What is the “Gov’t. Issued 1965 Treasure Map” — Can You Find “Treasure Bags” in 776 Cities?

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, January 16, 2011

How can you find sacks of treasure located around 776 cities around the country? That’s the pitch from Retirement Millionaire from Stansberry & Associates — the ad, which is one of those good ol’ video ads that doesn’t happen to link to a text version, even includes a “treasure map” of those cities around the country where you should be able to find this treasure.

In fact, Dr. David Eifrig says that 12 or 13 billion of these common coins were spread around the country, enough for everyone to have a sack full. There wasn’t anything rare or precious about the coins that became this “treasure”, but in the early 1960s with social programs and war spending in Vietnam some folks started hoarding and hiding these government-created silver coins — and it was a decision by President Lyndon Johnson to cease production of 90% pure silver coins that created what Eifrig calls this “bag of treasure” opportunity.

So, anyone still holding these treasure bags 45 years later would be sitting on a fortune. And Eifrig says that owning caches of these silver coins even now is one of the only ways to preserve your wealth — and even that we might go back to some kind of currency that’s backed by silver or gold in the future.

He also says that he’s created a map of the “hoarders” who will sell you the “treasure bags” for a “small premium” — those are the 776 locations on their “treasure map.”

So what are they talking about?

Well, I don’t know who the 776 “hoarders” are that Eifrig has identified — but it must be some sort of list of accredited or somehow endorsed coin dealers. Many coin shops will deal in these “treasure bags” of coins, though they’re more commonly referred to (not in this ad, of course — that would make it too easy for you to understand it without subscribing) as “junk silver”.

Yes, exactly the kind of thing I’ve written about any number of times — and I don’t want to bore you by repeating exactly what I’ve said before, so I’ll just tell you that these “treasure bags” are bags of beaten-up, culled coins (meaning, they have no collectible value because they were circulated and heavily used) from before 1965, the time when Lyndon Johnson did indeed take US coinage off the silver standard. Before that, going back a century or so at least, US dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars were 90% silver — and in the years before (but especially after) the coinage changed, those coins were hoarded by folks who believed the “real” silver money was worth more than the new coins that were made mostly of copper and zinc.

These “treasure bags” of junk silver, as well as smaller caches (like a roll of old pre-1965 dimes, for example), are indeed available not just on ebay, but from many large coin dealers. This has historically been one of the easiest ways to own silver at a small premium to the melt value of those coins, and sometimes even at a discount when silver wasn’t perceived as the hot investment that it is seen as today (in part, I expect, since you’re not really allowed to actually melt down legal tender).

Each dollar worth of this pre-1965 currency had roughly .715 ounces of silver in it, whether that was four quarters or ten dimes, so the “treasure bags” are usually sold by face value — $1,000 bags, for example, have $1,000 in face value coins and therefore include roughly 715 ounces of silver, and so it would probably cost you a bit over $20,000 to buy this particular $1,000 worth of spare change. $100 bags represent about 71.5 ounces on average (all of this is making a global assumption about how much wear the coins have received and therefore how much silver has “worn off”, so they could all be slightly off if you actually melted down the coins). You can buy or sell junk silver through lots of dealers who have active web-based stores like the NWT Mint or APMEX, and also through many local coin dealers, who I assume are those “hoarders” in the “treasure map” that EIfrig references.

Of course, discovering an old cache of pre-1965 coins in your grandfather’s basement might make you rich overnight, whereas buying the “treasure bags” now just means you’re buying silver at perhaps a slightly lower price than you’d pay for a 100 ounce Johnson Mathey silver bar or a few rolls of American Eagle silver coins, so dramatic wealth from this silver would not be much different from dramatic wealth from any other physical silver investment that you could make right now — they would all depend in the silver price going up substantially from this point.

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Which is possible, certainly. Heck, some pundits and newsletter writers will even go so far as to say it’s inevitable, given the current monetary policy and the continuing global debt and depreciation crisis, but you’ll have to use your own prognostications about silver to predict the wealth-protecting or wealth-generating impact of a “treasure bag” on your family’s fortune. Just keep in mind that there’s nothing magical about junk silver bags, they’re just possibly a little bit cheaper than many other forms of silver (and a bit more mysterious and exciting, perhaps, since you can still occasionally find a 1964 dime that’s worth two dollars in your pocket change). Buying silver right now at something near the spot price is speculating on the future value of that silver, not finding a “treasure” that’s currently worth far more than you paid.

I personally own some “junk silver” and I like to pick up a little bit when it looks relatively inexpensive from time to time, though I’ve never bought it by the bag or made it a substantial part of my investment strategy (and honestly, the premium on all physical silver investments right now, following the huge run in silver late last year, makes me a little nervous). If you want more detail on “junk silver” and this kind of investment in culled and hoarded coins, you can see my much longer commentary from when Dr. Eifrig pitched something very similar as a way to “buy silver for $2.08” last month.


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Herach
Herach
January 17, 2011 7:53 am

Buying silver coins, pre 1965, or American silver eagles is like buytng insurance. You hope circumstances do not evolve to justify your invesdtment. These circumstances take two forms. First a terrorist attack or a power failure where access to bank funds, atms cedit card utilization are halted and the other is continued degradation of the USD to the point of rapidly changing or extremey diminshed value—hyper inflation. Gold coins are another consideration, but how do you get change from a $2000. gold coin for a $500 purchase? Sivler coins are easily negotiable. Alternatively, you are making an investment in real silver which is in your possesion, not a pledge by a silver broker. Those with limited funds can start a monthly or annual purchase program in silver. Worth considering for the farsighted.

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jim bhav
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jim bhav
January 17, 2011 8:49 am

If everything tanks who will buy your silver at $500 an ounce?

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jim bhav
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jim bhav
January 17, 2011 9:21 am

Really who will barter food and water for a coin in a collapse very few in my opinion

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David
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David
July 10, 2012 7:22 am
Reply to  jim bhav

You don’t have an informed opinion because you’ve never lived through hyperinflation. But think about it. If it takes a wheelbarrow full of $1000 bills to buy a loaf of bread, wouldn’t a merchant be willing to consider a genuine silver dime instead if that merchant happens to know the current price of silver? Would you rather try to trade one of your shotgun shells? What if he doesn’t have a shotgun?

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hedy1234
Irregular
hedy1234
January 17, 2011 12:27 pm

If we have the kind of total collapse many are talking about it will be the wild west until it settles down. Folks will band together to protect and grow what they need. ____If the country is not taken over by outsiders as a result of our disarray we will have to start all over. Eventually, those things that seem to be precious since early times will be become precious again. Since there is a finite amount of Precious Metals they will retain value through all this. Keeping and protecting these items while at the same time surviving will be a challenge if it goes down this way.____If you want to avoid all this and believe that other parts of the world will remain more stable while we go through all this then you need to have an exit strategy. ____Think Nazi Germany and being Jewish in the 1930's. For a good bit of time you could get out and go to somewhere safer. When you look back you can say why didn't more of them see this coming? The same may come to pass here at some point. Do you see it coming?____Question: "Will we see it coming and be able to have the intellectuall strength to pull the escape hatch?" Where will YOU go Jim?

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jim
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jim
January 17, 2011 1:19 pm

Hedy if USA collapses no other country will survive maybe China but I do not speak Chinese how about u

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jim
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jim
January 17, 2011 3:12 pm

Hedy the arabs will drink their own oil Russia is 3rd world along with India and none of them will accept your defunct dollar but may take your silver coins. Did the emerging markets go up when us went down?

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Gopher 67
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Gopher 67
January 17, 2011 4:00 pm

Sounds like a time to save bullets and seed and maybe keep a goat for milk

The Old Fashioned Way
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The Old Fashioned Way
January 17, 2011 5:36 pm

Lot’s of end-of-the-world speculation going on here today. How about we just pretend, for a little while longer if we can, that the U.S. won’t be destroyed in the next 3 months or so. Want to know about a “can’t miss” silver investment for 27,000 people? (Sounds like a teaser, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, I will give you the answer for free).

Sometime later this year, probably in late March or early April, the U.S. Mint will sell 27,000 five-coin sets of America the Beautiful 5 ounce Uncirculated Silver Coins. These coins, which will be available on a first come, first served basis, will be one of the hottest numismatic investments in years. The Mint is currently in the process of selling 33,000 five coin sets of America the Beautiful 5 ounce Bullion Silver Coins, and many of the sets are already selling on the secondary market for 3 times their issue price. Check into this one. It is going to be wild and wooly. There will potentially be millions of customers all trying to call on the same day at the same time in order to acquire 27,000 sets.

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David
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David
July 10, 2012 7:39 am

Ironically, things made specifically for collectors never hold their value. Coin sets minted at the US mint are little more valuable than coin sets minted at the Franklin Mint if they were made specifically for collectors. Coins of the same design have to go into circulation and stay in circulation long enough to become popular before the uncirculateds become valuable.

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Stone'sThrow
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Stone'sThrow
January 17, 2011 7:52 pm

A couple of thoughts–

>Price Controls–while it is possible that the US could have some event that precipitates a very quick collapse, we are more likely (IMO) to see some tensions building first. Government response could be price controls to stabolize the market for essentials and decrease hoarding. I am old enough to remember Price Controls and rationing. This is why I own some (not a lot) of junk silver coins. Price Controls keep some goods off of the market but silver coins have a face value as legal tender and might be used to spice up your payment while still offering the government mandated price to someone..

> Argentina–Argentina's currency collapsed about 10 years ago. Wiped out almost everybody's savings. I have several friends there and they tell me it can be difficult and sometimes dangerous to exchange 1oz gold coins. Barter was a problem as well as it becomes very time consuming. Precious metal chains were more often exchanged for goods at Black Markets than coins. I figure that here in the US junk coins would be a popular form of exchange even after a new currency was put in place.

By the way, using bullets as currency was quickly squelched by the government requiring paperwork/permits even for transactions involving small amounts of 22 caliber rounds. If you didn't have the paperwork for your bullets, you couldn't legally use them even for barter. Most people considered the risk of jail too high.

Silver is not a sure thing solution but having some gives you one more avenue to protect net worth.

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Todd
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Todd
January 18, 2011 7:40 pm