Category Archives: Gold News

What is “real” money?

Throughout recorded history, true money has been defined as a tangible item accepted for exchange and considered to have value.

Diverse items ranging from tulip bulbs to seashells to weaponry have been considered money at some point in history. However, none of those items have stood the test of time.

Neither have government issued fiat currencies. Throughout history all fiat currencies have failed or likely will fail again.

Currencies are not “real” money

If you ask the average guy on the street to define “money,” 99 out of 100 will likely answer “paper money,” the U.S. Dollar or a similar response. Technically, that?s an incorrect answer. Paper money and base metal coinage are just government issued currencies, a form of debt.

On the other hand, gold, and to a lesser extent silver, fit the historical definition of money and have for thousands of years.

So why have gold and silver survived the test of time as a true form of money? And why have gold and silver been universally accepted as money throughout recorded time?

gold bullion vs gold coins

Unlike government-issued currencies, gold and silver have been considered “real money” throughout history. [Photo credit: BullionVault Bullion bar in sea of coin via photopin (license)]

Why gold & silver are “real” money

Here are a few reasons why gold and silver are well suited to be considered money:

1. Gold and silver are LIQUID, meaning they are easily exchanged, traded, bartered with or sold for non-monetary government issued currencies.

2. Gold and silver are CONSISTENT. That refers to the fact that gold and silver are easily recognized, and their appearance and composition have never changed.

3. Gold and silver are DIVISIBLE. Smaller or larger units of precious metals are proportional in value. Most other tangible items of value are not.

4. Gold and silver are CONVENIENT, meaning even small units hold noteworthy value and are easy to carry and transport.

5. Gold and silver are DURABLE. That means, as with all precious metals, they are not biodegradable, nor can they evaporate and disappear without a trace. That is not the case with many forms of “so-called” money.

6. And finally, and maybe most importantly, gold and silver cannot be created “on a whim.” Both are FINITE. Whereas there?s almost an infinite amount of paper on this planet, there?s a very finite amount of accessible precious metals.

If you have any questions about true money, which is by historical definition physical gold and silver, please contact the non-commissioned professionals at Jack Hunt Gold and Silver at your convenience.

Can the World Run Out of Mineable Gold?

Hundreds of years ago, early economists were puzzled by a quirk in pricing: why do some non-essential goods cost so much while truly essential goods cost so little? As an example, why are water and grain so cheap when they are so vital for human survival? Why are gold and diamonds so expensive when neither is a necessity?

Scarcity & Value

The answer is quite simple. All economic based commodities are scarce to some degree. All things being equal, more scarcity = more value. There is a lot of water in the world, but not much gold. Both have significant value but for different reasons. Simply stated, it?s easier for most people to access fresh water than to mine an ounce of gold.

Why Gold is Valuable

Gold is valuable for many reasons, but its relative rarity is one of the most important. In fact, gold is so scarce we might be running out. The notion that the world may be running out of mineable gold recently appeared in a Wall Street Journal article discussing the failed Barrick-Newmont gold mining merger. The author begins the article by stating: ?The big dilemma for gold miners; there ain?t much gold left.? He?s correct. The lack of readily mineable gold is making life tough on mining companies worldwide. My only issue with the aforementioned article is that the author doesn?t seem to note the significance of running out of the world?s most famous precious metal.

Gold is Increasingly Harder to Find

The article goes on to say that, at current mining levels, we are only 20 years away from completely exhausting all of the discovered gold mines in the world. All of them. That isn?t to say that more gold can?t be found; it just isn?t common to find new pockets of the yellow metal. This has become more and more evident since the boom in global demand for gold over the last 25 years.

decrease in gold mining graph

As the global demand for gold has increased, gold discoveries have decreased dramatically over the past decade, putting us at risk of running out of mineable gold within the next 20 years. [Image: GoldCore]

Numerous mining publications track the discovery of new precious metal reserves, including gold. Most industry sources agree that new gold deposits can be categorized as ?major? or ?significant? by containing an estimated 2 million ounces of mineable fine .9999 gold. Industry sources agree that 22 ?major? deposits were discovered in 1995, 6 in 2010, 1 in 2011 and none from 2012 to 2015. The decline is unmistakable.

The Future of Gold Mining

While there are estimates that there could be substantial quantities of gold beneath the Arctic Circles, the cost would be extremely prohibitive with gold at or near current levels. There also may be large pockets of molten gold near the earth?s core. However, it?s a safe bet we won?t be mining that anytime soon. Data suggests that gold production seems to have peaked around the year 2000 and has averaged an annual decline of approximately one million ounces since. Many speculate the next great gold deposit will likely to come from mining an asteroid! A topic for a future blog.

Gold’s Long-Term Outlook

Gold has always been a good long-term store of value, but in the long run it may prove to be a better one. The demand for gold was at an all-time high from 2008-2013 and the current trend of decreasing supply could increase its value in the medium to long term.

Remember, gold?s relative scarcity contributes to its value. It?s Economics 101: the more demand for a commodity, the more valuable it will be; the less supply of a commodity, the more valuable it will be. Gold could have both of those factors going for it in the medium to long term.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Fractional Gold

Here at Jack Hunt Gold & Silver we are frequently asked about the pricing and availability of “fractional” gold coins. By definition, fractional gold coins are bullion coins that weigh less than one troy ounce.

Types of Fractional Gold

The most popular fractional gold coins are the U.S Gold Eagles which, in addition to the popular one ounce unit, is also available in half, quarter and tenth ounce sizes.

The Royal Canadian Mint issues its popular Maple Leaf gold coin in half, quarter, tenth and twentieth ounce sizes along with the ever popular and liquid one ounce “Maple.”

Fractional Gold US Gold Eagles Canadian Maple Leaf

The popular U.S. Gold Eagle and Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin are available as fractional gold, weighing less than one troy ounce.

Numerous other countries and mints issue fractional gold coins. However, the U.S. and Canadian pieces dominate the world marketplace, so we strongly suggest focusing on them.

Benefits of Fractional Gold

So what are the advantages of fractional gold? The first advantage is flexibility/liquidity.

That is, if and when the time comes to sell gold for cash, you can sell the unit of gold most reflective of your cash needs. You may only need $400 for an unexpected expense, so why sell a full ounce of gold for $1,250 when a quarter ounce or a half ounce makes more sense?

For those of you who feel gold may someday be used as a currency for barter or trade, common sense tells us a smaller fractional gold coin may be more practical than the traditional one ounce coin. An analogy I frequently use is that whereas a tenth ounce gold coin might yield an adequate amount of beef and milk in trade, the one ounce piece may force you to take the whole cow.

fractional gold one-tenth oz US Gold Eagle

A one-tenth oz Gold Eagle coin, worth approximately $150, is a popular choice for a gift.

A second advantage of fractional gold is that they?re more appropriately priced for gift giving. I know of far more scenarios where a tenth ounce ($150 or so) or a quarter ounce (approximately $350) gold coin is more appropriate for gift giving than a $1,300+ one ounce gold coin.

A third advantage of fractional gold is similar to the aforementioned second advantage: cost. Even though one ounce gold bullion is far and away the most frequently traded size of gold, many investors don?t want to spend $1,300+ on gold at any given time. Fractional gold coins are not only cheaper for gift givers but for investors as well.

Why Not To Buy Fractional Gold

Unfortunately, there are several reasons not to buy fractional gold and those reasons revolve around cost.

Very simply, the smaller the unit of gold, the more it costs per ounce. It costs a refiner/mint more to fabricate ten tenth ounce coins than the equivalent one ounce coin.

As an example, using a hypothetical gold ?spot? quote of $1,250 ten tenth oz. gold Eagles would cost approximately $1,500 factoring in the higher fabrication charges. A one ounce gold Eagle, with the same net gold content, would cost approximately $1,330 due to its lower fabrication related fees.

Another factor is sales tax. In many states, including New York, the sale of gold bullion weighing less than one ounce is generally subject to state and local sales taxes unless you spend a minimum of $1,000 or more on bullion.

Many states conveniently feel that fractional gold is not bought for investment purposes but only as jewelry or as a gift and therefore should be taxed. To save nearly 9% in sales taxes, we urge you to combine smaller transactions into a larger transaction to legally avoid sales taxes.

Is Fractional Gold Right For You?

The ultimate decision is yours, of course.

If your motivation for buying gold is for gift giving or future barter or trade purposes, the added expense of fractional gold may well be worth it.

If you?re buying gold as either an investment or inflation hedge, then one ounce units with their most attractive buy/sell “spread” may be the more logical option.

Removing Capital Gains Taxes from Precious Metal Trades

Recently lawmakers in Idaho and Arizona have passed bills removing Capital Gains Taxes from transactions involving gold and silver bullion.

Normally, when individuals sell gold or silver they must pay capital gains on any increase of the value of their precious metal investments.

However, many consider precious metals, especially gold and silver, to be a form of currency, not an investment in the traditional sense.

It seems that lawmakers in Idaho and Arizona have now realized that their citizens shouldn?t have to pay taxes on their precious metal holdings simply because of the Federal Reserve?s questionable dollar related philosophies.

Gold & Silver Moving Toward Role As Currency

So now we have two states in the last few weeks that have passed bills removing capital gains tax on gold and silver. The Arizona and Idaho legislation is a noteworthy step towards the reintroduction of precious metals in their rightful role as both real money and as a high quality storehouse of value.

Gold silver idaho currency

Idaho and Arizona lawmakers recently voted to eliminate capital gains taxes on gold and silver trades, helping to move the precious metals toward their role as currency, rather than investments. [Image: Tenth Amendment Center]

In 2011 the state of Utah was the first state in 80 years to pass a bill that made gold and silver legal tender once again. Thus, citizens in Utah are legally allowed to use silver and gold to pay either taxes or for goods and services if both parties agree.

But what’s even more interesting is that Utah just recently introduced a bill for a State Gold Repository. This bill would build on the state?s Legal Tender Act, creating a foundation for further action to encourage the use of gold and silver as money.

This would be still another step toward breaking the Federal Reserve?s monopoly on money. The legislation would add several key provisions to the state law designed to encourage the use of gold and silver as legal tender.

Passage would set the stage for the expansion of gold repositories in the state and authorize further study on numerous sound money policies. Specifically, this bill authorizes the investment of public funds in specie (coins with precious metal content) legal tender held in a commercial specie repository.

Demand For Gold & Silver Will Increase When Dollar Falls

As I write this, we now have three states encouraging the use of gold and silver as real money. Not only does this legislation help to reintroduce gold and silver as sound money, it also sets the stage for new depositories across the states to house citizens? precious metal holdings.

Granted, there are only three states onboard with plans equating precious metals with currency. However, I believe that this is just the start for numerous other states to follow suit. The dollar will eventually tumble due to massive monetary printing and staggering debt.

Americans are hopefully preparing for what may be on the horizon. Precious Metals are currently being valued in a manipulated highly leveraged gold and silver paper trading market, a system that cannot last forever.

When the paper markets finally crack under the massive weight of debt and derivatives, there will be a mad rush of investors looking for gold and silver. The overall demand for tangible assets will lead to shorter supplies and higher prices for precious metals.

Recommended Viewing: Get It. Got It? Good.

Grant Williams’ presentation from Mines & Money in London in December 2016. A follow-up to Nobody Cares which focuses on gold’s performance in 2016, the reaction to Donald Trump’s election and joins a series of dots that may lead to the end of the petrodollar system and a new place for gold in the global monetary system.