Chapter forty-nine. The END . . .

This is my last page. Sigh . . . 

I was just asked a very important question. I was asked, "Is it too late for our country and our civilization to survive or make a turn around"?

My answer, in a word, is YES.

It is now too late.

There are many things which convince me of this. The primary one is the economy of the USA and that of the rest of the world

The US dollar is the "Petrodollar" (see: Petrodollar) as well as the world's "reserve currency" (see: Reserve currency). When the US dollar fails, the rest shall follow

The following are some of the things which have convinced me that we cannot recover. Check them out and decide for yourself. But time is of the essence! If you wait a day too long, you will be unable to prepare well enough for you and your family.

Yes, I believe that the economic system world-wide is about to collapse. This is not just MY idea. Many pundits agree with me. Few people in the field of economics consider it even remotely possible for the USA to recover from the enormous debt which we have incurred. Almost all consider it to be just a matter of time 

It is no longer a matter of "IF" but "WHEN?".

Michael Maloney, author of Guide to Investing in Gold & Silver, is widely recognized as a leading expert on monetary history, economics, economic cycles, investing, and precious metals. He is CEO and founder of, one of the world's largest gold and silver bullion dealers, CEO and founder of, an educational website, and host of the most popular video series on the topics of monetary history economics and economic cycles, The Hidden Secrets of Money. Some of you may have read his books and articles or watched his videos. He agrees we are doomed economically. But, bear in mind that he is in the business of selling precious metals, so we need to look to others for their opinions before settling on our own. I have posted this link on another page as well, but here it is again:

Biggest scam in the history of mankind!

Robert T. Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad - the international runaway bestseller that has held a top spot on the New York Times bestsellers list for over six years - is an investor, entrepreneur and educator whose perspectives on money and investing often fly in the face of conventional wisdom. This renowned author agrees we are in a terrible situation. But, he too stands to gain in the silver industry as he is said to own silver mining operation(s). Mr. Kiyosaki speaks about silver:   Video here:

The Wealth Daily Report:  Read it here

Beyond this just search for, "can the US economy survive"? as I just did to come up with the above links.

There are some cited above who make predictions with dates in them. Please do yourself a favor and ignore that part of their messages! Setting dates is stupid! I really, really believed the world was ending in 1975! Really. So, set your own date if it makes you happy. But regardless as to what date you set - you need to prepare now! Do not wait for later. Start right away once you have concluded that we are headed for a crash. Above all, Decide for yourself! 

I haven't a clue how long this system can survive before the economy fails. I am positive it will fail. But I'll set no dates. 

No system based on fiat currency (Fiat money) has ever survived. Zero. Not one ever. We will not be the only one to ever survive - we will eventually become one of those many failures. 

So, if you plan now; if you start now and the system lasts ten-years more, what have you lost? Nothing! You will have saved up some really nice and very valuable items. In a way, THAT is your "worst case scenario"! 

Today, just like years ago, I was forced to sell off almost everything. I retained two gold coins and a couple commemorative Lincolns. I lost money again but not nearly as much as in the 80s. This time about 13K is all.

My final words, on these topics . . .

Here goes: 

Consult the professionals


Chapter forty-eight. Should we "just" trust in God?

A lot of people seem to believe that as long as they are abiding by their religious beliefs that everything will be fine. They feel there is no need to do anything more than maintain their faith.  Some religions have predicted the end times as many as six different times now! But, we're still here!

From a purely physical standpoint, this is absurd. But what about from a religious standpoint? Does the Bible say just trust in the Lord and forget about taking care of yourself or your family because God will provide for you? If it says that - where is the scripture? 

To find out what is going to happen we need to turn to Matthew chapter 24. All direct quotes in RED:

"Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?"

"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this Gospel of The Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all Nations, and then the end will come."

Those who hang in there will then be saved. Salvation is to come at that time. It is not gained in some spiritual manner before that.

The message, the good news (Gospel) of the coming Kingdom of God will be preached throughout the world before the end.

"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel - let the reader understand - then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect - if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time."

Continuing we saw:

1. The end is a time to flee and flee ASAP!
2. Pray that this isn't in the winter or on the Sabbath day - which is obviously still in effect at that time!
3. It will be the worst time ever on earth.
4. All of human kind would die except that God intervenes to stop it for the elect - the true Church.
5. Many false teachers, even performing (what appears to be) miracles,  will come out trying to deceive people (even the Church if it were possible). Apparently, it wont be possible.

"Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time the sign of The Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see The Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." 

(Matthew 24:1-31)

So nothing in this description says anything about "not" providing for yourself and family ahead of time with food, seeds, guns or precious metals. In fact, it stresses preparedness.

There are parables describing how some saved wisely and others just put money under a pillow. Which one are you? 

I could go on and on with chapters and verses showing how it is wise to prepare for what we know is about to happen. My challenge here is:

For any of you to show any place where God's word says we need not be prepared ahead of the great and dreadful time which is coming.

It is all well and good to trust in the Eternal God. But, He expects us to be stewards of our lives physically and to be prepared as well as we can.

As for me I shall do what is prudent and obtain enough food and water to get by for a period of time. Guns and ammunition enough to protect myself and my family. Plus, as anyone who knows me, I will be prepared for the total collapse of the monetary system, should that happen. And, I believe it will happen - very soon!

I never set dates.

Chapter forty-seven. Who should they pick for the new paper money?

Does anyone really care?

First off, paper money is actually worth less than a plain sheet of usable paper!
Secondly, Jackson, on the twenty, opposed the central bankers and deserves to be on our paper.

If we must place a female on our paper money, because of some warped  political correctness ideas, then we should  pick Anna Williams

Most of you wont recognize her by her name. The story goes that she posed for the depiction on the Morgan dollar. Whether or not she did doesn't matter. The depiction below would make the perfect one for the ten-dollar bill.

The "KING" of coins!

Another point I should make is the fact that our nation's currencies have had a lot of women depicted. Currently both the silver American Eagle dollar as well as the Gold fifty-dollar (and fractional) coin depict a female.
American Silver Eagle
American Gold Eagle

Lady Liberty has been depicted quite often throughout the years on our coins. Here are a few more examples:

Here's one with a female American Indian.

Oops! That last one isn't really a US coin! Probably should be though . . .

Once upon a time, we had Martha Washington on paper money. Otherwise, nobody.

So, why do YOU believe this change is happening at this time?  Call me crazy, but isn't it strange this is going on as Hillary Clinton is running for President? A stretch perhaps. But, stranger things have happened. The "A female deserves the job" syndrome - as expressed by Chelsea Clinton may be the underlying impetus for this. My opinion is all. Now that she lost - maybe we could start worrying about things which actually matter?

My absolute bottom line is this. I do not believe it matters what sex our paper money depicts. Any effort to choose one over the other deliberately, as they are doing, is in itself sexist!

Chapter forty-six. I lost a ton of money on silver and gold

Yes, you read that right - I lost a ton of money on silver and gold.

In the mid 80s I had money enough from time to time to purchase both gold as well as silver. I had quite a collection going. My focus then was old US gold coins. Not the new coins, but the older circulation coins from America's history, minted prior to 1933. They were the coins people once used to buy every day items. The gold coins which a person would toss onto the bar to buy drinks for example! It was simply our every-day currency. (although the word currency usually implies paper money).

A "double-eagle" was worth twenty US dollars back then. Sounds hard to believe doesn't it? An "eagle" was worth ten-dollars. At my peak of buying I had a couple dozen double-eagles and almost as many eagles, plus some three-dollar coins and a few silver bars! I also had a 1909 S VDB penny - the most sought after US penny ever.

Everything I had was certified by PCGS, and all but one eagle were MS64 or better. That one was XF45. And that was my most valuable coin! Not because it contained more gold (content). Not because it was in the best condition (XF45). But because it was so scarce!
A gold eagle like mine.
My three-dollar coin was just like this one.

Click here for listing of coin grading: What are coin grades?

Besides the grading of a coin other factors come to bear on a coin's value. One of the most important factors is, "how many exist?" In the case of my above mentioned XF45 coin there were just 26 known to exist. This was determined using statistics from the top tier grading services and the information is called "Coin Pop" and is published by them for collectors to use.

So, the number of gold eagles known to exist in the condition of mine (XF45) was just 26! There were nearly none in better condition. I had a really rare coin. I emphasize the word HAD!

One three-dollar gold coin such as the one pictured above in MS64 condition would go for thousands of dollars. There is one on eBay right now for $8,950.00.

So, you can easily see how I lost of over $35,000.00!

Factors that effect coin value: What matters in coin values?

Today, both silver and gold are worth more dollars than when I bought those coins. Gold sold from 300 to $400 then. Today spot price is $1,175.00. If I had been able to hold them, not only would I be able to recover my costs but would have made a tidy sum for profit! The loss was 35K, plus an additional amount even more than that. Possibly over a hundred-thousand dollars total loss!

Keep this in mind today when someone tells you gold and silver are a bad investment because "the price is down". Yes, there have been fluctuations (gold sold for nearly two-thousand dollars an ounce not long ago) but, in the long run, - it has always gone up.

So, my point is this:


The one and only way you can lose is to do what I did in the 80s.
 If, on the other hand, you don't sell off in a low market  you can never lose!

Chapter forty-five. An open letter to those who do not invest in precious metals

I know this is late coming since this is chapter forty-five.

But I need to get into this with those who come here, read, and then make up reasons why they aren't investing in precious metals.

Some of their reasons are: 
  1. I can't afford it right now.
  2. I am not sure what to buy.
  3. I want to get some, but not right now; maybe next _________ .
  4. I don't agree with buying this stuff. No problems are foreseen for the dollar by me. Life goes on...
  5. I am invested in other things right now.
  6. Precious metals are doing poorly now. Maybe later.
  7. The government can just take your silver and gold by Executive order like Roosevelt (D) did in 1933.
OK. Answers by the numbers:

To begin with, I have pretty much answered all of these remarks in several other places in the first 44 chapters. But, to simplify it, I'll do my best, one at a time right here, to save the reader from exposure to all the rest of my great ideas! 
  1. You say you can't afford it right now. Maybe you're right. But just what are you planning to do if I am right? What is your plan if the dollar crashes? I have stressed buying silver because frankly, gold is too expensive for many people right now. But, there are silver bars selling for as little as six-dollars! Again, maybe you can't afford to invest even six-dollars right now. That is a genuine valid reason and I can't do anything to change that. If, on the other hand, this is just an excuse to avoid investing, with some other underlying reason - shame on you. Just don't come complaining to me when my predictions happen.
  2. Not sure what to buy? Precious metal!  There are many ways to buy silver/gold and I list a few here: if-you-are-going-to-buy-silver-what?
  3. Not right now? If not now, when? If you wait one-day too long you miss out. Silver and gold are both currently a bargain and can never go to zero in value. Never. There are other things in which to invest as well. If you are doing, or have done that already, then it is time NOW to start. If you fill in the blank above, what happens if, just before that, the system crashes? The choice is totally yours to buy or not, and when to start. I believe the time to start is right NOW! Remember, I sell nothing and I shill for nobody. This is just my opinion and my disclaimer on every page is quite clear. But, with that said, I personally believe any delay will cost you in the long run.
  4. You don't agree with buying this stuff. If you think precious metals are bad to buy then stay away. I believe you are wrong. I believe that no matter what happens in the future, having a store of them is a wise choice. But, that's just my opinion.
  5. You invest elsewhere. If you invest, you should have a balanced portfolio. More here: investing-in-silver-first
  6. Precious metals are doing poorly? The dollar is what changes in value against metals. The metals are a constant. Two silver dimes buy a gallon of gasoline today just as they did in the 50s and before. Go here: silver-is-dropping-like-lead-balloon
    Sign should read: "...PRE 1965...". 1964 coins were still silver.
  8. Government can take it! Yes, Franklin Roosevelt (D) did issue Executive order No. 6102 on  April 5, 1933. He did, in fact, call for the government to confiscate privately owned gold. That much is true. However, it is known that many people didn't turn their gold in at that time. Today, it would be even more problematic and governments would be unlikely to send the police door to door to confiscate the tiny amounts of gold coins and bars held by its citizens. And when Roosevelt, (D) did that, the US Treasury paid in full, at the official price (which was also the market price). To assess the likelihood of confiscation today, we need to look at what the government could gain by calling in privately held gold. My view is that the Federal government has little to gain by calling in gold today and that therefore the likelihood of confiscation is remote. Because the size and cost of the federal government has expanded so much since the 1930’s, and because the quantities of gold currently held by Americans are too small to fund the huge federal budget for more than a few weeks, the government has little to gain by confiscation today. Besides, doing so would send the dollar tumbling toward worthlessness, which would be a disaster when so many dollar-denominated bonds are held as central bank reserves by creditor nations like China. So, while confiscation is "possible", I consider it to be very remote.
Silver was never confiscated! Even Roosevelt (D) never went after our silver. There is little to be gained for the government by owning silver. So, I consider silver investments safe from hyper-inflation as well as safe from confiscation by our ever expanding government. 

I bought silver as low as $2.00 an ounce. Some of my 90% coins were simply given to me in change at face value as well. I also have "invested" for as much as $34.00 an ounce. Keep in mind that it is impossible to lose on silver - unless you sell low! It is always there and always retains its intrinsic value - unlike fiat paper money.

Chapter forty-four. So many ignorant - so little time

My blog is meant to be educational. I think the need for this is increasing daily based upon some remarks I have read regarding silver coins and prices. 

Any time a coin/precious metal dealer advertises online, the comments come pouring in with remarks such as: "Sure, a one-dollar coin for eighteen-dollars!" or similar, which express the writer's total ignorance. No offense meant. Just that it applies. I am not saying people are stupid. Just ignorant. There is a big difference. (Some few are indeed both!)

I began learning about coins in the early sixties or even before. I made a big push in learning in the mid-eighties and into bullion much more recently. I am sure most of the comments I am referring to are from people who haven't even begun their educational journey.  I hope to make this blog a part of their learning process so they wont continue to embarrass themselves with ill-informed comments online or elsewhere.

Any investment in precious metals, including collector's coins, requires the buyer to have information about what is being bought. There are many things to consider. For example, to buy bullion you need the current "spot" prices. They are available in many places online. 

After you understand that a "spot" price is what the metals are selling for in huge quantities to large dealers, you can estimate the value to you. Most of the time you can look for the amount added to each ounce above spot prices to compare offers. Yes, dealers are in business and need to make a profit! They wouldn't last very long if they bought at spot price and sold at the same price. So, don't expect that from them any more than you expect to buy any other commodity at the seller's cost. In fact, be leery of any sales offered at spot or below.

However, some individuals may indeed sell for spot or less. Those items are a rare bargain, and there is certainly nothing wrong with buying from individuals. However, be certain about what you are buying. Fakes do exist. Don't own one!

The amount over spot price is what matters. Anything printed on the bullion doesn't matter (usually). So, if an ounce of gold/silver has a value number printed on it, that has little or nothing to do with its "actual value". A new USA silver dollar says "One Dollar".  It will say that forever. It is totally arbitrary. It has nothing to do with its current value. Nothing! This one topic is perhaps the biggest problem facing the new investor. Just remember the spot price is what matters. What is stamped on the coin or round or bar means almost nothing.

There are rare exceptions in bullion buying. One that comes to mind is the bars from Englehard. They are no longer in business and the prices are a little higher than other bars because of the ongoing scarcity. But as far as value based on spot prices, they are simply worth the same.

Another factor which I hold in a high place personally is the identifiability of real vs. counterfeit bullion. How can you tell? I covered this elsewhere, but to me I prefer the newer Sunshine Minting bullion. They are encoded with a validity hologram type emblem which may be impossible to reproduce. It is visible only with the decoder, which they also produce. When I go to sell to someone this a valuable feature, plus of course when I buy.

SunShine Mint's decoder at work.
If you are investing in US coins, which were once in circulation, there are other things you need to learn. As with any investment, you must study and get informed or you will lose your shirt!

Circulation US coins were not minted for the exclusive use of collectors nor for bullion. They are mostly 90% silver or 22 K gold. Not pure (99.9%). In the case of gold, since it is so soft (even the newer gold American Eagle "coins" produced for collectors are not 99.9%).

In other words, these (circulation US coins) are the coins which once were used in every day transactions and were once spent for the amount printed on them. This is where some confusion exists in the minds of under-educated buyers. After 1964 nearly any coin made for circulation was clad and had little or no silver in it. Therefore, they are simply "worth" the printed value. Yes, there are many exceptions like the Kennedy half which went from 90% to 40% and some proof coins which are still made especially for collectors which are 90%. But, in an effort to simplify things you only need to remember that no coins made for circulation dated 1965 or newer are 90% silver. Later you can dig deeper if you want.

Keep in mind that if (when) the system crashes and you have a bunch of 40% Kennedys or a bunch of silver proof coins, you will need to spend time and effort to educate others about why they are part silver, and that potential buyer will probably not be very interested. I recommend that you focus on pre 1965 silver only. 

There are many 90% silver coins which are readily available and extremely recognizable for what they are. The Morgan dollar. the Peace dollar, Franklin and walking liberty halves. Mercury dimes are also popular.  Today, these are worth much more than their face value and can be valued by you based on spot prices. Remember they are 90% silver, not 99.9%. As I said elsewhere, if you put back just a hundred Morgan dollars you will do pretty well in the crash. Today they are valued (in dollars) around $18-25 each. They will always be recognized by nearly everyone for what they are. Other of my blog pages go into these coins and the slabbed high grade versions of them. Check around.

As for gold it is different. They stopped making gold for circulation long ago. Any gold coin is valuable and is based on current spot prices. Similarly, what is printed on a gold twenty-dollar coin (or other denomination) is totally meaningless as to the coins value.

There are "golden dollars" minted in the US. These are NOT gold. They are GOLDEN color. They have ZERO gold in them and are one-dollar coins worth one-dollar made for circulation.

The spot prices are used by all dealers in figuring selling prices both for silver and gold. However, the difference between spot price and selling price will vary due to the quantity and the size of each bar or round purchased. For example, a one-tenth ounce silver bullion round today sells for $5.09 each. That is $50.90 an ounce. The exact same quality silver in a one-hundred ounce bar sells today for $1,898.56, which is $18.99 an ounce. So, you can easily see which is, by far, the better price. But, keep in mind that one day you will need to buy something with your silver. Then, it will be far more difficult to "spend" a one-hundred ounce bar than say a one ounce bar. That is referred to as "liquidity". Smaller sizes are far more liquid. Unless you go to buy a car using a hundred ounce bar of gold that is!

Additionally, a larger number of items you purchase will drive your cost down. Example: A one-ounce bar of silver from Aydin Coins (Sunshine Mint) costs $21.30 right now. If you buy twenty of them they cost $19.80 each. You spend more but save $1.50 on each one. So, purchase as many/much as you can each time. But, do invest! These costs will, of course, change as the value of the dollar fluctuates.

What you use to make a purchase sometimes matters as well. Many times a dealer will sell for a little less depending on what you use to pay. There may be a lower price if you pay by check or wire for example. Using PayPal or a credit card is a little higher price than check or wire. An example is Silvertowne for a ten ounce bar: Cost today $185.61 for one. If you use a check (waiting until it clears) or wire the money it sells for $180.20. Savings is $5.41. Be sure to consider this savings in dealing with them or similar dealers.

Shipping! Whatever you purchase, the shipping is a part of your cost. Never forget to add this. On eBay there are many with free shipping - and many without. Be sure to read all the screen (RATS!). The cost of shipping is lower on larger purchases (per ounce bought) so don't forget to break out the calculator and figure your total costs.

Chapter forty-three. Coin Basics and about other precious metals

I sometimes assume people know more than they actually do.

I, in no way, want to come across as condescending here. It is just that when reading comments from people on internet posts about coins, I read statements like: "I bought one of those, but it was made better than the ones this company sells." They were writing about a 2015 American Eagle silver dollar. Anyhow they, and probably others, simply don't know the basics. So I decided to write about some of them here.

If you already know everything, or most everything, simply ignore this post.

I'll begin with the comment I referred to above.

The American Eagle silver dollar coins.

These are ALL made by the US Government Mint. They are all made of the exact same composition, being nearly pure silver. Nothing is ever 100% pure, so the coins have the number .999 on them indicating that they are 99.9% silver. There is always some trace elements and nothing is ever 100%. The Canadian Maple Leaf five-dollar coins are .9999 or 99.99% silver. Still not 100%. Nothing is.

These silver Eagles are NOT minted to be used as currencies. They are minted as a bullion coin and valued for their silver content - to be bought and kept stored away. Anyone foolish enough to "spend" a one-ounce silver coin (or round or bullion) for a dollar, when silver value is $16.95 (at this moment) is insane! Ditto for gold.

Silver American Eagle dollar.
In addition to the mint state (MS) American Eagle coins, the government also mints what is called a proof coin (PR). These are minted with specially polished dies and come out looking much smoother and very shiny. Sometimes they sand blast parts of the die, to create a frosty appearance or cameo on one part or another of the coin. They cost a premium above the usual mint state coins of course. As a rule, unless you want one just to look at them, or you are a serious collector, these are not an "investment" coin. Yes, there are times they maintain better value than the mint state coins, but generally speaking they aren't a better place to invest your paper money.

Proof silver American Eagle dollar.
Coin grading or certification.

Beyond this there are coins, including these American Eagle coins, which have been graded by a professional service like Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) or the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation (NGC). These companies employ experts who grade the coins, and the company seals them in special containers (slabs) which are made of a material which will not harm the coin, and the slab protects it from the elements. The industry generally accepts the gradings given by these experts, and it is safe to assume the grades they claim are accurate. I believe this so much so that I have purchased many coins sight-unseen in the past.

Before this system (which began on February 3, 1986) each individual owner/seller claimed his coin grade, and it was up to you to determine if he was right or not. In fact, today we can still see raw coins advertised for sale as bright un-circulated (BU) and other such terms, decided by (sometimes) poorly trained sellers, who can gain money by over-rating a coin's condition. Those coins are, of course, not certified by anyone and usually not in a slab. So, be careful if buying these.

The current certification and grading system has made a major improvement in coin collecting, especially for the average person.

PCGS story can be read in its entirety here:  

This coin grading represents another bump in price, and naturally the higher the grade the higher the price. Graded coins are always sealed in a plastic container called a slab. The slab itself is sealed and removal of the coin will damage the slab beyond repair. This slabbing of the coins gives protection to that coin allowing you to handle it holding the slab instead of touching the coin itself. Plus, the sealed coin stays untarnished far longer, or possibly forever, within the specially formulated plastic used by these services.

As I have said elsewhere, be careful in handling this slab because if it get scratched or otherwise damaged it needs to be re-slabbed at an additional cost. 
Slabbed Certified silver American Eagle,
As always, BE CAREFUL! Coin slabs have been counterfeited! They make a slab to resemble the real thing, and put an inferior coin inside so you will pay a far higher price and get a lower quality coin. Once you have a few slabbed/certified coins you can compare side-by-side and tell if it is a real company slab - usually. Study up and know what you are doing, plus buy only from a trusted dealer

If you aren't willing to take the time to study enough to avoid the various pit falls in this business, then stay out of it.

You can expect to pay the value of the coin in a slab plus the cost of having it certified and put into the slab. However, many times you will find these are sold for less than that. This is partly due to the fact that a dealer or collector will buy a supply of a particular coin and send them in to be certified, hoping to obtain perfect coins. The perfect coins demand a much higher premium and off-set the costs involved with certification, allowing them to rid themselves of the rest of the coins at a price even lower than the value of a coin plus that certification. An example of this is the common date "Mercury" dime. Many are sold for less than the cost of certification! Personally, I don't think this should happen, but the market place determines the prices.

I paid $20. Someone paid that or more just for the certification!
The grading system.

This system uses numbers ranging from 1 to 70. A number 1 being a coin which is known to be a coin, but so worn as to not be able to determine anything else about it. A 70 being a perfect coin which has zero defects and, of course, zero wear.  The numbers from 60 to 70 are reserved for mint state coins. Mint state (MS) does not imply perfect. Mint state means simply that the coin was not placed into circulation as far as can be determined visually. However, it may well have nicks and scratches on it due to handling and shipping to branch banks from the mint.

Proof coins generally have almost no nicks or scratches since they are never made for circulation in the first place and not shipped out in bags banging up against each other inside the bag. Proofs are made from the beginning to be sold to collectors. Proofs are seldom, if ever, graded below a 64 or 65 number due to their original purpose and subsequent "white glove" care and handling. On the other hand, mint state coins from 60 to 70, were not originally made to be collected but intended to go to the bank drawer and be distributed. The current American Eagles are an exception to this, since none were ever made to be circulated.

A mint state coin, with nicks and rub marks, is graded based mostly on the number and severity of small nicks and marks. A heavily handled coin with a number of marks, even though otherwise never circulated, may be graded an MS60. One which has very few marks may come back as an MS69. One which is absolutely perfect, with zero defects, becomes the coveted MS70. There is a saying in the industry that only God creates an MS70! They are quite rare and of course costly. Absolutely none of the older coins are 70s.

Any natural coin toning has no direct effect on the coin's grade nor value. In fact, many collectors will pay a slight premium to obtain a coin with toning. I am not one of those people. I prefer a coin without any patina or toning. But, that's just me.

Silver coins which were made by the US government mint for circulation were made of 90% silver mostly. There are numerous exceptions but, if you can just manage to remember that all US "silver" coins stopped having any silver in them as of 1965 you will be fine. Those coins which are the exception are just as valuable (all else being the same) but if you go to sell one be prepared to educate the average buyer!

Silver in general.

Silver coins were among the first coins ever used, thousands of years ago. The silver standard was used for centuries in many places of the world. And the use of silver for coins, instead of other materials, has many reasons:
  • Silver is liquid, easily trade-able, and with a low spread between the prices to buy and sell. A low spread typically occurs when an item is fungible.
  • Silver is easily transportable. Silver and gold have a high value to weight ratio.
  • Silver can be divisible into small units without destroying its value; precious metals can be coined from bars, or melted down into bars again.
  • A silver coin is fungible: that is, one unit or piece must be equivalent to another.
  • A silver coin has a certain weight, or measure, to be verifiably countable.
  • A silver coin is long lasting and durable. A silver coin is not subject to decay.
  • A silver coin has a stable value and an intrinsic value. Silver has been an ever rare metal.
  • Because silver is not nearly as valuable as gold (for now), it is much more practical for small everyday transactions.
On the topic of gold.

Remember that most of what applies to silver also applies to gold. Today gold is much more valuable than silver. Many experts feel this may change in the future due to the enormous industrial usage for silver. Personally, I doubt that will come to be. What I do know is that with the current prices I can't afford to buy much gold, and besides gold is far less liquid - hard to use as money. Gold's advantage is that it stores a lot more value per space taken up. So probably some combination of both metals would be wise.

1924 St. Gaudens twenty-dollar coin. Today's cost about $1,600.00.
Modern gold American Eagle fifty-dollar coin. Today's cost $1350.00.
 Metals besides silver and gold?

Platinum: This is traded and not bad to own. This is normally priced on a par with gold. The US mint makes platinum coins as well as silver and gold.

Copper: Copper is not weighed in troy ounces but avoirdupois ounces, like butter or corn. Copper isn't valuable enough for investing, in my opinion.

Palladium: This is OK I guess. But, not something I know much about. Some jewelry is made of it, and it resembles white gold or silver. Try asking people at random how much an ounce of palladium is worth and see what they say. Probably that they don't even know what it is. And, if the economy crashes and you are buying with precious metals, when you try to use palladium you better be ready to educate the buyer and convince them it is valuable.

Copper round, $3.95 with free shipping.
Palladium one ounce bar for $885.00.

What about "coins" other than silver and gold?

Some of these are good investments as of today. I have a few pennies and a few other things myself. But as far as buying coins to be a hedge against inflation, I would be hesitant to advise you to buy any coins besides gold and silver. Gold and silver are the standard against which anything of value is weighed.

As I have said many times in here, we need to begin to value silver and gold against the commodities which we may need to purchase. Silver and gold are the standards not paper. When the dollar goes up or down it effects the amount of precious metals you can invest in - for today. But take away the paper dollar and what is left is the store of value contained in silver and gold. Keep this in mind when you see the silver market fluctuating. It is the dollar that is volatile not a chunk of silver/gold!

I've mixed up a few terms herein. 

Coins and rounds for example. The government wont allow me (you) to make a silver round and call it a coin. It is just a round piece of silver with no printed value on it. That is what a silver "round" is. The silver American Eagle is a coin - a silver dollar. I consider it to be a silver round as well. It does have a stated value on it of one US dollar, but is that its actual value? Absolutely not!

The gold American Eagles are fifty-dollar gold coins (and some other denominations). Want to sell one for that? Probably not! It too is a gold round for all intents and purposes. Neither of these were ever produced with any intention of them becoming US coinage for use to buy and sell for the dollar amount stamped on them.

Ditto for a Canadian Maple Leaf five-dollar coin/round. And a few others.

Older US coins, like the Morgan dollar, were always produced as a currency for daily use, and are coins, and not considered to be a round at all. Today, because they are 90% silver, they have become far more valuable than what was printed on them as a coin/currency, and very few are still in circulation due to that fact.


Both gold and silver come in many different shapes and sizes. Just to confuse the issue a little, I'll state that in addition to being a coin and a round an American Eagle is also a bullion coin! Bullion coins describe contemporary precious metal coins minted by official agencies for investment purposes. Historically, most currencies were in the form of bullion coins, silver and gold being the most common metals. Some bullion coins have been used as currency throughout the 20th century, like the Maria Theresa thaler and the Krugerrand. However, modern bullion coins generally do not enter common circulation.

Bullion round by Sunshine Minting.

Bullion ingot or bar, also by Sunshine Minting.

Compared to numismatic coins, bullion bars or bullion coins can typically be purchased and traded at lower margins and their trading prices are closer to the values of the contained precious metals. See photographs of the two gold coins above for a comparison.

Occasionally consumers who are unaware of the intrinsic value of a coin, will use it as normal currency. If a coin is taken to a bank, the bank can only pay the face value of the coin. However, as noted, if it has intrinsic value it is worth much more. I bought 17 silver half-dollars at a bank once when I found out some guy had given them to the teller to pay for something. She seemed not to understand what she had. Thank you!

What makes a coin have value?

There are several factors which apply to add value to a coin.
  1. Age. When was the coin made? All else equal this matters a lot. Older coins are, of course, more valuable just because they are older. But, wait! Lots of other things are as important or even more important!
  2. What is a coin made of? Gold is more valuable than copper. Silver is less valuable than gold but more than copper. Basically, gold or silver are top in value. However, for additional reasons some copper coins are quite valuable. Read on...
  3. How many were produced? These figures are sometimes hard to determine. Very old coins were produced and no records were kept. So, estimates are made on the number in existence based upon how many are in circulation or in collections. Very old bronze coins were made by hand and as a result there are very few in existence. However, those very old coins are not always very valuable! Read on...
  4. How many exist? This is much different from how many were made. For lots of reasons coins become scarce beyond what the production figures would imply due to being confiscated by governments and other things like destruction of large numbers of coins by a disaster like a ship wreck etc.
  5. Condition. How well was the coin preserved? The grading system has taken most of the guess work out of this factor. Usually any better conditioned coin is more valuable. There are variables in this like toning.
  6. Eye appeal. People simply like the looks of certain coins. They like the look of one coin better than another one with the same grade. This is a personal matter but it does effect the value.
  7. Demand or interest. This is probably the most important factor! The really old coins from Rome aren't very valuable even if low numbers exist and they are in good shape and made of gold. If there is no demand for a coin it tends to be valued closer to the intrinsic value of the materiel from which it is made.

Chapter forty-two. Don't invest! A parody

Stay out of it!

Don't invest in the stuff. You can't eat silver or gold. Buy other stuff.

Buy into the stock market. Buy Apple or something. Avoid precious metals.
Buy rare art, jewelry - avoid precious metals.

Silver is bad. Paper is good. Get hold of some hundred-dollar bills and store them in your mattress.

You can earmark your cash for things like this!
Or place your money in a savings account. You can get interest every year and that "money" will grow. You can get 1.05% at Ally Bank today! Go for it. No minimum amount needed. So put two-hundred dollars in there! In just ten years you will have $222.00. Not bad. After paying taxes you will have made over ten dollars. Unless, of course, the government seizes the account for whatever reason - which they can do. Anyhow, don't worry about that problem. Go for it. Just don't buy silver or gold. You can't eat silver remember!

Silver - bad. Paper - good.

In ten years the value of silver could go to zero (couldn't it?). So avoid silver, it always fails and goes to its intrinsic value of zero.

Can't eat dat'.
Invest in the banks.

Put all your hard earned money in one of these. They love you and will take good care of it for you.
Bankers never take advantage of the people. They share everything with the people. Look how poorly they pay themselves! They are for the people. Never greedy. Never on big payrolls. The average banker probably makes about what you do, so they are on your side - aren't they?

Oops! Wrong picture!
Here is the picture I tried to download showing how impoverished those poor bankers are while they are trying their best to share the wealth with us. This shows how bankers don't have it nearly as good as we do. How do they even know what time it is where they travel for example?

Imagine the work involved in just telling time as a banker. This Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon
(Price: $1.3 million) helps, but it is still a constant problem for them every day!
Yikes! The horrors of helping the people with their money. But, somehow they manage to keep up with it, and keep that interest of 1.05% "pouring" into our accounts. 

Life is tough for those dedicated professionals. You have it so much easier on a daily basis than the average banker. Here is another example, just imagine all the work that would be needed just to clean this entrance way of your home! You and I are so lucky these bankers have time to do those menial tasks and yet still manage somehow to keep up that 1.05%. Praise the bankers!

No fun scrubbing this every day!

So, as I said, keep putting your hard earned money into those banks. They are safe and insured - unlike silver stashed away. Reap the interest! Trust the banks to keep helping the people, like they have been doing all along. They are just like us - except they travel a little more, and buy watches that cost a little more, but have all that cleaning of those big homes to do. Otherwise, they're just like "we the people". 

Aren't they ?

Another hard day at the office deserves a little R&R.
How's YOUR polo game going these days? What? You don't play! Hey, take that ten-dollars you earned above on the two-hundred dollar investment and buy a few horses, get lessons, join the club and learn to ride baby ride! I'm sure a banker or two will be glad to give you some lessons in the game - after cleaning that entrance way. They are, after all, for the people!