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Silver For Survival Purposes...

Silver bullion bars

In the event of a major financial disruption, it is possible that banks may not be open for a period of time, and they might also fail.  In addition, in the event of hyper-inflation, silver could become a widely used form of money in the future.  Hyper-inflation is caused when a government decides to print up a lot of new $100 bills to avoid the pain of having to pay for what it is spending.  For every new $100 bill that is created out of thin air, this reduces the value of all the other dollars in circulation.

Imagine that you have a rare mint baseball card and it is worth $1000.  Now imagine that someone discovers a cache of previously unknown baseball cards all in mint condition.  They learn that 50,000 of the cards are the exact same one that you have and they are all in just as good of condition as yours... Your $1000 card is now worth maybe $50.  The same thing happens with paper money.  The more there is, the less it is worth so prices for things go up.  Once they start going up rapidly as people trade their rapidly-devaluing dollrs for tangible things, then a hyper-inflation spiral can be the result.

Silver and Gold both have several things going for them as a survival investment.  In the case of a hyper-inflation, silver is very likely to rise in concert with the reduction of currency value and maintain approximately its same value to buy goods and services.

WHY SILVER?

Silver's primary value is as a form of money or exchange.  It is much less valuable than gold per ounce so it is easier to trade silver for small everday purchases.  Imagine trying to buy all your goods with only $1000 bills and no way to get change.  This is somwhat like buying with Gold.  Silver gives you the $100, $20, $10, $5 and $1 bills to work with as well so it is much easier to make trades.

In the case of  financial collapse or hyperinflation, people will tend to shy away from paper money and will want something that cannot be printed out of thin air.  Silver fits this bill.

People will need to trade or barter for goods and services and silver is a good choice to fill the role of money.  It has done the job for thousands of years.  Until 1965, US coins dimes and higher were made of 90% silver.  1964 was the last year that coins were made of 90% silver and 10% copper.  These pre-1965 coins  are often referred to as "Junk Silver".

We are NOT looking for coin collector grade coins that have numismatic value beyond the silver.  We don't care about rare dates, mint marks or whether the silver coin is BU (Brilliant Uncirculated) or circulated, we are buying for the value of the silver.  If you are ever in an emergency situation where you need to exhange a pre-1965 quarter for a loaf of bread the person is not likely to be a coin collector who cares that this is a rare quarter.

There is nothing wrong with collecting coins, but that is not what survival silver is talking about.

Junk Silver

Pre 1965 Washington Quarters

The easiest way to buy junk silver is to purchase rolls of pre-1965 dimes and quarters in circulated form.  Or, you can buy these coins in a "bag" which contains a specified amount of face value silver coins and can be a mixture of dimes, quarters and half dollars all containing 90% silver coins.

A "bag" in the common usage refers to $1000 face value in silver coins.  These bags do NOT sell for $1000 but for the value of the silver (the copper is negligible to the value at present).

To calculate the value of Junk Silver

First you need to know that a typical $1000 face value bag contains 715 ounces of silver in it.  If you know the price of silver (today 9/11/09 it is $16.77 an ounce) you can multiply it by 715 to get the silver value of a $1000 bag.

715 * $16.77 = $11,990.55

This is for $1000, so $1 in silver coins is worth 1/1000 of this amount which is $12.

So, you can take a known face value and multiply by $12 to give you the silver value.

Dimes come in rolls of 50 with a $5 face value, each $5 roll is worth $60.

Quarters come in rolls of 40 with a $10 face value, eash $10 roll is worth $120.

You can purchase rolls or bags of silver coins on ebay and if you check the current silver price and use these calculations you can determine what the value is.  If someone is selling a bag of pre-1965 dimes and quarters with a face value of $50, you would do the calculation of $50 * 12 = $600 and know that $600 was the value of the silver in the bag and bid accordingly.

You can expect to pay anywhere from the value of the silver up to about a 5% premium to buy "junk silver" coins.  There is a lot of silver sold on ebay and you should familiarize yourself with the categories under the US coins category.  Often there are buys there for NO PREMIUM over the spot silver price in my experience. I just bought 7 rolls of dimes ($35 face value) yesterday for $359.  This is a multiple of 10.26 times face which if you divide by 0.715 tells you that I paid $14.35 per ounce of silver which was 14% below the silver value.

Keep an eye out for deals like this on ebay and buy them when you can...

Silver Eagles

American SIlver Eagle one ounce

Another widely used form of silver is the $1 Silver Eagle which is a very beautiful coin that contains exactly 1 Troy ounce of silver.  They typically sell for a premium over the silver price of 10% or so.

I would purchase these if you can find a good price but try to avoid paying a large premium.  Junk silver is a better bet for most survival/barter situations because it comes in smaller denominations.  These silver eagles would end up being more like your $50 or $100 bills that are used for large purchases.

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