David Morgan: Silver Threads among the Gold
I thought it would be interesting this week to write a column comprised primarily of quotes and statistics demonstrating how silver and gold have — from the distant past, right up to the present day — woven themselves throughout our lives and consciousness. In just beginning to do justice to the role precious metals have played in 5,000 years of history, this article could have been many times longer, but this small start will certainly give you the idea.
People in the East — most notably “Chindians” — Indians and Chinese, really understand and appreciate it. Hence as 2013 draws to a close, we are seeing reports of stunning amounts of gold and silver, much of it coming from the West, being imported into India and China. Considering only the official figures, it shows that we are witnessing nothing less than a demand tsunami, one that is far from reaching a crest.
In the West, arguably people — so far — are more or less unconscious about the precious metals’ story and the absolute need to have at least a handful in one’s personal possession. Yes, we’re scooping up record numbers of American Silver Eagles and Canadian gold Maple Leafs, but at this time, it is unlikely that more than a small percentage of North Americans hold any precious metals at all. Much of what little the average person did hold — mostly in the form of jewelry — has found its way into the hands of the “We Buy Gold and Silver Here!” operators. However, I believe the time is now approaching when this outlook will change — dramatically.
- Gold is said to be so rare that the world pours more steel in an hour than it has poured gold since the beginning of world history.
- In terms of conductivity, all other elements are measured against silver. On a scale of 100, silver ranks at the top; copper ranks at 97 and gold at 76.
- The largest alluvial gold nugget ever found, the “Welcome Stranger” discovered in Australia, in 1869 just 2 inches below the surface. It measured 24 by 12 inches and had a net weight of 2,315 troy ounces.
- Silver has superior bactericidal qualities. Small concentrations of silver or silver salts kill bacteria by chemically affecting the cell membranes. Bacteria often develop resistance to antibiotics, but not to silver.
- To prevent food from spoiling, the Phoenicians (2000 BCA) used silver bottles to preserve their foods.
- The Olympic gold medals awarded in 1912 were made entirely of gold. Currently, these gold medals contain just six grams of gold.
- Early Egyptians used sheepskin to mine the gold dust-infused sands of the Black Sea. The legend of the “Golden Fleece” may have been inspired by this practice.
- Silver was mined in Asia Minor as early as 4,000 BCE.
- There are more than 400 references to gold in the Bible.
- In 1511, King Ferdinand of Spain coined the immortal phrase: “Get gold, humanely if possible—but at all hazards, get gold.”
- The Incas thought gold represented the glory of their sun god and referred to the precious metal as “tears of the Sun”.
- “Gold is the universal prize in all countries, all cultures and in all ages.”
- The “troy ounce” of gold comes from the French town of Troyes, which first created a system of weights and measures used for precious metals and gems in the Middle Ages.
- Hong Kong/China Combined Net Gold (known) Inflow: 2010: c. 170 tonnes; (Hong Kong Census) 2011: c. 440 tonnes; 2012: 600 tonnes 2013 (est): 1450 tonnes
- American Silver Eagle Sales (as of mid-Nov) 2013: 40,175,000 (record)
- Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Sales (- Qtr 3) (record) 2013: 867,000
Don’t get trampled by the herd once everyone else starts getting the drift of what’s happening and begins acting on that newly-found “wisdom”. Or worse yet, stepping in what that herd will leave behind. When the pain and memory of the 2011-2013 slide in gold and silver prices begins to subside — and my sense is that the decline is on its last legs now — “market sentiment” along with the price of precious metals and the shares of quality explorers and miners who find and produce them, is going to do a 180 degree turn and never look back.
Stop looking at these markets in the rear view mirror and turn your eyes, thoughts and behavior forward. As we move into 2014, my strongly considered opinion is that you’re going to be very happy you did.
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