No, I am not a fortune teller. In last week’s column, which I wrote
in late April when silver was toying with a $45 per ounce price, I
concluded with, “Be careful, please! I do like to watch out for my
Coin World readers.”
Well, within a week the price of silver plummeted to $35. I am
writing this on May 7. Who knows where it will be by the time you read this.
Very disturbing was an account I read last week — saying that much
silver that people have been buying is “paper silver” such as
contracts and receipts. Real hard-metal silver is harder to find, it
seems. This reminds me to urge you that if you invest in silver or
gold bullion, take possession of it. And, if you buy coins, take
possession of these too.
Rent a safe deposit box or two for your treasure.
A notice, “You have 1,000 ounces of silver in your account,” would
not mean much to me.
In the early 1980s an outfit called International Gold Bullion
Exchange, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ran splashy ads in the Wall Street
Journal and elsewhere, proclaiming they were the best and least
expensive place to buy gold. The owners of the firm were indicted for
grand larceny and intentional securities fraud. It turned out that
most of the firm’s customers who were holding “paper gold” in their
accounts lost everything.
In another situation a company came up with the bright idea of
setting up a commercial vault in which people could store precious
items anonymously. A lot of people signed up. Then one day there was a
news article stating that the vault had been mysteriously entered over
the weekend and many boxes rifled. “We are cooperating with the
police,” the president of the company said. So far as I know, no one
ever recovered a thing.
Changing my drift slightly, modern technology makes it easy and
convenient for you to enjoy your scarce and rare coins, tokens,
medals, and paper money while they are in your safe deposit box.
You might check around for other products, but for less than $250
I bought an Epson Perfection V500 Photo scanner — a desktop device
that connects to a PC. I scan the things I find interesting to collect
— counterstamped coins, obsolete paper money from Maine and New
Hampshire, and other stuff — and in a few keystrokes can study and
enjoy any item I own.
In fact, for paper money, I scan at 800 to 1,200 dots per inch
resolution and can see more details on my computer screen than I could
if I held the same note in my hand!
Q. David Bowers is chairman emeritus of Stack’s Bowers Galleries
and numismatic director of Whitman Publishing LLC. He can be reached
at his private email, email@example.com,
or at Q. David Bowers, LLC, Box 1804, Wolfeboro, NH 03894.