Silver, Two of Seven

Source:

"The history of fiat money has always been one of failure."

"As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information."

In the time of the ancient Babylonians—long before the periodic table—there were seven sacred metals: gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead and mercury.

In Roman and Greek mythology, the First Age was called "Golden," the Second Age "Silver." Apollo, the god of truth and light, and teacher of medicine, carried a silver bow.

The hieroglyph of Isis (Egyptian moon goddess) is a crescent and images of her are usually reproduced with her standing on the Crescent. This has also become the symbol for silver—on old maps a crescent shows the location of a silver mine.

Islamic alchemy gave silver an important place, alchemical procedures were defined in terms of silver—the silvering of other metals, the act of giving other metals silver like qualities.

We've long practiced the science (metallurgy) of separating silver from lead—the earliest known workings of any significant size were those of the pre-Hittites of Cappadocia in eastern Anatolia, the first sophisticated processing of lead-silver ore was attributed to the Chaldeans around 2500 B.C.

Silver metal was recognized as more precious than gold when bartering in ancient Egypt—this recorded as early as 930 BC. Silver's use as money in coin form began around 2600 years ago. The Lydian (present day Turkey) Trite is considered by many experts to be one of the first coins used as money. It was made of "Electrum," a silver and gold mixture. Egyptian silver, in coin form, began appearing around 300 BC.

Silver and gold have stood the test of time, as a medium of exchange, a storehouse of value and a safe haven in times of turmoil.

The history of fiat money has always been one of failure (most paper-money economy's downfall can be linked directly to the costs of financing out of control military growth and its wars). Every fiat currency since the Romans started diluting the silver content of their denarius has ended in devaluation and eventual collapse of both the currency and of that particular economy.

For the very first time in our history, all money—all currencies—are now fiat. The U.S. dollar used to be gold backed, and it was the rock to which all the world currencies were anchored. When the USD became fiat, all the worlds currencies became fiat.

The Federal Reserve first issued its debt-based paper money in 1913. Since then, the USD has lost 95% of its value.

"The major monetary metal in history is silver, not gold." -Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate

In this author's opinion, silver has a few unique twists: Firstly, as a much cheaper precious metal, silver is winning market share from gold buyers. The higher gold prices go, the more consumers will step down to silver—even more so if they think silver's price will rise substantially.

Today the gold:silver ratio stands at 65.94:1 (gold $1,224 oz./silver 18.56 oz. = 65.94). Historically, the ratio has been 15:1.

Since silver made it's nominal high in 1984, the gold:silver ratio has held fairly steady at 45:1—with the current ratio at 65.94:1, either gold will have to fall or silver will have to rise to $27.20 to get the numbers back in sync with 45:1.

To get back to the historical average ratio of 15:1, silver would have to rise to $81.60/oz.

Silver, like gold, also performs its function as a precious metal—acting as a storehouse of value and a safe haven in times of turmoil—though, and herein might lie the opportunity, silver seems to have been asleep on the job with the historical gold:silver ratio being so out of whack.

Gold does seem to be performing admirably and, in this author's opinion, does not seem set to significantly drop in price any time soon. The Dow on gold's terms:
  • In 2000, gold made its $260/oz. low
  • January 2000, the Dow was 10,900
  • 10,900 ÷ $260/oz. = 41.9 oz. to buy the Dow
  • Today, at 10,443 DJII and $1,224 gold, it's 8.53 oz. to buy the Dow
Secondly, silver is an industrial metal/commodity; which, unlike gold, is consumed, thus giving you a call on an economic recovery.

"Silver is a unique metal that wins whether the economy is going well or is in bad shape. In the latter, the investor buys it as a hedge against the downturn in the economy and the markets. And if the economy improves, then the industrial demand increases." -Chintan Parikh, CPM Group Commodity Analyst

The bottom line? Silver gives you a nice double play with prices expected to perform well no matter what the prevailing economic or geopolitical conditions.

Thirdly, silver does not have the threat of much-publicized Central Bank and IMF sales constantly overhanging it—though it does seem to trade in lockstep with gold when this old boogey man is trotted out to the herd.

Conclusion

In this author's opinion, it's not if—but when—the gold:silver ratio will revert to a more traditional number and share-price upswings will trickle down to the very few junior silver producers—the soon-to-be producers, developers and explorers. It's for these reasons that silver and silver junior precious metal companies should be on every investor's radar screen.

Are they on yours?

Richard (Rick) Mills
[email protected]
www.aheadoftheherd.com

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Richard is host of aheadoftheherd.com and invests in the junior resource sector. His articles have been published on over 200 websites, including: The Wall Street Journal, SafeHaven, Market Oracle, USA Today, National Post, Stockhouse, Casey Research, 24hgold, Vancouver Sun, SilverBearCafe, Infomine, Huffington Post, Mineweb, 321gold, Kitco, Gold-Eagle, The Gold/Energy Reports, Calgary Herald, Resource Investor and Financial Sense.

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