Author Archives: USAGOLD

Gold Classics Library

A Gold Classics Library Selection


Money and politics in the land of Oz
The extraordinary story behind the extraordinary story of
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

photograph of original cover for the wonderful wizard of oz book

by Professor Quentin Taylor, Rogers State University

Year in, year out, Money and politics in the land of Oz is among our most highly-visited Gold Classics Library selections. Here is the extraordinary story behind the extraordinary story of ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. Most have seen the movie version of this allegorical tale published in 1900, an election year, but few are aware of what the various characters, places and things represented in the mind of Frank Baum, the tale’s author. Though ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ was written 120 years ago, the themes will be recognizable to those with an interest in golden matters today. While many today consider gold an instrument of financial and personal freedom, in Baum’s tale, it is painted as a villain — the tool of oppression. So, as you are about to see, we have come full circle, and gold has traveled a yellow brick road of its own.

[LINK]

[Gold Classics Library Index]


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Thinking about buying gold and silver?


Gold in six easy lessons

1. Don’t buy it because you need to make money; buy it to protect the money you already have.

2. Don’t look at price as a barrier; look at it as an incentive.

3. Don’t buy the paper pretenders; buy the real thing in the form of coins and bullion.

4. Don’t fall prey to glitzy TV ads; do your due diligence instead.

5. Don’t allow naysayers to divert your interest; allow yourself the right to protect your interests as you see fit.

6. Don’t forget the golden rule: Those who own the gold make the rules!


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Short and Sweet

Only real intrinsic money survives the test of time

photo of stacks of gold and silver coins

Here is a timeless observation from the now-deceased Richard Russell (Dow Theory Letter):

“Paper money is now being created wholesale throughout the world. Stated simply, all paper currency is now valued against each other. But more important, ultimately ALL paper is ultimately valued against the only true, intrinsic money – gold. In world history, no irredeemable paper currency has ever survived. Since all the world’s currency is now irredeemable (in gold), this means that in the end, the only form of money that will survive is real intrinsic money – gold. It’s not a question of whether gold will survive, it’s a question of when the world’s current paper money will deteriorate and finally die. I can tell you that irredeemable paper will not survive – but obviously I can’t tell you when it will die. The timing is the only uncertainty.”

The chart below from the World Gold Council speaks to Russell’s point. It shows the performance of various currencies – past and present – against gold over the long term.  When the end comes, as the chart illustrates, it can come abruptly and without warning. For those who stick to the proposition that gold is not really an inflation hedge, or that it is not really a safe-haven against currency debasement, the chart offers instruction. For those who already own gold as a safe-haven, it provides justification. For those who do not own gold, it serves as an incentive.  As the old saying goes:  All is well until it isn’t.

Chart showing gold outperforming all major currencies since 1900
Chart courtesy of the World Gold Council


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How to buy gold – A step by step approach
A step by step approach to help you start right

What you need to know before you invest in gold
Some initial guidelines from one of America’s top gold experts

What you need to know before you launch your gold and silver IRA
Hedging economic uncertainty in your retirement plan


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CLIENT ALERT

Which is better?
A gold or silver ETF or outright ownership of the real thing?

Not a day goes by that one gold ETF or another is reporting strong gains to its stockpile. Most of those gains come from financial institutions and hedge funds boosting their portfolio positions. We applaud Wall Street’s move to gold. At the same time, though an ETF might make sense for funds and institutions, it might not be the best choice for private investors interesting in owning gold for long-term asset preservation purposes.

Gold ETFs, says Simon Black of the SovereignMan website, are “purely a financial product that defeats the entire purpose of owning gold to begin with. Why turn one of the best, longest-standing physical assets in the history of the world into a paper asset? With this type of debt instrument, you don’t actually own the gold yourself. You become a creditor with nothing more than a claim on someone else’s gold.”

At USAGOLD, we have an alternative you might want to consider ……

The Precious Metals Safe Storage Advantage

Image of golden safe doorIt only takes a few minutes to complete a Precious Metals Safe Storage account opening form, but it could mean all the difference for the investor seeking a superior alternative to gold and silver ETFs. We use the word “superior” because depository storage accounts come with an option not readily available in most ETF accounts – You can take delivery of the metal in your account, or any portion of it, whenever you wish.

At the same time, given the exclusive preferred referral storage rate you receive by opening your storage account through USAGOLD, the annual cost to maintain your holdings is comparable (and often lower) to what most ETF vendors charge in annual fees. All the while, your metal is stored safely and fully insured at one of America’s oldest, largest and respected independent depositories – a firm with which we personally have done business for decades. To get started, we invite you to go to the link immediately below and fill out the application.

Account Form – Precious Metals Storage Account


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Short and Sweet

How to hedge electronic circuitry run amok

With respect to the growing dominance of computer-based trading on Wall Street, an old Star Trek episode offers some important insights. It involves the Enterprise crew visiting a planet where the inhabitants seem to be living in a state of perfect bliss. Captain Kirk knows that this cannot be right. There is no such thing as perfect happiness. As it turns out, the population is controlled not by a loathsome dictator who has drugged the population into happy compliance, but by a computer that has evolved sufficiently to somehow gain control of their minds. Something must be done, concludes Kirk, to break its hold. Spock comes up with the solution by instructing the computer “to resolve the value of pi” – an impossibility because its resolution, as we all remember from high school math class, is infinite. The computer spends all of its time and devotes all of its resources trying to achieve the impossible and the dictatorial hold it has on the population is released – a trick we might want to keep in mind for the day computers complete their mastery of Wall Street.

Similarly, Financial Times once told the story of the textbook, The Making of a Fly: The Genetics of Animal Design. It started out selling for $113 per copy at Amazon – that is, until the governing algorithm misfired between two third-party sellers. The price then skyrocketed to $23 million before someone took note and fixed the problem. We forget that computer software, and this applies to Wall Street’s trading apparatus as readily as it does the Amazon pricing platform, is only as reliable and intelligent as the code by which it is instructed to operate. The practical equivalent to Mr. Spock’s solution in the financial realm is to store sufficient capital in the form of gold and silver coins detached from electronic circuitry that might run amok. 


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Short and Sweet

Blinded by the Money Illusion

graphic image of a pile of green money

“Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we’re much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be.” – Janet Yellen, Former Federal Reserve chairwoman

With those words, Janet Yellen, now the Secretary of the Treasury and facing an even worse crisis than the one referenced above, put investors around the world on notice, though probably not in the way she intended. In the past, such smug assurances from public officials have been enough to send contrarian villagers heading for the safety of the nearby woods. The informed student of financial history knows that panics, manias, crashes, and collapses are as common to investment markets as hurricanes to Caribbean beaches. To think that suddenly we have banished their recurrence for ‘our lifetimes’ smacks of the kind of misguided hubris that contributed directly to the 2008 meltdown and subsequent untold financial hardship. Just about the time most everyone comes to the conclusion nothing could go wrong, everything goes wrong …… and in a hurry, as we have discovered over the course of the past year.


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Short and Sweet

Two legendary central bankers embrace gold

Image of one-time central bank heads Mervyn King and Alan Greenspan

In The End of Alchemy (2017), Mervyn King, the former governor of the Bank of England, writes of central banks’ frustration in dealing with the persistently stagnant global economy. “Central banks,” he says, “have thrown everything at their economies, and yet the results have been disappointing, Whatever can be said about the world recovery since the crisis, it has been neither strong, nor sustainable, nor balanced. . . [W]ithout reform of the financial system, another crisis is certain – sooner rather than later.”

“Our problem,” Alan Greenspan once said, “is not recession which is a short-term economic problem. I think you have a very profound long-term problem of economic growth at the time when the Western world, there is a very large migration from being a worker into being a recipient of social benefits as it is called. And this is legally mandated in all of our countries.” The western world, he concludes, is headed to “a state of disaster.”

It is interesting to note that both Greenspan and King, two of the most respected central bankers in modern times, have embraced gold since leaving their respective posts. The former Fed chairman has consistently suggested that gold is “a good place to put money these days given the policies of governments.”

The former governor of the Bank of England says that he is “very struck by the fact that over many, many years, central banks, governments and individuals have always, despite the protestations of economists, held some gold in their portfolio…[W]hen unexpected things happen, particularly when governments rise and fall, then gold is a means of payment that everyone is always prepared to accept. And I think that’s why even central banks have always had a role in their portfolios for gold.”


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Favorite web pages

photgraph of scattered viking runes

Gold and silver price predictions from prominent players for 2021


Curious about gold and silver’s future? This page catalogs price predictions from top pundits and prognosticators – a casting of the runes updated regularly throughout the year as new additions surface.


We encourage your bookmark.  We invite your return visits.

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row of books on library shelfA Gold Classics Library Selection

Pompous Prognosticators
Optimism abounds as stock market crashes – 1928 to 1932

by Colin J. Seymour
May 2001 (Rev. August 29, 2001)

Chart of 1929 stock market crash with numbers corresponding to famous quotes

This classic study posted on the USAGOLD website in 2001 has received thousands of visits over the years. Seymour captures the essence of a period in stock market history not unlike our own through quotes from major market players, economists, and analysts from John Maynard Keynes to Bernard Baruch, Irving Fisher, and many other notables.

[LINK]

[Gold Classics Library Index]


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CLIENT ALERT


Beware MS70, MS69, PF70 ‘Perfect’ + ‘Certified’ + ‘First-Strike’ + ‘First-Release’ Gold and Silver American Eagles and American Buffalos
photographs of American Gold Eagle and Gold Buffalo one ounce bullion coins

In 2006, the US Mint produced its first-ever .9999 fine gold coin in the form of the popular American Buffalo. The goal was to offer investors an American-made alternative to popular pure gold products like Canadian Maple Leafs, Austrian Philharmonics, and gold bars. While numerous dealers (USAGOLD was one) offered Buffalos as an alternative bullion coin at a competitive rate, the novelty of the coins coupled with feverish demand helped spawn a whole new spinoff in the gold business – the independently graded contemporary bullion coin.

On the surface, there is nothing wrong with having one’s contemporary bullion coins graded and housed permanently in hard plastic containers. It is when these items are then promoted as exceptionally rare and desirable and priced at very high, and often unsustainable, premiums over their gold content that it becomes a problem. In reality, as you will read below, the graded item, in most cases, is not substantially different (except for the container) from the typical bullion coin purchased daily by thousands of investors around the world.

After Buffalo hype wore off, our feeling was that this promotion, like many others that came before it, would fade away with waning interest. Yet here we stand many years later, rather than fading away, it has expanded and proliferated to include American Gold Eagles, American Silver Eagles, and US Mint Commemoratives. One need only search MS70 or PF70 “Perfect” American Eagles to see just how many companies offer these fictional “numismatics.” (MS is an abbreviation for mint state and PF for proof)

At USAGOLD, we could not be more emphatic in our warning against paying significant premiums above the metal content for these products. This includes common contemporary items sold as “first-strike,” “early issue,” “first release,” Mint State 69, Mint State 70, Proof 69, and Proof 70, as graded by the independent grading services, including the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). Below we have published the U.S. Mint’s official statement regarding “First Strike”/”First Release” designations and production quality controls.


US Mint Statement on “First-Strike” and “First-Release Designations

Coin dealers and grading services may use these terms in varying ways. Some base their use on the dates appearing on United States Mint product packaging or packing slips, or on the dates of product releases or ceremonial coin strike events.

Consumers should carefully review the following information along with each dealer’s or grading service’s definition of “first strike” or “first release” when considering purchasing coins with these designations.

The United States Mint has not designated any coins or products as “first strikes” or “first releases,” nor do we track the order in which we mint coins during their production. The United States Mint strives to produce coins of consistently high quality throughout the course of production.

Our strict quality controls assure that coins of this caliber are produced from each die set throughout its useful life. Our manufacturing facilities use a die set as long as the quality of resulting coins meets United States Mint standards and then replace the dies, continually changing sets throughout the production process. This means that coins may be minted from new die sets at any point and at multiple times while production of a coin is ongoing, not just the first day or at the beginning of production.

United States Mint products are not individually numbered and we do not keep track of the order or date of minting of individual coins. Any dates on shipping boxes are strictly for quality control and accounting purposes at the United States Mint. The date on the box represents the date that the box was packed, verified and sealed, and the date of packaging does not necessarily correlate with the date of manufacture. The date on shipping labels and packing slips for coins that are sent directly to United States Mint customers from our fulfillment center is the date the item was packed and shipped by the fulfillment center. The other numbers on the shipping label and packing slip are used for tracking the order and for quality control.

US Mint Consumer Alert


The statement of ‘consistently high quality throughout the course of production’ is critical. For example, at one of the top grading services, 100% of the one-ounce gold 2021 American Eagle (Type 2) business strikes submitted for review graded either Mint State 69 or Mint State 70 – the two highest grades at the services. Almost 95% of submissions received a Mint State 70 grade, the ultimate rating. As for the 2021 silver American Eagle one-ounce coins (Type 2), 99.9% of submissions made the top grades of Mint State 69 and Mint State 70, and a similar percentage of proof silver Eagles made the top grades of Proof 69 and Proof 70.

With the mint continually producing new coins at the same high quality that they always have, year after year, there is literally an ENDLESS supply of product. To be clear, you do not have to avoid buying these coins altogether. You just have to avoid paying an egregious dealer premium to do so. In fact, if you were so inclined as to desire ownership of graded bullion coins for future numismatic potential, we’d recommend simply purchasing bullion coins from us at our competitive premiums and submitting them to be graded (certified) on your own.

Content last updated on 11-12-2021


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A telephone call from an old client and friend
‘Gold shone with the placid certainty of received tradition’


photo of a 1907 St. Gaudens High Relief gold coin

“I had the happy occasion recently of receiving a telephone call from an old client and friend – a physician safely retired near the sea and alongside one of the South’s oldest golf clubs. It was good to hear from this student of the markets – one of life’s steady and thoughtful practitioners. Back at the turn of the century, Doc foresaw much of what would happen economically in the United States and purchased what he considered enough gold to see him through it.”

[For the rest of Doc’s story we invite you to visit this link.]


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Short and Sweet

The next great monetary experiment

Uncle Sam poster with quote bubble saying 'I need vast sums of money!'

Daily Reckoning’s Brian Maher warns of the potential consequences of modern monetary theory. “This MMT sounds like a recipe for immense inflation, even hyperinflation,” he says. “You are spending all this money directly into the economy. It will drive consumer prices through the attic roof, you say. This is crackpot. A witch’s sabbath of inflation would surely result. Yes, but here the MMT crowd meets you head on… They agree with you. They agree MMT could cause a general inflation, possibly even a hyperinflation.” [Link to full article]

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), we would add to Maher’s observation, is neither modern nor a theory. John Law, the Scottish financier, tried a version of it almost exactly 300 years ago (1717-18) in France.* He did so with the blessing of the French monarchy and with a rationale very similar to MMT’s proponents today.  MMT entails, simply put, a federal government fiscal policy without spending limits coupled with the power to print whatever money is required to finance any deficits. In the end, Law’s theories (to his surprise if we are to believe the historical account) bankrupted the French people and the government, reduced the economy to ashes, and created such a distaste for paper scrip among the citizenry that it took 80 years for France to reintroduce paper money as a circulating medium.

In The Story of the Greatest Nations (1900), Edward S Ellis and Charles F. Home tell of the public mania that engulfed the French people and led to ultimate financial ruin for thousands:

“The shrewder speculators* became alarmed. They began to sell their shares of stock, and hoard in gold the enormous wealth they had acquired. This resulted in a demand on the government for metal in exchange for its paper, and soon the government had no metal to give. Then the crash came. Those who had the government paper could buy nothing with it. Those who held the Mississippi stock could scarce give it away. It was worthless. The government itself refused to accept its own paper for taxes. A few lucky speculators had made vast fortunes; but thousands of families, especially among the wealthier classes, were ruined.”

That snippet provides a hint as to the steps taken by those who survived Law’s version of modern monetary theory. For those to whom all of this has a distinct ring of familiarity, perhaps a judicious hedge makes some sense. A number of analysts have made the argument that we do not have to wait for the formal launch of modern monetary theory.  It is already here.

* Please see this link for a summary of  Law’s Mississippi Company land scheme.


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Short and Sweet

Socialist mousetopia regresses to dystopia and finally, extinction

artist rendering of a well-cared for mouse

In a piece written for IFL Science, James Felton offers a riveting account of what exactly happened in the mousetopia of Universe 25. John B Calhoun, a medical doctor at the National Institute of Health, says Felton, “set about creating a series of experiments [in 1973] that would essentially cater to every need of rodents, and then track the effect on the population over time.” It yielded some very unexpected results. Calhoun’s socialist utopia (or, in this case, mousetopia) evolved to a chaotic dystopia and finally an apocalypse, as the norms of mice behavior in the wild completely broke down in what can only be called social chaos. “Soon,” writes Felton, “the entire colony was extinct.” In the opening paragraph to the study, Dr. Calhoun says, “I shall largely speak of mice, but my thoughts are on man, on healing, on life and its evolution. Threatening life and evolution are the two deaths, death of the spirit and death of the body.”

It is difficult to read Felton’s account of what happened in Universe 25 without thinking about the still-developing response to the pandemic-related government support programs on all levels of our society, i.e., the distressing social, psychological, economic, and political upheaval it has induced. Calhoun, according to Felton, “believed that the mouse experiment may also apply to humans, and warned of a day where – god forbid – all our needs are met.” Moreover, Calhoun wrote, “For an animal so complex as man, there is no logical reason why a comparable sequence of events should not also lead to species extinction. If opportunities for role fulfillment fall far short of the demand by those capable of filling roles, and having expectancies to do so, only violence and disruption of social organization can follow.”

By all of this, we do not mean to suggest that contemporary society is headed for a dystopia – though some troubling signs are already present. On the other hand, it would be foolhardy to believe that there will not be modifications to the way our society operates, unintended consequences, and renegotiation (perhaps even radical alteration) of the standing social contract. The general effects on the economy – and ultimately financial markets – are likely to be ongoing with the ultimate results still to be determined. The wise will prepare for the unexpected.

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Short and Sweet

A very old yet very new thought from Mr. Charles Dickens

Image of 18th century man holding his head in disbelief“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

Things change little.  Things change a great deal.  The opening passage to A Tale of Two Cities – a very old yet very new thought.

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grpahic image BBB logoBetter Business Bureau Five Star Review

“I made my first purchase of gold about 5 years ago and it was with USAGOLD. They answered all my questions and allowed me to buy a larger amount than they usually allow for a first time buyer. They trusted me and it worked out fine for both parties. Their BBB rating was a big factor in me trusting them. Other firms looked pretty sketchy and I didn’t want to spend that much money on a shaky firm. Since then I have purchased coins quite a few times from USAGOLD and have never been disappointed with the quality of the coins. The whole staff is very professional and courteous and are not pushy at all. They treat you as a friend, not a number. They remember me as soon as I tell them my name. That is a nice feeling. I will continue to buy from them and I highly recommend them.” –– Jim W.

Scorecard: 17 verified five-star reviews. Zero complaints.
A+ rating. Accredited since 1991.

[Link]

USAGOLD Recommendation: The precious metals industry is unique in the financial industry in that it is not subject to oversight or regulation by third-party government entities like the SEC or CFTC. As such, marketplace forums and feedback sites often serve as a replacement for investors attempting due diligence. While several options can be found, by far the most impartial and least susceptible to vested influence is the Better Business Bureau. When looking at a company’s BBB profile, don’t focus solely on the rating. To be honest, pretty much everybody has an ‘A’ or ‘A+’ rating. What is far more important to assess is the number and nature of complaints, number and caliber of positive and negative reviews, longevity with the BBB, as well as the number of ‘stars’ given a company through the actual customer review system.


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Short & Sweet
Past gold bull markets have begun with a surge in the money supply

If the Fed is looking for inflation, it will find it in the money supply – something that did not happen with authority in the aftermath of the 2008 credit crisis. From June 2019, the money supply has grown by $4.5 trillion – an eight times factor year over year. Recently, the rapid growth resumed its uptrend after about six months of moving sideways. During the financial crisis that began in 2008, the Fed sterilized its money creation by routing liquidity back to its coffers in the form of commercial bank excess reserves – a strategy that kept the inflation rate from running out of control. As you can see, the money supply growth this time around goes beyond anything that occurred during the prior crisis. Whether or not it will translate to price inflation down the road remains to be seen – though we have begun to see some signs of inflation taking root, most notably in the surge in commodity prices.

“Every gold bull market over the last 50 years has begun with a catalyst that propelled significant growth in the money supply,” writes Manning & Napier, the money management firm, in a report posted at Seeking Alpha titled The Value of Gold in a Portfolio. “Each of those prior bull markets was proceeded by substantial US dollar money supply growth, making monetary expansion a key indicator. It is important to note that this alone does not guarantee a gold bull market, as there are many other variables at play. … We see the status of each of these economic factors, money supply growth, inflation, and real interest rates, as supportive of higher gold prices ahead. Policymakers have been remarkably forceful in responding to Covid-19, resulting in substantial recent money supply growth in the US, and they appear willing to continue to throw money at the crisis in the year ahead.”

overlay line chart showing gold and M1 money supply drawn in log scale 1970 to present
Sources: St. Louis Federal Reserve, ICE Benchmark Administration • • • Click to enlarge

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Short and Sweet

“Bear markets are sneaky beasts. . .”

photo of a bear peaking out from behind a tree“Bear markets are sneaky beasts and they like to do their damage as secretly and as unobtrusively as possible. I hate to say it but somewhere ahead, the bears going to get it all together and the innocent little stream is going to turn into a waterfall. What can you do about it? Stay out of the market? Protect yourself by remaining in pure wealth, gold. For thousands of years, silver and gold have been treated as pure wealth. As the standard measures of wealth (stocks and bonds) have deteriorated, veteran investors have forgone profits and moved their assets into pure wealth.” – Richard Russell, King World News, 2016

 King World News called the late, great Richard Russell – who regaled us with his wisdom in the Dow Theory Letter for nearly half a century – “the greatest financial writer in history.” We can only guess what Russell would have had to say about the current state of affairs, but the quote above provides a clue.  Never predictable in his opinions, he was rock solid on one axiom throughout his career – the necessity and transcendence of gold as a permanent component of the well-balanced investment portfolio. As he said, so often, it helped him sleep at night.


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Favorite web pages

USAGOLD’s
Live Daily Newsletter
(The page you are now visiting)

Map of the world colored gold with www.usagold.com Member World Wide Web since 1997

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for everybody to really take it upon themselves to read as much as they can and try and understand what’s going on. Don’t rely on the mainstream media, don’t rely on short soundbite information, really dig into this and seek out the people who can help you understand it because it’s incredibly important right now.” – Grant Williams, RealVision-TV, Matterhorn interview with Lars Schall

We couldn’t agree with Grant Williams more.  Here at USAGOLD, we have always geared our content to what we believe our clientele would like to know or learn. Not the general public. Not Wall Street. Not the search engines. Not our colleagues in the field.  But our clientele.  The centerpiece to that endeavor is the page you are now reading.

We invite your visits.  We encourage your bookmark.

USAGOLD’s
Live Daily Newsletter
Up-to-the-minute gold market news, opinion and analysis as it happens.

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Row of books on library shelf– A Gold Classics Library Selection –
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Ten Rules For Investing In Gold
Nuggets of practical wisdom for those contemplating gold ownership

photograph of a pile of gold nuggets

Few over the years have better articulated the often misunderstood yet compelling case for owning gold like Sprott Asset Management‘s John Hathaway. Below, in short form, he offers ten nuggets of practical wisdom for those contemplating gold ownership. “Gold,” he says, “is a controversial, anti-establishment investment. Therefore, do not rely on conventional financial media and brokerage house commentary. In this area, such commentary is even more misleading and ill-informed than usual.” We first published Hathaway’s “Ten Rules…” back in the 1990s when he was a fund manager at Tocqueville Funds. They have held up well during their nearly 25-year tenure at USAGOLD and still attract a steady flow of visitors.

[LINK]

[Gold Classics Library Index]

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Posted in Today's top gold news and opinion | Tagged |