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In World War I severe material shortages played havoc with production schedules and caused lengthy delays in implementing programs. This led to development of the Harbord List – a list of 42 materials deemed critical to the military.
After World War II the United States created the National Defense Stockpile (NDS) to acquire and store critical strategic materials for national defense purposes. The Defense Logistics Agency Strategic Materials (DLA Strategic Materials) oversees operations of the NDS and their primary mission is to “protect the nation against a dangerous and costly dependence upon foreign sources of supply for critical materials in times of national emergency.”
The NDS was intended for all essential civilian and military uses in times of emergencies. In 1992, Congress directed that the bulk of these stored commodities be sold. Revenues from the sales went to the Treasury General Fund and a variety of defense programs – the Foreign Military Sales program, military personnel benefits, and the buyback of broadband frequencies for military use
American Silver Eagle
The American Silver Eagle is the official silver bullion coin of the United States. It was first released by the United States Mint on November 24, 1986 and is struck only in the one troy ounce size.
The Bullion American Silver Eagle sales program ultimately came about because the US government wanted, during the 1970s and early 1980s, to sell off what it considered excess silver from the Defense National Stockpile.
“Several administrations had sought unsuccessfully to sell silver from the stockpile, arguing that domestic production of silver far exceeds strategic needs. But mining-state interests had opposed any sale, as had pro-military legislators who wanted assurances that the proceeds would be used to buy materials more urgently needed for the stockpile rather than merely to reduce the federal deficit.” Wall Street Journal
The authorizing legislation for the American Silver Eagle bullion sales program required that the silver used for the coins had to be from the Defense National Stockpile. By 2002 the DNS stockpile was so depleted of silver that if the American Silver Eagle bullion sales program was to continue further legislation was required.
On June 6, 2002, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) introduced the Support of American Eagle Silver Bullion Program Act to “authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase silver on the open market when the silver stockpile is depleted.”
2002 – 10,539,026 Bullion American Silver Eagles were sold.
2003 – 8,495,008 Bullion American Silver Eagles were sold, silver averaged $4.88 an ounce for the year.
2004 – 8,882,754 Bullion American Silver Eagles were sold. For 2004 the average cost of an ounce of silver was $6.67.
2005 – 8,891,025 Bullion American Silver Eagles were sold. Silver averaged $7.32 an ounce.
2006 – 10,676,522 Bullion American Silver Eagles were sold. Silver averaged $11.55 an ounce.
2007 – 9,028,036 Bullion American Silver Eagles were sold.
2008 – 20,583,000 Bullion American Silver Eagles were sold. Silver averaged $14.99 an ounce and almost 80% more Bullion American Silver Eagles were sold then in any previous year.
The US Mint suspended sales of the silver bullion coins to its network of authorized purchasers twice during the year.
In March 2008, sales increased nine times over the month before – 200,000 to 1,855,000.
In April 2008, the United States Mint had to start an allocation program, effectively rationing Silver Eagle bullion coins to authorized dealers on a weekly basis due to “unprecedented demand.”
On June 6, 2008, the Mint announced that all incoming silver planchets were being used to produce only bullion issues of the Silver Eagle and not proof or uncirculated collectible issues.
The 2008 Proof Silver Eagle became unavailable for purchase from the United States Mint in August 2008.
2009 – 30,459,000 Bullion American Silver Eagles were sold
On March 5, 2009, the United States Mint announced that the proof and uncirculated versions of the Silver Eagle coin for that year were temporarily suspended due to continuing high demand for the bullion version.
On October 6, 2009, the Mint announced that the collectible versions of the Silver Eagle coin would not be produced for 2009.
The sale of 2009 Silver Eagle bullion coins was suspended from November 24 to December 6 and the allocation program was re-instituted on December 7.
Silver Eagle bullion coins sold out on January 12, 2010.
The average cost of an ounce of silver in 2009 was $14.67
No proof Silver Eagles were released through the first ten months of the year, and there was a complete cancellation of the uncirculated Silver Eagles.
Production of the 2010 Silver Eagle bullion coins began in January instead of December as usual. The coins were distributed to authorized dealers under an allocation program until September 3.
In 2010 the US Mint sold 34,700,000 Bullion American Silver Eagle Coins.
According to the USGS’s most recent Silver Mineral Industry Survey, silver production fell to 37 tonnes in October – compared to 53 tonnes year over year (yoy).
In 2011, the United States produced approximately 1,054 tonnes of silver – down from 2010’s production of 1,154 tonnes and down from 2007’s production of 1,163 tonnes.
In 2011 the US Mint sold 39,868,500 Bullion American Silver Eagle Coins.
2011 was the first year in which official coin sales will surpass domestic silver production.
Jeff Clark of Casey Research writes “For the first time in history, sales of silver Eagle and Maple Leaf coins surpassed domestic production in both the US and Canada. Throw in the fact that by most estimates less than 5% of the US population owns any gold or silver and you can see how precarious the situation is. A supply squeeze is not out of the question – rather it is coming to look more and more likely with each passing month.”
The US Mint is required by law to mint the bullion Silver Eagles to meet public demand for precious metal coins as an investment option. The numismatic versions of the coin (proof and uncirculated) were added by the Mint solely for collectors.
United States Mint Authorized Purchasers (AP’s) ordered 3,197,000 Bullion American Silver Eagle Coins on January 3rd, the first day they went on sale. That opening day total catapulted January Bullion Eagle sales higher than half of the monthly totals in 2011.
As of January 25th 2012, 5,547,000 Bullion American Silver Eagle Coins had been sold.
Bullion Silver Eagles are guaranteed for weight and purity by the government of the United States and because of this the US government allows bullion Silver Eagles to be added to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs).
The twin policies of zero interest rates and the continual creation of money and credit being enacted today, by all governments and central banks, means that the purchase of precious metals is the only way to protect the value of your assets.
“Mark my words, if the interest rates on U.S. government debt truly reflected both the real level of inflation in this country and the rising risk of some form of default, rates would already by sky-high and the U.S. would resemble a massive Greece.” John Embry, Chief Investment Strategist, Sprott Asset Management
Investors are currently risk adverse and mining stocks are not well understood by the general investing public, but at least one thing is going to become very apparent to most – the best way to hedge yourself against inflation could be owning silver.
Junior resource companies offer the greatest leverage to increasing demand and rising prices for silver. Junior resource companies are soon going to have their turn under the investment spotlight and should be on every investors radar screen. Are they on yours?
If not, maybe they should be.
*Post courtesy of Richard Mills at Aheadoftheherd.com where he covers the junior resource sector.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — A growing number of states are seeking shiny new currencies made of silver and gold.
Worried that the Federal Reserve and the U.S. dollar are on the brink of collapse, lawmakers from 13 states, including Minnesota, Tennessee, Iowa, South Carolina and Georgia, are seeking approval from their state governments to either issue their own alternative currency or explore it as an option. Just three years ago, only three states had similar proposals in place.
“In the event of hyperinflation, depression, or other economic calamity related to the breakdown of the Federal Reserve System … the State’s governmental finances and private economy will be thrown into chaos,” said North Carolina Republican Representative Glen Bradley in a currency bill he introduced last year.
Unlike individual communities, which are allowed to create their own currency — as long as it is easily distinguishable from U.S. dollars — the Constitution bans states from printing their own paper money or issuing their own currency. But it allows the states to make “gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.”
To the state legislators who are proposing state-issued currencies, that means gold and silver are fair game, said Edwin Vieira, an alternative currency proponent and attorney specializing in Constitutional law. And since gold has grown exponentially more valuable, while the U.S. dollar continues to lose ground, the notion has become increasingly appealing to state lawmakers, he said.
The state gold rush: Utah became the first state to introduce its own alternative currency when Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill into law last March that recognized gold and silver coins issued by the U.S. Mint as an acceptable form of payment. Under the law, the coins — which include American Gold and Silver Eagles — are treated the same as U.S. dollars for tax purposes, eliminating capital gains taxes.
Since the face value of some U.S.-minted gold and silver coins — like the one-ounce, $50 American Gold Eagle coin — is so much less than the metal value (one ounce of gold is now worth more than $1,700), the new law allows the coins to be exchanged at their market value, based on weight and fineness.
Local currencies: In the U.S., we don’t trust
“A Utah citizen, for example, could contract with another to sell his car for 10 one-ounce gold coins (approximately $17,000), or an independent contractor could arrange to be compensated in gold coins,” said Rich Danker, a project director at the American Principles Project, a conservative public policy group in Washington, D.C.
South Carolina Republican Representative Mike Pitts proposed a currency system that would allow people to use any kind of silver or gold coin — whether it’s a Philippine Peso or a South African Krugerrand — based on weight and fineness. Pitts said in the bill, which currently has 12 co-sponsors, that the state is facing “an economic crisis of severe magnitude.”
Republican representatives from Washington State followed suit in January, introducing a bill that would also allow any gold and silver coins to be considered legal tender based on metal values. Minnesota, Iowa, Georgia, Idaho and Indiana are also considering similar proposals.
Many of the bills would make it possible for residents to exchange the physical coins for goods and services, so you could use coins to buy anything from groceries to a car as long as the store chooses to accept them.
However, most people aren’t going to walk around with such valuable coins in their pockets, said Vieira. Plus, calculating the value of the coins — especially if they come from different parts of the globe and are of different sizes and shapes — will get tricky.
Community cash: In each other we trust
It’s more likely that the states will create electronic depositories and accounts for the coins to make transactions easier, when and if the initial bills are passed, he said.
Utah Gold & Silver Depository is already developing a system where customers could use debit cards linked to their gold holdings. When customers swipe their debit cards to make transactions, physical gold and silver coins would be transferred between accounts in privately-owned depositories (or vaults) based on the market value of the metals.
Before deciding on a specific form of currency, some states — including Minnesota, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina — are considering proposals that would first require a committee to review their alternative currency plan.
The future of U.S. currency: The states’ proposals have been gaining steam among Tea Partyers and Republicans, many of whom also endorse a nationwide return to the gold standard, which would require the U.S. dollar to be backed by gold reserves.
Tea Party “father” Ron Paul is sponsoring the “Free Competition in Currency Act,” which would allow states to introduce their own currencies, and rival Newt Gingrich is calling for a commission to look at how the country can get back to the gold standard.
But it will be the individual states that could really get the ball rolling, said Vieira. Even if several of the current proposals get killed, the introduction of so many bills at the state level is drawing national attention to the issue, he said.
Funny money: 11 local currencies
Of all the state proposals circulating right now, Republican-controlled states including South Carolina, Georgia, Idaho and Indiana have the best chance of passing their proposed bills this year, said American Principles Project’s Danker. If just one or two states implement an alternative currency, it could have a Domino effect, he said.
“I think we could get a couple passed in this legislative session, and that would show this is mainstream, popular and it would be a justification for more of the risk-averse states for doing this,” he said.
There are, of course, many people who think the recent push for alternative state currencies should be stopped in its tracks. David Parsley, a professor of economics and finance at Vanderbilt University, said he thinks state-issued currencies are a “terrible” idea.
“Having 50 Feds” could debase the U.S. dollar and even potentially lead the country into default, he said. “The single currency in the United States is working just fine,” said Parsley. “I have no idea why anyone would want to destroy something so successful — unless they actually wanted to destroy the country.”
By Blake Ellis @CNNMoney
It is 2012 and we are giving away 52 Silver 1 ounce Coins or Bars. Swiss Metal Assets is committed to bringing you the latest information on the Precious Metals and Rare Industrial Metals market.
Silver is a store of value and one of the critical metals according to the United States Geological Survey and the British Geological Survey. Silver is so important to the world around us that we think that a weekly giveaway is in order.
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