Tuesday December 22, 2009

Gold Bars Ideal For Dark Basements
by Courtland Shakespeare

The price of gold this week is approximately $1,115.88 US dollars per ounce (give or take a few tenths of a cent depending on what time zone you are in). That means the price is up about 154% compared to 5 years ago when it was $681 dollars per ounce. As an economic indicator, it gives you a pretty good idea why the economy is in the dumpster and why a “hybrid” car manufactured to burn less fuel can cost more than one that burns regular non-leaded gasoline.

In terms of escalating value, an ounce of gold a few thousand years ago might be used to make a safe drinking vessel or buy a nice toga with an attractive, hand-embroidered border.

Today an ounce of bullion can buy a 42-inch, 1080p, high definition, plasma television. Nobody had one of those a few thousand years ago, but then who do you know today who uses a gold shot glass or wears a toga to work?

Gold isn’t just a commodity. It is one of the fundamental chemical elements and is both inert and malleable. Inert means it doesn’t change or react chemically unlike unrefrigerated food or soda pop that goes flat. It just sits there and does your investment broker. It doesn’t interact or tarnish or change in any way. Acid can’t hurt it. It always stays shiny and it lasts, basically as is, forever.

Gold is also malleable, which means it is quite soft, considering it is a metal, and can be shaped fairly easily. For that reason, it is not a good building material. It is also too heavy to use in the manufacture of practical items such as jet airplanes or sailboats. It can be used for simple, prosaic items such as cutlery and place settings, although such items are often exorbitantly expensive.

It is dishwasher safe, but don’t put it into a microwave. It tends to separate violently from surfaces and will cause permanent damage, because it is a great conductor. It is more ideal for closets, cupboards and dark basements, because it can just sit there in a lump and requires virtually zero maintenance (except maybe dusting), but don’t tell anyone you have it.

Gold is recognized widely and highly valued all over the world. Just look at all those precious metal dealers who want to help you out by converting your old rings, necklaces and bracelets into legitimate, widely-recognized and respectable paper money. What a relief! Moctezuma II, (AKA Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin), was the ninth ruler of Tenochtitlan during the early 1500s when the Spanish arrived to explore the Americas. It was a good trip for the conquistadors, but not for the Aztecs. They were relieved of all their gold and had it sent to Spain. Although Moctezuma may or may not have been a good emperor, apparently he did not realize the value of the soft, flashy metal beyond his own world. To his people, it was merely fabulous decoration.

Today, depending on your upbringing, the desire to possess it can range from moderate appreciation to considering an extended visit to a federal penitentiary. It all depends on how you procure it.

There are a few other important issues and considerations. You should know the difference between “pure” gold and the presence of other metals. The system for determining purity is called the karat system. If the gold is pure, it is considered 999 out of 1,000 parts gold, which can also be expressed as 24 out of 24. That is called 100% pure. That’s the stuff that is pretty well useless. The best place for it is a cold, dark room absolutely no one knows about.