Money. Neither a solid nor a liquid but a vaporous gas--impossible for rich or poor and even most economists to grasp--money remains an illusion. Ask yourself: why is the printed paper money in your purse or wallet worth so much more than the newsprint in the trash? Is it human faith or a fabulous con job that makes paper money retain the value that all governments give it?
US paper dollars bear the fine print: "This note is legal tender for all debts public and private," but years ago--in addition to this statement--US currency was known as silver certificates , entitling the bearer to "One Dollar in Silver Payable to the Bearer on Demand." Today these silver certificates are only worth what collectors will give for them as curiosities; no bank will redeem them for silver because American banks haven't traded publicly in silver in more than 40 years.
"Until about 1963, silver dollars  routinely circulated as legal tender. This was a relatively unpopular coin," said Art Arbutine. "When I collected in the 1950s and 1960s, I would go to banks and ask for silver dollars, and usually got all that I wanted. The banks were glad to get rid of them. I'd scan the coins for better dates, and spend the ones I didn't want."
Before that time, long before FDR confiscated America's gold , US currency carried the weighty guarantee of the gold standard. Paper money was actually backed in gold! One of my favorite memories of working in the cabinet/antique trade ten years ago was seeing--for the first and only time--an actual 50 dollar bill, gold certificate . Seems an old rolltop desk had a secret compartment and when disassembled for repair, a bankbook from a defunct Santa Monica bank was discovered along with a one dollar, silver certificate bank note from1899 , a $50 silver certificate, and that aforementioned $50 note.* Ironically, the last entry in the bankbook was 1929, which as most older Americans know, was a very pivotal year. If history really does repeat itself--as shockingly as that seems--we may be witnessing deja vu  all over again, regarding American economics.
Alas, most of us cannot afford to buy gold coins; paying our bills requires most of our illusionary income. An enterprising private mint might make a fortune striking small, five and ten karat weight gold alloy coins for those of us who cannot afford to invest in the gaudy gold of yesteryear, especially on our limited budget. On my income, I could afford a couple of the smallest gold coins and bullion  currently available, but I have to wonder: Why doesn't anyone mint even more economical sizes?
To have and to hold; good as gold. Even three dollars in gold  would be more reassuring in our hot little hands than five dollars in paper during a meltdown in the US economy (which is happening as I write this). With a hoard of weighty coins, we citizens could calculate what gold is worth  in comparison to what our inflated dollars are worth. Why then doesn't the US government return to even a veneer of a silver or gold standard? Sadly, our dear deluded government is flat broke from buying all those expensive toys for the world's biggest sandbox  and has neglected the dollar. Too bad we cannot armor the US dollar with depleted uranium as well as we have armored our weaponry.
Writing in Gold and the Markets , Jay Taylor observes: "Two articles from the Financial Times relating to gold are excellent  examples of how the mainstream media is spinning lies to keep the public out of the gold markets. The first article, titled, 'Rothschild To Pull Out Of Gold Market' by Charles Pretzlik, was published on April 14. When I first read this article, my suspicions immediately were raised to a very high level. First of all, the Rothschilds are very private. This is one of the most private families and many believe absolutely the richest family on the face of the earth . . . . When I first read this article, I suspected what the Financial Times article was being used by the Rothschilds to mislead the public into thinking they were 'getting out of gold' as in selling all the gold they owned, when in fact, I suspected they were actually getting out of the business of lending gold . . . ."
"When this financial debacle that is still being created by Greenspan and his partners in this crime eventually blows up, economic participants of all sizes and shapes will demand gold as a medium of exchange and store of value. Otherwise they won't lift a finger to do any work or buy anything, because paper money will be exposed for the worthless scam it is."
But where will that leave the rest of us, those of us whose wealth is measured in microliters by comparison to the Rothschilds' metric tons? "The Rothschilds are not stupid, " Taylor continued. "And they wouldn't get out of gold exactly at one of its lowest points in history, to enter a real estate market that is at its peak in history. Smart money simply doesn't behave that way. So when I read this Financial Times article, I was sure I smelled a rat."
What Taylor implies is the value of the US dollar is almost valueless today, and kept afloat only by an agreement between Japan and China.
While the average person cannot afford to hoard gold, he or she could invest in smaller amounts of precious metals. But wouldn't it make more sense for governments to back currency in some cheaper commodity for the middle and lower classes, say aluminum or copper? Can you imagine a zinc or chromium  certificate--something, anything to reassure a citizenry? When the US government ceased minting pure copper pennies, many older folks assumed the penny was worth far less than the copper content . When a populace awakens to discover their currency is worthless on the worldwide market, fascism becomes a probable next step.
According to a clarifying column on NESARA: Back To Basics--The Nature of Money : "The first requirement of any monetary system is that it be a moral system, honesty being a step in that direction. Honesty requires that the total amount of any paper currency issued with a promise of redemption be 100% redeemable at any time. Furthermore, any individual must be able to redeem even the smallest unit of currency on demand. Mere appearance will not serve." The German Nazis rose to power on civic unrest, hate and inflated currency. Sound familiar here?
Presently "fiat currency " is the form of paper money most governments use, or abuse in the case our our dear, late lamented and near departed Republic. Will all American citizens share the burden of a defunct currency when it occurs? Emphatically NO. The little warning signs of a crumbling currency--one not backed by anything beyond propaganda--are already evident. Although these screaming headlines--SOROS AND BUFFETT BETTING AGAINST US DOLLAR! --rarely make the front page of your hometown paper, the information is well known and available to those with diversified portfolios.
"Through the spring of 2002, I had lived nearly 72 years without purchasing a foreign currency," Buffett writes in Fortune, beneath a bold headline about selling the nation out.  "Since then Berkshire has made significant investments in'and today holds'several currencies. I won't give you particulars; in fact, it is largely irrelevant which currencies they are. What does matter is the underlying point: To hold other currencies is to believe that the dollar will decline."
If two of the richest men in America prefer to invest heavily in the European currency , what does that say about the health of the US dollar? More than a year ago, the credible rumor was that Saddam Hussein came close to convincing OPEC to demand payment in euros . Anybody seen scraggly Saddam, our former ally, lately?
Should we buy gold before they sell out? Should we buy gold and silver as a hedge against the teetering dollar, that is, before the government sells us all out? Or better yet, should we be buying euros before Washington bankrupts the country? Perhaps it would be even wiser to privatize US coinage and open up our currency to competition. Before we were ever a nation--in the Eighteenth Century--colonial coinage was a mixed bag . Perhaps our destiny is to return to that system again. Gold, silver and copper coins and the paper currency backed by wealth rather than a mountain of debt. To those of us who once collected coins, the golden age of American coins happened in the not too distant past and, perhaps, in the not too distant future.
As a recommended glimpse of those distant days--the height of golden American coinage--and the inherent disasters of hoarding or even carrying gold, I recommend: Ship of Gold . For those readers who intend to corner the precious metals market I recommend this short and entertaining history, written almost as a moral lesson about greeds and needs .
* As for that bankbook from 1929: No person existed by the depositor's name, nor did the local bank, which probably folded a few years later. The money was kept by my friend who found it, although I'm unsure whether he reported it to the owner of the rolltop desk. Would you?