"Send in 35 Cents and a Box top"
In a previous column, I noted that if you lived in the west, and loved old radio like I do, that you could tune in KNX, Los Angeles, 1070AM at 9PM and 2AM Pacific Time to hear an hour of old radio every night, 7 nights a week. The other night, I was listening to an old episode of "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon," and at the end of the show, an original commercial still was on the ET. (An ET then, was not a cuddly outer space creature, but stood for 'electronic transcription.' In radio days, the shows were recorded on large 16 2/3 rpm metal platters and were called ET's.) At any rate, the commercial advertised an exact copy of an RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) whistle, full size, just like Sergeant Preston's, and plated with 14KT gold, for all those kiddies who loved Sergeant Preston and his brave dog Yukon King. The price? 35 cents, and a box top from Quaker Puffed Wheat, or Quaker Puffed Rice cereal. I am certain that tens of thousands of those whistles were sent to anxious fans, at a postage cost of a few cents. I have looked on e-bay to try to find one for sale, and there aren't any listed. Were one listed, I am certain it would go for $100 or more. What's the point?
The value of the dollar is zip, compared to its purchasing power when the episode of Sergeant Preston was made, probably in the late 1940's. Imagine what a gold plated, full sized whistle would cost to make today. I won't rehearse again with you the prices then and now, in dollars and cents, because I have done it already many times.
But I must remind you again and again, that to save in dollars is foolish. Foolish, because the dollar signifies nothing. At one time, it meant a twentieth of an ounce of gold. The name comes from an old German coin called a "taler," which had a value of a twentieth of an ounce of gold. Today, it is a twentieth of an ounce of nothing.
It is the strongest currency in the world," you say. True, but the Titanic was unsinkable, the Third Reich would last for a thousand years, FDR wouldn't dream of getting us into a war, and the stock market would go on forever, according to sages in 1929 and 2000. The dollar is the strongest currency in the world, but compared to what? Do not compare the dollar to another currency, as it is a silly comparison. Comparing a rusted out '69 Ford with a rusted out '69 Chevy is comparing the dollar to the pound, franc, or other such piece of paper with ink on it. In 1969, the Chevy and Ford were dependable modes of transport, but 32 years later, in a junk yard, a comparison of the two is pointless. All currencies have plummeted in purchasing power. None have escaped. At one time, Mexican, American, and Canadian gold coins were exchangeable within their respective nations, because all were gold. All who had them, knew they weren't able to be tinkered with by a central bank, produced willy nilly, by power mad governments and anxious to be re-elected political pawns.
Gold and silver, throughout the ages, have been real money, not fiat. As far back as archaeologists have been able to unearth, silver was used as money, as was gold. Regardless of the location of ancient civilizations, it was gold and silver that were used as vehicles of trade, savings, and wealth computation. It was Judas that betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, close to 2,000 years ago. Judas didn't accept paper money for his prophesied act.
If one had saved in dollars for the past 10 years, or any time period, at the prevailing interest rates, the result would be negative, after tax, or possibly even before tax. Negative, because in spite of the fraudulent fed issued "inflation" (CPI) figures, saved dollars with interest added, would not be at a break even point. The fed figured inflation doesn't include fuel, food or housing! Anyone out there that doesn't use food, fuel, or housing?
Gold and silver have been stuck in a rut for a couple of years now, and in spite of logical notations from this scribe as well as numerous others, the rut hasn't been broken out of, in any currency. Business for precious metals dealers, is similar to a few years ago, when the stock market was in the doldrums, I guess. No one wants something that isn't popular. At least most people don't. When something "catches on," it is like nothing in the world can stop it, and the march to asininity progresses to its logical conclusion. Be it the NASDAQ, dot com businesses, or tulip bulbs 300 years ago, the majority marches to the tune of the "too late blues," because by the time the majority gets on the trolley car, it is at the end of the line, and must turn around and go back to where it came from in the beginning.
I am really not certain what will happen with the world's currencies, because not a single one of them is backed by or worth anything. For the first time in history, none of them are worth a tinker's damn. None of them possess backing, value, or convertibility into anything tangible other than for immediate purchases. People that save in any currency are certain to lose, because those currencies constantly lose purchasing power, everywhere in the world. Daily, worthless currencies are used to purchase tangible goods, which are not worthless. It's like musical chairs. Everyone scurries around, buying things, before the music stops. When the music stops, and those left with currencies rather than having their conversions completed to tangibles, will be like the person without a seat in musical chairs. The music stops when a sudden rush of worthlessness hits. In Japan, the yen tumbled by two thirds, and those left with yen instead of a car, home, gold, silver, or game of Parchesi even, were without a seat when the music stopped. The paper yen proved its worth, which was nothing, if a politician made a mistake, or other happenstance occurred.
Musical chairs, is what we all are playing, when we think of gold and silver. Will they go lower in currencies? Can they? Will we wait for an additional few cents decrease in silver, or a couple of bucks in gold? Will the cartel continue much longer? Can the cartel continue to squash the price of gold? Does Russia sell silver on the market to keep it low? Will the digital camera slow the demand for silver? One moronic writer, I hear, says silver will go to $2, and another says it will go below $4. But these "prices" are all in worthless currencies!
I noted that a $25 ice cream cone was in the not too distant future, and that the current $2.50 ice cream cone was an absurd thought, when an ice cream cone was a quarter. "$2.50 ice cream cone? You must be wacky," is what a normal person would have said 30 years ago. $50 silver? $750 gold? It will happen, of that there is no doubt. $150 silver, and $2,000 gold? Yup, but who knows when? I don't. I do know that in history, no currency that has zero to back it, has endured. I do know that in the entire recorded history of man, worthless "money," has never endured…but gold and silver have.
I do know that Gresham's law has never been repealed, and this simply means that gold and silver will survive, thank you. I know that "Stott's Law hasn't been repealed either, and in case you have never heard of it, it says that, "The more of anything there is, the less they will be worth, and the less of anything there is, the more they will be worth." I did invent that law, didn't I? So then, Model A Fords, water in Arizona, wheat pennies, or electricity on the left coast, will be worth more. Dollars, francs, yen, pesos, and pounds will continually be worth less, purchase less, and be a sorry way to preserve assets, because the multitudes of presses run night and day turning them out, and increasing their numbers. You people keep on waiting for the "lows" in silver and gold. You guys keep waiting for a few cents cheaper per ounce in silver, or for those calamity howler's spoutings to come true. I just bought 500 more ounces of silver for myself, at $4.86 per ounce delivered, because I can think of no better way to save and preserve my assets.
July 18, 2001
Don Stott has been a precious metals broker since 1977, has written five books, hundreds of columns, and his web site is www.coloradogold.com
Also by Don Stott