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By James Wesley, Rawles -- Editor of www.SurvivalBlog.com
Updated, January 18, 2012
I've often mused about how fun it would be to have a time machine and travel back to the early 1960s, and go on a pre-inflation shopping spree. In that era, most used cars were less than $800, and a new-in-the box Colt .45 Automatic sold for $60. In particular, it would be great to go back and get a huge pile of rolls of then-circulating US silver dimes, quarters, and half dollars at face value. (With silver presently around $30 per ounce, the US 90% silver (1964 and earlier) coinage is selling wholesale at 22 times face value--that is $22,000 for a $1,000 face value bag.)
The disappearance of 90% silver coins from circulation in the US in the mid-1960s beautifully illustrated Gresham's Law: "Bad Money Drives Out Good." People quickly realized that the debased copper sandwich coins were bogus, so anyone with half a brain saved every pre-'65 (90% silver) coin that they could find. (This resulted in a coin shortage from 1965 to 1967, while the mint frantically played catch up, producing millions of cupronickel "clad" coins. This production was so hurried that they even skipped putting mint marks on coins from 1965 to 1967.)
It was another hot windless day on Blue Marsh Lake near our home in Pennsylvania. A tough day for fishing, real tough. Regardless, my young boys patiently waited for the big one to hit while sweat gathered inside the brow of their little caps. 20 feet away I stood silently, making yet another cast with yet another lure… and reeling it in empty yet again. As I tilted my head to clean of the effects of the afternoon I suddenly was overcome by an epiphany. Had I been younger I might have yelled, but I quietly turned to my red-faced tikes and calmly said, “Remind me to shave your Uncle Dave’s head when we get back to Ohio.”
“What are you talking about? Why??” they quickly quizzed.
“Nothing, just something that happened when we were kids.”
“Tell us, Daddy, tell us.”
“Another time,” I replied softly. As I stood on the banks fruitlessly casting away my mind recounted that wicked event from 1967, and yes, even though it had taken until now to solve, it was true… my brother was an accomplice with my Dad in my attempted premature demise. And there are no Statute of Limitations on conspiracies by brothers. No sir, no way, no how…
Platinum: The “Cheapest” Precious Metal…
Historically, precious metals (such as Gold & Silver for example) had an important role as currency, but are now regarded mainly as investment and industrial commodities. Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium each have an ISO 4217 currency code.
With the ongoing crises in the Western World, precious metals are regaining their role as “currency”, as they cannot be printed out of thin air unlike fiat money.
The best-known precious metals are the coinage metals gold and silver. While both have industrial uses, they are better known for their uses in art, jewellery and coinage. Other precious metals include the platinum group metals: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum, of which platinum is the most widely traded.
The demand for precious metals is driven not only by their practical use, but also by their role as investments and a store of value. Historically, precious metals have commanded much higher prices than common industrial metals.
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with Chris Pilliod
Even though nearly 50 years have passed she had no trouble guiding me to the exact spot where it lay buried in the grass. She struggled as she reached deep into the recesses of her memory to recall that hot summer day in 1955 when her mind was on matters of much greater importance. Indeed, Carole Bollinger was preoccupied with relishing the freedom of being a 13-year old playing in her best friend Susie’s yard. School was out and laying on a green lawn with a warm breeze in their face while chatting about the boys in the class was welcome relief from algebra and geography. So rolling over and finding an old nickel buried in a patch of ryegrass was more of a distraction on this splendid day. But she picked it up, quickly looked it over and stuck it in her pocket, noting that something was different enough about it to show her folks when she got home.
It would be twilight when she finally headed north on 3rd Street, and the warm waters of the Susquehanna River disappeared behind her. The war in Korea was over, ushering in not only peace but also fresh prosperity and optimism in her little town of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The men in town were gamefully employed and after dinner many sat outside enjoying the cool air rising up from the deep river valley. As she skipped along the sidewalk a radio station was tuned into the Pittsburgh Pirates game and the announcer was reveling in a long double struck off the wall of Forbes Field by an unknown rookie named Roberto Clemente. She kept moving, remembering that the weather the following day was supposed to be just as nice… one could hardly find a better place to be she thought.
After she cleaned up the plates Carole suddenly remembered her discovery and passed it over the dinner table for her father’s inspection, “What is this, Dad?” Her father gazed at it intently, recognizing the coin as a Buffalo nickel but noting there was something unusual about it, adding “somebody carved on it-- why would anyone destroy a nickel?” he quizzed as he handed it back. Carole pondered her dilemma… a nickel could go a long way the next day at Rey & Derrick’s Soda Fountain on Market Street or for a matinee at the Campus Theatre downtown. After a few minutes of mulling it over she decided it was interesting enough to keep so she dutifully placed it in her small jewelry box. And even though it was dull, dirty and out of place next to sparkling earrings, she wanted to keep the nickel in the condition she found, so she decided to never clean it.
And there it would reside mostly unnoticed for years. Oh, occasionally she would take it out for another look, remembering back to that hot summer day, but it would soon find its place back in the jewelry box. There it would rest through her school years at Lewisburg High and then another year at the local college Bucknell.
Gold for December delivery closed down $7.60 at $1,791.60 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, but was sinking even lower in after-hours trading, down by $25. The gold price has traded as high as $1,801.10 and as low as $1,778.80 an ounce while the spot price was down $16, according to Kitco's gold index.
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