“Better than Bitcoin”: The “Secret Currency” Pitched by Steve Sjuggerud and the Stansberry Folks

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A sudden avalanche of folks have been asking about this pitch again, so I thought I’d re-share and update my thoughts on something I wrote in the Friday File for the Irregulars back in October …

… from my quick glance, the spiel from the Stansberry folks hasn’t changed much for this “Secret Currency” since then (and indeed, it’s not dramatically different than it was when I first covered similar ads of theirs five or six years ago).

The one thing that’s particularly different in this pitch this time is that they use the curiosity about Bitcoin to catch your attention — the ad starts out as a “warning” about Bitcoin:

“Urgent Message for U.S. Investors:

“Do NOT buy Bitcoin until you watch this public message

“This is the true story of alternative currencies in America — the one you won’t hear anywhere else. The story only wealthy families know. Please take five minutes to watch this message and avoid making a very costly Bitcoin mistake.”

And the ad then goes on to compare Bitcoin to a host of past internet failures or value-destroyers like Webvan and Pets.com and Groupon, and then makes the argument that the “secret currency” does the same things Bitcoin does (provide some privacy, get away from the US dollar, etc.).

Which is sort of true — I have some experience with both this “secret currency” and with Bitcoin, I’ve been tinkering with Bitcoin myself for a month or two and trading in and out to see how it works and I’m not all that impressed with how useful or viable it might become at the moment (more on that in a future note).

What follows was published for the Irregulars as a little closing bonus in a Friday File about five months ago, when Sjuggerud was pitching the “secret currency” without any reference to the still-under-the-radar Bitcoin:

*********
[excerpted from Friday File, 10/11/2013]
I’ll close with a look at a teaser that many of you have asked about this week — it’s circulating pretty heavily these days, from Steve Sjuggerud, and similar teasers have tended to come up, in my experience, whenever the market is in a state of high uncertainty. That’s certainly the case today.

Sjuggerud has been pitching something similar to this for many years, though not so much lately until the last month or so — and a similar pitch has come up twice now, both in the ads that were signed by Steve’s brother that I covered last month (teasing, among other things, investments with exposure to the Australian dollar and the “perfect hedge” of buying a house with a mortgage) and, more recently, in a new wave of ads for this “Like Gold … Only Better” investment.

Sjuggerud’s brother called this “Rich Gold” and described it this way:

“It’s a secret many rich people are taking advantage of, but it’s basically ignored by the middle class.

“You see, most people think that all gold bullion is the same.

“But the truth is, there are two very different types of gold bullion.

“Regular bullion essentially just follows the price of gold. When gold goes up 10%, regular bullion goes up 10%. When the price of gold goes up 20%, regular bullion goes up 20%.

“But there’s a second type of gold (my contact called it ‘Rich Bullion’) that follows a very different pattern.

“‘Rich’ bullion has a tendency to absolutely skyrocket in value, many times higher than ordinary bullion, in times of financial distress.

“For example…

“From 1970 to 1972, the U.S. government’s debt increased by about $50 billion (source: U.S. Treasury Dept.). And the price of gold during that period went up 80%.

“But from 1972 to 1974, right after these increases, ‘Rich’ gold bullion shot up an incredible 348%….

[more examples, bla bla bla]

“… this type of gold could not only protect your money… It could make you 500% or more over the next few years.

“Keep in mind: These two types of gold bullion look very similar. Almost identical – except for one very important identifying difference.

“And this difference has made ‘Rich’ bullion a prized asset among a lot of wealthy investors throughout history.”

And the more recent ad that’s running this week has a more inflammatory headline:

“Outlawed for 41 years… Now LEGAL Again

“This Unique Gold Investment Launched the Largest Family Fortune the World has Ever Seen…

“And Could Return 665% in the Next few Years”

Sound familiar? Here’s a bit more:

“Without giving away the secret just yet, I can tell you the secret currency is — as you might suspect — a form of gold.

“But it’s not your typical gold investment. Not by a long shot…

“It has nothing to do with mining stocks, mutual funds, options, futures, or bullion.

“Instead, this is a kind of currency used for centuries by the richest families to profit on financial windfalls created by governments around the world….

“This investment is like gold, only better — with the potential for much higher returns….

“The last time the Salomon Brothers brokerage firm included the Secret Currency in its annual investment survey, this investment ranked No. 1 over the prior 20-year span, with an annual return of 17.3%. In other words, it was the single most profitable thing you could do with your money over the previous 20 years….

“I believe an investment in the Secret Currency today could potentially double your money in the next six months.

“A 5-times or 10-times return over the next few years wouldn’t be surprising. Remember: The last time the conditions were even close to this good (in 1987), investors made 665% profits. Of course, nothing in the investment world can be guaranteed, but we believe the Secret Currency is one of the best investments in the world right now, in terms of risks, safety, and potential rewards.

“I think it makes sense for every American to own at least a small stake, with a small percentage of your overall holdings.”

So what are they talking about? Well, it’s still … collectible gold coins. That’s distinguished from bullion gold coins, like the modern American Eagle coin, which are priced based on the gold value they contain plus a couple of percent for the convenience of having them in coin form — they’re not rare, and people don’t pay big premiums for them.

But some collectible coins are quite rare, and fortunes have been made (and kept) by gold coin enthusiasts throughout history, including the many families Sjuggerud’s ad name-drops to get your attention. These are the coins, generally the most widely held are pre-1933 US gold coins, that will always be worth at least what the bullion goes for (since they could be melted down) but are generally sold at steep premiums to the bullion price because of their scarcity and condition. Most of these coins didn’t spend time rattling around in pockets so all the ones you see are likely to be in very good shape but the gradations in condition are critically important to their value to collectors — you’ll generally see the best of the goins given a “Mint state” number and encased in plastic with an authentication certificate from a coin grader (MS-70 is “perfect” and pretty much unheard of for gold coins of this age, but a MS-61 coin will get a solid several-hundred-dollar premium per coin (over the melt value) — and a MS-65 US $20 gold coin from the 1920s or 30s, which will look pretty much perfect to a non-collector and which contains just under an ounce of gold, could easily be worth twice the melt value (or far more, if it’s a rare date).

Steve Sjuggerud has been recommending gold coins for about ten years, and I’ve written about those teasers for years as well, but this time around he wasn’t terribly specific about exactly which coins he’s recommending — he has liked several different kinds of gold collectible coins in the past, to my knowledge they’ve all been pretty high-volume well-known US coins (meaning there’s a ready market for them, they’re not “liquid” like stocks or bullion are liquid, but they’re pretty easy to sell at decent prices). Probably his most successful recommendation in this vein has been the graded (MS-64 or MS-65) pre-1933 US $20 St. Gaudens Double Eagle coin, which rode up dramatically with the price of gold over the past decade but has, like gold, come back down a bit. His argument is that gold collectibles will continue to hold value far better than the gold bullion that they contain if bullion prices stay flat or drop, and that they are likely to become substantially more valuable, at much higher premiums to melt value, if we have another currency crisis or, as the gold bugs like to say, a severe disruption like a gold confiscation plan from the government a’la FDR in 1933 (that’s not going to happen, by the way — there’s no need for a revaluation of gold like FDR spurred with his confiscation plan, because the currency is not backed by gold as it was then … we can revalue the currency every day by printing a few trillion more dollars, and we’re already doing that).

There are manias in the gold coin collecting world as there are in any other collectible, so sometimes these coins have been extraordinarily valuable — coin enthusiasts like to cite times when these Double Eagles in average condition were going for multiples of the gold price (I’ve heard $4,000 for the coins in 1989, when the gold value would have been less than a tenth that amount), so that’s the real value proposition: they can’t be worth less than bullion since you could always melt them down, but they can go up a lot faster than bullion if the collectors get excited.

But over the years some of Sjuggerud’s chatter about gold coins for his subscribers has gradually come out and become more “public” — so I’ll just let you check out his words from 2010 and decide for yourself. He has a free 2010 version of much the same recommendation up on his website here, with presumably a similar logic and plan to what he’s pitching now, and coincidentally the prices of both gold (around $1,300) and the MS-64 PCGS St. Gaudens (around $1,800), are awfully close to where they were then. Check it out and see if you like the logic of buying these kinds of coins.

Personally, I do hold some coins that have collectible value beyond their gold or silver content, but that’s been more or less an accident and I haven’t made myself an expert on this stuff and don’t plan to, so I don’t make big investments in collectibles — I’d urge you to make the study of such things a serious hobby if you plan to invest serious money into these kinds of assets, whether they’re classic cars or old musical instruments or Victorian bed pans or, yes, old or rare gold coins.

*********

And back to the present — right now from Apmex or other big dealers it looks like the MS-64 St. Gaudens are going for about $1,500 or so with gold at $1,230, so if you had bought in October and had to sell now you’d be looking at something like a $300 loss on the collectible coin versus a $70 loss on the bullion. Those numbers are not particularly accurate, either the prices I jotted down today or the ones I checked in October, but that’s the kind of leveraged action collectibles can sometimes provide when sentiment shifts about gold — the collectible coin market is obviously influenced by the bullion market, but it’s also influenced by supply and demand of specific coins, among other things, and is far smaller than the gold market with wider bid/ask spreads and a less consistent price from dealer to dealer.

I wouldn’t tell anyone to bet their portfolio on either gold coins or Bitcoin, but gold is embedded in human culture as a traditional store of value and has been for thousands of years, and it is shiny and physical, so that gives it the leg up over Bitcoin if you’re talking about a “hard asset” with a controlled or constrained supply (gold is constrained by the amount already and the mineable deposits found, historical gold coins by the amount actually minted, and Bitcoin by algorithm and controlled release over time). Bitcoin’s longer-term potential and the reason for most of the venture capital interest in the technology is not just the non-manipulatable supply that’s not controlled by governments (I wouldn’t be 100% sure about either of those things), but the possibility that it could radically revamp money transfer technology and make it faster and cheaper.

So far, from what I can tell, it’s not particularly fast or cheap for any real world applications and it’s a terrible way to transfer money if it can fluctuate 5% in the time it takes to move from your bank account in dollars, into Bitcoin, to someone else’s bitcoin wallet, into their bank account in whatever their currency is … of course, if you just keep your money in Bitcoin then it’s notably faster but can still take many minutes to confirm a transfer, which rules it out as a means of purchasing goods even for those few merchants who are, either for ideological, experimental, or publicity-seeking purposes, accepting Bitcoin for the sale of actual goods.

But does that mean you should eschew Bitcoin for collectibles? Your call. I’d rather depend on bullion as a store of value than on collectible coins or bitcoin, since the latter is so unproven and possibly ephemeral and the former requires more attention and expertise than I particularly want to give or build … but it does sure seem that collectible coins have sometimes been very lucrative investments, particularly when purchased for not much more than their melt value. I’m relieved that my ability to pay the mortgage next month does not depend on any of those three asset classes going up.

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64 Responses to “Better than Bitcoin”: The “Secret Currency” Pitched by Steve Sjuggerud and the Stansberry Folks


  1. I am not aware of the full details, but I have heard that the Chinese have mastered the art of counterfeiting rare US coins. This could certainly cause some heartburn for novice collectors.

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  2. The best place to buy collectible coins is not to buy them. A shoe box in Grandma’s attic would do just fine. Or a junk store, like the one where I found a box full of 25 silver bullion dollars, ranging from late 1800′s Morgans to my favorite 1921 Peace Dollars, VG Circulated. I paid $75 for the lot. I collect coins because I like ‘em, not because I’m hoping they’ll make me a grubstake.

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  3. Hey I’m not against collectible gold coins. I own some! I own more bullion of course, but that won’t lends to your cute marketing idea of secret currency. :-)

    That said though, you’re missing the boat or just not sharing the information with your subscribers you know you should. EVERYONE should own some bitcoin. With a fraction of the gains just in 2013 you’d be crazy not to. I get that at the moment it has a limited reach as a currency and mode of freely transferring value, but it already meets several niche market needs and is growing (yes a currency) like crazy around the world. Just ask Mr. Byrne, CEO of Overstock about that. But even if you don’t have family overseas, make many online purchases, involved in the technical side of the Internet, etc. owning bitcoin is a VERY GOOD idea right now and into the forseeable future. It’s technological advancements, network size and power, rapidly spreading usage base (retail, wholesale, and end-user), it’s Internet and world changing protocol, and a few other key elements place…it’s first mover Industry status is on firm ground, and until another currency or decentralized payment system can step in and compete on equal footing, Bitcoin and bitcoin are going nowhere. And, the value based on it’s deflationary design as the ecosystem keeps growing at a better than linear rate (not yet exponential) the price/value will continue to soar.

    I would just hate to see such a great platform, I’ve really enjoyed connecting to and reading, do a disservice to their viewer and client base.

    From several angles, 2014 is going to be a great year, but only for those of us wide awake and paying attention!

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    • OR do as Bill Still recommends:
      Diversify into alternative ‘Crypto Currencies’ still in their infancies and
      MUCH cheaper such as Quarkcoin.
      Also, junk silver coins (pre 1965 US) are currently priced about 1/50th the price
      of gold. Thru the ages, the standard ratio has been about 1/16th.
      Doesn’t take a math genius to figure this one out.

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        • Yep, ‘Broken Clock Harry’ Dent sez gold will drop as low as $750.
          Of course he’s WAY over due on that prediction but he may prove
          out to be correct, at least for a period of time b4 hyper inflation
          could raise it’s ugly head.

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      • There’s a couple with promise, but you just increase your risk a hundredfold until any of them show any promise of a real option that can compete. None have yet so Bitcoin is the strong bet with first mover advantage. It will happen no-doubt. The only question is which one(s) and will more than one survive in the space.

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    • Wow Mark. With that level of confidence you really should go place some bets at the track. You seem to have knowledge into the future. FYI if gumshoe wrote like you I wouldn’t read his stuff. Nobody knows what’s going to happen to anything. That’s why I and many of us appreciate Travis. He takes the hype out and says it like it is. Which is usually with a good dose of healthy skepticism.

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      • Yes, message received Jon. That’s the benefit of this not being one of my sites and reaching out on the limb a little further.

        You might have mistaken my strong tone to mean Bitcoin is a sure bet. It’s not. But, the technology protocol and the digital currency space is what I meant is going nowhere but into a major player in the fiat currency markets of the world. The genie is out of the bottle and the Internet and world economies and currencies will never be the same again.

        I then simply justify that Bitcoin/bitcoin has incredible and real first mover advantages right now, that will be hard to upend. It will happen, it always does. My only question is can it survive long-term in a space that will change dramatically in the coming years…decades. Who knows? But, for now it’s a mute point. I wouldn’t tell anyone to risk a large portion of their assets into any single medium…but some in bitcoin as a hedge or aggressive asset base investment, however you want to look at it, makes too much sense.

        My last point was simply, not having at least some bitcoin put away safe in cold storage, knowing what most know now, seems a little nuts is all. For now, “In Bitcoin We Trust.” And, oh…so much more than the central banks and governments of the world along with the elitist psychopaths controlling of them.

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          • This is another excellent site to bookmark”

            On Wednesday, January 15, 2014 9:07 AM, The Coinbase Blog wrote:

            The latest blog posts from The Coinbase Blog. Is this email not displaying correctly?
            View it in your browser.
            The Latest From Coinbase.com
            In This Issue:

            Security Updates On Coinbase

            Security Updates On Coinbase
            Jan 14, 2014 05:57 pm

            Providing secure storage of bitcoin is one of the most important products we offer at Coinbase. In that vein, we’d like to mention some new security features that we’ve added:
            Improved Offline Storage Of Bitcoin
            As you may have read previously, we keep most customer bitcoin disconnected from the internet in what we call “cold storage”. Over the past few months, we have spent time improving both the security of those coins and the percentage of coins held offline.
            First, we have implemented a key splitting scheme and geographically distributed the shared pieces to various safe deposit boxes and vaults around the world. This ensures that keyholders are never geographically located in the same place during the course of normal events, so there can’t be a single point of failure for compromise. It also ensures keys are protected against loss since the data is backed up with redundancy. For more on our cold storage security you can visit our security page.
            image
            Second, we have been able to increase the overall percentage of bitcoin stored offline. While previously we were able to keep approximately 90% offline, we are now able to keep as high as 97% of funds offline. The exact amount changes on a day to day basis, but this additional layer of security is important to use as broadly as we can.
            Requiring Two Factor Authentication On Send (and other actions)
            Most of our users already have a phone added to their account, which gives them two factor authentication. This requires a verification code from your phone, in addition to your regular password, to sign in.
            Two factor authentication on sign in offers an important layer of protection, but doesn’t cover the case where someone might gain access to your computer after you’ve already signed in (say you walk away from your desk without locking the screen, or someone is able to capture your session token).
            So to solve this, we now require two factor authentication when you send more than a certain amount out of your account per day. For example, if you try and send more than $100 worth of bitcoin in a 24 hour period, you will now be asked to enter your two factor verification code. The exact threshold or amount may change over time, but this security feature should provide a nice additional layer of protection.
            image

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        • With the cost of Bitcoin as it is now, how do you justify it to be First Mover status? Have you read the article which said if one firm gained over 50% of the vote it will control the Bitcoin, er … I imagine in that scenario it would be much much worse than the situation now with Central Bank controlling everything now!

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    • How liquid are Bitcoins? How useful are they in trade? There are a few companies now that accept them as payment. What’s the value of a Bitcoin today, and how much has it fallen from its recent high?

      And who (or what) established the value?

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  4. Many comments have been made about investing in Bitcoin but none have commented about how one can learn about or invest in this cyber space “money”. Would appreciate some educational infiormation about this “new currency”.

    Like(0)

    • I found out about it myself, just using Google. MtGox.com is the main site, but there is a process of setting up a ‘bitcoin wallet’ required as well. I found details of a bank account in Japan and transferred about 1000 dollars there and then purchased bitcoins through MtGox (after setting up an account with them). Since then I have withdrawn 1000 dollars and a further 2,000 dollars and still have 5 bitcoins left at currently about 900 dollars each. So it’s been a good investment for me and I think there may be more profit to come, but I can’t claim to understand it. The only thing I ‘get’ about bitcoins is that their supply is finite; therefore any increase in demand drives up the price.
      - Dave

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  5. “Junk store”? As in a pawn shop or 2nd hand store (i.e. goodwill)? They were found in a box accidentally and sold them to you for $75?

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    • Junk store. Used to have them all over here in Western North Carolina. This one was crammed top to bottom with all kinds of old stuff–chairs, chamber pots, cast iron cookware (I bought a whole bunch of that cause I like to cook with it), and you could barely walk in there. Old guy chewing tobacco behind a beat-up jewelry case, and in it was a Morgan dollar, pretty rough shape, but I bought it, and he says, “you like old coins?” and I say, “yeah,” and he gets out this little cardboard box full of silver bullion coins. So he wanted $100 for the box, I offered $75, he took it, and I scuttled off with my coins. Never even looked at them till I got them home. There was a small manilla envelope full of “war pennies” too–steel pennies. Wheat pennies too. You can’t get that kind of stuff anymore. This was in the late ’90′s and even then you had to go searching for these old junk stores. They’re all gone now.

      Like(0)

  6. The forever stamp idea sounds good except if the postal service goes away in the future, what will be the value of those stamps? Postage rates will go to $0.00 and the stamps are valued @ the going rate = $0.00 ????

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    • Good point Mitch!
      Don’t know about you but the last letter I mailed was a month ago.
      OTOH, I collect old stamps (philately), and when I buy them from other dealers, etc,
      the going price is around half of their orig value if they’r uncancelled.
      Much less if they’r cancelled or unless they’r scarce or rare.

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  7. Collectable items aren’t a currency. Numismatic value is not the basis for a currency. The risks of numismatic value are much higher than those of bullion, and this includes the costs of the coin dealers.

    The Chinese aren’t counterfeiting just collectable coins, they are also counterfeiting bullion coins. So if you buy bullion coins you need to buy them in a sealed package–and then never open the sealed package–and of course hope that what is in the sealed package is genuine.

    Who needs to add all this complexity to his life? Besides Sjuggerud.

    Should we trust Sjuggerud because he has a doctorate? I have two doctorates and I make plenty of mistakes. Some of these big mistakes involved following Sjuggerud’s advice. I mean Doctor Sjuggerud’s advice.

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    • Great words of wisdom ‘Doc’ Ventureshadow!
      I agree with most everything u say except for ‘currency’.
      My perspective on currency:
      Fiat, the currency of the masses
      Gold, the currency of governments & elites
      Power/Control: the currency of the UEs (uber elites)

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    • If you have a long-term plan, buy them direct from the US Mint. That’ll get you certification and provenance.

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    • They may have some gold but their economy is on a roller coaster.
      It’s rumored that Argentina and perhaps Iceland, may officially
      sanction Bitcoin (&/or other Cryptos) as ‘currency’ in the next few months.
      We’ll see.

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  8. Great input here, Travis! Good Questions regarding Sjuggerud. I have two problems with this gentleman,,First, he has the same name as a fifth grade teacher I Had, and I can’t get her image out of my mind when I hear Sjuggerud’s name. Next, he is associated with Stansberry who runs a Political Hack Shop from Floriduh, (home of the SE Mafia and nice beaches).
    If you followed the trades of that shop in 2013, you would have had an opportunity loss vs. the S&P of @30% Even IF you didn’t buy any of their recommendations. Their gold/metal trades were down @ 25% on the GLD, worse on silver. Anyone have a performance report on Stansberry?

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    • I stopped getting the Stansberry report a few months ago. I couldn’t take it anymore, the faceless monotone 90 minute videos, incessant pitches to upgrade to their Premium services and the arrogant invitations to go on Safari, or invest in pricey Central American exclusive island retreats etc. But what really scared me was the personal emails I received immediately after watching one of the videos. ” hello this is Carolyn( or whoever) from the marketing department of Stansberry research. We know you watched one of Porters videos last night regarding “whatever” and since we have your credit card on file would you like us to use it and sign you up for the Premium service. If you don’t please let us know right away otherwise we will go ahead and do it. ” To say that I freaked out would be an understatement. I could rant and rave ad nauseum . Folks stay away from Porter and his henchmen and all the blather. PS I love the Gumshoe and HIS incessant rumblings. I look forward to this newsletter every night. Thank you Travis

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  9. my late mother was a collector of US silver dollars which she used to make gifts to people on their silver anniversaries or for birthdays. since she worked at a bank she had access to the coins. so I have a bunch of slightly foxed US silver bucks in the safe and boy do they weigh a
    tonne. Then I got a $5 gold piece from a neighbor whose family had hidden it from the evil
    Franklin D Roosevelt in 1933, to wear in my shoe when I became a bride. My husband was
    given a gold sovereign, and we also own a Napoleon, a French gold coin. All are worn as they were used as currency before being collected by us.
    But my safe’s best goodies are currencies that looked gorgeous but are now worthless,
    German marks turned out as fast as they could be printed during the inflation of the 1920s which my father, then a mere stripling, collected. And Zimbabwe dollars I got from one of my writers. I also have a collection of defunct stock and bond certificates framed on my office wall to keep me humble.
    But of course as a lady I get to show off my gold which you can see on my website where I am pictured in bejeweled splendor. The best necklace is actually gold plated, my Phi Beta Kappa key from Harvard. Who could afford the real stuff even at $35 when a student?

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    • That’s a great story. The $5 gold piece is one of those “history markers” that remind us of what the country used to be like.

      I’d collect a few Reichsmarks or recent Zimbabwean banknotes just to the the denominations: 1 Trillion Reichsmarks, the 100 Trillion Zimbabwe dollar note.

      There’s a WSJ article from May 2011 about collectors snapping up those Zimbabwe notes.

      Many of those old (early or pre-1900) stock certificates were quite elaborate. Along with Confederate currency.

      PS: What is your website?

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  10. Stanley Gibbons plc SGI.L or SGI.LSE is the worlds most respected stamp dealer, and they also trade rare coins. If you buy anything from them, and leave it with them, it is guaranteed genuine to you and any future buyer. Moreover the oddity stamps with misprints were all catalogued years ago so Chinese fakes cannot appear, they do not have the provenance. The whereabouts of all the genuine examples is known. Then again you could trade on other peoples’ fear and buy shares in Stanley Gibbons, which have been doing very well. Check out their website.

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    • Sound words of wisdom, Ian!…
      thnx a lot.
      btw, Stanley Gibbons took over Bidstart so eBay better watch out.
      Have bought quite a few stamps/ ephemera from them.
      Am also into 78rpm records from the 20s and 30s
      in case u know anyone who wants to sell theirs.
      My Yahoo email is archives2001

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  11. I am not a gold-bug, but I do have a certain fascination with coins. Occasionally I buy newly-minted coins from the Royal Canadian Mint, whose minting is the most attractive and fine, anywhere in the world. Their offerings do specify exactly how many of a certain item will be minted. If I live long enough, it is possible that other collectors will bid up the value of certain old things, in due course. Joan in Houston

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  12. Two Bitcoin ATMs now in Canada:
    HuffPost Article
    January 17, 2014

    Bitcoin — that real but seems not real — rather puzzling form of digital money now has its own Toronto ATM machine.

    The digital cryptocurrency, not regulated by any form of government or bank, is a new phenomenon. Although legal, some events tied to the new type of currency, like October’s FBI shutdown of the Silk Road shutdown — a marketplace for illegal drugs and other illicit goods — harmed the reputation of Bitcoin.

    But the money made of data blocks is still alive and well and is being accepted right here in Toronto at some locations.

    A Bitcoin ATM already opened in Vancouver in October and now the new ATM also has a home in Toronto, located at King Street West and Spadina Avenue at Bitcoin Decentral.

    The machine accepts cash in exchange for a number of Bitcoins.

    Bitcoin debit

    In the fall, Calgary-based Bitcoin company VirtEx announced a debit card for the currency that works on any ATM. VirtEx, which has offices in Toronto, is Canada’s largest Bitcoin exchange.

    It worked by accessing accounts on VirtEx, where Bitcoin is converted to Canadian currency on the exchange first and then available through ATMs.

    “We are going to get these cards out there fast, in the hands of a lot of people,” said Joseph David, the CEO of VirtEx.

    The company was marketing its debit cards to its 22,000 customers in Canada. He says the goal is giving people a choice when it comes to paying.

    David wants more merchants to accept Bitcoin, and has spoken to several small businesses in Toronto to push the idea.

    “Almost 80 per cent of the people I talked to didn’t know what it was,” he said. “I just tell them my customers use Bitcoin and they want to know where they can spend it.”

    Accepting Bitcoins

    One of the first local merchants to accept the crytpocurrency is the restaurant Smoke Bourbon BBQ House on Harbord Street.

    The restaurant has allowed its customers to pay via the digital currency for a month now using a terminal from CoinKite. The terminal resembles a portable debit machine used in most restaurants.

    About eight customers have paid with Bitcoin since the restaurant got the terminal.

    Other Toronto businesses have also started dealing in Bitcoin.

    Ark Army Surplus, a sports gun vendor, Coworking Space Toronto, an office rental firm, The Morpheus Clinic, a hypnosis clinic and Vapetropolis, a vapourizer seller, all currently accept Bitcoin.

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  13. I was doing some research on the topic of ancient human civilizations and came across the latest findings of what may very well be the first civilization of humankind. It existed 200,000 years ago in South Africa and what really caught my eye about this ancient civilization was they were big into gold mining! Now, one has to sit up and take notice at that, that gold’s importance to humans goes that far back and what are the chances that today’s paper or digital money can dislodge something which is so deeply entrenched within our collective unconscious.

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  14. Gold is the go
    but when you have the Morgans and the Sachs using it as a derivatives tool and selling 1000′s of times the 1 oz of gold then theres a problem
    so when they realise that they have created so much deficit and that they can never repay the physical gold to the buyers they crash the price – this was done recently were 24 billion dollars of gold was sold – but not one OZ physically moved anywhere. But the market got
    BUT they never sell 1 oz of gold
    It all done on computers and HST
    China India and a few other countries are buying the physical gold because they know that the paper gold will end the same way as FIAT currencies
    The CHinese have also been counter fitting the Krugerrand gold coins

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  15. Investing n coins is a lot like investing in art. You have to become very knowledgeable about the subject. For example, as you point out, a coin graded MS70 is “perfect”. One graded MS69 is “almost perfect”. The difference is that an MS70 coin will sell for $1000; the same coin graded MS69 may sell for $100. Then there are the questions of who grades the coins (there seem to be two standard agencies now), what’s the reputation of the dealer, and how liquid is the market.

    I can buy a stock at the opening bell and sell it at noon. With coins, not so easy. US silver and gold coins are works of art, and markers of history. That’s why I buy a few. now and then.

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  16. One small and very overlooked law originated by Rep Ron Paul might explain a perfectly wonderful use of Gold and especially Silver Eagle Proofs. The IRS taxes such coins at their melt value only when withdrawing them from a tax deferred account such as an IRA. Let’s say silver is $20 an ounce but the Silver Eagle proof is valued at $80….which would you rather pay taxes on including the 10% penalty tax if you should ever need to convert to a Roth IRA or withdraw from a Traditional or Inherited IRA? Hence the reason to convert an IRA into silver eagle proofs as they command a higher premium than the price at which they are taxed. This saves alot of money on taxes were the IRA simply bullion, stocks or cash. One other use is the $10,000 export limit at customs….the law counts the face value of the coins…not their melt value nor retail value…splendid. I do not sell precious metals and use banks, online brokerages but believe it prudent to have 10% to 30% of a portfolio of a currency that has indeed outlasted any and all fiat currencies since the dawn of human civilization..the precious metal haters are obeying the governments and banks who advise us to shun what they are stockpiling at the lowest prices they can manipulate by issuing paper ETFs to satisfy most investors. Remember, if all of your money is mere digits on a screen, it is open to governments and criminals the world over and anytime the banks are closed, the internet isn’t functioning…do you really, actually *have* any of that money? Like the guy who returned from an Alaska fishing trip to find his online brokerage account had been hacked from India…turning his $180,000 account into $200,000 debt on margin. Some of us prefer to have at least some of our hard earned money off the radar and under armed guard where it can only be taken from our cold dead hands, not by some spindly creep hiding behind a computer at the NSA, a Chinese cryptography center in the Ministry of Intelligence or in his moms’ basement.

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  17. You are correct, investing in coins is not the same as investing in stocks. I have been buying graded silver coins for many years. A good place to buy them is ebay but you need to be careful and only buy from top rated sellers with thousands of items sold and 98-100% approval ratings. The china and aussie coins have appreciated the most since they limit annual production of each coin therefore limiting the number of coins available. It is amazing to see what china panda coins graded ms70 are selling for. Coins i bought in 2004 for $60-70 are now worth $400+ and the price seems to go up each year when the new year comes around. I prefer first release or early strike coins, stick with the ms70 grade as the lower grades tend to go up and down in price depending on bullion prices which are falling.

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  18. Coin dealers are the penny pinchers of the world, IMO! I like the Chinese pandas but it’s just not liquid enough for my investment budget! I need to be able to get in and get out! The coin market is too slow for my financial goals! Maybe when my finances are a bit more secure and I get a good deal from buying quantity but otherwise it’s another buy and wait for inflation!

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    • Exactly-It is not like buying stocks or commodities, as Travis says it is a hobby. I have been collecting coins since the 60′s and really have never sold or liquidated any of my coins. There is also the storage problem. Where do you keep or hide them. But it is a hobby with substantial returns. My point is this, Buy and hold for the long-term, it truly is not a typical investment plan and should not be regarded as such. Dealers are known for taking advantage of sellers, so avoid them if possible and use ebay. I buy china and aussie graded coins each year and watch past year coins go up and up and up.

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  19. Stansberry continues to have a real problem with the truth. Stansberry says that his “secret currency” is “like gold.” That is not honest because it IS gold. And it is not at all secret. Stansberry says is not old fashioned, but that is obviously very untrue also because his “secret currency” is good old fashioned gold coins — very old fashioned indeed — with nothing secret about it, and nothing particularly safe about it either. Gold and gold coins have plummeted in value recently, as they have crashed many times before because gold really has no intrinsic value other than the imaginary value of people who like it. Gold is used by almost no industry today other than jewelry.

    In his weird brainwashing web pages, Stansberry talks about Bitcoin going down, while Bitcoin has in reality gone up more than 1,000% in the past year, and Bitcoin has increased an average of 2% per day for the last 4 years. The truth is that gold has crashed recently, while Bitcoin has shot up. Bitcoin is being used by more and more merchants, businesses, investors and consumers every day.

    Stansberry is trying very hard to steal the excitement and enthusiasm for Bitcoin, and flat out lie about his offering because gold coins are quite old fashioned and much less exciting than Bitcoin. Stansberry’s marketing is based on hype and distortion. Other gold coin peddlers simply tell the truth and say they are selling collectible coins. Collectible coins are a great part of an investment portfolio for anyone. But try taking a millions dollars of old gold coins on an airplane with you. Try hiding $1 million of old coins; not easy. Try paying for your store purchase or making an online purchase with old gold coins. Try using the old gold coins for anything new and exciting — not gonna work. That is why Stansberry is trying so hard to steal the thunder from the real exciting, secret currency. Bitcoin really is exciting: A value that has skyrocketed more than nearly anything else in the world. Bitcoin really is secret. You can hide $1 million in your wallet. You can even hide $1 million in your brain! You can buy millions of products and services with Bitcoin. If you bought $10,000 of Bitcoin a few years ago, then, CONGRATULATIONS!!! — you are $ millions richer today! That is real excitement. The future of Bitcoin gets even more exciting. With the world’s largest distributed calculation network, Bitcoin is based on the world’s most powerful ledger and the strongest encryption standard. This allows the technical Bitcoin protocol to become one of the most powerful tools in the future of finance, law, government, administration, and many other important areas. Bitcoin can destroy central banking. The earth-shaking revolution of digital money is only the beginning for Bitcoin.

    Do not rely on bogus Stansberry “research” when it comes to Bitcoin or anything else. Do your own REAL research. Find out why top bankers, investors and business mogals like billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson are so excited about Bitcoin today.

    Corey Chambers, TheBitcoinBlogs.com

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    • Good comments Corey…
      And always keep in mind that Stansberry belongs to the James Dale Davidson empire.

      I do have to take issue tho with your statement, “gold really has no intrinsic value other than the imaginary value of people who like it. Gold is used by almost no industry today other than jewelry.”
      The “people who like it” just happen to be the most powerful people AND COUNTRIES in
      the WORLD such as China, Germany, Rothschilds, US, Russia, Oil Magnates, etc.
      China has the target of becoming the #ONE producer and amasser of gold w/i five yrs.
      Now why do u supposed they’d want to do that?
      Oh, and if u do a little more research, u’ll find there are perhaps a hundred or more
      uses for gold by industry and especially the hi tech industry. And there are more
      uses being discovered perhaps every week or month.
      All that being said, technically, gold is still a ‘fiat currency’, no matter what the
      gold bugs say. It only has the value that ‘people’ place on it so on that we can both
      agree.
      About Bitcoin, it has also endured it’s crashes and bubbles and will continue to
      do so. It ran up near $1500 sev wks ago and is now back to around a thousand: A FIFTY PERCENT plummet!
      Re its security &/or anonymity? Absolutely fictitious as we’ve witnessed with the US/NSA confiscating millions and arresting several such as the ‘Silk Roaders’ and others.

      And what happens if/when the internet goes down? …POOF! Where are my Bitcoins??!!

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      • Just a quick reply to address this common attack, that if it did upfold would make nearly everything to do with money insignificant within the big picture. So, it’s really a non-issue…but here it goes anyway. It is funny how often it’s mentioned, without regard to the real impact of what they are actually saying as a “what if”.
        First, if it’s just control of the Internet that is feared, the Tor and similar dark webs (a few in development right now) would go underground and the powers-that-be would then have NO chance of any regulation or taxation. So, and I hate to even mention this, you’re throwing out there the possibility of the Internet or the grids going down or both? Well, either would change the world to the extent that I guess many people can’t comprehend.
        Just the Internet going off line alone, though even then there’s a few other possibilities as long as the grid is up, this would significantly impact money, the economy, money, banking, security, energy, on and on to the point that the value of bitcoin (even if everyone adopts cold storage for the bulk of their wealth that would be available when everything goes back online) would be the least of our worries here and abroad. The entire financial system and economy would come to a screeching halt, affecting just about every person on the planet, not to mention the misanthropic elitist sociopaths would be devastated, as well, with their cash funnels shut down instantly! The whole argument just doesn’t make any logical sense. That is of course unless there’s some sort of global catastrophe maybe a massive EMP then just forget about it… NO amount of money, not even gold, will matter much at that point as most can surmise I imagine.

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  20. I wouldn’t put one single dollar into bitcoin or any of those other variations. For one thing don’t you think that every major government on the face of the earth and probably some of the smaller ones are working right now to crack the bitcoin code so they can access it anytime that they want to? Last week for example, hackers managed to corrupt the digital feed to a number of bitcoin outlets. Meaning that if you have your money in bitcoin and you go to the grocery store that takes them the transaction wouldn’t go through. What are you going to eat then huh?

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    • Good comments RM.
      And to underline it, Bitcoin hit a low today near $200.
      OTOH, don’t completely throw the baby out with the bathwater.
      There are now dozens of other cryptos and soon, probably HUNDREDS.
      Iceland and Canada on working on their own officially govt sanctioned ones
      soon to be introduced.
      No one can now ‘put the toothpaste back in the tube’ so stay on the sidelines
      to see how this all plays out.
      My thesis ~ The CIA/NSA &/or IMF/FR could well have dreamed this up themselves
      as a future template/protocol for some type of future global digital currency.
      * “Run it up the flagpole to see who salutes…”

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  21. In my view much discussion of’ what if’ has no point Remember “Some Highly Improbable Things” happen. [ Often known by acronym] We use money as means of exchange because of difficulty in carrying goats & chickens to perhaps buy beans. If a goat keeps you from starving seems it would be greater worth than any coin. Coins are notoriously hard to digest.

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  22. Sadly, the problem with the information these people provide is that by the process of giving their secret info to their subscribers they in effect create competitors for themselves. Let me explain from my internet marketing experience. If these people do have a “great” money making why would they give that idea to you out of the kindness of their hearts? plus of course whatever FEE they are charging for the info. The problem with great money making ideas is SATURATION. As soon as the IDEA is out of the bag everyone and their uncle will jump on it and the potential for making money will become more difficult and if not impossible.

    Sadly also as soon as these great ideas become known to just a few will make them worthless.
    Just like the the California Gold rush and the Yukon and Alaska Gold Rushes. Yes people did become rich from finding gold but ONLY SOME and there was never any guarantees. But who really makes GUARANTEED MONEY during a gold rush? The people selling shovels, food,supplies,medicine etc etc etc.
    Plus what Stansberry is doing is nothing new. The US Gov plus other Governments and even corporations having been use such “scare tactics” tools to cause the general population to do what? CONSUME.
    It is a known fact that when people panic they CONSUME more and do impractical things like make wrong decisions they would not have done otherwise. The people in control have been doing for hundreds if not thousands of years. So what else is new?
    Sad part is the truth is “there’s always a sucker born every minute.”, and there’s an equal amount of scammers more than happy to separate the fool from his hard earned money.

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