The Truth About Gold and Silver

In the midst of all this incredible political and economic chaos, I was tasked with packing up my mother’s things to prepare for her move to assisted living. It’s a gravely emotional experience for anyone, as I’m sure you know.

I adore that woman. It’s hard to see her get old. Also, that house contained 100 years or more of family history. All this stuff takes up space. With everyone on the move, it’s hard to find a good home for things anymore. We had to make some hard choices.

Anyway, along the way, I opened a small safe and found a lockbox, and opened it. It was my father’s collection of coins. What was in there hadn’t been seen by anyone for perhaps 25 years (he died rather young).

It was startling and amazing to see. It was like finding buried treasure. There were coins from all over the world, gold, and silver. I’m not sure that I knew that he was a collector.

There were all the usual gold and silver bullion coins from all lands, all worth the price of their metal content. All are vastly up in value from when he bought them. There were also hundreds of silver dimes. And there were plenty of numismatics too and because I don’t know my way around this world, I’ll let the experts determine their value.

Good as Gold

I won’t tell you the total value for reasons of privacy but I will say that he made a very good investment. Stocks are fun and swing this way and that but these coins are stable, true, and always faithful. Dad knew that. He was right.

And thumbing through the collection always reminded me of his personal values. Yes, he was old-fashioned, you could say. He rallied around faith, family, honesty, hard work, productivity, great art, hard history, big books, deep learning, prayer, community service, and caring for others, all those things.

He was not only an astute investor. He was a compassionate and caring man. I recall walking with him on a hot windy day in the Texas mountains of the Southwest when a man of Mexican heritage passed us by and then stopped. “Dr. Tucker! You taught me to read! God bless you! God bless you!” My father smiled and shook his hand and we walked on.

I asked Dad what that was about. He said he once taught a class in English language for immigrant adults and that must have been a student. “Part of your job?” I asked. Dad said no, just as community service.

Okay, that was Dad. Talented. Dedicated. Humble too.

The Meaning of Coins

Back to the coins. They embody firmness of value. You can tell the history of the world through coins. There is an element of tragedy here, looking through coins from a time when money was sound, government was small, and Americans believed in liberty and independence.

The Constitution was taken seriously: gold and silver were minted as money.

The coinage suggested that too. The dimes were silver. The nickels were larger because they had less silver and more…nickel. Dollars were silver from the old Spanish world Thaler. The half dollar was…half a dollar. What does this suggest?

It suggests that government did not create money; it inherited it from the long history of commercial enterprise, dating even back to the late middle ages.

Then there is the gold. Dad must have loved the American Eagle coin because it suggested hope. Instead of banning gold ownership, the U.S. Treasury was now minting it for the people to own. He could not buy enough. But he also loved gold coins from all over the world. I found memos alongside some, in which he explained why he liked this one or that.

Truth in Coinage

These coins symbolize hope even today, a look back and a reminder that such times did exist. It is not in our imagination. Citizens used to carry truth and honesty in their pockets! Trade was calculated in something unchanging and valuable independent of government control.

A government that mints and distributes sound money trusts its people with their own lives. They also make inflation as we know it essentially impossible.

The Fed is a good printer. It is a terrible alchemist. So if you want to get rid of inflation once and for all, there is a way. Get rid of the Fed and make the dollar good as gold again. Make the dimes silver. Forget this embarrassing baloney-sandwich stuff we use today.

Let’s get back to truth. Not lies, like the Inflation Reduction Act or whatever they call it.

What are the chances? Almost none, sadly. The government is in too much debt and the people are too dependent on inflationary meddling. Leviathan would be impossible under a sound money regime. And tragically today so much of American life is about the perpetuation of Leviathan.

People everywhere are asking what they should do with their money because there seems to be few ways of making it without losing it. That’s how inflation works. You have to earn a high return above the inflation rate to feel good. It’s a rat race, even if it is a necessary one. But you know what’s not a rat race? Getting a safe, a cotton bag, and filling it with coins, a bit at a time.

Keep them for years, decades, and generations.

Preserving Value

It’s a truism in the investment world that you buy gold and silver not for its short-term return but for long-term security. What does this mean? Thousands of years of history have taught us the value of precious metals. No amount of crypto tokens, much less meta worlds of NFTs, are going to change that, as fun as they might be.

Gold keeps its value. But more than that, it symbolizes what it means to keep our values, as people, as societies, and as nations. They are physical objects but more than that, they embody a philosophy of living.

Think about this. One day your children or grandchildren will be rifling through your stuff and they might come across your collection of gold and silver. Do you think their esteem for you will rise? Absolutely it will. It shows that you thought about the very long-term, not just the next investment cycle or election but lifetimes and generations.

And you know what I’m going to do with my Dad’s collection? So long as I don’t need to use them, I will keep them the same way he did. It’s my connection to him, his values, and also to a world that might seem long gone but did in fact exist. It’s an ideal. And we all need ideals. Ideals can be abstract but they can also be physical. That’s what these coins mean to me.

In a world of fleeting values and ceaseless and often pointless change, here we have something that we can both believe in and own. It’s real wealth, wealth for the ages, stuff we can carry in our pockets. Now we carry “smartphones” that have become spying devices for government.

It was an emotional day. Mostly I will never forget the smile on my mother’s face when she saw all of this for the first time in decades. She remembered what a great man he was and how much she loved him.

The Daily Reckoning