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A TTAG reader writes:

I was thinking today about owning gold. I bought a St. Gaudens $20 coin in 1989. Total cost: $1695 including a $300 commission. Today, I checked with several dealers and was offered, tops, $1365. Not a fan of gold. But that got me to thinking….

Many people, including commenters here on TTAG, are adherents to the idea of being prepared for the zombie apocalypse. One constant element is gold. Apparently, the thinking is that gold will always be accepted, and it’s better than so-called fiat money.

So, what has this to do with guns, gear and the Second Amendment? Good question.

One of the base ideas of the “gold bugs” is that it will never be worth zero. Yet no one talks about when gold was illegal for individuals to hold (excepting small collector amounts), and the price was pegged at $35 per ounce. Thus, if one buys gold at $1500 per ounce and the government declares it’s only worth $35 (or whatever), holders of gold have lost a very real amount of wealth. For those who are delaying buying their apocalypse guns until the last minute, that stash of gold will buy a whole lot less firepower.

Now let’s fast forward to a government and economic collapse, where paper money is truly worthless (such as during the Weimar Republic). Gold is now king, queen, and ruler. Or is it? Even without consideration for a government mandated price of gold, gold will likely become virtually worthless. How?

During an economic collapse, where does one turn to convert gold into something usable like food, clothing, shelter? There is no official gold market. There is no standards board setting the price for everything in units of gold. What is gold worth?

It’s worth whatever the seller demands for scarce products and services. Even the face amount of gold coins isn’t guaranteed (no government, remember?). So, if you need food, clothing, shelter, guns, ammunition…you deliver however much gold the seller(s) demands. The only process for appeal is superior fire power in hand to convince the seller that the scarce goods aren’t so scarce.

In the apocalypse, guns and gangs determine the law and establish the economy. Holding gold against the end of nations isn’t so useful as first thought. Consider all the refugees from the Nazis who tried to smuggle diamonds in hopes of escaping and using diamonds as currency. Where did most of that diamond wealth end up? How much was it really worth to the refugees?

But you ask, “If gold is worthless, why would anyone want it in exchange for goods and services?” Answer: people will establish governments, economies will be rebuilt. The people who render your gold worthless will hold it against the day when they can make a gargantuan profit, when government and economies eventually stabilize.

The take away? Don’t hoard/buy gold. Buy bullets and weapons. If push really comes to shove, bullets and weapons will give you greater economic power that the guy with a sack full of gold coins and bullion bars.

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  1. I’ve always held the belief that guns and ammo are probably one of the best investments considering such a situation. Makes me wonder if I should start hording bottles of bourbon too.

        • Here in Houston during the aftermath of Hurrican Ike, I discovered another interesting barterable commodity: ice.
          My office warehouse had power restored almost immediately when the lights went out (its on the same circuit as the hospital across the highway) which meant our commercial ice maker we have kept cranking out clear frozen gold that I could take home in a chest to help restock my neighbors chests. I got more free beer that week as gratuities, lemme tell ya.

    • You should read “One Second After” by William Forstcher.

      Guns and simple medical supplies were worth more than a stupid rock.

        • But even in the Wasteland ammunition is better than caps. Ammunition still weighs nothing, and you can shoot stuff with it! The key is to avoid having to buy the ammo since you sell it for significantly less than it costs to buy.

          • “The key is to avoid having to buy the ammo…”

            Seems a logical conclusion from the article; guns and bullets are a more effective economic system than simply stashing gold and silver. With guns and ammo you could get more of everything?

    • No one who has ever not been to a Third World Country or is a true student of history will “get it” including the author. Diamonds held by pre-WW2 Jews as a hedge to buy their way out of Nazi Germany is a bad example because the price of diamonds is artificially controlled by the diamond monopoly: DeBeers. Diamonds are more commonplace than most people think. Historically the one constant in the last 5000 years in terms of value is gold, the universal trade medium of value. Does this mean exclusively have gold and your problems in a post apocalyptic society are solved? Of course not. What do you need to survive: gold, guns, ammunition (lots of it, reloading components perhaps), alcohol, drugs (anti-biotics and pain relievers: opioids especially) prescription and illicit. These are the tangible trade goods where there is no established government and rule by warlords and gangs. It would be fallacious to think that after a collapse that there would be any semblance of a return to some kind of representative, democratic type government. A form of Neo feudalism is far more likely with the weak aligning themselves with the strong, petty factions and claims over territory etc.

      Guns are the equalizer, there can be no doubt and ammunition can be the source of wealth but I would never discount gold and would include some in a diversified post apocalyptic survival portfolio. I wouldn’t get all prepper crazy either about this stuff, again decline is not imminent. The Roman Empire in the west lasted from 27 BCE to 476 CE. Given more rapid advances in communications, climate change, burgeoning overpopulation, disparity between haves and have nots, pandemics of new strains of treatment resistent diseases and the strain on natural resources, indicators are that some collapse or restructuring is coming, but more than likely not until mid-century or even later and it may not even be dramatic, just a gradual decline.

      My two cents.Also the author paid way too much for his gold coin back in the day IMO and experience.

    • Learn how to make your own. Some feed store corn and barley with some yeast and a little fractional distillation and you are fixed for yourself and barter. But stock up on the most important precious metal – lead, so you can protect your newfound enterprise during an apocolypse.

      • “But stock up on the most important precious metal – lead…”

        Plenty of car batteries to scavenge Pb from, and wheel weights…

        • Buy wheel weights by the pound at scrap yards. Tire service centers scrap out literally TONs of wheel weights every year. If they won’t sell to you direct, go to the scrap yard they sell to.

          I paid $0.60 / lb for wheel weights which are ~90% good casting lead by weight.

          If I’m casting 115gr 9MM bullets I get 56 bullets per pound of lead which works out to $0.01 per projectile.

          If I’m casting 230GR 308 bullets for my 300BLK AR-15s I get 30 bullets per pound which equals $0.02 per projectile.

        • Damn, I hadn’t thought of that. Subsonic speeds, there’s no real reason for fancy-ass jacketed ammo, that bunch of bullet lead I collected from a pistol range 35 years ago would work just lovely in my .300 blk! I may have to return to reloading.

    • Learn to brew beer after you learn to distill spirits, after you learn to grow quality weed, after you learn to cook amphetamines. Push comes to shove and things get rough, people are going to want to feel safe and happy, and drugs are the fastest, easiest ticket.
      Drugs have other uses as well. Getting loaded up on PCP before a raid can’t hurt, Presciption drugs like adderol should be easy to find, and that stuff is pretty much cocaine. Same for Hydroxycut. Use that shit to get 10 men to work as hard as 50. Any of the serious pre-workouts have the same use, “labor multiplier”.
      And don’t forget the Valium and Zoloft! Need to sit still quietly for long periods of time, like say, in a tree, waiting for unsuspecting passersby? Might as well be tranquil and comfortable while you do so!

      • In case anyone is taking 10mm’s applied pharmacology advice seriously, don’t.

        PCP is a dissociative anaesthetic. It basically works by unhooking the part of your consciousness that worries about things like pain. The main reason it never saw any use in terms of being a “combat drug” despite investigations into its potential as such is because it has a pretty high rate of psychosis associated with its use.

        Cocaine and Adderall are both stimulant drugs, but with vastly different chemical profiles (coca vs amphetamine) and effects on your system. Hydroxycut used to (until 12 years ago) contain Ephedra (a mild stimulant), but now is basically caffeine and some other interesting herbal additives. Historically coca leaf has been chewed by laborers as a stimulant/painkiller/general “feel better about shitty working conditions” drug, but there’s not really a good comparison/translation between chewing coca leaf and snorting coke (having a beer vs several shots of Everclear). There’s a reason amphetamine is highly controlled in military use right now (primarily reserved for pilots)… German SS squads used amphetamine in early WW2 to stay functional and alert, and that practice was discontinued because of (again) a high rate of psychosis.

        Valium is a benzodiazepine, a sedative. Suggesting using Valium to stay in a hide is like suggesting someone have a few shots of alcohol in the same situation. If you’re in that much danger, slowing down or risking dozing off is a poor choice. Zoloft is an antidepressant, a seratonin reuptake inhibitor; it takes *weeks* of use to get to therapeutic levels, and high-dose applications don’t speed that up. What it does do is put you at significant risk of seratonin syndrome; if what you want is to risk seizures and malignant hyperthermia, give it a shot, but it is going to do precisely nothing to help you execute an ambush.

  2. I’ve been following this advice. I’ve purchased more guns in the last 2 months than I have in the first 49 years of my life. Feels good.

    • Good.
      Now buy ammo, and good, affordable sights for them.
      Guns are far less effective when your hit ratio is low because you’re relying on iron sights.

      • Only thing worse would be relying on electronic sights whose batteries have been dead for 10 years.

  3. How does government get to set the price of anything? If I want to sell something to someone who brings me a pound of Port Cost Parking Lot Rocks, how can government say rocks cannot have a price, or that must have a certain price?

    • The current government of Venezuela did just that. We are witnessing the consequences of their stubborn refusal to accept reality.

        • We did for a lot of years. I am a beneficiary, as I fell in love with Thai Baht gold “jewelry” while in Vietnam, bought a shitpot full (given my circumstances) while the price of gold was capped at $37.50 an oz, as I recall. Still have it, around an 11 zillion percent profit if I sold it. Meanwhile, if you paid $1600 for a St Gaudens $20 in 1989 you got royally screwed, I bought 4 in the late ’90s, Brilliant Uncirculated, for $495 each, use one of them on a pendant hung from a 3+ oz Baht chain, I rarely wear it because it is too damn heavy, but solid gold. I have since bought 30 more “bullion coins”, no coin value but 1 oz of gold each, just in case, and all are in the profit category right now and have been essentially all the time since I bought them.

          That does not slow down my purchases of ballistic goodies, in fact takes up very little shelf space in my gun safe. There is no way I could put even a fraction of my ammo into the safe, they are packed around it in the closet under the stairs. What I discover I am not ready for is food. I need to invest in some of the “prepper” dehydrated foods on the market, but first I have to do some testing. You know, propane grill/stove, live on a fresh-water lake, armed to the teeth, heavily insulated house in Austin, TX, I could survive for a long time! Of course, we also have a resident herd of deer, I could learn to eat venison before hitting the stores.

          What I’m saying is that I don’t need someone else to tell me where to put my resources, I can enjoy making my own stupid decisions.

    • “How does government get to set the price of anything?”

      It happened here in WW 2, and is happening now in NYC with ‘rent control’…

      • I can understand maybe during time of war, but rent controls I just don’t get. How does that get approved by courts?

    • your example is simplistic. government sets the prices of everything, if you think about it. taxes, tariffs, and regulation establish a base price on virtually everything. interest rates establish a price of money, which in turn establish a base price of the goods you hope to exchange for said currency. I can go on and on…..

      • All that is different from government saying, “You can charge only this much, and we tack-on taxes and other stuff.” How would government legally declare a specific can only cost so much, no matter how much it costs to make?

        • Excellent question, seems impossible to me. But *our* government has been doing it for several decades, possible or not. We are slowly being conditioned to accept ANYTHING our masters dictate.

  4. I keep a stash of junk silver coins. I have guns and ammo and food and other supplies. Junk silver is for the period when the .gov has almost collapsed and people are still able to have markets of a sort. The coins are recognized as US currency and until a complete collapse happens they may have some value that paper money won’t have.

    And i live in an area that has a large population of asians and Indians. Things will have to be desperate indeed when these folks won’t value silver or gold.

      • “There is no standards board setting the price for everything in units of gold. What is gold worth?”

        There wasn’t back in the “wild west” either. The government didn’t set the price of gold back then, they set the value of the dollar to be an amount of gold.

  5. You can’t eat gold. Beans and rice will be the currency of the new world order when it all comes crumbling down. Guns and ammo to protect it.

  6. Gold is not what you need in the apocalypse-you gonna’ trade a gold coin for a loaf of bread? Silver is key-hoard silver coins for it’s liquidity. Have the right God too. Plenty of dictators had billions in gold,lots of guns but very much the wrong god-like Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarek,Ghadaffi and plenty of others(Panama,E. Europe). But you gotta’ have guns-lots of guns and ammo. Oh yeah to the writer of this piece-buy low-sell high. I know how to trade after many years as an antique dealer. How on earth did you pay that in 1989?!?

    • I think what he did was to buy a numismatic coin, and then get a bullion quote on it.
      That’s disingenuous, at best.
      I bought some gold a little after he did, mid 90’s, and I would do very nicely indeed if I were to sell it off at market rates now.
      Infact, for the last 20 years, I’ve never been upside down on it.

  7. Toilet paper, hoard as much as possible. Production always stops during civil unrest . That way you can barter or just use it yourself to feel human.

  8. Stash everything you can afford to. Ho and don’t buy gold when it’s high. Gold is no different that stocks. You buy low and sell high.

    FYI- I bought full Troy OZ coins at $385.00 out the door.
    Now is the time to sell????
    on commissions they should never be more than 2 to 3 %.

    • Your advice to buy low and sell high is quite insightful. You must have a system. As it relates to gold, the ETF has turned it into a financial asset and it is no longer a real asset, if it ever was. That means that it would be correlated with every other financial asset e.g. stocks, corporate bonds, and currencies in a liquidity crisis that would come in your zombie scenario. Bitcoin would be a good alternative, and it has already proven itself in the black market economy. It has been a bit volatile, which is a problem for currencies, but has generally served the role intended.

      • If the gold is not actually in your safe, it is no different as an investment from shares of GM, or government bonds.

  9. There are some good points made in this article. I actually had a discussion with a friend about this a few years ago. The conclusion we came to was that guns and ammo would be more valuable than gold or silver in a total societal collapse scenario. I do think gold and silver would become valuable again once society rebuilt. Precious metals will always have value.

  10. Not to mention that paying for anything with gold just might attract the wrong kind of attention.

      • They have guns too, and desperation makes people very unafraid of guns.
        Rarely are there any winners in the types of conflicts this scenario leads to.

        • TEOTWAWKI does not actually have a “win” scenario attached to it, in case you have been distracted by all the prepper talk, here, if you set yourself up just right, you may live an extra year or two. Meanwhile, you have to be a near-lunatic on the subject. Preparing for a natural disaster is realistic, being ready for a couple months at the outside.

  11. I’d rather stock silver over gold. Less cost per ounce, which would make bartering with it far easier.

    • I’m thinking that with the right combination, you could get just about anything you need/want, at favorable discount.

  12. Coffee…all the coffee drinkers will be walking around with the worst headache from caffeine withdrawal their pain your gain. I can get by without most creature comforts but when I wake up I can’t do jack squat till I get a cup of joe. Thankfully I know a coffee substitute easily found everywhere, at least during the warm months.

    • I’ll drink coffee occasionally, and it helped with the transition from 12 hour midnight shifts to 8 hour day work, but overall I avoid caffeine. I have no moral aversion to it, Im just afraid of having to depend on it to be a functioning human

  13. I agree with this article for the most part. (Note: I do not agree that government can somehow set the price of gold.)

    You have to remember what we need to survive:
    (1) Shelter
    (2) Clothing
    (3) Food — including potable water
    (4) Security — primarily firearms and ammunition

    When things are really ugly, those four items above are what really counts. Since shelter and clothing are incredibly durable and plentiful, there will not be any significant demand for those items. What will be in extreme demand is food, potable water, and security.

    You might find people who are willing to trade food, water, firearms, or ammunition for gold. I guarantee that you will find people who are willing to trade food, water, firearms, or ammunition for food, water, firearms, or ammunition. Those are the items that are “must have” for a collapse.

    When it comes to trade, the smaller the units of barter, the more flexibility you have. If all you have for trade is one premium AR-10 that cost $1500 before the collapse, that won’t be very useful if all you want is to trade for a loaf of bread. In that situation, you would probably be much better off if you had a 50 round box of .22 LR ammunition to trade for one or two loaves of bread. Of course, if you wanted to trade for a 3 year old dairy cow that was producing milk, that premium AR-10 might be just the ticket.

    At any rate, even if you can find people who are willing to accept gold in exchange for food or ammunition, you still have the problem of determining how much gold for exchange and having that gold in small enough increments — such as grams rather than ounces — to be useful. Personally, I would also be concerned about determining if a gold piece really is gold and not something like hardcast lead plated with gold.

    • ” I do not agree that government can somehow set the price of gold”

      Interesting! I take it you have not examined how it was done for many decades, the US controlling the price worldwide. Private ownership was illegal, all stores surrendered for the price the gubt declared or you went to prison. After that, the whole world was subject to the US gubt selling gold at that price. Nobody wanted to undercut it, but nobody could sell it at a higher price because the buyer would simply buy it from the US, read COMEX, the precious metals exchange. That’s where the gold for Thai Baht jewelry comes from, I heard all manner of crap about mining in Laos during the war (like when they were being bombed, mining for gold!), but found out from a jeweler later in life that was ridiculous, they went downtown and bought the gold from COMEX at the current price, then melted it down into jewelry. Really simple.

      But if you were to try to sell your gold for a higher price, your customer would simply walk down to the street to COMEX, who would be paying the price from the lowest priced supplier. The only thing that stopped that was that it began costing the US too much to keep supplying gold at that price.

      • Larry,

        During a catastrophic collapse, there will be no functioning government to set the price of anything.

        And even during the event that you described, the only reason that the U.S. “fixed” the price of gold is because they set a price above market rate. That is a good thing if you had been purchasing gold below market rate.

        • Hey, I can sure see that if there is no government, there will be no government control of anything. That does not mean that a government cannot control the price of gold!

  14. I’m neither a “gold nut” nor an opponent of considering gold.
    If you are concerned with trading in a EOTWAWKI scenario then gold is a poor option compared to US silver coins. No one with goods willing to sell in consumable quantities is likely to trust uncirculated Krugerands (etc.) in exchange. If they take any hard-currency, they will likely take US silver coins.
    If you are a billionaire and want to move a few million into something survivable, then gold bullion is your ticket. A commercial buyer will take a 100 / 400 oz bar with a London-acceptable mark as pretty good, and with a low discount. If it is gold from any other source it will bring a price as-if “scrap”. A London-acceptable mark will bring market price IF-and-ONLY-IF it is in the form of a warehouse receipt issued by a bank (or other warehouseman) acceptable on the London (or COMEX) markets. Yet, obviously, if your holdings are in a bank then they will – almost certainly – be confiscated by desperate governments.
    Bottom line, gold is not really a “prepper” solution. You are probably much better off investing your cash in staples that you can consume in a situation where there are no stores where staples are available for sale.

    • Yeah, I don’t have one of those bags of silver coins yet, probably need to look into that, too.

  15. Gold is a semi liquid asset that is not backed by any government authority. The thinking is that if the united states government collapses, the dollar will be worth nothing, but as long as there is at least one functioning government on earth, you can trade your gold for their currency. That is the reason to own gold.

    If the entire world goes to shit, ammo will become currency.

    • Well, if you are hungry enough, You’ll trade ammo for food. Either all the ammo you have, or one bullet.

    • Basically the same train of thought that today makes U.S. dollars worth something in places where the local currency is worthless/non-existant. Though if you follow that line, wouldn’t it be cheaper and easier to hoard something like pounds or yuan?

      • You’re still tying your worth to a government. Lets say a pandemic starts in Asia and spreads to California. If you invested in yuan you’re boned. Gold is universal. It can be made into any currency you want, or traded directly for goods and services.

  16. I couldn’t care less about precious metals in a SHTF scenario. I have guns, ammo, body armor, and food/water stockpiled. my goal would be to stay alive, and if the s ever recovered I’d worry about finances later.

  17. I had this argument with a friend. All metals have a number of inherent problems in the context of this discussion.

    First, metals like gold or silver are only useful in certain, very limited, situations such as serious inflation that doesn’t go far enough to completely cripple the economy and bring everything down around our ears. Anything less and they’re a paperweight, anything more and you’ll run into the rest of my list here.

    Second, gold and silver are only really useful in a market where you have the ability to accurately mass and assay the metal. Remember the Roman debasement of their currency? Yeah, well 1 gram of gold isn’t just one gram of gold. Unless you have to tools and know how to assay it for purity you’re begging to get ripped off. This will require traveling to the “market” with those tools so that you know that the other guy’s scales and assaying equipment are square.

    Third, in a SHTF situation there will not be an agreed on value for gold/silver. One guy wants a gram of 18 karat for enough flour to make 20 loaves of bread. Another wants an ounce and yet another want’s 1.2oz. Now you not only have the problems raised in issue #2, but you need a way to cut up your gold into the agreed upon amounts. What a PITA. It’s easier to just shoot the guy and take the flour.

    Forth, metal is dense and the amount of it you’re going to need for a longish term is going to weigh a lot. Not only is this a storage problem but if you’re forced to flee your abode it’s a real pain to take it with you. If you’ve got one tank of gas and two extra five gallon gas cans your range is limited. Do you want to load up your vehicle with 100lbs of gold plus all of the aforementioned equipment or would you rather use that weight for ammo, food and medical supplies? What if you’re on foot? You wanna hoof 25lbs of gold bars or 25lbs of bullets?

    Fifth, gold is a relatively useless metal to most people. That guy who has extra food and medicine but needs his generator fixed doesn’t give a shit about your gold bar(s). It doesn’t fix his problem. Far more tradeable that gold or silver are skills that other people need but don’t have. Learn how to fix cars, stick (SMAW) weld (And weld well, not like the jackasses on youtube with their improperly set wire welder that can’t lay a decent bead to save their life. Screw wirefeed and TIG. Shielding gasses will be hard to come buy and you can’t hook either one up to a set of car batteries and burn through 7018 1/8″ electrode the way you can with stick), deal with electronics, radios, fix wiring, tend to crops, basic medical and veterinary skills, bushcraft and trap making. If it hits the fan I can already do most of that, but if you want to join me, I’d rather have the guy who turns wrenches like a champ over the guy with 25 pounds of shiny metal. The guy who can build a deadfall trap that reliably kills elk gets a spot. The guy with gold gets shot for whatever else he might have. You wanna collect silver? Buy silver solder and learn to freaking use it.

    Sixth, gold and silver have no real useful qualities to you either. Their value is what we assign to it. When the raider scum show up are you gonna beat them all to death with a gold/silver bar in a sock? I think not. How does gold get you food when no one cares about your stupid shiny metal? It doesn’t. Put down the paperweight and pick up the .308.

    Now, on a semi-serious and more lighthearted note, why do you think bottle caps are the currency in Fallout as opposed to gold and silver?

    • Nicely put. OTOH is 5000-10000 years of history during which those same statements were ALWAYS true. Hedging bets is good, too!

  18. Hell, invest in lead. It’s cheap- free in some cases- and can be converted into virtually any ‘currency’ with the proper cases and molds. Take in brass and whatever John Doe has that you need, provide him with loaded cast-boolit cartridges.

  19. Trinkets are worthless!

    My stockpile would be coffee, water, some food, more coffee, and a lot of extra water.

  20. For teotwawki, gold would be good. Silver would be good. Guns and ammo would be very good. Food would be very good. Fuel would be very good. Paper money would be toilet paper.

    And if that day ever comes, which is extraordinarily unlikely, a guy would be able to buy a woman for a can of cling peaches.

    • Lots of Hershey’s whores at he end of WWII. Pretty sure one of my Mausers was sporterized in Europe, and sold to a GI for some small amount of food or smokes.

    • We are only about… oh, I’d said… 9 meals and 3 days without power away from trading women as commodities during a total breakdown of society situation.

      • This is a very real fact of life that shannon watts and a bunch of young ladies today chose to ignore. They are equal and protected from the bad realities of life so long as the lights are on and the .gov has some sort of presence in our lives.

        People have no natural or god given rights. They have what they are strong enough to take and defend. In a real teotwawki situation a strong person will prey on the weak. An unscrupolous man with a gun can have a harem of sex slaves.

        Women who wish to maintain any sort of equality had better be armed and willing before the lights go out.

        • Boy, are you ever trusting of humanity. Sex slaves have to be fed. Serial rape/murder is cheaper. And, in general, men are pigs. Women better gun up.

  21. If and when the SHTF, I will not trade any of my guns, bullets, food, drugs & alcohol or toilet paper for gold. I will only trade one of my commodities for another that I am running low on.

  22. Invest in toilet papet, during major disasters in other countries it’s usually the first thing to become alternative currency.

  23. When the day of reckoning comes for the US Government debt, there will be few ways to settle it – None good. High inflation, high taxes, and possibly default. You will want to have some precious metals “off the books”.

    • It is a fallacy that the US can default on its debt. The explanation is simple; all of our debt is denominated in USD and we print the currency. The same is true for the rest of the developed world. Only countries with external debt can default.

      • ‘Only countries with external debt can default.’

        There are multiple foreign entities that hold our debt, are they not considered “external debt”?

        • no. external debt refers to debt denominated in other currencies. for instance the reason Argentina defaulted is because it’s debt was denominated in USD. by definition, default is an inability to pay interest. if you print the currency you cannot default.

          • Weimar printed trillion mark notes on only one side of the paper because the currency was worthless and vast amounts were needed. If people holding debt in other nations considered bonds worthless and refused to accept marks, would not that have been effective default?

        • no. a bond is a contract. it specifies what currency that it will be repaid, if you print the currency you cannot run out of said currency. Weimar Republic issue was hyperinflation. They were forced to pay war reparations in hard currency e.g. francs, pound and dollar and had to print marks to do so. this resulted in hyperinflation. the issue was that they had to convert marks into another currency to pay reparations, had the reparations been denominated in marks they would not have defaulted.

          • What is the term used when a government refuses to make payments on debt? What is the term when a government declares a debt non-existent?

        • All the discussion of Germany 75 years ago is kinda distracting, isn’t it Zimbabwe that has printed trillion-whatever bills here in the last decade or two? By the boatload? And Greece is in trouble precisely because the joined the EU, debt denominated in Euros but Greece could not print them.

        • you are confusing inflation with debt default. they are two entirely different things. inflation occurs when the value of a currency decreases relative to whatever it is exchanged be it goods, services, or other currencies. a debt default is the inability to make interest payments on treasury issuance. I brought all of this up to correct the poster that mentioned the US defaulting on its debt. It is factually wrong, a sovereign country with no external debt cannot default.

        • Greece’s trouble has nothing to do with paying interest on its debt. It’s problem is that it cannot devalue it’s currency because it is on the Euro. This means it’s goods and services are not competitive because it’s currency is overvalued. So it’s economy muddled along because it cannot stimulate economic growth. Which is EXACTLY why the gold standard is retarded. Flexibility in monetary policy is a good thing not a bad thing.

  24. Don’t forget to stock up on “paper porn!” Remember, the internet probably won’t last long after the fall of civilization.

    • That is probably the best idea (along with toilet paper) I’ve seen in these comments. In times of great unrest, people will give almost anything for a little bit of “old world comfort”.

      • Unless it’s an EMP attack (which it very well may be), just have a powersource, a big screen, and a catalog of DVDs.

        Hose-able furniture, and tile floors with floor sinks are also recommended. You will become rich in things that mean absolutely nothing to you now…

    • Not to be crude here but let’s examine human nature and the “oldest profession”.

      Why the fuck would someone trade anything for porn when they can get actual pussy for two smokes and a pint of rotgut booze they jacked from a gas station or some other person?

      Heck, it really goes to shit and you’ll have straight guys willing to bend over and take it for some food. Just look at how prison works.

      If you can’t eat it, fuck it, cure disease or injury with it, or use it to get the aforementioned it’s fucking worthless.

      Triple B. Beans, bullets, bandaids. Everything else is nonsense.

  25. I don’t know, I sold some Liberty $20 gold pieces I bought for $385 each years ago for over $1600 each a few years ago. Gold can be a good investment, but if the TEOTWAWKI comes, those big gold pieces aren’t going to be all that useful. Better to by silver half dollars. It’s hard to buy a loaf of bread with an antique $20 gold piece worth hundreds or thousands of current dollars. better to trade small denomination silver pr barter items that people need like food or fuel. I won’t barter people ammo they might use against me.

  26. Gold is for investment purposes, for when the markets are not looking good. Sure, it has its ups and downs, but overtime, it is remarkably stable – and so long as there is a speculative investment market, you can unload it.

    But the situation you describe is the one in which that market would be gone entirely.

    As far as things to trade, there are plenty of choices. Think about the stuff that people around you routinely consume, that is not actually manufactured locally. The supply chain will usually have at most a few days of such things, weeks at most. Once they run out, everyone will want it, and few will have it. Tea and coffee are two obvious examples almost everywhere, and coffee is especially convenient in that it can be easily purchased already canned, and will remain usable (not perfect) for years so long as seal is not disturbed. Also salt, sugar etc. Beyond food, things like batteries, laundry detergent, tampons/pads etc.

    • Exactly. The reality is that ‘essentials’ will be where the barter market finds it’s currency. As you well know, that was certainly true during the Grand and Glorious Soviet Union!

      I’m a fan of ammo – shotgun shells are still cheap, .22LR when you can find it, 9mm, whatever. Toilet paper, band-aids, aspirin, the mind reels at what will quickly become unobtanium, and will go from zero to hero. Canned anything will be worth a fortune.

        • Oil suitable for running a diesel is readily extracted from old tires via pyrolysis. Requirements – container, heat source, thermometer, tires.

          There’s a bunch of other solutions as well, but that one is the lowest-tech, least work, most readily available.

      • >> As you well know, that was certainly true during the Grand and Glorious Soviet Union!

        Speaking of which. During any kind of political upheaval (like the 1991 failed putsch, or the 1993 coup d’etat), my grandparents (born and raised in Stalin times) would rush to stockpile three things first and foremost: sugar, salt and matches. Most people of their generation had that same shopping list, so I suppose that is as close to the collective wisdom of the ages as it gets, borne of experience in a country that had more than most. Make of it what you will.

      • Oh, and speaking of ammo.

        Bullets are easy to make, and reusable at that.

        Cases can be reused for quite a few times, and I believe they (especially steel) don’t require particularly complicated tools to manufacture. Shotgun shells are even less demanding.

        Powder is a bit more tricky, but black powder is not super-hard to make, and there are other compounds that can be substituted in a pinch, such as pyroxyline. Now, all this stuff is not very semi-auto friendly… but at some point, having a gun that shoots is preferable to having one that does not. And even with dirty black powder, it’ll take more than a dozen rounds to gum up the action to the point of malfunction, if you pick your guns right; e.g.:

        Now, primers are a massive headache. Non-reusable, and not easy to manufacture at all. Hence, the best option for stockpiling long-term.

  27. I’m glad to see I am not the only one wondering why people always think gold is a viable SHTF currency. I can eat food, I can shoot ammo, I can’t do anything with a soft, shiny metal. I’m thinking $1000 spent on food or ammo now is going to get you a lot more long term SHTF value then $1000 spent now on gold.

  28. If I’m going to hoard any metal for an economic collapse, it’s going to be Lead. I got molds for most of the calibers I shoot, and the local tire place just gives me old wheel weights, because it’s a a lot cheaper than them having to hire hazardous waste remover guys to get rid of it.

  29. Gold would not be worthless when the SHTF. You could melt it down and cast bullets with it.

    Gold is 70% more dense than lead. We’re talking serious ballistic coefficients here.

    • I studied medicine, but my skills in that regard are limited to non-surgical and botanical.

      I have a lot of edible plants on my property too. Look into preparing “Nopales” as they have a lot of nourishment, and are found readily all over the US(and most other countries). Better known as Prickly Pear cactus, because of the fruit, the “paddles” can be eaten too.

      • Prickly pear cactus tastes like jalapeño minus the spice. It’s not half bad; you just need to skin it properly to avoid the spines. Good source of water.

      • Call me crazy but a couple of years ago I bought a bunch of veterinarian suture packs off of ebay and practiced on pork roasts. The family thought I was insane but now I know I can stitch up almost anything.

  30. I’m opting for crappy welding skills and solar power for my apocalypse home. I have a river too, so may go for hydro-electric. But the only precious metals I would horde for the apocalypse include a primer.

  31. I’m surprised no one has commented on this…
    I get my gold for free. (Well, it does cost me diesel and time). I pan, sluice, dredge and metal detect for it.
    I can usually easily get a quarter of an ounce over a weekend. It’s not that hard really.
    Raw gold here usually runs 22-23 karat.
    I get outdoors, enjoy nature, and collect gold.

  32. I cannot believe the comments in regards to this apocalypse. How many of you blowhards would survive with just your ammo?? Gold, guns, ammo…nothing is going to matter and if you wieners think that you’re some Mad Max that can persevere through the destruction of the world, keep looking to the stars. My guess is that most of the commentators here would wither on the vine when push comes to shove. Go ahead survivalists/conspiracy/lunatic people, enjoy your fantasies.

    • Well, at least we’ll live longer than you.

      If you’re lucky we’ll treat your loved ones right while we’re eating wild animal meat and kicking our feet up on your corpse.

      If not, well hey, you won’t hear the screams.

      Eat, fuck, kill. That’s the state of nature my friend.

    • Since we are playing the guess my stereotype based on comments game, you’re up. So, you’re probably in a major city or heavily populated suburban area, you have a large amount of debt, and likely debt you cannot sell off like student loans and credit cards. You are likely what we call where I am from a “30,000-dollar-millionaires”, which is to say, you spend way more than you could ever make just to keep up with the Jones.You’ve never ventured very long into places without creature comforts, like central air and hot meals a phone call away. Oh, and most importantly, think people care about your opinion whether they feign interest or not.

  33. TP and tampons are good things to stock up on, even if you’re not a woman (or have a SO). Anyone comes to trade with you, and they have their women with them, having a fresh supply of tampons will seal the deal in your favor 9/10 times.

    And if they go back to wherever they came from and tell the ladies “Yeah they were selling tampons but we passed on it” they’ll rue the day they didn’t accept your offer.

  34. 1. You invested too much into one piece of metal. That’s why sliver is better, 20 pieces at $50, is better than 1 piece at $1000. You have 20 pieces with buying power instead of only one. Think of it like this, you need to buy something with that metal, if it is not worth the exact value of what you wish to buy, how will you make change? Treat it like a portfolio – diversify.

    2. Grid down, end of days, no hope situation, gold and sliver are worthless. Sh*t is going caveman. If one cannot eat it, drink it, kill something with it, wear it, live in it, or f*ck it, it’s worthless.

  35. You almost made it to the right landing.

    Guns and ammo, yes. But what you really want to “stockpile” are a supply of the necessities of life. A way to procure water. Food. TP. These things are good for emergencies as well as Armageddon. You’ll be the one demanding gold coins for scarce goods then.

    AND you’ll have the means to protect them. That’s the ideal.

  36. What’s amazing to me is that there are people who don’t think there’s a teotwawki situation pending out there. Here we are talking about what is practical and necessary, gold vs ammo debates. And there they are, drinking their latte’s at Starbucks thinking we’re crazy, tin-foil hat lunatics. We’re basically 20 trillion in debt, about to elect another democrat who’s promising to do more of the same tax and spend, redistribute-the-wealth, free-shit- for-all policies that got us in this situation in the first place. It’s coming, maybe not next year, maybe not 10 years from now, but we are headed for currency collapse. And when that happens, as some commentators have said, we are basically three days away with no power and no food, from SHTF. If ghetto rioters are able to burn and loot a town over an attempted cop-killer, what will they do when they haven’t eaten in a few days. Do the people in gated neighborhoods think those walls will keep them out? Economists, real economists with actual degrees, have been warning us about this for quite some time – no matter what MSNBC, CNN and the rest are saying, we are in a decline, and the result, if things aren’t drastically turned around, is inevitable.

    • Debt to who? The debt we have is not possible to be repaid, nor was it ever meant to be repaid. When the Fed took over control of the countries money supply, they took possession over everything political and physical. The decline you are describing is a controlled demolition of the middle class.

      • um….

        just so you are clear, the US Treasury issues debt to implement fiscal policy. the federal reserve buys and sells debt and other assets to implement monetary policy. the fed has and always will be in charge of money supply. that is why it exists.

        • Newsflash,the Federal reserve act was passed in 1913. Sorry to burst your bubble, but No, the Fed has has not always been in control of the money supply.

        • @ad, you are posting factually wrong information regarding the Federal Reserve and expect to be taken seriously in the subject?

      • You stated the Fed always has been in control of the money supply. I’ve already pointed out your innacurate statement. This is not a small mistake, you are either trying to sound smart throwing around some buzz words, or you are dangerously ignorant of out nations monetary and banking history.

        • To be clear, the the Fed was established in 1913 centralize monetary authority. Before the Fed, the US had a decentralized banking system and no centralized monetary policy. That is why the Fed was created, it is the very essence of its existence. Fed policy = monetary policy. Its mandate has evolved since its creation, but the one constant is its role in monetary policy. Not sure what you mean by buzz words.

        • My point was to correct the poster that stated that “when the Fed took over the country’s money policy…” This is factually inaccurate. There was no monetary policy before the Fed. By definition, a centralized monetary policy requires a centralized banking authority. This did not exist before the Fed. So, it is entirely accurate to say that the Fed has been and always will be in charge of monetary policy.

  37. Seldom if ever see comments here here on TTAG regarding buying gold for an economic collapse? Buy for investment purposes only, if at all, you can’t buy your way out of an apocalypse.

  38. Does anyone here remember three brothers from Dallas that bought a ton of silver, back in the seventies or eighties? Only one is still alive, and he hasn’t seen the economic collapse that he and his brothers thought was coming.

    • I sure do. I had a bunch of junk silver dollars that I had bought for around 4 bucks each. I sold them all when silver hit 38 dollars. Paid for 2 semesters of college and some beer money to boot. That was Hunt brothers by BTW.

    • uh, that would be thuh hunt brothers. they tried to totally own thuh silver market. they warn’t worried ’bout zombies, they did it ta profit immediately an’ ferever. they became a inside joke, “how do you get a billion dollars? inheret five billion.”

    • Those were the Hunts, and their motivation was to corner the market not because of some survivalist fantasy. They blew up spectacularly by the way.

      • They had the perfect scheme until they ran out of money. My timing was good though. I think it topped out right around 41 dollars.

  39. In a SHTF scenario, gold won’t mean much. So stock up on survival stuff.
    BUT, riddle me this Survivorman..Why are the Chinese and Russians buying gold by the TON, yes..TONNES?
    The Chinese want to have the next reserve currency and probably will when the dollar tanks, and when THAT happens people will want a currency that means something. Since it will be gold backed it will have real worth, not like our piece of paper today. When the currency changes and gold and silver go “to the moon”, you will have plenty to buy that 50 cal and toilet paper so when the real SHTF you may last longer than most.

    • you do know that the US Treasury holds 261k oz of gold and is the largest single holder of gold in the world, right? also, the yuan is pegged to the dollar, FYI. so it is kind of hard for it to strengthen relative to USD. if china de pegged the yuan it would immediately weaken. although it does not fit the SHTF narrative, the dollar is strong like a mofo. they do not call it king dollar for nothing. check the trend line of USD relative to every other currency in the world. only sui has strengthened. in fact our problem is that the USD is too strong not that it is too weak.

      • A good valuation model for gold is that of a sort of super T-Bill, what you hold when even dollars make you nervous. But if the dollar really fails, I’d bet gold fails worse, and people unload it to buy stuff. Invest in relationships, skills, and tools (guns are in the tool catagory).

      • 261,000 oz is nothing, close to 261 million dollars, a joke. I suspect a more accurate number would be 261k tons.


    Gold takes a worthless edge, and makes a crappy shovel

    If it comes down to where (apocalyptically) you need to trade Gold for anything, you wont get a dented can of out of date cat-food from me for it.

  41. I don’t need the gold. I’ve got about a ton of baseball cards stashed. Yeaaaaa. That’s where it’s at.

  42. I highly recommend Dmitry Glukhovsky’s post-apocalyptic novel Metro 2033. Military grade 5.45×39 cartridges are used as currency by the nuclear war survivors in the Moscow Metro.

  43. Gun owners tend to get what they want, for good or ill. Ask the next anti-WTO black flag anarchist how many guns he owns and watch him refuse to answer because the answer is zero. I own 5 and i would wish to avoid the anarchy, so guess what, i get what i want anyway.

  44. I moved 40 miles away from the nearest decent-sized city a couple years ago, I’ve got woods surrounded by woods surrounded by woods. I’ve got two spring-fed ponds full of fish, I’m covered up in wild game (which i prudently harvest), a thriving garden and an arsenal of guns and ammo. Adding ammo as i can, and stocking up on certain essentials. Toilet paper is a great idea. What i need more of: batteries, meds, canned goods and the types of storable food that i can’t grow/acquire myself. I’d also like to set up some sort of solar power operation. i’m pretty sure i could be self-sufficient for a while now with the help of my family, if i had to be. Never did care too much about money or gold. A country boy can survive.

  45. Or, people should read “A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster” by Rebecca Solnit, and get to know your neighbors. You may still want the guns, but those are for the police, who remain the ones you should be afraid of, and the other “authorities”.

    In Katrina, the murders we done by the police, with a few by paranoids. “Looting” was mostly hungry people and stores that were not open.

  46. Moral of the story don’t get taken by people selling “special” gold coins. You can buy gold and silver for just over spot price only an idiot would let someone sell them a coin with that much commission. Gold and silver have been used for years. Try traveling to India gold is king there and the government hates it.

    Complete ignorance in your reasoning and a lack of history.

    What if government confiscates and sets the price of gold? That’s an argument? What if they do that with bullets or whiskey? Let the idiots turn theirs in and mine will be worth more. Worked for my family the last time gold hording was outlawed.

    Ever try buying a house with whiskey? Gold and silver are used because they are easy to transport.

    Finally if you allow the government to determine your life for you then you deserve it.

  47. I just love all the talk from you wannabe Rambos. You know who you are. I’m talking about the immature ass-wipes that state that all they need to do is invest in guns/ ammo. And when they do they will just take what they need from whomever. Do you really think that people are just going to line up like ducks at a shooting gallery? People with that kind of mentality are losers and will always be losers. 90% of you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about. Quit trying tobe a bunch of badasses and think before you post.

    • Who the fuck are you, and what are your qualifications to pretend some manner of expertise, here? *You* sound like a wannabe Clinton.

    • Those are the guys who brag to everyone that they have stockpiles of weapons and ammo too. If their wet dream scenario does happen they will be the first people who get everything taken from them. Bunch of idiots.

  48. for me gold is not worth much. I keep some silver dollars stashed but that is it. I believe currency in a collapsed society will be ammo (specifically 22 lr). The new treasures will be medicine, spirits and any form of weapon.

  49. A couple of issues with this story.
    1st, the price of gold in 1989, when the story states the purchase took place,was $409 an ounce. The average premium on a St Guadins is about $60-80 per coin
    So how did the writer manage to pay $1695 for his coin?
    If you pay $80,000 for a new honda civic and then find out a dealer will only give you $15000 trade can you really complain that Honda’s do not hold value?
    If he had purchased his coin at market value $480, and sold today at spot, $1350, that would be a return of 250%. Not good over 25 years but not reflective of the conclusion in the article.
    Second, the author states he purchased a 1989 St Gaudens in 1989.
    There is no such thing as a 1989 St Gaudins.
    A poorly written article from an uneducated gold buyer where the facts become suspect under scutiny is hardly the place to get good information.
    Reader beware

  50. Everyone assumes that when things go south it will automatically end up in a TEOTWAWKI/Mad Max anarchistic
    hell. While such an eventuality is possible it is not probable. The odds are FAR more likely that things will end up
    bad but there will still exist some formal type of society and economy. In all of recorded history gold/silver has NEVER
    not had value. There are brief periods where it’s value was artificially manipulated but these spells do not last forever.
    Eventually those PM’s will be money. And those who have PM’s will be in a much better position to start over.

    The key is prepping as in EVERYTHING is balance. You need to store your wealth in many different ways
    ranging from the proper dwelling where you can live off grid if necessary to food stores and the means to grow
    food. Firearms and ammo will always have value as will luxuries like coffee, booze, tobacco etc. Medications
    may be highly valuable, toilet paper and feminine products. The list of what could be valuable in a post economic
    collapse is extensive……and likely exceeds the average persons available space to store such items. But gold and
    silver will almost certainly be of value and of use. And as such PART of your wealth should be stored in such

  51. “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” Cree Indian prophecy (allegedly)

    What is the most valuable thing in a gold mine?
    It isn’t gold.
    It’s the shovel, or the pickaxe- the tools you need to get the gold.

    If food and fuel are scarce, gold is useless. The tools that get you more food and fuel are priceless.

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