Finance and Economics > Investing and Saving

reality of silver coins for bartering in SHTF?

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tash:
This is not a question about silver as a financial diversification asset rather it is intended as a question regarding bartering in SHTF terms.

Almost every forum, movie, story or book I read/watch that revolves around SHTF inevitably shows someone using silver coins as barter items.

So here's the question I keep coming back to when I think about silver in terms of bartering for SHTF. Everyone seems to think that pre-1964 dimes, for example, will be a great barter item and in almost every circumstance it seems the person with whom they are dealing with will know the intrinsic 'value' of the pre-1964 dime. So I guess my question is, how realistic is junk silver coins for a barter item when most of the country doesn't know that these dimes are 90% silver to begin with? Why is silver so important to preparedness when everyone else doesn't realize it's as important as we think it is?

For example, I know that everyone and their brother or sister knows that gold and silver are important metals. But let's say the SHTF and we are now at a time where we have local swap meet every Sunday where individuals would trade things of worth like canned food, fresh eggs, vegetables, chickens, whatever. I just can't imagine that every Tom, Dick and Harry would know that 1 dollars worth of pre-1964 dimes could buy his entire stand. I just can't see that. That doesn't make sense to me. Do you think you're neighbor, right now, knows that the melt value of silver is running at 13 and change an ounce at the time of the posting? Best I can fathom is that if most everyone doesn't know the real intrinsic value of silver then we're the ones that are gonna get gypped when we try and use it to barter something and they won't give us enough for the real value of the silver we posses (in the event that we have run out of things and we must buy/trade for it.)

Is this idea of silver coins as the ultimate barter metal something that has been driven into us. Like the white chalk line that is drawn in the shape of the dead body? The chalk line wasn't real and never happened but since we see it all the time we begin to believe that it's common practice.

Yes, I know that many generations have used silver and gold as a barter item. It happened and I do not disagree with that. I just think that in this modern time that we're having too much of a throw back to the old times were this was common practice and putting this ideal on today's society is a huge stretch. I hate to say it, but this is giving our entire society a hell of a lot of credit. We are so removed from that former life style I just can't see the link.

If you're reading this, you know that I'm not referring to you. We may be the minority but we are not lemmings.

Sorry for the long post. There are a LOT of thoughts I have had running around my head for quite some time that I just threw into a few paragraphs and I'd like to get your take on it.

Thanks,
-Tash

ModernSurvival:
You have some good points but let me see what I can do on answering them.

1.  Can you be guaranteed silver is a good barter item?

No, but it sure has worked for most of history.  In any barter the item you have is only worth what the other side feels it is worth.  Yet one thing we do know is silver will be worth money to someone even if it means cashing your silver in for British pounds.  Silver at least the way that I see it and speak about it is for hedging against the decline of the dollar not so much for the total SHTF "Road Warrior" total TEOTWAWKI breakdown.  I don't see that happening at least not in a complete and total it is all gone way people seem to expect.  In 1929 we did not have TEOTWAKNI but it was pretty bad and owning silver would have been a good thing, same in the 70s.

2.  Will others know the value of the pre 65 coins?

No, many won't but you know who does, we do.  SOOOOOOOOOO the people that actually have things stored up will be most likely to know that this form or currency has value.

3.  Will there be "flea markets" taking silver coins?

I doubt it at least in the beginning of a true break down.  That is why silver is ONE SMALL COMPONENT of prepping.  What I recommend and I think most others do as well is perhaps a small box of coins up to perhaps working to have at some point say 1K in face value or at today's prices about 9K invested in silver, that is a LONG TERM goal.  If you save 5K a year in retirement that would be like over 20 years 10K in silver and 200K into normal investments.

I know you said this is only about barter but survival is not only about barter.   It is not even only about the shit hitting the fan for everyone, it is about the shit hitting the fan for you.  That happens for someone every day.  The reason dimes are so highly recommended is they are

Cheap compared to quarters and halfs given there is some numismatic component in these coins
Very small individual pieces of silver easy to parcel out
Won't ever be worth less then a dime

I think the problem is people start thinking an entire barter economy will run on silver.  Not gonna happen it will be food, animals, bullets, crafts, etc and silver.  In a barter economy silver would be used when a equal trade was not found with items on hand. 

In closing someone posted this on Zombie Squad

http://www.usagold.com/gold/coins/kim-thanh.html

I think it says a lot.  Good question and I am really glad you brought it up, I hope people don't think I am saying to change all your investments into silver coins.

Stein:
I don't worry about it too much as I view silver more as a store of wealth than an emergency barter item.

Think of this though.  Say it did go south in a major way.  Bartering would be the first option, but people can't carry around all their junk everywhere.  Sooner or later, something would pop up to serve as money.  I could teach my five year old how to deal in silver in about 10 minutes.  People would learn.

ModernSurvival:

--- Quote from: Stein on September 24, 2008, 03:44:15 PM --- I could teach my five year old how to deal in silver in about 10 minutes.  People would learn.

--- End quote ---

Spot on!  That indeed is the point, if it worked 5000 years ago (and it did) then it will work today.

Stein:

--- Quote from: ModernSurvival on September 24, 2008, 07:29:55 PM ---
--- Quote from: Stein on September 24, 2008, 03:44:15 PM --- I could teach my five year old how to deal in silver in about 10 minutes.  People would learn.

--- End quote ---

Spot on!  That indeed is the point, if it worked 5000 years ago (and it did) then it will work today.

--- End quote ---

I think the notion is rather strange.  Everybody knows how to use modern coins (ok, most people over the age of 30 anyway).  Prices wouldn't be the same anyway, but I can price things in dollars pre-64 pretty quickly when there is no alternative.

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