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Niche in time

It is easy to get caught up in the fluctuations of gold, silver and platinum. Or is it? Are we in just a small niche?

My first bullion boom was in the 1960s. The federal government controlled the price of silver until it set it free in 1967. Then it was real control. There were no hints in investment newsletters about something unprovable. There was an official price of $1.2929 per ounce. It could not hold because the Treasury had to sell in the open market to keep the price there and it was rapidly drawing down its holdings of the precious metal.

The price was freed and before year end, it had hit a high of $2.17. In 1968, the high point was $2.56.

In those days, everybody could play. There were still $1 Silver Certificates in circulation. Can you imagine that virtually all the $1 bills in circulation up until 1963 were Silver Certificates? It was in that year that $1 Federal Reserve Notes were authorized.

Since Silver Certificates were backed by real silver, first silver dollars and later bullion and they were redeemable, their price rose with the price of silver bullion.

Numerous buy ads appeared from issue to issue in Numismatic News and Coins Magazine. The redemption deadline was June 24, 1968, so the activity really got frantic as the clock ticked down the final moments of real commodity backed money that the public could redeem.

Anybody could check change for 90 percent silver coins. There were buy ads for these, too.

Nowadays, there seems to be a feeding frenzy, but it has not ever achieved the widespread involvement of the 1960s.

Times and conditions change. We are in a niche. It is a quiet boom.