Found Silver In House

You never know where you might find a bunch of silver.  This Redditor’s friend bought a house in 2011 that had a big save in the basement.   Sounds like the ideal spot to find some hidden precious metals, right?  Nope — the safe was empty.

Fast forward two years and one plumbing project later, and the homeowner found over $2,000 worth of silver coins stashed in between the joists.  It just goes to show that you never know where somebody might have stopped to stash some of their valuables.  Like a squirrel, plenty of people have buried their treasures and forgot where they left it.  Who knows what that might grow into?

Will Pay To The Bearer On Demand

Just before I was born, most money had a “Will Pay To The Bearer On Demand” line next to the value.   That seemed silly:  I already have $20 right here, in my hand, how am I going to get paid $20, and by who?

You see, before the Civil War, all money was gold, silver, copper, etc: precious metal, with its value set by its weight.  The Civil War, however, caused significant economic trouble, and the U.S. needed to pay its public debts. So, they resolved to issue paper money, whose value was printed on its front, but not backed by any precious metals.   This didn’t go over so well, because people worried that, if they got these United States Notes, people wouldn’t accept them and they would lose their value.

So, along came Gold and Silver Certificates.   These were paper money specifically backed by precious metals held by the Treasury; for every certificate dollar issued, there had to be that much gold or silver in the vaults to back it.

Economies are too flexible to adhere to a physical amount of gold or silver sitting in a vault, though.  Interest on loans, stock market wealth, controlled inflation, foreign currency fluctuation, and invention all bring a need for dollars without the corresponding increase in precious metals.  So, the Federal Reserve appeared as a solution:  they could create dollars of their own, but they had to be backed by investment in the economy.   This hedged against loss of value, but disconnected money from precious metals.

So, these Federal Reserve Notes had the message “Will Pay To The Bearer On Demand” printed on them, to let people know that their Federal Reserve Notes were backed by something: the U.S. Dollar.   And, if that wasn’t enough, there were still other types of money around — gold certificates, silver certificates, and U.S. Notes.  So, if you were worried about your Federal Reserve Note’s value, you could go down and get your money exchanged for silver dollars, for example.

In 1933, the price of gold exceeded the value of the dollar, so the gold standard was dropped and the silver standard adopted.  In 1963, however, silver was now worth more than a dollar as well, so the U.S. economy was stuck.  The economic value of the dollar remained strong, but they couldn’t keep backing it by silver.  So, the rules were changed: any silver certificates were to be cashed in, and all paper money afterwards would be legal tender, not redeemable for anything but other dollars.

So, starting with Series 1963 (aside from some miscellaneous silver certificates issued later to finally deplete the silver reserves), the notice “Will Pay To The Bearer On Demand” was removed from U.S. paper money, not because of some Illuminati conspiracy, but because it became the only money in the United States.

Free Silver From Your Bank

I’m signed up for a bunch of newsletters on getting rich quick, most of which are about making the sender of the newsletter rich, but this one caught my eye.  “How to collect real “hold-in-your-hand” silver from your local bank“, the email subject line promised, so I decided it was too tantalizing to pass up.  Silver – from my bank?  Mine has free cookies and coffee when you come in the lobby, dog bisquits if you’re Fido is riding along through the drive-through, but silver?  That’s a freebie I’d like to hear more about!

The email linked to this page, which is an almost half-hour Flash animation with no speed controls and doesn’t really tell you the secret to free silver.   You can pretty much read the content of the flash video here, which provide a few tantalizing clues.  The only verifiable facts in the video are that the silver is available due to a “government mandate” called H.R. 2934, and that it ended in 1971.

H.R.s – house resolutions – start counting over every session, but the particular H.R. 2934 that applies to silver that you can get from a bank would be the Coinage Act of 1873, which demonetized silver and established the coins we know and love today.  Silver coins continued to be minted until the Coinage Act of 1965 reduced or eliminated the silver content of nearly every coin.  That is, except the silver half-dollar, which kept its silver content until 1971.

And that, friends, is the “loophole” of the Stansberry Research plan, solved without purchasing their program.  The “exact five words” that they’re going to teach you must be something like “got any half dollar rolls?”   What Stansberry is hoping is that, since half-dollars are still legal tender but are rarely used, banks still have old, dusty rolls of them piled up in their vault.  Some of those rolled half-dollars are probably old silver coins from before 1971. Since the bank will give you a roll of 50 half-dollars for $25, if you don’t find any silver you just re-deposit the coins and you haven’t spent anything.

The thing here is:  this is actually a pretty good idea. Although the Mint most likely sold or destroyed any silver coins in their inventory by the 1980s, people have been socking away their coins for years, and it’s not crazy to think that silver ones have been deposited at a bank at some point.  With the popularity of coin-counting machines it’s likely that the silver half-dollars, slightly heavier than their current copper-nickel siblings, would probably be kicked out by the machine and given closer scrutiny, reducing the likelihood that the coin would be accepted as a regular 50¢ coin.   So, what you’re looking for is a needle in a haystack…but since the coins are traded at face-value, you’re only out your time, not your money.  This practice is similar to the people who bought rolls and rolls and rolls of the state quarters in hopes of discovering errors or finding extra-fine quality coins for the collector market.   There’s a bit of work involved, but there is a potential for payoff if you put enough time into it.  Whether or not it does is the gamble, hardly the sure thing that Stansberry Research would like you to believe, but if you’ve got the time, like panning for gold, it might pay off in the end.

US Mint Bullion Sales Up

After a slow November, the US Mint reports that sales of bullion coins – both gold and silver – were up for December, continuing the trend since 2008 of huge growth in collectors buying silver and gold.

Silver had the largest increase for December, and although gold was up, sales of gold coins for the year 2011 are down overall,  sliding gradually over the year with just a couple monthly peaks of large sales.   The peak in December seems to coincide with a price drop that has continued into January.