I once received an inquiry centered around alternative forms of currency for personal preparedness. I received the following set of questions (paraphrased):
What do you think of gold and silver for bartering purposes? Gold is far to expensive for our budget; however, silver is an option. I feel leery however having witnessed several other “hype” induced fads that burst (dot.coms, real estate, etc.) Once purchased, what about storage? I would doubt easy access to safe deposit boxes would exist in a crisis and storage within the home seems risky (burglary, vandals, etc.).
So…here’s what I wrote back…maybe it will be helpful to you too.
“As far as precious metals for currency, I usually don’t discuss them [during the presentation] (unless asked 🙂 ) simply because they can be such “hot buttons” for some folks. However, having said that, I am personally a huge proponent of considering alternative forms of currency in case we lose the dollar someday for any number of reasons. I see this as leaving a couple of currency options that I believe could be realistic based on the scenario. 1) precious metals and 2) ammunition. I find myself in the same boat as you with thoughts on gold. And quite honestly, I wouldn’t buy gold (or much gold) even if I could and here’s why. Consider this, if things are so bad that you can’t get to your bank monies or that the dollar has lost its value, only things with inherent value will be feasible for bartering, i.e. precious metals. So…if you REALLY need a loaf of bread to survive but all you bought was gold pieces for hundreds of dollars apiece, guess what you just did…bought a $400.00 loaf of bread. What you really want would be precious metals but in what would be considered “small bills”. Don’t give the guy a fifty for that bread, give him a five!
SILVER. Now, problem is silver is also pretty expensive right now. So what can you do? Junk silver is one answer. I can’t guess what your knowledge base is here so hopefully this won’t bore you, but junk silver has no numismatic value. Which simply means that given it’s “banged up” or “junk” quality, there is no extra value for things like condition, year, rarity, type of coin, etc. The good thing is though, that it does have inherent value based on its silver content. There were coins produced way back when that have .999 percent pure silver content. These are worth money based on the price of silver per ounce. And in terms of money in a crisis, they will spend based off of their content instead of their numismatic value (which by the way, during a crisis wouldn’t matter anyway, no one would care that it was a really rare coin, just what it is worth.) So there are those of use who are stockpiling (as our budgets allow) in small batches at a time, junk silver. If you Google it, you will find more information than you can possibly consume. I don’t have as much as I would like, but we are working on getting more as our budget allows.
The only problem is that you and I aren’t the only ones thinking this way…so junk silver is getting harder and harder to find or afford. What I recommend is you do a little research into the cost of silver per ounce (again, internet), find your local coin shop, and stop in and ask if they have any “bulk” or “bagged” junk silver. If they do, ask how much they are selling it for. Do the math. Keep in mind, there is NO value in the junk silver other than the silver content, so if the broken down by ounce price is very inflated, leave because it’s not a good buy. Most of the time, it is marked up just enough for the guy to make some sort of profit, but not that much at all. Expect to be told by at least a few shops that they are “fresh out”. There’s been a run on this stuff lately. (And its been going on for months!)
Now where do you keep it??? This ties into home/self-protection. Start pricing guns safes, the big kind that will hold long guns. You should have one large enough that no one idiot-crew of thieves could possibly get it physically out of your home and well made enough that they also cannot break into it. If you shop around, you can find something good on the day after Thanksgiving sales for example. They are sometimes marked for clearance as well because they were an old floor model or they were scratch and dent (but what do you care what it looks like?). If you can get it to also be fireproof, I’d see about that as well. Make sure the wife can actually open it for sure. She needs to be able to ge into that thing in a hurry and under stress (muscle memory). Also, consider approaching your home owner’s insurance company about whether or not they insure precious metals. You could add it to yourcoverage via a floater policy.
As always, I hope this helps. Take care.