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OPINION

Beware of Precious Metal Bamboozlement

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

How many times have parents said to their children, “Because I said so.” Contemporary parenting dictates rationalizing with your child, giving them explanations for everything, and of course being a buddy. But even the most modern of parenting techniques will undoubtedly run into roadblocks, ultimately leading a frustrated parent to utter that infamous justification, “Because I said so.”

And speaking of notorious rationalizations, as the world loses confidence in fiat currency (paper money), and the “inflationistas” of the world continue to pound the drum in favor of alternative currencies (specifically precious metals), more and more typical investment portfolios will experience an increase in both gold and silver positions.

There are basically two ways to purchases precious metals, either via paper (ETFs, mutual funds, and UITs) or through the acquisition of kilobars and coins. And more specifically as it relates to gold, as it becomes increasingly apparent that paper gold doesn’t satisfy the actual ability to be utilized as a currency, and as questions arise pertaining to the concern of bona fide gold actually backing up the ETFs, mutual funds, and UITs, more and more investors will purchase the actual hard metal. And therein lies the rub.

How many times have you given a $50 or $100 bill to a cashier who either marks the bill or holds it up to the light in order to verify its authenticity? However, when you purchase a gold coin for well over $1,000, can you perform the same test of legitimacy? In fact, can anyone perform a test in order to make sure that what you’re buying is actually real? The answer is yes and no.

With gold coins purchased directly from a mint, and not previously owned, you can almost be 100% sure that the coins are genuine. On the other hand, gold coins that have been purchased through dealers, or coins that were previously owned by someone else, definitely run the risk of being tampered with beforehand. The standard test administered by the mints of the world (and yes, they are very concerned) is to verify the coin’s density. Yet, I’m sorry to say that tungsten has the same density as gold, thus making the existence of tungsten virtually undetectable. Short of melting, cutting, or destroying the kilobar or coin, current tests cannot accurately and consistently differentiate gold from tungsten.

International counterfeiters are fully aware of this fact, and over the past few years, they’ve been ramping up their efforts in order to flood the markets with counterfeit pieces. The top gold depositories, from London to Ottawa and from Pretoria to New York, are fully aware of this critical problem that’s about to engulf the whole world.

Thus, if you own gold, my recommendation is to contact your dealer immediately and inquire how they know for sure that what they sold you is actually real. If they answer, “Because I said so,” then you should be very concerned, extremely worried, and then incredibly afraid.

After all, the mints of the world are absolutely terrified and you should feel likewise.

(For more information, contact Bill at gpsforlife@yahoo.com)

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