December 2, 2022

The History Of Silver

Silver has been regarded as a store of value and used as a currency for more than 4,000 years.  The role of silver as a form of wealth preservation in a diversified portfolio is likely to grow as central banks suppress real interest rates to below zero while conducting large scale money printing operations.

Investors who harbor major doubts about the integrity of fiat currencies should continue to invest regularly.  Despite being more volatile than gold, until governments regain control of massive fiscal deficits and central banks return to sound money policies, long term silver investment is a sound strategy.

The latest infographic from the Visual Capitalist provides a nice visual history of silver (please click on the image to enlarge).

Gold In The News – German Gold, Gold Confiscation, Technical Charts, New Perth Mint Coins

Gold news from around the web-

Gold Confiscation?

Are those predicting the confiscation of gold by the U.S. government simply seeking headlines or seriously misguided?  Jim Sinclair has the answer.

I am sick of all this confiscation talk of gold and even gold companies. It emanates from gold people who do not know or understand the history of gold. We condemn MSM for inaccurate, false and misleading news. I condemn gold writers who practice sensationalism, who offer their opinions as if they were facts and simply make things up out of thin air as if they were insiders privy to things that no one else is. Right now leaders of this community are printing stuff as misleading as MOPE or MSM ever have.

Eric De Groot put what I have been trying to teach you perfectly today. In the 1930s gold was to the monetary system what QE is today, a means of increasing the supply of money for Fed and Treasury discretionary use. The US Secretary of the Treasury and President Roosevelt set the gold price higher at their daily breakfast together arbitrarily. Higher because to create money then the system required a higher value of gold to have more money outstanding. This is why Roosevelt ordered the confiscation of gold in order to unfold his type of monetary stimulation, his QE. This is what confiscationophiles simply do not know.

 Your fears and the outrageous untrue statement by the Scottish hedge fund manager are based on totally wrong reasoning and misunderstanding. Gold was not confiscated because it was going up in price. Gold’s order of confiscation came as a tool of monetary stimulation in order to create monetary creation in order to attempt to increase employment.

So, Exactly Where is Germany’s Gold?

The Germans, tough with monetary policy, turn out to be wimps when it comes to safeguarding their own massive 3,396 ton gold stockpile.  Turns out that the Germans, who allegedly hold most of their gold in French, British and U.S. vaults, never even bothered to conduct a physical audit of their holdings – talk about trusting your neighbors! After severe criticism and a national “Bring Back Our Gold” campaign, the Bundesbank is finally promising to conduct audits and bring their gold back home.  MarketWatch wonders if the expatriation of German gold may be the beginning of a move to a gold backed currency.

Gold and Silver Technical Charts

Some really amazing gold and silver charts suggest that we may be in the initial stages of a massive gold and silver rally.

Gold and Silver – The Ideal Holiday Gift

A stunning selection of new gold and silver coins from The Perth Mint  provides the answer to “what should I get her for Christmas?”  Included in the November product releases are some unique rectangular colored silver coins.

Gold Through the Centuries

One of the largest Roman gold coin hoards every found was discovered in Great Britain.  The coins are approximately 1600 years old.  Any guesses on what $10,000 of U.S. currency buried today would be worth in the year 3612??

Why Are Americans Underinvested In Gold and Silver?

Although there are no definitive statistics on how many Americans own gold or silver, the number is certainly small.  A Gallup poll earlier this year showed that 28% of respondents thought that gold was the “best investment” but the actual number of people actually owning some form of gold or silver bullion is far less.  A Kitco poll indicated that the number of Americans owning precious metals may be as low as 1%.

Despite the steady erosion in the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar, Americans retain their faith in paper money, apparently oblivious to the destruction of their wealth.  Monetary debasement is an insidious process that few Americans fully understand as explained by economist John Maynard Keynes in 1921.

“By a continuing process of inflation, Governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some …. Those to whom the system brings windfalls …. become “profiteers” who are the object of the hatred … the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery .. Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

Most Americans don’t bother trying to understand economic theories but it is not hard to understand the following charts.

courtesy: kitco.com

When the average American finally realizes what is happening to the value of the dollar, the rush to gold and silver will result in a massive upward surge in precious metal prices.  That day has not yet arrived and until it does, buy gold and silver with impunity, especially on corrections.

“How To Buy Gold and Silver Bullion Without Getting Ripped Off” – Free Kindle Book For Gold and Silver Blog Readers

Here’s a really great book on how to buy gold and silver that came to my attention.  I would recommend this book (“Stack Silver Get Gold”) to both long time gold and silver investors as well as those considering their first purchase.  Best of all, the price is right.  Author Hunter Riley has offered readers of the goldandsilverblog.com a free copy anytime between this Saturday, October 27th and Wednesday, October 31, 2012, offered through Amazon Kindle.  After October 31st, the purchase price of the book will be $9.99.

If you have a computer, you do not need a kindle to read the book. You can download Amazon.com’s free kindle reader here.
In addition, the author of the book, Hunter Riley, has added a contest where anyone who downloads the book during the Oct27-Oct31st free promotional period gets entered to win some American Eagle silver bullion.
Here’s the introduction to the book which I found compelling

 

The short book covers the following essential topics:

– How to avoid dealers and con artists who will rip you off

– Coins, rounds, bars, numismatic coins and junk silver – what premium you pay for each form of metal, and the advantages of each type
– What is premium and spot price?
– What type of silver and gold should you buy?
– What forms of gold and silver investments should you avoid?
– What are the dangers of ETF’s?

– Fraudulent dealers selling gold and silver that they don’t possess!
– Gold and silver mining stocks – good or bad investments?
– Gold and silver pools and leveraged accounts
– Phone dealers, TV ads and commemorative coins
– Where should you store your silver and gold?
– What type of home safe should you invest in?
– Wan you ad physical gold or silver investments to your IRA?
– Which is better as an investment? Gold or Silver?

– How to profit as the dollar collapses.
– What are the best gold and silver investing newsletters?
– Where can you buy gold and silver online?

– Which are the most reputable companies to deal with?

Note:  The Gold and Silver Blog receives no compensation for promoting this book.  It is done solely to educate investors on investing in gold and silver.

U.S. Mint Numismatic Precious Metals Sales Decline

According to Coin Update, sales of numismatic precious metal coins showed weekly sales declines.  Future sales, however, may increase due to an upcoming price decrease based on the recent correction in precious metal prices.

The latest report of the United States Mint’s numismatic product sales shows mostly lower numbers for precious metals products. Elsewhere in the report, the Chester Arthur Presidential $1 Coin and Alice Paul Bronze Medal Set makes its debut.

Ten out of sixteen gold numismatic products showed weekly sales declines compared to the prior period. The US Mint currently has these products priced based on an average gold price within the $1750 to $1799.99 range. With the market price of gold below this range for the entire reporting period, buyers may be showing restraint as they await the next weekly pricing adjustment.

Eighteen out of twenty-seven of the silver numismatic products showed weekly sales declines compared to the prior period. The US Mint raised prices for many of these products earlier in the month when the market price of silver was approaching $35 per ounce. Silver has since fallen back from this level, although the higher product prices remain in effect. The America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Coins showed sales declines across all nine options currently available. Gains were seen for the 2012 Proof and 2012-W Uncirculated Silver Eagles compared to the prior period.

The 2012 Proof Platinum Eagle, which is the only available platinum product, showed negative sales on the week.

See the full sales report for U.S. Mint numismatic products here.

Month to date figures for U.S. Mint gold and silver bullion coins remains strong.  Through October 24th, the U.S. Mint sold 2,584,000 one ounce American Eagle Silver Bullion coins.  If the current sales pace continues, monthly sales could exceed 3.5 million ounces which would be the second best monthly sales total after January when 6,107,000 silver Eagles were sold.

Sales of the American Eagle Gold Bullion coins also remain strong through October 24th with 48,500 ounces sold.  If the current pace of sales is maintained, total sales of the American Gold Bullion coins should reach almost 65,000 for October which would be the third highest sales month of the year.  In January the U.S. Mint sold 127,000 ounces of gold bullion coins followed by 68,500 ounces in September.

Although gold prices have soared over the past decade and the purchasing power of the dollar has collapsed, the American public still does not recognize the value of gold and silver as a store of wealth.  Expect this to change as the bull market in precious metals continues.

Sound Money Advocate Faces Terminal Jail Sentence

The New York Times reports on the “domestic terrorism” case of Bernard von NotHaus who awaits sentencing for minting private money known as the Liberty Dollar.  At the age of 68, Von NotHaus is facing the equivalent of a terminal jail sentence since he faces 20 years in prison.

By Alan Feuer, New York Times

Prison May Be the Next Stop on a Gold Currency Journey

MALIBU, Calif. — High above the cliff tops and the beach bars, up a winding mountain road, in a borrowed house on someone else’s ranch, an unusual criminal is waiting for his fate.

His name is Bernard von NotHaus, and he is a professed “monetary architect” and a maker of custom coins found guilty last spring of counterfeiting charges for minting and distributing a form of private money called the Liberty Dollar.

Described by some as “the Rosa Parks of the constitutional currency movement,” Mr. von NotHaus managed over the last decade to get more than 60 million real dollars’ worth of his precious metal-backed currency into circulation across the country — so much, and with such deep penetration, that the prosecutor overseeing his case accused him of “domestic terrorism” for using them to undermine the government.

Of course, if you ask him what caused him to be living here in exile, waiting with the rabbits for his sentence to be rendered, he will give a different account of what occurred.

“This is the United States government,” he said in an interview last week. “It’s got all the guns, all the surveillance, all the tanks, it has nuclear weapons, and it’s worried about some ex-surfer guy making his own money? Give me a break!”

The story of Mr. von NotHaus, from his beginnings as a hippie, can sound at times as if Ken Kesey had been paid in marijuana to write a script on spec for Representative Ron Paul. At 68, Mr. von NotHaus faces more than 20 years in prison for his crimes, and this decisive chapter of his tale has come, coincidentally, at a moment when his obsessions of 40 years — monetary policy, dollar depreciation and the Federal Reserve Bank — have finally found their place in the national discourse.

A native of Kansas City, Mr. von NotHaus first became enticed by making money while living with his companion, Talena Presley, without a car or electric power in a commune of like-minded dropouts in a nameless village on the Big Island in Hawaii. It was 1974, and Mr. von NotHaus, 30 and ignorant of economics, experienced “an epiphany,” he said, which resulted in the writing of a 20-page financial manifesto titled “To Know Value.”

In it he described his conviction that money has a moral aspect and that any loss in its value will cause a corresponding loss in social and political values. It was only three years after President Richard M. Nixon had removed the country from the gold standard, and Mr. von NotHaus, a gold enthusiast, began buying gold from local jewelers and selling it to his friends.

One day, he recalled, “we were all sitting around thinking, ‘Wow, we ought to do something with this gold.’ And I said: ‘Yeah, we could make coins. People love coins. We could have our own money!’ ”

Within a year, he had established the Royal Hawaiian Mint, a private — not royal — producer of collectible coins. Hitchhiking to a library in the county seat of Hilo, he said, he looked up “minting” in the encyclopedia and soon was turning out gold and silver medallions with images of volcanos and the Kona Coast.

So went the better part of 20 years. Then came 1991, which saw the emergence of a successful local currency in Ithaca, N.Y., called the Ithaca Hour. The 1990s were a time of great ferment in the local-money world with activists and academics writing books and papers, like Judith Shelton’s “Money Meltdown.” Mr. von NotHaus, traveling with his sons, Random and Xtra, to adventuresome locations, like Machu Picchu, read these seminal works.

“I had been working on it since 1974,” he testified at his federal trial in North Carolina. “It was time to do something.”

The Constitution grants to Congress the power “to coin money” and to “regulate the Value thereof” — but it does not explicitly grant an exclusive right to do such things. There are legal-tender laws that regulate production of government currency and counterfeiting laws that prohibit things like “uttering” gold or silver coins “for use as current money.”

Mr. von NotHaus claims he never meant the Liberty Dollar to be used as legal tender. He says he created it as “a private voluntary currency” for those conducting business outside the government’s purview. His guiding metaphor is the relationship between the Postal Service and FedEx. “What happened in the FedEx model,” he testified, “is that they” — a private company offering services the government did not — “brought competition to the post office.”

To introduce the Liberty Dollar in 1998, Mr. von NotHaus moved from Hawaii to Evansville, Ind., where he joined forces with Jim Thomas, who for several years had been publishing a magazine called Media Bypass, whose pages were filled with conspiracy theories and interviews with militia members, even Timothy McVeigh.

Working from the magazine’s office, Mr. von NotHaus lived in a mobile home and promoted his nascent currency to “patriot groups” on Mr. Thomas’s mailing list while reaching an agreement with Sunshine Minting Inc., in Idaho, to produce the Liberty Dollar. His marketing scheme was simple: he drove around the country in a Cadillac trying to persuade local merchants like hair salons and restaurants to use his coins and to offer them as change to willing customers.

Banks, of course, did not accept his money; however, to ensure that it found its way only into hands that wanted to use it, Mr. von NotHaus placed a toll-free number and a URL address on the currency he produced. If people mistakenly got hold of it, they could mail it back to Evansville and receive its equivalent in actual dollar bills.

Now jump ahead to 2004. A detective in Asheville, N.C., learned one day that a client of a credit union had to tried to pass a “fake coin” at one its local branches. An investigation determined that some business acquaintances of Mr. von NotHaus were, court papers say, allied with the sovereign citizens’ movement, an antigovernment group.

Federal agents infiltrated the Liberty Dollar outfit as well as its educational arm, Liberty Dollar University.

In 2006, with millions of the coins in circulation in more than 80 cities, the United States Mint sent Mr. von NotHaus a letter advising that the use of his currency “as circulating money” was a federal crime.

He ignored this advice,and in 2007, federal agents raided the offices in Evansville, seizing, among other things, copper dollars embossed with the image of Mr. Paul.

Two years later, Mr. von NotHaus was arrested on fraud and counterfeiting charges, accused of having used the Liberty Dollar’s parent corporation — Norfed, the National Organization for Repeal of the Federal Reserve — to mount a conspiracy against the United States.

At his federal trial, witnesses testified to the Liberty Dollar’s criminal similitude to standard American coins. They said his coins included images of Lady Liberty and cheekily reversed “In God We Trust” to “Trust in God.” Then again, his coins were made of real gold and silver, as American coins are not, and came in different sizes and unusual denominations of $10 and $20.

In his own defense, Mr. von NotHaus testified about a “philanthropic mission” to combat devaluation with a currency based on precious metals and asserted that he was not involved in “a radical armed offense against the government or their money.”

It was, of course, to no avail; and in 2011, a jury found him guilty after a 90-minute deliberation.

These days, Mr. von NotHaus paces shoeless in a mansion, in the hills above the ocean, that was lent to him by a friend. His sentencing has yet to be scheduled, and this leaves time for reflection. He feeds the hummingbirds outside his window. He reads books on fiat currency. He is even writing a book — on the gold standard, of course.

“The thing that fires me up the most,” he will say, “is this is what happens: When money goes bad, people go crazy. Do you know why? Because they can’t exist without value. Value is intrinsic in man.”

Ron Paul Accuses The Federal Reserve of Devastating America

While Wall Street cheers the Federal Reserve’s decision to engage in perpetual quantitative easing, Congressman Ron Paul says the Fed is devastating the U.S. economy through its blatant manipulation of interest rates.  According to Ron Paul, manipulating interest rates to the zero bound level has caused a massive misallocation of capital, destroyed the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar and will eventually lead to another financial crisis.

Ron Paul’s warnings have been routinely dismissed by both Wall Street and his colleagues in Congress.  The majority of the American public know that something is seriously wrong with our financial system but can’t quite connect the dots between the Fed and lower wages and higher prices.  Those who do understand how the Fed is destroying the U.S. economy and are worried about preserving their wealth, should simply copy the investment strategy of Ron Paul who has gone all in on gold and silver.

By Ron Paul

One of the most enduring myths in the United States is that this country has a free market, when in reality, the market is merely the structural shell of formerly free institutions. Government pulls the strings behind the scenes. No better illustration of this can be found than in the Federal Reserve’s manipulation of interest rates.

The Fed has interfered with the proper function of interest rates for decades, but perhaps never as boldly as it has in the past few years through its policies of quantitative easing. In Chairman Bernanke’s most recent press conference he stated that the Fed wishes not only to drive down rates on Treasury debt, but also rates on mortgages, corporate bonds, and other important interest rates. Markets greeted this statement enthusiastically, as this means trillions more newly-created dollars flowing directly to Wall Street.

Because the interest rate is the price of money, manipulation of interest rates has the same effect in the market for loanable funds as price controls have in markets for goods and services. Since demand for funds has increased, but the supply is not being increased, the only way to match the shortfall is to continue to create new credit. But this process cannot continue indefinitely. At some point the capital projects funded by the new credit are completed. Houses must be sold, mines must begin to produce ore, factories must begin to operate and produce consumer goods.

But because consumption patterns have either remained unchanged or have become more present-oriented, by the time these new capital projects are finished and begin to produce, the producers find no market for their goods. Because the coordination between savings and consumption was severed through the artificial lowering of the interest rate, both savers and borrowers have been signaled into unsustainable patterns of economic activity. Resources that would have been used in productive endeavors under a regime of market-determined interest rates are instead shuttled into endeavors that only after the fact are determined to be unprofitable. In order to return to a functioning economy, those resources which have been malinvested need to be liquidated and shifted into sectors in which they can be put to productive use.

Another effect of the injections of credit into the system is that prices rise. More money chasing the same amount of goods results in a rise in prices. Wall Street and the banking system gain the use of the new credit before prices rise. Main Street, however, sees the prices rise before they are able to take advantage of the newly-created credit. The purchasing power of the dollar is eroded and the standard of living of the American people drops.

We live today not in a free market economic system but in a “mixed economy”, marked by an uneasy mixture of corporatism; vestiges of free market capitalism; and outright central planning in some sectors. Each infusion of credit by the Fed distorts the structure of the economy, damages the important role that interest rates play in the market, and erodes the purchasing power of the dollar. Fed policymakers view themselves as wise gurus managing the economy, yet every action they take results in economic distortion and devastation.

Unless Congress gets serious about reining in the Federal Reserve and putting an end to its manipulation, the economic distortions the Fed has caused will not be liquidated; they will become more entrenched, keeping true economic recovery out of our grasp and sowing the seeds for future crisis.

Gold Mining Industry Becomes Attractive To Capital Markets

By Vin Maru

Over the past summer we suggested that we would see more money become available to quality mining projects from banks sitting on tons of cash ready to loan out on credit worthy projects in their ever increasing need for higher yield. In our September 11th, 2012 blog post we stated that “Project funding will become available via bank loans on favourable projects; we can expect alot of money coming into the resource space and new projects will move towards production”.

Here is an exerpt from the TDV Golden Trader newsletter sent out to subscribers on July 23, 2012:

I suspect alot of that money will come into the commodities market and especially into the mining sector. There are many great projects which show great preliminary economic studies with today’s current prices of commodities. Banks can provide the funds necessary to help put projects into production by way of corporate bonds or loans with higher interest rates. Even with a 7-10 % rate, many of these projects are very economical, provide a positive IRR and have short payback period (3-5 years). Potential producers should really look at this option for funding their projects, the interest rates are reasonable and this would eliminate the need for further dilution.

It is also in the bankers’ best interest in making these loans to the various development projects for many reasons. First, they will be making a much higher positive yield over the next 3-5 years than most other fixed income investments. They can probably become first in line as a creditor guaranteeing their investment and using the company assets and reserves to help determine valuations as possible collateral. Also, their funds are probably safer at a cash flow positive producing mine versus buying bonds of a pig country that can only make interest payment by robbing Peter to pay Paul. In their need to make secure investments, banks can also guarantee their payments will not be interrupted by keeping a floor under the commodities prices. This floor price can be achieved by forcing the producer to hedge part of their production at current prices, thus guaranteeing a predictable minimum future cash flow.

Lately we have seen more debt offerings, issuance of debentures and credit being given to mining companies who can prove strong economics on new projects or expansion to current mining operations. Here are few examples from the last few months:

Stornoway Diamond Corp. (TSX:SWY) has entered into a mandate letter with seven financial institutions concerning debt financing for the company’s Renard diamond project in northern Quebec. The mandated lead arrangers are Bank of Montreal, Caterpillar Financial, Export Development Canada, Investissement Quebec, Nedbank Capital Limited (London Branch), Societe Generale (Canada Branch) and The Bank of Nova Scotia which will arrange senior loans of up to $475 million, the company says.

Lake Shore Gold Corp. (“Lake Shore Gold” or the “Company”) (TSX:LSG)(NYSE MKT:LSG)  announced today that the Company has completed the previously announced public offering (the “Offering”), on a “bought deal” basis, of C$90 million principal amount of 6.25% convertible senior unsecured debentures (the “Debentures”) maturing on September 30, 2017.

Kirkland Lake Gold Announces $50 Million Private Placement of Convertible Debentures – The Debentures will mature on June 30, 2017 (the “Maturity Date”), unless earlier redeemed, and will bear interest, accruing, calculated and payable semi-annually in arrears on June 30 and December 31 of each year, at a rate of 6.0%. 

While the quality juniors have been able to raise capital in the last year, most are still finding it difficult to raise funds. In the past, small producers and exploration companies relied on the capital markets to raise funds by way of private placement and issuing shares which have been highly dilutive and overall negative for investors in these companies. We have a feeling that many juniors will be able to raise capital in this market, but they will have to be creative in their approach to getting funding deals done without diluting shareholders.

Private Sector Enters the Gold Mining Industry

However, the nature and investing climate for the mining sector has changed recently. We are now seeing investment funding and credit becoming available to mining companies from the private sector. Cluff Gold (TSX:CFG) a West Africa focused gold mining company recently announced a strategic alliance with Samsung C&T Corporation where Samsung will provide an unhedged US$20M facility to Cluff Gold in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU also provides a framework for the potential long term funding of Cluff’s Baomahun project and other development opportunities.

In my opinion, Samsung, being a visionary in the electronics industry, has realized it needs to make strategic investments with its cash in order to protect purchasing power and secure availability of gold and silver to be used in its products. This is a game changer and as fiat paper currencies get destroyed by the central banks and governments, the smart money will continue to gravitate towards gold, the true store of wealth. This could be the start of a new trend where private sector corporations start paying attention to gold as currency and hedge against paper assets. I would expect this trend to continue as more private companies and fund manager will find a need to diversify out of paper money and into the currency of last resort: gold. While it may be difficult for these companies and institution to buy the physical metal on the open market, the smart money will go right to the source and get invested where profits can be maximised, which means going to the miners.

We are in next phase of this bull market in precious metals, and gold and silver will continue to move higher now that printing money to infinity has become official policy. It will be the miners who are still undervalued and have growth potential that will really benefit from this next round of QE and rising gold prices. Expect to hear more stories about investments coming to the mining sector and as this trend grows, so will the attention being paid to the minors. While the ETFs may be a good way to trade the price of metals rising, the leverage and exponential gains will be made with selecting the right mining company. The next leg of this bull market will benefit the miners and they could easily outperform the gold price over the next few years, this is where we see the real gains to be made.

I will be speaking at the Cambridge House Toronto Resource Investment Conference on September 27 and 28, 2012. You may register here to attend the show. I will be presenting a 30 minute workshop on Friday the 28th at 4:00 pm on “Trading Opportunities: Looking for Catalysts and Developing Strategies to Trade Precious Metals Shares”. On Thursday morning I will also be a panel speaker alongside Bill Murphy, Chris Powell, and Jay Taylor discussing gold’s diminishing supply and increasing demand.

If you enjoyed reading this article and are interested in protecting your wealth with precious metals, you can receive our free blog by visiting TDV Golden Trader.

India’s Attempt To Curb Gold Purchases Will Ultimately Fail

India may increase the import tax on gold for the third time this year in an attempt to shore up the weak rupee.  Purchases of gold and silver account for a huge 12.5% of all Indian imports and are contributing to a record current-account deficit according to Bloomberg.

“The government may look at increasing the duty to 7.5 percent,” Prithviraj Kothari, president of the Bombay Bullion Association, said in a phone interview. D.S. Malik, a finance ministry spokesman in New Delhi, declined to comment.

The tax on bars and coins was doubled to 4 percent in March after imports jumped to a record 969 metric tons in 2011. A further increase may deter jewelry buyers and investors during India’s festival season, which starts this month, as a decline in the rupee against the dollar boosts domestic gold prices to an all-time high. Imports plunged 42 percent to 340 tons in the first half, according to the producer-funded World Gold Council.

Curbing shipments of gold will help the country to narrow the current-account deficit as the drop in rupee boosts the cost of crude-oil purchases, according to the finance ministry. The shortfall widened to a record 4.2 percent of the gross domestic product in the year ended March from 2.7 percent in 2010-2011.

The rise in the deficit, the broadest measure of trade, was due to slower exports and so-called relatively inelastic imports of petroleum products, gold and silver amid a rally in global prices, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Aug. 23.

Will India’s attempt to restrict import of precious metals be successful and what impact will this have on the price of gold and silver?  Let’s consider the following:

1.  The Indian government should know better.  In 1962, India passed the Gold Control Act which prohibited Indian citizens from owning gold bars and coins.  The result was the instant creation of a huge black market that continued to supply gold and silver throughout India.

The (Gold Act) legislation killed the official gold market and a large unofficial market sprung up dealing in cash only. The gold was smuggled in and sold through the unofficial channel wherein, many jewelers and bullian traders traded in smuggled gold. A huge black market developed for gold.

In 1990, India had a major foreign exchange problems and was on verge of default on external liabilities. The Indian Govt. pledged 40 tons gold from their reserves with the Bank of England and saved the day. Subsequently, India embarked upon the path of economic liberalization. The era of licencing was gradually dissolved. The gold market also benefited because the government abolished the 1962 Gold Control Act in 1992 and liberalized the gold import into India on payment of a duty of Rs.250 per ten grams. The government thought it more prudent to allow free imports and earn the taxes rather than to lose it all to unofficial channel.

2.  India should be more concerned with maintaining a currency that offers their population a stable store of value rather than depriving their citizens of viable alternate currencies such as gold and silver.

3.  The centuries old tradition in India of holding gold and silver as a source of liquidity and for capital preservation is unlikely to change.  The rupee, like most other paper currencies, has been systematically debased.  Inflation in India over the past decade has made holding rupees a losing proposition.

Courtesy: inflation.eu

4.  The reduction in gold demand during the first half of the year by both China and India has been widely touted in the mainstream press as a reason for a continued sell off in the precious metal markets.  Right.  Despite the reduction in gold demand by China and India, gold based out in the $1,600 range before rallying sharply to $1,697.   Gold is now $99 or 6.2%  higher than it was on the first trading day of 2012.

courtesy: stockcharts.com

5.  By attempting to restrict gold purchases, India has simply advertised the rupee’s intrinsic lack of value to their citizens which will ultimately create an even greater demand for gold and silver.

Gold and Silver Bullion Coin Sales Jump 25% In August, San Francisco Silver Eagle Set Sold Out

The latest sales figures from the U.S. Mint for August show a significant increase in sales of both gold and silver bullion coins.

Sales of gold bullion coins during 2012 have varied dramatically from month to month with a high of 127,000 ounces in January to a low of only 20,000 ounces in April.  Monthly gold bullion sales through August have averaged 51,625 ounces.

Monthly sales of silver bullion coins have been more consistent during 2012.  The U.S. Mint sold over 6 million ounces of silver bullion coins in January, but the monthly pace has tapered off to under 3 million ounces.  The average monthly sales of silver bullion coins through August is 2,817,500.

American Eagle Gold Bullion Coin Sales

Total sales of the American Eagle Gold bullion coins during August totaled 39,000 ounces, up 27.9% from July’s total of 30,500 ounces.  Total sales of gold bullion coins by the U.S. Mint through August totaled 413,000 ounces, valued at approximately $700 million based on today’s closing gold price.

On an annualized basis, the U.S. Mint will sell almost 620,000 ounces of  gold bullion to investors this year valued at $1.0 billion if the price of gold remains at $1,692.  During 2009, the peak year of gold bullion coin sales by the U.S. Mint, investors purchased 1,435,000 ounces valued at $1.4 billion based on the average price of gold of $972 per ounce.

Investors who have reduced gold bullion purchases due to the increased cost per ounce will no doubt regret this decision as the price of gold continues to increase.  The value of gold should be viewed in the context of the reduced purchasing power of the dollar – as the Federal Reserve constantly destroys the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar, the “dollar cost” of gold will naturally increase.  The price of gold is merely reflecting the fact that paper dollars are worth less and less every day.

As the Fed continues to do what it does, expect the bull market in gold to continue.

Listed below are yearly sales figures for the American Eagle gold bullion coins since 2000.  Sales for 2012 are through August 31st.

Gold Bullion U.S. Mint Sales By Year
Year Total Sales Oz.
2000 164,500
2001 325,000
2002 315,000
2003 484,500
2004 536,000
2005 449,000
2006 261,000
2007 198,500
2008 860,500
2009 1,435,000
2010 1,220,500
2011 1,000,000
2012 413,000
Total 7,662,500

American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Sales

Sales of the American Eagle Silver bullion coins by the U.S. Mint during August totaled 2,870,000 ounces, up 25% from the July total of 2,278,000 ounces.  Investor demand for silver has remained strong, with many investors taking the opportunity to purchase additional silver below the highs reached during 2011.  Sales of the silver bullion coins remain near record levels and total sales for 2012 should be well in excess of 30 million ounces for the third consecutive year.

Total annual sales by the U.S. Mint of the silver bullion coins since 2000 are shown below.  Sales for 2012 are through August.

American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins
YEAR OUNCES SOLD
2000 9,133,000
2001 8,827,500
2002 10,475,500
2003 9,153,500
2004 9,617,000
2005 8,405,000
2006 10,021,000
2007 9,887,000
2008 19,583,500
2009 28,766,500
2010 34,662,500
2011 39,868,500
Jul-12 22,540,000
TOTAL 220,940,500

U.S. Mint Numismatic American Eagle Gold and Silver Coins

Both the American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins can only be purchased from the U.S. Mint by Authorized Purchasers who in turn resell the coins to other dealers and the general public.  The numismatic versions of the American Eagle series coins can be purchased directly from the U.S. Mint.

Many of the numismatic silver coins produced by the U.S. Mint attract strong demand and often times, the coins will sell at a premium in the secondary market.  A recent example of this is the 2012 San Francisco Silver Eagle Set.  According to the Mint News Blog:

The 2012 San Francisco Silver Eagle Set was one of the United States Mint’s most anticipated product releases of the year. Each set contained one 2012-S Proof Silver Eagle and one 2012-S Reverse Proof Silver Eagle.

Product sales began on June 7, 2012 at 12:00 Noon ET with pricing of $149.95 per set. Rather than establishing a maximum product limit, as had been done for similar products in the past, the US Mint would accept orders during a four week ordering window and produce the sets to meet the total demand. A sales odometer which was updated daily gave collectors an indication of the progress of the offering. Sales officially closed on July 5, 2012 at 5:00 PM ET. The last indicated sales total was 251,302 sets.

On the secondary market, prices for the sets remain above the issue price. A quick survey of eBay auctions completed within the past few days show the prices realized for raw sets mostly falling into a range of $180 to $190, compared to the issue price of $149.95.

Sets which have been graded by PCGS or NGC and received the top grade of Proof-70 have sold for premiums above raw sets. Sets with the two coins graded PCGS PR70DCAM and PR70 have recently sold for prices around $425 to $450. Sets with the two coins graded NGC PF 70 Ultra Cameo and PF 70 have sold for prices around $300 to $325.