Sunday, August 3, 2014

Dialysis is a Rush

Dialysis is a rush.

What do I mean by this? Am I alluding to thoughts of... "rush, rush, rush"... that technicians and RN's are likely to experience while working during turn-around? During those intense stress-inducing moments in time when patients are being taken off, machines stripped, disinfected, and primed, chairs placed in trendelenburg and cleaned, nursing assessments conducted, and newly-arrived patients being put on? All in an effort to get the next patient's treatment started at their scheduled on time?

Isn't it ironic that we call those portions of our daily routine "turn-around"? What if you were to picture the vortex of forces involved in a tornado, a destructive twister which can randomly ravage a countryside, and try to imagine this "whirlwind of activity" applied to a work setting? Wouldn't then the sensations we encounter during turn-around in a dialysis clinic seem fittingly, if oddly, descriptive?

I'm going to repeat myself; dialysis is a rush.

At least that's what I feel; let me expand upon my definition of rush to make this point. We've all heard athletes voice, after accomplishing some feat of daring, some variation of  "What a rush!". Whether winning an Olympic gold medal with the fastest bobsled run on the luge, plunging down the face of an immense wall of water on a surfboard, bungee jumping, or skydiving out of a plane and free-falling prior to your chute deploying, I'm sure the sense of elation is the same.

Anyone attempting such achievements would feel a surge of adrenalin during their trials. And my thinking is this: a swift barrage of endorphins would be certain to fire, producing an alteration of brain chemistry which would undoubtedly ignite a rapturous sense of physical and mental stimulation. From we discover Rush, Australian slang, defined as strong feeling of exhilaration and pleasure felt after taking a narcotic or stimulant drug.

Maybe I'm just an adrenalin junkie.  But I feel I'm safe in generalizing that our exposure to the modest tribulations we endure during turn-around are conducive to stimulating the body's fight or flight syndrome.  They result in the end production of endorphins that benefit those who work, as well as those we treat. We all get our juices flowing.  A hundred swift tasks, competently conducted, deservedly earn a rewarding glow of satisfaction.

Dialysis is a rush. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The One Percenter's

Today's piece isn't a diatribe about wealth inequality in today's world, how fewer than one percent of the global elite control 47% of the riches, nor about how the ratio of CEO's salaries continue to race into the stratosphere in comparison to the rest of us poor working stiffs. 

No, today I'd like to address what I see as a misconception in the minds of precious metals wordsmiths, and as soon as I highlight my point I'm sure you'll be able to relate. Doesn't it seem to you, Farnsworth, that we are constantly bombarded by terminology such as "only/fewer than one percent own physical precious metals?"

And then, the follow up catch phrase; "if you don't hold it, you don't own it." 

A caveat warning against investing in paper gold, i.e Gold ETF's or gold certificates issued by nefarious greedy banking bastards that promise to sell you unallocated gold, but instead merely charge you storage fees for troy ounces that never existed.

From the occasional reading that I do, I see that most, if not all writers, rely upon suspect methodology in forming their arithmetic conclusions, perpetuating an urban myth regarding 
ownership of gold by the public as barely one percent.

This is a falsehood. 

Ownership of gold by the public is probably at least 90%... if one categorizes class rings, marriage 
bands, bracelets, fine watches, necklaces, and earrings as "gold held by the public." Let's agree to
leave out gold dental crowns as they are hardly recyclable without macabre intervention. 

We acknowledge that a large percentage of gold in India (and China, perhaps to a lesser extent) 
is "invested" in gold in the form of jewelry. Indian weavers creatively produce fabrics laced with gold or silver thread, and women wear dazzling saris often adorned with countless small bangles of precious metals.

So, if we attribute these forms of precious metals as "held" by those foreign parties... then why also 
would we not credit Americans for holding gold in similar forms?

Where I beg to differ with the commonly referred to data point of one percent ownership is my suspicion that only one percent of Americans truly understand the actual worth of gold as real money. 

Most consider jewelry merely a status symbol, without fathoming the correct reason as to why gold would be something to be esteemed.

Certainly, the broad ownership of gold items by the American public might only consist of a few grams of alloyed metal by each, and the number of those owners is suffering constant attrition due to a worsening economy.

But to insinuate that only those who buy bullion forms of precious metals truly comprise the complete cadre of citizens who own physical gold (thus leading to the heralded one percent or less) is to do a disservice to readers by disingenuously misleading them.

The sad truth is, few of these American's truly understand the inestimable value of their sartorial accessories, and prove their ignorance by continuously loitering in the lobbies of Cash 4 Gold establishments to redeem their priceless "barbaric relics" for worthless fiat.

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

End Times

The Antichrist has shown himself. Within the last three months an obscure figure has made his presence known upon Youtube with his proclamations, blasphemous to the ears of the precious metals flock, that silver is not becoming extinct as many have been led to believe. Brother John, for one, repudiates his claims, rallying to cries along with the faithful that this person must be an imposter.

While his divisive Youtube views may not have quite the impact upon the silver and gold communities as the assertion propounded by Charles Darwin's revolutionary Theory of Evolution did upon Creationists at that time, his opinions threaten the bedrock of belief that for many supplies a partial foundation for investing in silver.

If silver supply is NOT in jeopardy, as he avers, stating that only 1.56 million tons have been mined throughout history, while as much as a ten thousand times that much remain within the Earth's crust, then one of the orisons that we have offered to the Heaven's has been upon bent knees before false god's.

Many have prayed that eventual above ground silver depletion would spell an end to manipulative price suppression schemes, seemingly in perpetuity, by demonic entities such as JPMorgan and HSBC, backed no doubt in large measure by the will if not the deeds of such satanic forces as The Fed and Central Banks worldwide.

It is here that perception must enter the fray. If precious metals devotees have been laboring under a misconception, it is by many degrees lesser than the delusion of those who still have faith in the dollar. If,  and this has yet to be definitively proven, there is no shortage of silver that the Earth can yield, then what at least is true is that there is the perception, and proof of such, that shortages do exist and are manifest about us.

Witness the recent runup in premiums placed upon most forms of silver that accompanied the downdraft in ostensible silver and gold prices, those both having been falsely derived from COMEX machinations. There is a different price for physical metals than there is for paper metals, and shortage or not, this divergence will continue every time demand outstrips supply, disrupting just-in-time inventories, or poorly planned government Mint's ordering of sufficient numbers of planchettes.
There IS a shortage of silver, and that shortage is evident in that demand IS outstripping supply. The shortage is due to an insufficient pipeline, the fact that a high percentage of silver is mined as a byproduct to base metals zinc, lead, and copper, and the fact that, even should further large deposits of silver someday be discovered, those new mining troves can take as much as a decade to become reliable producing sources.

Continue to stack silver, shortages or not. Continue to stack gold, price manipulations or not. These price crushing disruptions can kill optimism while fatally wounding conviction, but they offer remarkable opportunities long thought lost to those who are willing to steadfastly dollar cost average into markets that represent lasting value. Real money; silver and gold.

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Prepping For The Silver Shortage

Many of my readers are members of various online forums on which are discussed the merits of real money, as well as prepping for TSHTF scenarios. Doubtless, we've all been party to worst case scenarios threads, and how we would prep for those situations. If we haven't already taken steps to build a pantry of non-perishable food items and stores of water, capable of sustaining our families for weeks, if not months, then at least some thoughts of "I really should do something about that" impinge on our collective unconsciousness.

As well, many have taken steps to defend what they've secured -- lasting stores of real value in metals, that will protect their purchasing power in hyperinflationary scenarios -- through means of their Second Amendment Rights. This includes having a safe storage site to secure the silver and gold you've been prescient enough to amass thus far, and further measures of force to deter theft should anyone decide that you would make a soft target. The internet abounds with tales of home invasions, and thefts from vendors following coin shows are not uncommon.

If not yet, we are nearing exhaustion the available stores of investible silver in forms that the average stacker can afford. Few have discretionary income that they can cavalierly toss about, allowing them to obtain 1000 oz COMEX silver bars, so for all intents and purposes, that source is academic. What we are finding to be true, that we have all been recent witness to, is that the existing supply of small forms of silver is currently inadequate to meet present demand; this while only one percent of the public -- aware of the need to divest from fiat and build their savings in real money forms, ie silver and gold -- is doing something about it.

The premiums that many complain about are symptomatic of this shortfall, and may lessen or increase from this point onward. No one can provide a definitive answer in that regard. But let's surmise that this is just the beginning, and that this shortage is only going to get much worse. For a moment, forget about gleefully rejoicing as silver and gold prices skyrocket to stratospheric heights (which they will inevitably do, sooner than later would be my guess)... and consider a consequence of investible silver items depletion.

People will awaken to their need for a sizable component of silver and gold asset allocation in their portfolios, and just as present stackers hurry to increase the size of their stacks, their ability to do so will be severely compromised. Not for lack of fiat, but due to permanent backwardization of silver and gold. A few years from now no one will be willing to sell their (really) priceless tangible physical metal for mere paper, particularly if valuation of those metals in rapidly depreciating dollars is shifting at an exponential rate.

Silver that was $55 at the moment of a private message may have increased $4.50 by the time of a response five minutes later, and then tacked on another $8 to its spot price by the time of a confirmation reply. Who would sell under such conditions? Such an event WILL come to pass, it's only a matter of time. During such a steep price rise few but the ignorant, blinded by avarice, would be willing to part with their coins, perhaps thinking that the buyers are fools, and that they will simply replenish their inventory when calmer heads prevail and the momentum money has all been spent.

But what if they couldn't find more physical silver or gold coins? Either a lack of affordable items, or a complete vacuum of investible forms. At some point the market will not pull back, or if it falls victim one further time to manipulations, the sellers will have by then wised up, and any paper loss will be more than accounted for with premiums that are intended to maintain price stability, and not prove ruinous for any hapless proprietor attempting to appease the spending fervor of avid throngs.

How will you prep for this forthcoming silver (and to a lesser degree, gold) shortage? If you could only make one more purchase today at current prices, even though it might take an eight week delivery... given a budget of $5000, what would you buy now... and WHY? Think on this and formulate a buying plan that you can place into action at short notice.

And if you're from the camp of those who are salivating for even juicier prices than what are currently being served up... wouldn't you feel chagrined if you went hungry in spite of your good intentions? All the money in the world packed into your wallet won't do you a bit of good if you're still studying the menu when the restaurant closes.

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Time Travel

In H.G. Well's novel The Time Machine, and others of that genre, authors have repeatedly explored themes of time travelling. Describing with elaborate detail conceptions of yet to be invented machinery, they posit remarkable scientific advances that would permit those gifted designers to operate their ingenious contrivances, affording conveyance with swift dispatch, to points distant in temporal space.

Oftentimes such adventures involve a journey into the past, depicting fascinating encounters with terrifying saurian beasts, as hapless professional hunter protagonists consider the potential butterfly effect of stalking dinosaurs; could their actions alter the course of evolution and threaten their very existence by eliminating a genetic precursor to mankind's development?

Stephen King, in 11/22/1963, wondrously considers the appeal of traversing the decades to attempt to change the outcome of the course of history, by preventing events that irrefutably decree the destiny of their aftermath. How different could America's present have been if JFK's life would have been spared, thwarting Oswald's plan and making his failed attempt merely a historical footnote?

Our time travelling exercise today will not reveal a compelling portraiture of the past, a revealing exhaustive scrutiny of some momentous event frozen in time for which literature and documentation debating causes and effects already exist. Instead, we will turn an inquiring eye to the future. Allow me to take my medication before I continue, you see I sometimes am afflicted by bigworditis.

Ok, better now. I took my pill and I can keep things simpler. Everyone has been talking this year about   how a physical silver shortage is developing. We can see signs of this all around us. Go to a coin shop and the shelves are bare. Check out the online prices and you'll see that premiums have gone crazy. Starting in about December I began to notice that there weren't as many deals to be had on larger lots of junk silver. People had decided not to sell, or were not selling as much.

Had the well run dry? Those who are secondary sellers of silver rely on constant supply in order to flip their purchases for a small profit. If that supply chain is jeopardized, regardless of the cause... the effect will be that the precious metals products offered for sale will quickly dwindle. That is happening now.

Whether new buyers are entering the market following the most recently engineered takedown, or whether existing buyers are merely doubling down due to this new to be short-lived discount, makes no difference. The result is that supply is disappearing and the price for physical silver, and to a lesser extent gold, is rising.

There have been speeches spoke and articles wrote considering Peak Silver. Are we approaching that point, amidst it, or have already bypassed it? Are we experiencing a mere supply and demand imbalance, where sudden demand has overwhelmed the supply capacity of minting facilities to fabricate enough coins to meet public demand?

Is this the long awaited physical silver depletion that will result in force majeure at COMEX? If you have the answers, and they prove correct, you could position yourself to great advantage in this market and profit handsomely. The point is this. No one knows for certain if this is the real thing or just a precursor, but for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, this recent shortage? The rising premiums and greater and greater delays in shipping times?

This is exactly what the Beginning of the End will look like when it does begin for real. Take heed. If you have fiat in your wallet now, what are you waiting for?

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

This Time It's Different

Recently a spate of pundits have appeared in print and on talking head's channels, each solemnly proclaiming that recent price cascades across the boards in all four precious metals officially pronounce that the Gold bull market, or Silver bull markets, are dead. As Mark Twain was once heard to exclaim (and you could include Arnold Schwartzenegger here as well), "reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

So, too, it should be said, are ominous pronouncements that the bull run in precious metals is over, regardless of whether such proclamations emanate from Mt. Olympus from the deities themselves, or merely from such God wannabes as GoldmanSachs, or those who intentionally release misleading rumors of the imminent sale of Cypriot gold reserves.

Yes, as we've all borne painful witness, those with virtually unlimited means at their behest can move the markets sharply with immense paper selling of ostensibly tangible physical gold and silver. Look the other way and just accept this as gospel, that the paper price equals true price discovery of physical, as ... well, isn't it perfectly reasonable to suppose that more than an entire year's worth of gold production would be dumped in a number of hours on sequential days? What other motive could there be for such tactics? Surely the sellers intended to optimize their profits in the process, right?

This piece is not meant to point fingers at putative criminals, when corroborative evidence (according to the courts and CFTC) is lacking or hard to prove. It is merely intended to make you employ critical thinking. The entire motive of the recent horrendous manipulation is to utterly demoralize silver and gold longs who are not fully convicted that there is no path (long term) for precious metals to trod (in the face of global quantitative easing) other than upwards. On a short term basis, however, they will do their worst to convince you otherwise.

They would have you believe that economies worldwide are upon the verge of recovery; that dollars, yen, pounds, and euros are all healthy and strong, and that those who hold barbarous relics to preserve their purchasing power do so in folly. "This time is different," they will tout... and yet nothing has changed in the dynamics of why silver and gold have been sound, real money investments during the past decade, and will continue to be so in the years to come.

Baron Rothschild is credited with having stated "buy when there is blood in the streets." Or, to paraphrase Warren Buffett "buy when others are fearful, sell when others become greedy." The value, the intrinsic true worth of physical precious metals has not been destroyed, although their paper price surrogates have been decimated. What has been ruinously injured is investor confidence; that accumulating precious metals is a slam dunk.

Just as they intended.

Listen to those who counsel you to sell all of your silver and gold at your own peril. There is more afoot than meets the eye. Shy away from using margin to acquire these assets, unless you are prepared to lose those funds. Those in power know where the stops are, and they can easily empower massive naked shorting to trigger them, much to your dismay. Those who stack physical metals, not engaging in transitory paper ploys to accrue ephemeral fiat profits, have nothing to fear... their prescience will pay off handsomely in the future.

This time is not different.

Don't let a blip on a long-term chart catalyze you into waves of panic-induced selling. Although at times it can appear a sudden cardiac arrest victim has been lost, you'd be surprised at how fast they can be resuscitated simply if enough joules are applied. Silver and gold, platinum and palladium, are more valuable than precious gemstones. They are jewels that will glitter in perpetuity, long after memories of a once great reserve currency has been laid to rest within its well-deserved grave.

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hanging Onto Franklin For Dear Life

I started stacking precious metals years ago, after a bad run in the stock market. In fact, it was in 2003. Ah, weren't those the good ole days? Silver was at $4.30 an ounce, gold was at $322. As they say... "if only I knew then, what I know now." But actually, having suffered ruinous losses in the stock market meltdown of 2001, I was all too happy to amass physical, and it was gratifying to see those shiny bits of gleaming real wealth accumulate into piles I could covet; wild fantasies of unimaginable riches rife in my imagination.

But after a few months, I started to grow bored with 90% silver. When I first started stacking, that was my preferred form of silver. I eschewed American Silver Eagles and larger bars, there was just something about holding handfuls of old coins, can considering the history they bespoke, that lent more meaning to owning them... beyond their intrinsic worth and their much ballyhooed ability to retain one's purchasing power in an era of rapidly depreciating dollar value.

So, after hitting up APMEX for a few $1000 face bags of various denomination coins, I began to grow restless. I mean, how many canvas bags can you pile into the closet before you begin to tire of inspecting their contents and assembling multiple coin album sets? I decided to go where no man has ventured before. Franklin Mint silver sets! I can hear the assembly shudder. "Yeh, Jethro," says Mama "the danged fool has up and gone an spent all the shine money on worthless damned doodads!"

In their defense, Franklin Mint has produced some spectacularly designed sets of medals (not coins) over the years, both in sterling (.925 silver) and pure (.999 silver). Their sizes range, for the most part, from smaller pieces up to 1000 grains, although most of the .999 were one ounces. I was able to find them on ebay for much less than the going rate for junk silver, sometimes capturing them for half of their melt value, but always for no more than eighty percent.

The detailed engravings on most of them, the marvelous depictions of historical men, women, and events, are enough to take your breath away if you're lucky enough to own a set or two. Particularly if decapitated presidents have grown passe. There is something for every interest, as these two collaborative collectors   have comprehensively compiled on their remarkable website

I figured back then that if I was purchasing them for a fraction of their melt value (common at that time) then I wouldn't be hurt holding onto them, despite the fact that they are somewhat despised in numie circles as tawdry "make-a-buck-off-the-unwitting-public" schemes. And that they are sterling, which somehow makes them harder to smelt than less pure junk silver? And thus less valuable? Meh... I'm not buying that.

My reasoning hasn't changed since when I first purchased them, and recent events have made my foresight  seem all the more prescient. Back then, I had decided to buy only those sets produced prior to 1980, and thus before the days when even Grannie's candelabra and heirloom placesettings were being melted

Thus, thanks to the indiscriminate melting down of God only knows how many of these finite number of sets, these limited edition albums and chests of gleaming little gems of artisan craft are even scarcer than one might conclude from their frequency of sales on ebay. Some of these sets might actually be becoming downright [b][i]rare[/i][/b]!  Always the redheaded stepchild of stackers, drawing more revulsion than even war nickels, these widely mocked sets may yet have their day in the sun.

Consider two compelling reasons that this could occur.

1) Franklin Mint sets were never issued as currency, nor meant to circulate in any sense as pieces worth bartering. Thus they make an ideal form of silver for hoarding by the crafty as a coyote, under the radar silver stacker who fears that confiscation of silver and gold might someday occur. Should that happen, do you really think they're coming after your Franklin Mint sterling silver set of mini-automobiles too? Really?

2) A wave of counterfeit coins (they've been around for a decade, but only recently seem to be getting acknowledged as they continue gaining more public exposure) is beginning to besiege the silver investment pool. The extent of the production numbers and breadth of coin types being duplicated seems all encompassing, but limited to the extent that they prefer to replicate government issued coinage. Let us indulge in some critical thinking.

What "coins" would be most likely to be scorned by the Chinese in their drive to profit by fabricating faux products? Their main emphasis will be a push into producing the most popular type coins sought after by investors... Morgan's, ASE's, junk numies, etc. They will not try to imitate Franklin Mint 200 piece  medallion sets of locomotives, sailing ships, scenes from the American Revolution, etc, that few consider worth having, as they can much more easily make coin by making coins.

And one more

3) You can always melt it down for its troy ounce content if there are no other buyers around that appreciate it for its own merits when it comes time for you to sell.

So... Franklin Mint sets represent a form of silver that is easy to hoard, under-valued, frequently under-priced, and very possibly the least likely form of silver to ever be counterfeited or confiscated.

I don't think I'll sell mine anytime soon, thank you.

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Caution, Children At Play

I think I've been remiss in my blogging. I should have been posting caveats in each post, admonishing any readers that I am not a certified investment advisor of any sort. Lest you be enticed into attempting to replicate my own performance, let me repeat the traditional mantra of the stock market. Past performance is not indicative of future performance, your results may vary. I feel you might be best warned by a large rectangular yellow sign with the words "Caution, Children at Play." In my case, it might be better to state "slow children at play."

Caution is due when playing with leveraged ETF's. They are not for the faint of heart, nor those who are not well-healed, nor novices who cannot monitor the markets they represent closely. As has been stated by others, never play the markets on margin, and never play with money you can't afford to lose. As well, position limits might be a safe precaution. There are those who recommend no more than two percent of your portfolio being bet on any one speculative trade, so as to limit your losses if the wager goes south.

I tend to break all the rules, myself, that I would chasten others to abide by. Maybe Momma did raise a fool. Whatever the reasons, I tend to have a high tolerance for risk. The funds that I play my stock market games are within various 401k accounts, and I can afford to lose them, though that is far from being my goal. There is a risk/reward ratio involved in my trading, and I'm willing to assume tremendous risk as long as I'm very well rewarded. I'm up over seventy percent so far this year, but that could change in a heartbeat.

Let's take a look at the wisdom of using leveraged ETF's on a long term basis. The prospectuses of the various LETF's all warn that the basis of the leverage employed is intended to replicate the change in value of one day of trading. Over longer periods of time, that performance can so degrade as to completely distort the returns you might have expected. The link I am posting would make any explanation of mine redundant, so please take a moment to read

Okay, you're back? Did you get that? Over longer periods than say, just intraday at best, or one or two days, you will not achieve the performance you expect. I am confident that the silver market is in a long term bull, one that will rise steadily with more up days than down. So I will continue to employ LETF's myself. But today, when I reviewed some previous trades that were placed on 11/17/2011, I noticed an anomaly. Due to the high volatility silver pricing has undergone since that time, I am underwater on what should have been a profitable position.

Specifically, on that date I purchased 196 shares of USLV, using the proceeds from the sale of 164 shares of AGQ. Were I today to sell the USLV to repurchase the AGQ, I would actually lose ground on the trade, reacquiring only 162 shares in the process. This due, undoubtedly, on the vagaries of fate and idiosynchrasies of employing a short term vehicle for a long trip ride. Apparently, there were enough down days in that interim period that it exacerbated the losses, rather than the gains, even though silver has recently experienced a nice uptrend.

So how do I extricate myself from this mess? Well, I'll have to let the triples run for much longer, during an uptrending market, before converting back to doubles. I guess I've just discovered what my core position is of USLV, because I am loathe to sell at a putative loss. A fairly lengthy uptrend, say to $40 or $42 silver should be enough to clear the books, and I'll just need to be cognizant of this mischievous aspect of LETF's going forward. When you like to play in the fast lane, you need to keep an eye open for vehicles with undependable steering.

But Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Patience is a Virtue

A little over a month ago, I detailed my strategy for utilizing double and triple leveraged silver ETF's to take advantage of silver's notable bi-directional volatility. Specifically, in the piece entitled A Good Parking Place, I related my tactics for selling silver mining equities to raise cash in order to purchase Velocity Share's triple-leveraged silver ETF USLV. Kind of similar to switching allegiance from the tortoise to the hare, whenever the race course suddenly dips and enters a steep decline.

My reasoning is that the silver miner's are stolid, and lag physical silver's price moves, sometimes by days, and seldom to the same magnitude of gains or losses when compared to triple leveraged physical silver prices. So, on those occasions when the market offers you a buying opportunity, those otherwise disastrous days when you're getting hammered, watching your retirement dreams bleed into cyberspace, if fortune does indeed favor the bold, then gather up your courage and strike.

I would suppose you could call such a strategy derivative of Freiherr von Rothschild, Nathan Mayer Rothschild. Prior to The Battle of Waterloo the London financier is accredited with having said, "The time to buy is when blood runs in the streets, even if that blood is your own." Today, Warren Buffet epitomizes the virtues of patience as an investor, his own maxim being to "buy when everyone else is selling, then hold, finally to sell when everyone else is buying."

My contention is that silver prices will ultimately rise dramatically from their present levels, as so many others have dutifully noted with their rationale. Eric Sprott, one of the BMOC on the Silver Campus has been one who has heralded silver as "the greatest investment opportunity of the decade, perhaps of a lifetime" and the link provided encapsulates his reasoning. Thus, in my thinking, there is little danger in aggresively capitalizing on short term dips, other than the necessity, at times, to subsequently employ patience prior to selling.

After analyzing silver's volatility and the concomitant performance of USLV, I have settled upon 15% as a goal to aim for as my "fair profit" target. Many times, often intraday, the price will drop and surge 5 and even sometimes 10 percent, but as I do these trades within 401k's that require a three day settlement of trades, I can't take advantage of such lightning moves with foudroyant reflexive responses. I often give away topside profit, but no sense in being greedy. So 15% it is. Thus, were I to purchase USLV shares at $49, my sell limit order would be $56.35.

You'd be surprised by how rapidly the hare can cover that ground. Actually, I don't feel penalized by the constraints placed by having to abide by a three day wait period to avoid committing a good faith violation by selling equities that hadn't been "paid for" yet. Let me tell you about the latest episode of selling the tortoise and backing the hare. On Monday, January 30th silver underwent its most recent haircut, and the following day was more of the same. USLV, which had closed at $49.12 the previous Friday, dropped to $47.24 that first day, dipping even more to $46.01 on the 31st.

It was time to step into the fray and take advantage of the (presumed) temporary carnage. On both days I sold numerous positions and converted them to USLV. I liquidated positions in First Majestic Silver, Alexco Resources, Endeavour Silver Corp, Fortuna Silver, Great Panther, Market Vectors Junior Gold Mines GDXJ, Hecla, Mag Silver Corp, North American Palladium Ltd, Silvercorp, Silver Wheaton, Tahoe Resources, and the Global X Silver Miners ETF, SIL.

It was frustrating at times, but I was forced to wait until today, more than three weeks later, to sell many of the USLV positions I had entered on those previous trade dates. How did I do? Well, in some cases I hit my 15% target, and on others I exceeded it by a bit by adjusting my sell orders as I monitored the day's pricing activity. I converted back into the tortoise positions, in the same proportion as I had sold out of them, with the results as follow.

AG sold 1026 shares, was able to repurchase 1180. AXU sold 1039 shares, was able to buy back 1139. EXK sold 1842, was able to reacquire 2140. FSM 308 to 336. GPL 2254 to 2643. GDXJ 255 to 300. HL 1369 to 1511. MVG 866 to 875. PAL 275 to 326. SVM 1799 to 2198. SLW 664 to 697. THOEF 114 to 137, and SIL 723 to 813. Overall, I was pleased by the gain in share numbers as opposed to a buy and hold strategy which would have left me with the starting positions.

Of interest was the performance of each stock, during the interim period, before being rebought. Some of them, such as Hecla, had rebounded dramatically. That stock, on improved guidance, was up as much as 13.55% this last Monday, before finishing up the day a bit over 9 percent. Mag Silver ran up quite nicely in the interim period, as did Silver Wheaton. Those stocks that improved in pricing while I was away show commensurately lower percentage share gains. With 15% being the standard, here are the results.

SVM share count up 22.18%
THOEF share count up 20.18%
PAL share count up 18.55%
GDXJ share count up 17.65%
GPL share count up 17.26%
EXK share count up 16.18%
AG share count up 15.01%
SIL share count up 12.45%
HL share count up 10.37%
AXU share count up 9.62%
FSM share count up 9.09%
SLW share count up 4.97%
MVG share count up 1.04%

Having sold into the rally on this ascent, I am now configured to "wash, rinse, and repeat." Bring on another dip, JPMorgan, I have the chips to play. I am not worried about "missing profits" by not remaining in USLV, as I am still playing a healthy percentage of my portfolio with double-leveraged AGQ. But I also am now the proud papa of significantly more little tortoises which, as slow as they might be, in the long run may turn out to win the race after all. You just have to be patient.

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weird Dreams

I just awoke from an afternoon nap after making a startling discernment. I was having one of my usual action dreams, where I get to be an Indiana Jones in one of his Adventures. I'm the good guy, sometimes with super powers, often the ability to fly, and always the hero. I generally find treasures and wind up with the beautiful gal hanging onto my arm, gazing adoringly into my eyes, caressing my cheek with her fingertip. Then I awaken and realize my head had been buried in my pillow, and it was just the fabric of the pillowcase that had stimulated those senses.

This time was different. I'm writing hastily to capture the essence of the dream before it fades into oblivion. I remember sitting in a cubicle, about to receive an injection in my left thigh from a large stern female of Germanic heritage dressed in camo fatigues as I resisted this apparently mandatory shot. "Sit still," she commanded in response to my attempt to squirm away from the approaching needle. "What is it, I retorted, "Rohypnol?" "That's a sexist attitude," was her gruff response.

A thousand questions were swirling in my brain as I persisted, "but why do I need this?" Her answer was chilling. "Because we want you to be strong and truthful." As if, without some sort of sodium pentothal truth serum my initial response would be one of corrupt integrity or morals, a natural deceptive riposte feigned in self-defensive nature? Who was being duplicitous here, me or this government entity forcing mass inocculations upon an unwilling quarantined populace when there was no threat of any form of contagion?

You've heard of the concept garbage in, garbage out. I guess this dream is the result of the word candy I've been feeding my brain recently, through avenues of print media, broadcasting, and the world of cinema. Namely, in the last week I watched the recent films Contagion and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I had just finished listening, on King World News, to a Gerald Celente interview regarding military exercises in Los Angeles in urban population control and subjugation of rioters in anticipation of widespread civil disobedience. I have watched the youtube videos of the FEMA encampments. For what purpose will they be employed?

And I have been reading, on Zero Hedge as well as other sites, about the loss of liberties endangered by such recent codices enacted by the follies of the Capitol Hill Fools such as FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which may threaten your ability to safeguard your money by offshore investments. The implementation costs upon mid-sized foreign banks is prohibitively costly and could easily result in the unforeseen consequence of those same banks shunning deposits of American citizens.

I have also become aware of the far-reaching, although unintentional, potentially calamitous repercussions of the two internet restrictive mandates SOPA and PIPA, as well as the draconian strictures passed into law on 12/31/2012. Seems like we won't have to wait for 12/21/2012, the termination date of the Mayan calendar, to usher in the prophesied end of the world. Obama beat Quetzacoatl to the punch by signing the NDAA. It is now written in stone, and its circumlocution mimics the shape of that archaic Doomsday petroglyph.

Prior to its inception, supporter Sen. Lindsey Gramm (Rep-S.C.) spoke out stating that under the 'worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial' provision of S.1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, the legislation will "basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield." Despite claims to the contrary, such legalese is open to misinterpretation, and thus subject to abuse. Should you have the misfortune to be deemed a "belligerent of the state" heaven help you, because the law won't.

Since it's signing, Ron Paul has been vociferous in his advocacy that the Act, and any subsequent declaration of martial law, directly imperil our civil liberties. Alas, the media blackout shrowded upon Paul serves to suffocate his message or twist his words, taking them out of context, in an effort to demonize his oratory. Thus, what attention he does draw from the Left is, accordingly, often knee-jerk backlash to disingenuous liberal media coverage, fomented by inaccurate interpretations of his own campaign statements, lumping him scornfully with maliciously characterized Tea Party "extremists."

Does your near future hold the portent of Department of Homeland Security officials pulling up to your curb, spilling their own version of jackbooted thugs from three black Chevy Suburbans, and manhandling you or your loved ones into the dark interior to whisk you away to indefinite detention? Merely because your browsing of websites or search fields contained catch phrases or watch words classified as being seditionist in nature, and being monitored by the elite Cyber Command Force?

Not everything you see in Hollywood movies is fictional. Most scripts are, at least partially, based upon facts. Whether or not Enemy of the State, or Eagle Eye, are unequivocally accurate in their depiction of the extent to which all of our communications are subject to scrutiny, programs similar to those portrayed currently record and monitor all communications inside the United States; their purported intent being to stop terrorist events in an incipient stage. Will they soon be interrogating high school students researching a paper on taboo subjects?

How long will you even be able to browse online? The Internet remains the last bastion of the autodidact, those self taught individuals who rebel at the thought of dining upon the pablum served up by the so-called news entities in this country. How long will we be able to visit domains deemed dubious by TPTB who wish to restrict free-thinking? Those sites that might be subject to blackouts for containing content that would promote civil disobedience in protest of increasingly draconian measures? SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, contains provisions that are far-reaching in their potential for abuse.

Laurence Tribe, a high-profile Harvard law professor and author of a treatise titled American Constitutional Law, has argued that SOPA is unconstitutional because, if enacted, "an entire Web site containing tens of thousands of pages could be targeted if only a single page were accused of infringement." Youtube, Google, Facebook and countless other online sites could be ultimately affected.

How long will it be before is forbidden to advertise reference works on certain Muslim subcultures? Or banned for failure to comply? As detractors of The Patriot Act would all too willingly emphasize, "it all starts innocently enough, for ostensibly noble purposes" but, all too often, sinister consequences swiftly ensue. Certainly, I am using hyperbole for effect, but these leaps of the imagination aren't really that hard to envision, are they? They are the logical steps in the calculus now being employed, and the answers they are capable of deriving are not to my liking, nor should they be to yours.

The reality is I woke up from my siesta and realized that my afternoon dream was a nightmare. In a world where the regulations are already in place that could manifest such loss of liberties, it is only a matter of time until they are enforced. My fear is that too many Americans will continue their endless daydreams, their senses dulled into semi-narcotized comatose state, and they will only awaken from their en masse somnambulism too late to recognize that 1984's author George Orwell was right about Big Brother, he was just two decades too early.

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Capitalizing On Silver's Mood Swings, Part 2

Let's face it folks. Silver is manic-depressive. Or at least her admirers are. Most of the time, it you are one of her followers, you're likely to be either as euphoric as Steven Tyler high on blow, after an all-nighter with a bevy or curvaceous groupies, or as depressed as the hapless nitwit that realizes he called in sick the day the office pool won the Powerball Jackpot of $325,000,000. Not much time is spent by silver in a calm sideways-trending consolidative state.

Silver is well noted, even feared, for her extrememe volatility. Last September 12, 2011, Jeffrey Nichols of wrote a piece regarding how some of the bullion banks are making the situation even worse. The piece was entitled The New Bankster Weapon Against Gold and Silver. Here's the mysterious part. I can't seem to find it any longer, in order to link it, both to accredit the author and allow his lengthier piece to do greater justice than my summation.

If I recall correctly, it's Jeff's contention that "da boyz," namely bullion bank JPMorgan, but also HSBC, long accused of market manipulation resulting in price suppression, are finding that they can no longer effectively control the price of silver. So what they are doing instead is exacerbating the volatility of silver to an even greater extent than is normally extant. They hope, thusly, to stifle further interest in this asset class, by unsettling that segment of investors that crave stability.

This will, naturally, scare a lot of "weak hands" away from trading silver futures. When they can't rely on technical analysis to make informed decisions (because the chart patterns featuring all the data are manipulated to destroy any dependence on that tool) then is it any surprise those speculators will abandon the field for a more stable trade? When you're playing the markets, you want to be able to sleep at night, and not develop ulcers. Silver makes it hard to avoid doing just that.

But what if there were a way to make that very volatility work to your advantage? I've already delineated the strategy in other articles, specifically Triple Dip, Double Run. But I do want to revisit the concept and illustrate a few examples. My system employs using leveraged ETF's to accentuate any big moves made by silver, in either direction. At first I was selling double-leveraged AGQ on days when silver was significantly down, and picking up triple-leveraged ESLV.

Then I decided to try selling mining equities to buy ESLV, selling a few days later (this is inside a self-directed 401k that requires three days for settlement of trades) into a subsequent rally and repurchasing considerably more shares of each miner than with which I had begun. The point I want to make is this. You don't have to wait for silver to plummet to benefit from this scheme. You only need to establish a downward trend. For this I use a minute-by-minute silver price feed downstreamed from Netdania.

Once identified it's time to determine the percentage losses of mining equities versus ESLV, with the goal of arbitraging the difference. What do I mean by this? Today silver was down about fifty cents after a good performance the previous day. I felt had there been a strong pullback, it would have been an opportune time for me to place a few new trades. Silver did not retrace as deeply as I was hoping for, but I did notice a disparity between percentages lost and decided to place some trades anyway.

Specifically I noticed that, at the same time USLV was down nearly four percent, Alexco Resources was down less than one percent. The same pattern repeated with Silver Wheaton and Hecla, as well as Silvercorp. USLV had fallen sharply by comparison, dropping some three percentage points greater than the aforementioned stocks. So I bought more shares of USLV with the proceeds of sales of some my shares of those miners. That disparity ought to provide a head start.

My thinking is that silver's notorious volatility will now work to my favor, as USLV, purchased at a putative low, will likely outperform the comparatively staid miners to the upside as it ascends, courtesy of a triple-boosted jet pack. Like Elton John, singing Bernie Taupin lyrics in his classic, I'm counting on this strategy to lift my portfolio to the moon, as some like to say about silver's prospects. "Rocket man, burning up his fuse up here alone."

Selling USLV, in a few days, after what I anticipate will be another of it's notable "dollar up" days, should enable me to enjoy roughly a fifteen percent gain and, hopefully, repurchase shares in the miners that I sold. If they happen to sport only modest gains in the interim, as has often been true of their past performance then, within that scenario, I emerge the winner with more shares than which I started. The equities frequently lag the price, in moves in either direction.

I seem to be doing okay so far, up 52% this first month. Maybe it's a fluke, but I think I could be onto something. Feel free to chime in with your comments. The only downside I see is that, at times, I may need to remain parked in USLV, which is better-suited to short term use. I am not a chartist, and I don't know diddly, Joe, about interpreting formations. Cup and handle? Flags? The terminology is nothing but jargon to me, but then is my understanding them an absolute requisite to making profitable trades?

What I can tell you is this. I am convicted that we are swiftly depleting our above ground silver. Manipulaton will cease to work when this happens. Price can only move upwards when that occurs. So I shouldn't need to watch Bollinger Bands. Do I really need to forecast a trend, based on a Head and Shoulders formation? The only thing that brings to my mind is shampoo. And that encapsulates the beauty of this trade. To prove successful, simply keep doing it. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Capitalizing on Silver's Mood Swings, Part 1

"You're an idiot!"
"Well, you're a moron!"
"Who you calling moron, you imbecile?"

Is this dialogue from a Three Stooges episode? Or could it be a heated exchange you might overhear on almost any playground in America, during recess due to a game gone awry? Precisely because of the popularization and public adoption of such terms, they, as well as cretin, ignoramus, and retard, have mostly been curtailed as descriptors. Family caretakers of mentally-disabled members tend to find them denigrating.

In film epics, though, Hollywood has been known to take license with these finer details. 1975's Academy Award winner One Flew Over the Coocoo's Nest, is a case in point. Starring Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher, this poignant drama provides some insight as to the stress involved in an "insane asylum." I can understand, in that environment, how frustrating the work could be. With compassion exhausted, one might lash out, making a comment they'd later regret.

So perhaps the screenwriters weren't too far off the mark in perpetuating the use of epithets like retard and mental defectives, hurled by a harried and overworked staff. Although most people nowadays don't hesitate to use synonyms such as crazy, mad, insane, or lunatic in conversation, it might be deemed more politic, within the mental health care field to exercise a bit more restraint to avert their usage.

The DSM-IV is a must-have resource that diagnosticians, from therapists, to counselors, psychologists and pyschiatrists, rely on for making a prognosis of patients troubled by mental issues. It is no longer politically correct to use early Twentieth Century terminology to label patients. Now deemed derogatory, professionals no longer assign labels such as idiot, imbecile, or moron, even though these were once all perfectly acceptable IQ category designations.

While the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, does rely on designations to classify disorders, the terms seem benign in comparison. I doubt any school yard bullies are going to be taunting smaller kids with such tirades as "Oh, shut yer face, you borderline personality little freak. Stop with the histrionics already." Or, to the friend staring into a mirror attempting to perfect her make-up, "Geez, Ginger... stop already. Someone might think you have Narcissistic Personality Disorder!"

Now let's peek into the office of Dr. Gold. Maude, the receptionist, has been busy, answering the insistent ring of the phone, scheduling appointments, and greeting patients. She just signed in a young lady who appeared quite anxious. Maude gives her a clipboard and asks her to take a seat as she fills out some billing forms. Hearing her name over the intercom, Maude picks up the phone and listens a moment.

"Miss Silver, Doctor will see you now." Silver enters the door held open by Maude, and is guided down a hallway and shown into a spacious, sumptuously-furnished office. "Make yourself comfortable, Doctor will be right with you." As she waits, she glances nervously about the room. The mahogany panelled walls are adorned with numerous awards, certificates, and diplomas.

There are pictures as well, presumably of Dr. Gold. There's one of him, lining up a putt on the green, playing with a foursome of athletes in a celebrity golf tournament. There's another of him sitting on a couch, talking with Oprah Winfrey. A third shows him shaking the hand of President Obama. Some prankster has attached a yellow post it note to the frame, on which is printed in block letters, Sociopathic Omniscience Syndrome, incurable.

"Miss Silver," intones the doctor with sepulchral gravitas, "we're going to ask that you take a simple test, the MMPI, that will measure your responses to some questions. "Why? she asks, "I feel fine." The doctor, maintaining eye contact, responds, "Well, Miss Silver, it's been reported to me by colleagues that you have trouble sleeping, at times you're severely depressed, yet at other times given to emotional outbursts. Frankly, you're confounding your family."

"By completing this Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, it might help us make a preliminary finding of your condition. I can venture a guess at the results, but I want to confirm my diagnosis." Ninety minutes pass, and then finally Miss Silver is finished. She hands the completed test to the doctor. He glances at it briefly, opens a folder and compares it to an answer sheet, and enters the results into his laptop.

After a moment he looks up. He jots some final notes in a manila binder and responds "Well, Miss Silver, it's as I feared. It appears you have a severe case of Bipolar Disorder, with complications." Miss Silver appears stricken, with a deer-in-the-headlights look of panic. "What does that mean?" she wails. Leaning back in his plush leather chair, the doctor replies, "You're a manic-depressive, young lady. Simply put, you're given to extreme mood swings, and that can have grave consequences.

"I hate to put it so bluntly," he continues, "but it seems that you need to hear the truth." Continuing, he leans forward, as if confiding a secret, and explains "I can prescribe some Lithium, which should have a steadying effect. That way your mood won't oscillate as much between highs and lows. Frankly, though, I think you should warn your family so that they know what to expect and can try to be supportive." Part two follows.

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sino Silver Sabotage

China has long been accorded the status of a combatant in ongoing conflicts. At least so states Jim Rickards, who recently penned the excellently received tome Currency Wars. His book details the global back-room machinations of various Central Banks, as they exert their cumulative insidious influence upon their respective currencies in what has been deemed a worldwide race to depreciate all fiat currency. Whether or not that is part of a hidden agenda by TPTB, leading us towards a NWO, and steered by a shadowy cabal of uber rich who meet at the Bilderburg, is not the intent of this piece.

What I wish to consider is this. Our government, and our Defense Department, constantly confer within the Pentagon and other think tank locations, to game scenarios that might foresee ramifications of moves and countermoves placed into play in response to various gambits launched by "the other side." In a milieu, where the designation of the origin of nefarious acts that might imperil our United States borders constantly changes, the play remains the same, but the cast is constantly auditioning for new roles. When one antagonist falls ill, another swiftly takes his place. Witness North Korea. Pun intended.

We have enough problems with the likes of South America's capos Hugo Chavez, and Evo Morales, nationalizing oil and threatening mining interests within the borders of Venezuela and Bolivia. Any Arab state, as Libya and Iraq can attest to, that threatens to trade oil for gold, or in fiat currencies that would bypass the dollar, will swiftly find itself under attack and it's leaders replaced. All under the guise of offering stability and an opportunity for democracy.

There remain larger adversaries. Iran comes to mind. Ahmanidinejad appears, at times, a megalomaniac who is equally intent upon advancing Iran's purported nuclear enrichment program, wiping out the Jewish state, or threatening the oil supply by blocking the Straits of Hormuz. Since a large frontal assault might eventuate in the onset of WWIII, perhaps their leadership and command structure lend themselves as targets for covert forces and surgical strikes, like excising a particularly nasty tumor. Anyone know how to reach Mossad and Sayaret 13 to contract some wet work?

Another thorn in our side is Russia's Valeri Putin and his constant recommendations to replace the dollar with a basket of alternative currencies and the threat that poses for replacement of our fiat issue as the reserve currency of the world. Hyperinflationary repercussions would be felt at home as all of the suddenly useless American currency was repatriated. Our standard of living would plummet faster than the libido of a Viagra proponent who waited too long to take advantage of his uplifted spirit.

We are already at war, and have been for years. The opening salvos were launched stealthily, not at our borders, but at our hoarders. Someday this might be referred to as The War of the Precious Metals. China, unbeknownst to most, long ago launched Weapons of Math Destruction at our financial realm, aiming to sabotage our financial world. Coursing towards American borders are not nuclear submarines armed with cruise missiles, but massive subterfuge, whose deck flaunts weaponry intended to hurl deadly projectiles. Counterfeit silver, to be specific.

Who really knows how long China has been exporting fake silver bullion to the world? Did it begin as long ago as the Hunt Brothers induced silver spike of the late Seventy's/early Eighty's?
In any event, such an answer would be academic, but what is not moot is the acknowledgement that such fake bullion has flooded our shores. This cresting wave threatens to undermine the efforts of Americans who strive to take protective measures against dollar depreciation and the subsequent loss of purchasing power by amassing small caches of safe haven metals, silver and gold.

Although it has been discovered that fakes have been produced, again most likely originating in China, of Canadian Silver Maple Leafs, as well as American Silver Eagles, I wish today to address another niche of the silver bullion spectrum. No, not the fraction of cirulating Sunshine Mint rounds that have proven to be counterfeits, but the existence of faux Engelhard Silver Prospector one troy ounce rounds. The extent of this problem may be far more widespread than anyone realizes.

What could a foreign power such as China hope to gain by such a ploy? Well, for one, cheaper silver as these counterfeit bullion rounds and bars directly channel investment demand away from the fast diminishing supply of above ground silver stores, lowering the price as they do so by blunting demand. Meanwhile, they can nationalize the silver mined within the borders of their own country, prohibiting exportation while simultaneously increasing the tonnage of silver imports. The accuracy of the numbers reported by Chinese trade officials is debatable.

To funnel investment monies to such a desired effect would require pervasive, widespread fakery to an almost unimaginable extent. But who can reliably refute that condition doesn't already exist? Videos making a viral impact via youtube explain what to look for in order to verify suspect rounds. If they are correct, the visual clues useful for tentative preliminary identification of fakes may be present on as many as 76% of the listings available for purchase on auction site ebay. I've already discussed Type 2 Engelhard silver rounds in Ebay Prospects Poor For Silver.

If those alleging that the features of the Type 2 round are consistent only with fakes, then it is already too late to address the problem. The challenge then would become identifying which few Engelhard rounds were genuine. And see, that's a point that kind of sticks in my craw. Of all the reading that I've been doing since this issue was brought to my attention, every source quoted that Prospectors are prized as collectibles due to their scarcity. Do they seem scarce to you? My guess is that some Chinese criminal enterprize recognized an opportunity and took advantage of it. And, unfortunately, of us.

If what I've documented is true, the problem of Engelhard fakes is widespread and burgeoning. It is not a disaster which remains fixed in scope, but instead represents a pernicious danger to the financial well-being of anyone attempting to amass silver bullion as a hedge to economic Armageddon. The problem, despite acknowledgement of its existence, is not one that can be vanquished like the bite of a lethal viper with simple application of an anti-venom, but rather more akin to falling prey to a many-headed hydra with the power to petrify.

How many silver savers would continue to do so, should they discover that a significant portion of their accumulation turned out to be worthless? I imagine I could be exaggerating the extent of the problem, for how many Prospector collectors can there be, anyway? But more will develop in time, if the problem persists. Dilution of the pool of authentic Prospectors will only accelerate as more and more fakes inundate the market. Guys like this perpetuate the problem!

So what might be a pervasive problem today, if accurately assessed at 76%, will only become exacerbated as more and more fakes cascade into the markets to the point of ubiquity. You can rest assured that such toxic residue is poisoning the purity of our precious metals streams in a torrent, not a trickle.

Even the rounds available on the secondary market, from ostensibly secure online precious metals sites such as APMEX, are subject to the same hazards faced by others. The fakes are getting so good, they're fooling the experts! If I am not deceived by my failing vision, the picture below and the text that follows, from the APMEX site, pictures the "fake" Type 2 Prospector.
"Guaranteed .999-fine, these 1 oz rounds will be Engelhard only. Due to the extreme popularity of these rounds, when we come across an offering, we will set them aside so you can buy exactly this brand. With these rounds no longer being minted, they are difficult to locate in quantity. When we do have them, they typically sell out quickly. Don't wait too long as they may not be here next time you return!"

Provident Metals offers an image of the Type One Prospector, and upon close inspection the diffences are easy to see. Note greater detail in water left of miner's pan.

When industry giants, whose expert status is nonpareil, can be gulled into listing Type 2 Prospectors that may prove to be counterfeits, can any source be trusted? Must the Engelhard Silver Prospector be relegated to the status of "yeah, it's a nice looking round, but I wouldn't touch one with a ten-foot pole, it's probably fake." I hope not, but the more that I delve into this cesspool, it seems the cistern has already been fatally contaminated. There's a turd in the silver pool, and it appears to be Chinese.

Buy Real Silver. Buy Real Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ebay Prospects Poor For Silver

Are you relying upon ebay as a source of small lots of silver, that you hope to win at a small premium to melt, or perhaps even below? I suspect that's the intent of several posters at two different precious metals forums I am a member of, and Not so much the members of the latter group, as they tend to buy, sell, and trade amongst each other, or participate in "group buys" so as to qualify for the minimum purchase requirements from online precious metals dealers, or private mints, that would otherwise present a formidable barrier to the small budget collector.

But members at realcent frequently brag of their "finds" on ebay, recounting how they were able to place a winning bid at such and such a percentage below melt, or combine any number of discounting mechanisms to realize a substantially reduced final cost. This rodomontage, more often than not, is boasting regarding silver rounds, in small lots. The American Silver Eagle is one of the most widely produced one troy ounce silver rounds, more ubiquitous than even its darling sister to the North, the Canadian Maple Leaf, and more often than not the threads are about one of these two coins.

But occasionally someone will post about a seemingly great deal they just scored on a silver round that is a bit more arcane in nature, the Engelhard Silver Prospector. Popular following the previous Hunt Brothers induced silver run-up, these rounds, produced by Engelhard from 1982 until 1987, are sought after collectibles, due to their scarcity and thus difficulty of acquisition. Did I say scarcity? Aren't there 219 individual listings on ebay right now, if you search for Engelhard Silver Prospector by each individual year of issue? And even more if you search with less stringent fields?

Did I previously mention a seemingly great deal? What you are buying on ebay might be a great deal, but for the seller, and not so the buyer. I'm not too sure about this Albert, and correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't silver-plated brass be a lot cheaper than silver, per troy ounce? Chances are good, no... make that very very bad, that the great deal on the Prospector you just won is only a piece of brass or copper with a 100 mill coating of silver, that looks alot like an authentic round. So much so, that it has fooled most of the people buying and selling on ebay.

If I'm right, and here I'm depending on the corroborative evidence describing these fake Prospectors, then the counterfeits appear to have less detail on them, suggesting that they were made from a mold. The ripples in the water are less defined, there are fewer wrinkles in the upper right arm of the prospector, and fewer creases in the leg of his upright leather boot. One detail, which is telling in its absence, is the presence of four or five tiny horizontal ripples that descend in vertical fashion, and measure less than one millimeter, to the left of the miner's pan. According to the links posted, this detail is missing on the fakes.

So, bearing these parameters in mind, I set about to determine how many listings on ebay might be vending counterfeit Prospectors. It would be unfair to characterize these sellers as con men, as they very well might not realize they are selling suspect coins. Some of the biggest power sellers on ebay, some with positive feedback in excess of 15,000, are among the "guilty" parties. Rather than alleging that they are selling fakes, let us proceed to christen the "authentic" Prospector as Type 1, and the round with less details, described as fake by others, as Type 2.

After examination of all the images that were clear enough to differentiate Type 1 from Type 2, I was able to establish an incredibly high percentage of potential fakes being sold online. If this is true, than the Chinese criminal enterprises that are alleged to be fabricating these counterfeits have flooded the markets with them. Of the 219 listings I scrutinized, 167 are Type 2. If this is true, and this means of identification is valid to detect faux silver, then it means that greater than 76% of the Prospectors listed on ebay are fakes! You have less than a one in four chance of finding silver, if you're panning the Engelhard River on ebay!

I originally began to look into this after being alerted that fake 1984 Prospectors have been found. Videos on youtube depict individuals grinding down the silvery exterior layer on some of these suspect coins, only to find a core of brass-colored metal. But if what this reviewer found to be key to identifying the fakes (Type 2) is true then one can no longer trust the secondary market as a source for investment grade silver, if they be Prospectors.

Are the 1984 issues the only ones whose provenance is controversial? No. I looked at 105 listings for 1982, only four of them were authentic (Type 1). Of the 1983 listings, there was only one, and it was Type 2, even though it is wrapped in factory sealed plastic. ... 3a6fb26a8b Of the 1984 listings, there were only three Type 1 out of 37 listings. The 1985 listings revealed 35 Type 1, and 22 Type 2. 1986 showed twelve listings with the findings evenly divided, six each.

1987, the last year the silver Prospector was released by Engelhard, there were three Type 1, and four "fakes" Type 2. One of the Type 2's is in this cardboard-enclosed set disseminated by Whitman Coin Products.. Was their company duped as well, by fakes that were present even then, back in 1987? ... 5ae10270cb Or, is there more to this story? Is it possible that there are two types of coin, both authentic?

I suspect this speculation might be true, that both types can be authentic, and that the cause of the blurred features on the Type 2 could possibly be due to tired dies late in production. I decided to conduct some experiments. I attempted to test the specific gravity of both types, following instructions on a youtube video, and my results were inconclusive. On the two coins I tested the result for both was 10.4667, pure silver should be 10.5. But this test was conducted on one of each type. Of the 21 coins that I personally had at hand all were nearly identical in wt at 31.1, or 31.2 grams. One weighed 31.3.

I conducted a ring test on these coins. Some of them, when balanced upon a fingertip and struck with another coin, produced a rich resonant timbre that endured more than a few seconds. Others produced only a short plink. Again, both types produced contradictory evidence. I don't wish to conduct destructive tests to reveal the interior of the rounds, nor do I wish to drip nitric acid upon them to see if a color change would indicate their purity. But tomorrow, I think I'll go pick up a rare earths magnet and conduct that test.

There's much more to this story than first meets the eye, and if indeed the Chinese counterfeits pervade our supply to the degree suggested by the physical description of the Type 2 round, then we are all in deep feces. How many dollars have been lost to the supply and demand equation, that would otherwise have lifted silver prices higher if demand wasn't being funneled away and being satisfied by fakes? How many small scale buyers, once discovering they were duped, will remain in the silver pits of ebay mining for more ore?

For now, until substantive examination can provide more concrete evidence, one would do well to exercise caution. Buy a different round for now, until these charges are proven invalid. Purchase directly from known, trusted online precious metals dealers. There are many reputable ones, just a few of which are APMEX, Tulving, Provident Metals, and Gainesville Coins. Make sure they offer a money-back guarantee. Follow these simple guidelines and you should be safe. For if you don't, sooner or later a true piece of junk silver will wind up in your hoard, and you will be hard pressed to get your money back. I guarantee it.

The Bearer of Bad News

Recently, on, where I frequently buy, sell, and trade silver and gold with other members, it was brought to my attention that an item that I had sold might have been a counterfeit. I don't remember where I obtained these coins, but I deal through what I view as reputable sources. I have bought similar coins from several other members, as well as for years upon ebay, so in essence, establishing provenance is impossible. I offered a refund or an exchange, and the issue is still in discussion.

Several points arise from this. It is contingent upon you as the seller, to demonstrate integrity and offer compensation to the buyer if your reputation is important to you. I know, in my instance, I plan to continue as a member for years on the various internet venues I haunt, and I am not willing to tarnish my image and be known as a scam artist, merely for a few hundred dollars. Send back those twelve 1984 Engelhard Prospectors, I'd rather eat their cost then reap my just dessert if I didn't.

One issue that raises it's ugly head from this fiasco is this. Do I trust my buyer? How do I know he didn't get duped by someone else he has no recourse for recovery from, and is now telling me that the rounds were provided by me and me alone? On ebay, I could definitely see that being an issue, as a buyer might purchase a roll unsuspecting of their authenticity, and upon receipt merely open the lid and admire the top round without further disturbance, to avoid leaving fingerprints.

Months, or even years later, one's suspicion might become aroused when a flurry of news items regarding Chinese counterfeits hit the bullion stacking universe. You go to examine your hoard, thinking smugly "well, I know mine are all good." You weigh them, expecting the industry standard of 31.1 grams, or at worst a variance of no more than plus 0.1 gram in excess. To your horror, you realize that most if not all of your Prospectors weigh 30.9 grams or less, which could well be a tip-off they're fakes.

How could this happen? Well, the counterfeits are getting that good! They're fooling dealers who don't test their silver content, or check their weight, because visually, they're nearly indistinguishable from the Real McCoy. Sure, you feel a sense of chagrin that you were duped, but even the so-called experts fall victim to the same scam, so find solace in that, if you can. But then, what does a defrauded buyer do? If he can't pinpoint who he bought them from, then will any scapegoat do? How could someone prove that you were the one who sold them the rounds?

I can foresee this becoming a problem on bidding venues like ebay. There are unscrupulous people in the world, and should someone find themselves holding the short end of the stick, how hard would it be for them to purchase a like article on ebay, then upon receipt return the counterfeits and demand a refund? As fakes become more ubiquitous, you can be sure this will occur. The seller, to maintain their feedback intact, will accept the return of the fakes and refund the money involved, never knowing, with certainty, if he is himself a subsequent victim of duplicity.

Thankfully, in this case, I have no doubt that the rounds were once mine, although I am unable myself to determine where in turn I got them from. In this instance, the buyer and I have conducted numerous transactions in good faith, and I had not the slightest inclination to doubt him when he expressed his doubts to me. Sure, I was dismayed, but there is no way a seller, wishing to maintain their integrity, can in any way challenge an honorable buyer in this situation. A resolution is in the works, one that we both consider satisfactory.

This situation raises ethical and philosophical issues. Two more points, then I will let the matter rest. You know what's ironic? These fake silver rounds are no different than Federal Reserve Notes. Backed, as they are, by no more than "the full faith and credit" of the United States Government, they circulate freely and have value. As long as you think they have worth, they do! It's only when you become disillusioned, that the individual (or the public) will scramble to abandon them.

Fakes are, beyond doubt, circulating widely without the knowledge of the public, and thus for all intents and purposes have the same value as real silver, until one is tested and determined to be counterfeit. And the same holds true with the value of our currency. It is being tested now, and found lacking in purity. Were it a coin, such debasement would be apparent to all, as since the founding of The Federal Reserve in 1913, our dollars have lost nearly 98% of their purchasing power.

If you want to enjoy a teaching opportunity with your children, search images for advertising circulars from the Twentie's and Thirtie's. You'll find hundreds of pictures of early century posters and placards, newsprint and magazine spreads that will tout the products of the day. Aside from laughing at the artwork, you can point out how inexpensive items once were. The kids will giggle and scoff, although I seriously doubt, after due consideration, that you'll feel the same. What The Fed has wrought is really no laughing matter, rather one more suited to induce nausea.

Finally, does the emergence of widespread counterfeiting offer an opportunity to some enterprising individual? Each of us is susceptible to being deceived by an authentic looking imposter. Why doesn't someone come up with a wallet-sized Identikit that could hold a gram scale and known fakes of such items as Kooks and Pandas, Koalas and Maple Leafs, Prospector's and American Silver Eagles? It would not even need to contain the actual fakes, but merely high quality images of them, side by side with real rounds, pointing out tell-tale signs of fraudulence.

I, for one, would endorse adoption of the use of such a tool, and would consider myself fortunate were I able to obtain one. The Fisch tool set renders detecting counterfeit gold coins more simple, we need someone with industry to step forward with an idea such as mine, or its derivative, so that the plethora of fakes that are circulating as silver bullion can be detected and destroyed, their fabricators identified and prosecuted for criminal acts. Too bad we couldn't as easily find someone more qualified to pilot our national helicopter, Ben.

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ten Silver Coins Priceless in the Eyes of Aficionados

This morning I was reading a thread on BullionStacker entitled "Interesting Article." There, forum member mtforpar had posted a link to what I presumed was a submission by Adam Doolittle, published in Silver Monthly. That piece, entitled The Ten Worst Silver Coins For Investment, apparently raised the hackles of the BS pack, as mtforpar stated "I stumbled across this article tonight. I love it because I am making money by doing the exact opposite of the articles advice." I replied, taking the stance of devil's advocate, and some interesting points were raised.

Doolittle's offering, upon investigation, represents more than an author submitting an article to a online website that publishes it within an e-zine. It turns out Adam Doolittle himself is the host of Silver Monthly, which bills itself as a venue that attempts to promote intelligent investing in precious metals by connecting reader's with great writers. Their mission statement in part, states "intelligently analyzing the silver market, investments, and policies influencing these topics."

A bit of history: a paraphrased excerpt of which follows. In 2005, Adam Doolittle founded Silver Monthly. He felt that there were too many conspiracy theories being touted in the precious metals arena that were masquerading as professional journalism. So Silver Monthly was begun as an attempt to publish credible content regarding a variety of issues facing silver investors, such as market forces, overall economic conditions, and politics.

Doolittle's piece The 10 Worst Silver Coins for Investment specifies ten different silver rounds, which most are familiar with. If you are an investor new to precious metals, he suggests that purchasing high-premium bullion rounds is a strategy ill-suited to increasing your net worth as rapidly as possible. He lauds the simple tactics of paying the least amount possible for your silver. Don't pay a premium, he recommends, because you'll wind up paying a high price.

The coins he nominates as candidates - primarily Perth Mint choices - are, ironically, among the favorites of collectors at Bullion Stacker. Historical price performance is available for high-grade Morgan Dollars. Similar comprehensive documentation for recently produced Government Mint issued bullion rounds is lacking. Anecdotal evidence as presented by purchase prices and completed sales on ebay could well prove inconclusive of trends due to the nature of the short time frame encompassed.

Therefore, I shall intentionally limit the focus of my rebuttal to his selection of the Morgan Dollar as one of the worst coins that investors could select by which to increase their net worth with its appreciation. The Morgan Dollar is second only to the Lincoln Cent amongst American collectors in popularity. Mr. Doolittle might as well disparage the Greek Gods. He would do well to be wary of lightning bolts in his area. They may well emanate from atop Mt. Olympus, hurled by an angry Zeus.

The Morgan dollar was designed by George T. Morgan, Assistant Chief Engraver under William Barber at that time.
It was produced by the United States Mint from 1878 until 1904 then, following a respite, again for one final year in 1921. The coin, with its large size and intricate designs, is considered by many numismatists as one of the finest ever placed into circulation.

Despite hundreds of millions being melted, many still exist in pristine condition, perhaps accounting for their popularity. Superior grade specimens, covering a range of years and an array of mint marks, may still be obtained at reasonable cost. Slabbed Morgan's performed reasonably well during the Hunt Brothers induced silver spike of 1979 to 1980. I've read that select key-dated coins in gem condition appreciated as much as 800%.

This, however, was during a period when that increase was surpassed more than three-fold by the simple increase in the value of silver bullion itself. Thus, one might consider Morgan Dollars as a means of diversification within a precious metals portfolio, as opposed to their being the centerpiece and sole component of a bullion acquisition investment strategy. As silver rises in price, there will be profits to be captured at either end of the spectrum. And, in any event, those with the means to procure high dollar high dollars are by no means destitute.

Doolittle mentions expensive third party graded and slabbed Morgan dollars, contending that if a hefty premium is paid to purchase the coin, it may not do as well as simple bullion in a scenario of hyperinflation. He asserts "The problem with these coins as investments is that their numismatic premiums are unlikely to keep up with the rise in the price of silver. For example, if silver goes up 177% from $18 to $50, then a one-ounce numismatic collectible coin valued at $100 is likely to go up by only 32% to $132. The collectible coin will go up based on the silver it contains, but there’s no reason to think the numismatic premium will increase too."

Though Doolittle's reasoning appears plausible, it may in fact be specious. As long as a collector base exists, there will be an increasing demand for rare, key-date coins, in superior grade condition. This will cause their prices to increase. It's inevitable. When the hammer falls during the auction of a rare date high-grade Morgan there is often a stunned silence, before the charged atmosphere erupts spontaneously into appreciative cheers. Of course, should "the shit hit the fan," then all bets are off.

Mr. Doolittle, with his attack, has launched a weapon threatenening the very existence of a premium market for Morgan Dollars should too many newcomers with funds in hand, freshly induced into purchasing precious metals, take his tirade as gospel (Yahweh has spoken) and widespread adoption of His Commandment ensue. While collecting Morgan Dollars may not be the most lucrative journey one could embark upon, it represents a goal that is indeed a worthy challenge. The completion of a registry of third-party graded slabbed coins in MS65 or better condition, remains a dream few but the wealthy will realize.

The Morgan cartwheel is held sacrosanct by its many worshippers, and in choosing to target this King of the Coins, Adam, in the eyes of the congregation, has done little more than to compare unfavorably to a hungry Neanderthal, wrapped loosely in animal furs, tracking a gigantic lumbering Wooly Mammoth across snowy wastelands, poking at it with a sharpened pole, hoping to hasten its demise. CaveDude? Bro, unless you get very lucky, you're gonna starve.

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.

Opportunity Lost?

This Wednesday morning, January 25th, 2012, the same day that Helicopter Ben announced that The Fed will continue their accomodative ZIRP until 2014, I was watching intently on Netdania as the silver price streamed live. I like to watch a one minute refresh, as it gives me a quick indication of market direction, alerting me to the possibility of an entry point for stock trades that I've referred to, utilizing leveraged ETF's. Silver had finished Monday at $32.20, and then fifteen cents higher the following day.

I was hoping that, if a silver sell-off were to continue, as one might have inferred from overnight weakness, that spot would have drifted down to, say, $31.00. That would have provided enough incentive for me to book a trade, having retraced from a print above $32.50 in previous days. Failing that, I was watching the "witching hour" 10:00am EST, during which the New York trading desks frequently unleash the hounds of short selling, leading to a temporary rout in the silver market precipitating a swift plunge.

Had that occurred, even to the tune of just a near-vertical drop of sixty or seventy cents to $31.30, I would have been convinced that the time was ripe to implement a new position, and would have liquidated shares to pick up more of the Velocity Shares triple-leveraged silver ETF, USLV, thus to initiate another trade as detailed in Triple Dip, Double Run. I watched with mixed emotions as the unfolding tape unveiled a story that defied my expectations.

Instead of a downturn, silver took off. This was shortly after the FOMC made their announcement, and apparently traders found this further admission of accomodative policy implementation to be supportive of a weak dollar policy, and thus a favorable environment for precious metals investment. It turns out silver never hit my target, dropping only to an intraday low of $31.89 before it headed North with a vengeance. At today's bottom USLV could have been purchased at $39.68, had one's timing been perfect. More likely, one would have been fortunate to pick up shares at $39.80.

In anticipation, I had readied one portfolio for liquidation of a few positions. I had been prepared to sell some shares of a few various silver miners. These included my holdings of Pan American Silver (250 shares), a portion of my AGQ (327 shares), as well as my stakes in Fortuna Silver Mines (308 shares), Impact Silver (914 shares), another bloc of Silver Wheaton (319 shares), and my entire position in Tahoe Resources (114 shares). Liquidating these shares would have generated $38,236. Subtracting $56 in trading expenses I could have purchased 959 new shares of USLV at the aforementioned price.

I missed this opportunity because I asked too much of the market, and you don't always get what you want. Had I acknowledged that spot had retraced a respectable amount, and made those sales enabling that purchase, I would have shown a gain, by the end of trading that day, of almost $6,396. Silver went on to rise $1.20, and USLV demonstrated a commensurately healthy triple-leveraged return of 12.44%. But it's simplistic to just say I lost the chance to earn $6,396. We need to examine the performance of the equities I kept more closely.

These surged nicely as well, albeit not with the strength of USLV. At 10:00am EST, had I triggered the trades, AGQ shares were $53.43. They finished the day at $59.39, a gain of 8.23%. Liquidating those shares would have obtained $17471.61 for me. Holding them instead, their value increased to $19,420.53. FSM was $6.10 per share and increased to $6.54, a gain of 6.34%. Selling those would have realized $1878.80. Holding them resulted in a gain to $2,014.32

ISVLF shares would have netted $1.55. Instead, they rose to $1.68, a 5.12% gain. Their sale initially would have raised $1416.70. Their retention resulted in $1,535.32. PAAS shares were worth $21.18 in the morning, but by mid-afternoon they had climbed to $22.37, a gain of 2.38%. They grew in value from $5295.00 to $5592.50. SLW rose from $31.45 to $34.88, a 7.99% gain. Their value increased from $10032.55 to $11126.72. THOEF was the strongest of this handfull, rising from $18.79 per share to $21.01, a hardy gain of 11.57%. Their value rose from $2142.06 to $2395.14.

So what is the point of all this number crunching? Isn't it all just a waste of time? "No," I contend, because sometimes a review of the numbers will elucidate previously unconsidered attributes of the trade not exercised, which can help one to evaluate the potential of possible trade executions in the future. Let's look at what the numbers have to reveal. In a previous article, A Good Parking Place, I promoted the thesis that selecting cash as a place to wait for value buys can be a poor choice.

Some stock market gurus advise never to chase price, to let the stock come back to you, thus never to "buy at market." I would have sold those positions and had a balance of $38,236 with which to buy new shares. But had I followed the premise of never buy at market, and placed a limit buy order, say at $38.60 for 964 shares, the order never would have triggered as, for the remainder of the day, the entry point into USLV became increasingly more costly. Sitting in cash would have cost $6375.96 in opportunity lost.

But what actually did transpire? By retaining the original shares considered for sale, their value increased to $41,991.53, a gain of $3754.81, representative of a 9.61% increase. So the opportunity lost expense was reduced to $2621.15. Reviewing these numbers and analyzing their meaning imparts a message. Triple-leveraged returns on a nice silver up day, can be very robust. I'm talking huge, Jorge!

It's hard to argue with success. Triple Dip, Double Run has very real potential, particularly if you are alert to market movements and can employ the strategy at opportune moments. Today was not even ideal to play the strategy, and yet look at what unfolded. Imagine how much greater the returns can be on days when immense pressure is exerted upon the market to suppress prices, and serendipity allows you the good fortune to make timely trades. Why (pause for effect) you could make a good fortune!

Buy Silver. Buy Gold. Save Copper. Start Now.