Precious Metals and Bugging Out

Another listener, Richard, wrote in:

Perhaps you can answer this question about precious metals and bugging out. Let’s say you need to bug out of the country. Would American Gold Eagles still be valuable outside of the United States or should a prepper buy gold coins of the foreign country they bug out to (e.g. Buy Maple Leafs if bugging out to Canada, Pesos for Mexico, etc.).

My good friend, Jeff Bennett, and I have discussed this at length several times over the past twenty years I’ve known him. The simple answer is gold is gold, and those willing to accept it will know what it is, regardless of what form it’s in, or which coin you have. The same goes for silver. So, from a basic standpoint, which coin you have won’t make too much difference if you had to use it.

That said, if you know you’re going to be trading with a particular population of people – perhaps you often travel to the same country, or there are a large number of immigrants from the same geographic location in your area – then owning something they will recognize may make it easier to find acceptance.

However, the sad reality is most people cannot recognize a real gold or silver coin, whether it comes from their country or not. You would be better off buying whatever form was cheapest, and finding a few local people who know what precious metals are and have the ability to trade in it.

What I do think is worthwhile, is buying your coins in varying denominations. Having every coin or ingot in 1 ounce sizes can be very inconvenient. How do you pay for a $100 tank of fuel with a $1300 ounce of gold? The British sovereigns are one of my favorites for this, as can get them in several sizes, but the American Eagle is also that way. American Gold Eagles come in four sizes: 1 oz., 1/2 oz., 1/4 oz., and 1/10 oz.

Having coins in 1/10 oz. size is, in my opinion, very convenient. If gold is valued at $1500 per ounce, then a 1/10 coin is $150. Much easier to buy groceries or a tank of fuel when you’re dealing with increments of $150. Can you imagine the loss you’d take if you have $300 worth of food in your basket and all you have is a gold coin worth $1500?

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2 Responses to Precious Metals and Bugging Out

  1. Miro says:

    I respect your take on the situation, but I would ad that any silver or gold coin that is recognized as legal tender [Silver 1oz Canadian Maple Leaf dollar has official value of $5 Can dollars; regardless of it’s bullion value which may be $23, you can go and use it in the store now if you have to, just as US eagle in USA or other country’s legal tender coin of choice.] so whatever may happen, it is seen as money, not just as bullion silver that can be confiscated as we all know other coins don’t have that privilege. Silver Can also give you better leverage as you mentioned at grocery store. Buying Gold in 1/10 is going to cost you 3x [times] as much because the smaller you go, the more you pay for each ounce. So your investment losses third of your savings.
    To finalize, if you have the money, sure 1/10th Gold coins will work. Another issue is that gold would be the first to hunt for confiscation if cash goes south. Or, if you need to hold big investment, then Gold is better for how much weight you can carry. [$1300/oz gold vs $19/oz silver, you can carry a lot more money in oz of gold]

    I would suggest that this would have to be very personalized decision for each individual.

    • Rob Hanus says:

      You have valid points and I’ve talked about these in other areas (probably in the podcast). I was simply answering a listener’s question, and was trying to focus just on the question. However, yes, coins in general retain their value, even those we use today. At least, probably longer than paper. If you had a dollar coin and a dollar bill, I bet most people will take the coin over paper when the economy starts to crumble. It may not stay that way for too long, as even the coin as dubious value. Silver, copper, nickel, and gold coins, however, will always have value, even if it’s just the monetary value they’re stamped with. For example, as you’ve noted, a silver dollar will always have the value of a dollar, even if the the person doesn’t recognize it’s intrinsic value in metal.

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