Thursday, November 4, 2010

Real-world use of precious metals in a real SHTF / TEOTWAWKI scenario‏

Hi FerFAL,

For your perusal - I posted my mother-in-law's real world use of precious metals in a SHTF scenario in reply to two EXCELLENT posts that The Urban Survivalist posted on how to buy gold jewelry as close to spot as possible.  You'll enjoy the articles - they're great.

This is my post:

In sum:

1. People do not stop buying, selling, or requiring payment for services just because your life has turned upside down.  You have to pay to play.
2. Firearms are great, and very useful in a wide variety of situations, but they are not the answer to most situations.
3. Food is wonderful, and you should always consider food, water, and shelter, but you can't bribe a well-fed person with food, and food runs out.
4. In a collapse type situation, there are always safe places to go, so when hunkering down, or getting on with life, aren't an option, HAVE AN EXIT PLAN.  In fact, you should probably have several exit plans anyway.

- Kyle

Hi Kyle, thanks for sharing that. Today I bought a few interesting paper bills, 500.000 pesos Argentinos, 100.000 Marks, and a dollar bill from Zimbabwe.

I talked with the guy a bit about precious metals too, he recommended not selling...


Anonymous said...

when you buy gold jewelry from Ebay, even from highly rated sellers, make sure you get it appraised right away. That high rating doesn't necessarily mean they don't cheat you. They will, but if you tell them
you just had it appraised and it's not what you paid for, they will work it out for you and thus keep their high rating. DON"T TRUST THAT HIGH SELLERS RATING. Get it appraised to be certain. This goes for the bullion gold coins as well. Krugerrands, Eagles, etc.

DaShui said...

Probably next year I will move to west China for a couple of years. I'm thinking about taking some 1/10 oz gold coins with me, hiding them inside a money belt, for use in case of currency collapse, or natural disaster. I remember in 1997 when the Korean currency collapsed, all the foreign students had to return to Korea, because the money they had was not enough anymore.

Alex from France said...

My personal preference is for gold coins rather than jewelry:
- Gold under a standardized form such as e.g. a Sovereign or Napoleon has known weight, known purity, therefore is more easily priced
- It is easier to resell with little if any downpricing compared to spot. You even have a chance of cutting out the middleman and dealing directly with the prospective buyer, just because a coin is standard. It was meant to be so... this used to be a means of payment a mere century ago :-)

About assaying a coin, I do not completely trust acid test (though it definitely may be useful) because a false coin may be gold-plated. I prefer testing diameter, weight and (crucially) thickness of the coin: those three pieces of information together enable one to ascertain that a given coin has same density as a real coin.

Since gold is a very high-density metal (d=19.3), a false coin will tend to have a smaller density than a real one, because the ordinary metals which are replacing the gold in that false coin have lesser density than gold. That's why the thickness measurement is so important: a false coin is generally made with exact same diameter and weight as a real one (too easy and obvious to verify)... and for that reason is thicker.

It would be theoretically possible to make a false coin with gold-plated tungsten which would have same density as a real one, since tungsten has exact same density as gold. However this kind of fraud would be difficult and to my knowledge has never been seen with gold coins (with gold ingots several cases have appeared) therefore I think the risk is small.

It's easy to retrieve standard measurements for a given coin on the Net. As an example, the 50 Pesos gold coin which I personnally like has 41.67 grams weight, 37.1 mm diameter and 2.69 mm thickness.

To check appropriately thickness, you need to get down to 1/10th mm precision, which is easy with tools found in any drugstore. In the example of the 50 pesos coin, you should get measurement of 2.7 plus or minus 0.1 mm for thickness. Using +/- 1 mm precision tool, you would read only something like "about 3 mm", which would not allow to filter certain kinds of false coins.

Another remark: if one plans to transfer part of one's savings to physical precious metals, as I've done, I would advise to consider buying at least part of that outside of official resellers, this to get a level of confidentiality. Obviously one should always obey the law of the land, and transactions outside of official channels are just as taxable, which taxes should be paid. The advantage of confidentiality however is that in certain prospective SHTF situations, information about who exactly has gold may be retrieved by criminals and other bad guys. You don't want to be in these guys' files... that would be the opposite of the "gray man strategy"!