Prior to the Corona-panic, most people probably hadn’t given much thought to the potential of a currency collapse in developed world countries, such as New Zealand. But with even the once conservative Reserve Bank of New Zealand joining the currency printing/quantitative easing brigade in 2020, the idea of a currency collapse might not seem so far out these days. The recent bank failures and immediate bail-outs, in the USA have also highlighted the fragility of the global financial system.
Here’s an excellent reader question, basically asking what is the best type or size of gold to buy for trading in a currency collapse situation…
Gold seems to always be more valuable than silver. And I’ve heard a lot about people buying ‘bricks’ of gold, but really how useful would owning a brick be? Wouldn’t it be better to own the same amount of gold in smaller amount for trading purposes? Or if the market really did collapse would it be ok to file off some gold from your brick to buy a loaf of bread? I guess the question I’m really asking is what might be the guidelines for trading gold? Would it likely be only printed/stamped gold or by weight etc..
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Best Type of Gold and Silver to Buy With a View to Trading it in the Future:
Yes gold is (almost?) always more valuable than silver. (See here for our answer to the question: Could Silver Be Worth More Than Gold?)
However that doesn’t necessarily mean you should only buy gold.
Yes gold comes in many sizes from 1 kilogram (which sells for over $100,000 currently), down to a gram at $142. The most common size would be 1 oz bars or coins which currently sell from around $3,267.
The benefit of buying the larger sized bars is that they are better value. The overall price (per ounce) you pay when buying in larger sizes is closer to the spot price.
However our reader is correct that these larger sized bars would not be so useful in a currency collapse situation where you may want to use the gold to buy everyday goods.
In this case, smaller sizes would be better. However small gold bars like 1g and 5g have higher premiums above the spot price so are not so good value. For example a 1g gold bar could be about 40% above the spot price. Whereas a 1oz gold bar is only 3.75% above spot.
Why Silver is Likely Better For Trading in A Currency Collapse Situation
However silver would likely be even better for trading in a currency collapse. This is for a couple of reasons.
1. Buying gold in less than 1oz sizes means you’ll pay more for it on an equivalent per oz basis.
2. Silver can be bought in much lower dollar amounts, so is likely a much better option in a trade situation where you wanted to swap some silver for some everyday goods.
For more see this article on the potential usefulness of silver coins in a collapse situation: What Use Will Silver Coins be in New Zealand in a Currency Collapse? For example a common 1 oz silver coin is only $48.00. Whereas even a 1 gram gold bar is over $140.
Gold’s Higher Value Means It May Not Be So Good for Trading for Smaller Everyday Goods
Gold could be used in a similar way but obviously it’s much higher value would limit what you could trade it for.
Shaving or filing some gold off a bar “to buy a loaf of bread” would not be advised. As the gold most likely wouldn’t be so readily accepted that way. A non-expert would find it difficult to determine if it was real gold or not in that form. Also the remaining bar would be damaged and possibly missing the purity and manufacturers stamp. Thereby limiting its resale value.
Hence why silver might be a better option for this. A 1 oz silver coin is around $48 currently. Hence it’s likely better to have a stack of these kept for a just in case/worst case scenario.
Here’s more information on a popular silver coin: Silver Maple Monster Box – The Complete Guide
Many people buy some silver coins as well as some gold too.
Gold has the advantage of taking up much less space per dollar value than silver. Meaning it is easier and cheaper to store. Making gold better for holding and transporting large amounts of wealth. Gold is also more stable and less volatile than silver.
Or let us know if you have any more questions or would like a quote for anything in particular.
Editors Note: This article was first published 21 January 2018. Last Updated 28 March 2023 to include up to date gold and silver prices.