Newsweek: “Gold Is the Currency of Ages”

In the current issue of Newsweek:

newsweek-2009-03-16A hundred-ounce gold bar, when you hold it in your hand, is surprisingly small and even more surprisingly heavy. It’s somewhat longer and fatter than a Hershey bar, but it weighs six-plus pounds—as much as your old calculus textbook. Its color is unforgettable. Pure gold is gold. It’s not like your wedding ring or your grandmother’s bracelet. It’s a deep, dense yellow, the way the ocean is deep blue, and it sparkles. You can understand at last why the Bible says the streets of heaven are paved with it.

On the day I held the gold bar in my hand, it was worth nearly $100,000. My companion—an established, accomplished, affluent businessman of retirement age—had bought it as a hedge against the sinking Dow and his fear that Obama’s stimulus package will inevitably trigger wild inflation. We had picked it up in the basement of an HSBC bank branch in midtown Manhattan. When I handed it back to him, he put it in his briefcase. We went upstairs, past guards, through metal doors.

gold-bar-1kgOut on the street, we said goodbye and I watched him go, a tall, thin man carrying a $100,000 briefcase. He doesn’t want me to tell you his name—or, really, anything about him—because he’s keeping the gold in a safe in his basement. His friends, he says, are doing the same thing. “There is an increase in the number of wise, reasonable, well-read, well-intentioned people who are buying some gold and putting it aside,” says Dennis Gartman, editor of The Gartman Letter, a daily analysis of financial news.

John Wynocker, a hydraulics inspector, lives in Cincinnati and has been buying gold and silver coins and bars for 15 years, but since the passage of Obama’s stimulus bill, he has been motivated to buy more. He is hiding the precious metal in places where not even he can find it, he jokes. Are you burying it? I ask. “Perhaps,” he says. “Our country is so far in debt, it’s staggering. I’d like to retire someday. What else am I going to do to protect myself?” [more]

Note: please think before following Newsweek’s advice to keep your stash in a bank safety deposit box: Safety Deposit Boxes Confiscated.