 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 Militaria. (See the Tangibles Investing section.)


Precious Metals:

Poland Raises Gold Holdings To Record High In September – IMF

o  o  o

Peter Hug: Gold Lifts Against Macro Concerns


Economy & Finance:

A fascinating piece, at The Atlantic: How Manhattan Became a Rich Ghost Town

o o o

At Zero Hedge: US Treasury Sells The First Ever 2-Month Bill: Here Are The Details



Price of ‘Stable’ Cryptocurrency Tether Tanks to 18-Month Low

o o o

Reuters reports: Fidelity launches new company for trading and storing cryptocurrencies

Tangibles Investing (Militaria):

On two occasions, I’ve had consulting clients ask me about investing in miltaria. My general advice is that miltaria that is less than 100 years old is a poor investment. The main reason for this is that most modern military badges, uniforms, decorations, helmets, caps, belt buckles, and so forth are mass produced. For 20th and 21st Century militaria, only items with specific provenance to their original owners have real value as historic collectibles. For example: Millions of helmet covers were produced from the 1930s to the 2010s.  But if you have one that is inscribed with the name of someone with historic significance and a provenance letter to go with it, then you have something that is likely to go up in value. But all of the countless other helmet covers out there are little more than idle curiosities, and just one notch up from rags.

The second problem is that militaria collectors tend to be fickle. Historical interest in various military conflicts waxes and wanes, over the years. Part of this is simply generational. The World War I generation is now all dead and buried. In another 10 or 15 years, we can say the same of the World War II generation. Time marches on, and graves are filled. Thus, the numbers of collectors for particular conflicts diminishes. There are of course some exceptions.  For example, Napoleonic War militaria is scarce and quite desirable. Likewise U.S. War of Independence and Civil War militaria continues to appreciate in value.

The third problem with militaria is that many of these items were made of cotton, wool, paper, cardboard, and leather. Time is not kind to such materials. In a marketplace where “condition” is often touted, with ephemera you will probably be in a losing battle, especially if you live in a humid climate. Therefore: firearms, bayonets, sabers, metal badges and metal buckles are probably your best bet, as items to set aside for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The sad truth is that someone who collects antique coffee cans is more likely to have something that will survive to be owned and displayed by his great-grandchildren, than someone who collects cavalry holsters.

If you are a military history buff, then go ahead and collect militaria. But unless you collect durable 19th Century or earlier items, or you concentrate on more modern items with provenance of historic significance, then don’t consider your accumulated militaria much of an “investment.”



SurvivalBlog and its Editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. 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. We often get the scoop on economic and investing news that is probably ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!


  1. 2 month T-Bills are still just paper. Not even currency. Just an IOU. How many of those has the US got outstanding now? When it comes time to collect, realize where your place in line will be. Good luck.

    Just another path for the govt to kick the can down. Once they get to the edge of the cliff, are they gonna kick it one more time?

  2. The market for Civil War items right now is in decline. Many of the hard core collectors came of age during the Civil War Centennial and are now aging and passing away. Their children have little interest in these items for the most part.
    Rare items- provenanced materials, documents, weapons- have not been as affected but the market is still fairly stagnant.
    There are also a lot of fakes out there. You are much better off either learning the market really well or buying from a reputable- not necessarily well known- dealer to ensure that you are buying the real deal. It’s not something to be entered lightly. Standard items- muskets, bayonets, swords- are sometimes faked, as are things like buckles or plates with bullet holes.
    Caveat empor!

  3. T- Bonds, two months, 2 weeks, 2days, buy in the morning; sell by noon. Sounds like the beginning of Zimbabwe to me. I also noticed that no single entity gobbled them all up. With the feds constantly raising interest rates older long bonds are selling for less, so I guess these are about the best you can get to avoid an interest squeeze. Since inflation is above the stated figures almost any Government bond has little actual yield, but this may be viable for some. Keep in mind that the faster you turn bonds the faster the commissions add up and could completely wipe out any annual gains. Take a good look before you leap, At best these would be for short term money storage and the risk factor is hardly worth the time and risk. If Jimmy Carter era inflation kicks in Money markets were paying 17% and were far more liquid. Me I am buying more long term food for a number of reasons and even with spoilage should still return a greater dividend. Food can always be liquidated by being eaten, thus eliminating the middle men.

    1. “Me I am buying more long term food”

      spot on. though, do you think there will be a deflation event?

      “eliminating the middle men.”

      heh – notice how it also bypasses the medium of exchange ….

  4. I made a killing buying/selling WWII Finnish and Russian militaria and firearms 20 years ago. Got in when it was all cheap and got out when it was sky high. Now that stuff is hard to find and when you do it’s really expensive. Collected Civil War era carbines for a while, had to really know the business or you could get burned bad. I did ok. Now I just dabble in pre WWII Colt and Smith and Wesson wheel guns. Got in too late, but prices continue to rise so we’ll see where I end up…..

  5. Actual deflation occurs when the Schumer hits the fan and the market actually dictates the price of goods and services not meddling Gov bureaucracies. Case in point ; have you actually seen any prices drop lately? Deflation appears to be a term used by politicians rather than actual reality and is at best linked to only a few goods or products. It appears to be a term designed to inspire confidence rather than deal with reality. If we had deflation, why does the government need to keep increasing taxes? Why would they not decrease or freeze wages for government employees? The canned dog food that I regularly buy went up 14% last month. The quantity of food per package has steadily declined while prices have not. Even Social Security payments are going up more than the last few years because of inflation. Deflation, fact or fiction?

    1. “Actual deflation occurs when the Schumer hits the fan and the market actually dictates the price of goods and services not meddling Gov bureaucracies.”

      uh, well, no, not quite. inflation == money supply increase, deflation == money supply decrease.

      so, if I understand you correctly, you don’t see a possibility of a deflation event.

Comments are closed.