One visiting economic pundit, when asked by his even less informed host how to buy gold, actually advised buying expensive jewelry for your wife or girlfriend as a good first step. He then commented that gold was difficult to oxidize, indicating some vague remembrance of the most basic and important characteristic of the element, but still short of any real understanding.
The Western world, and thereby much of the rest of the global economy, is teetering on the edge of massive failures by national banks, corporate finance and the governments now in power. Despite valiant efforts to bail out the failing economies of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal by the European
Union and the Euro-dollar, the panic among the cognoscenti is spreading. They are selling currency to buy the precious metal in every form, from small coinage and ingots to refugee chain necklaces and bracelets. The Chinese government is unloading its American dollars and taking delivery of gold in pallet loads of heavy mint marked bars, and French café proprietors are burying untaxed earnings in the flowerbeds to hedge against total collapse of the whole game. The French are always so skeptical.
Back to basics! Gold is unique in the entire table of elements in that it does not react with oxygen. It neither tarnishes nor rusts. It does not corrode or burn. This makes it easily identifiable from any other material through a number of primitive and sophisticated tests. That means it can be used as currency without worry about counterfeiting — huge step forward in civilization and trade among tribes and nations. Gold coinage is accepted around the world, and should anyone doubt the legitimacy of a British sovereign or a twenty-dollar gold piece from America, it can be tested on site.
The old saying that something “rings true” refers to the tone of gold when a coin is dropped on a hard surface, such as a marble bar top in your favorite saloon. Subjecting gold to a flame until it glows before melting is also a test, as the metal takes on a shade of apricot unlike any other metal. Tribal chiefs, most of who can quote the day’s world price,an accomplish this in the jungle.
The most sophisticated test is the famous “acid test,” which can discriminate between the degrees of purity in karats, using several distinct acids to compare the sample with known standards in a simple needle kit.
For investment and currency use, gold is only worthy if it is pure .999 gold or 24 karat. Most coins and refugee chain are 22 karat due to the use of 18 karat solder in the links. Retail jewelry in America is almost exclusively 14 karat, or 56 percent pure and worthless as a medium of exchange. The mail-in gold sales scam often pays as little as a quarter of the value after fees and processing.
If you plan to buy gold, buy coins, including less than 1-ounce denominations, which are easier to use in daily affairs. Refugee chains are hard to find, but most cities have one or more Thai jewelry shops by appointment only, which sell these internationally recognized method of carrying
significant wealth on your person.
When the feces hits the fan, the golden rule applies: “He who has the gold, makes the rules!”
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views.