COVID-19 Makes Us Wonder: What Use Will Silver Coins be in New Zealand in a Currency Collapse?

The uncertainty brought about by COVID-19 highlighted the important role that cash plays in times of economic uncertainty.

In a recent speech Assistant Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Christian Hawkesby commented on the massive increase in demand for cash in March:

“During the weeks leading up to the March 25 pandemic lockdown, New Zealanders demanded an unprecedented amount of cash, with $800 million of bank notes issued in March alone (compared to $150 million in March 2019).

“These bank notes have not yet returned to the banking system, meaning they are likely still being held by the public.”

Hawkesby said since then, cash in circulation had continued to increase, growing by about 15% year on year during the second quarter of 2020.

“Many other countries have also experienced increased demand for bank notes during the pandemic, as a store of value and a back up method of payment.

Source.

You may have wondered whether silver could also act as a means of exchange in an even more serious crisis? Here’s an excellent question from reader Dave on this topic: “What use silver coins would be if a currency collapse were to occur in New Zealand?” He writes how he is looking at them as a form of savings just in case they could be used as cash to pay for everyday necessities:

“I’m curious about coins. What is the utility in buying foreign coins – if I want to have a ready source of cash in NZ? (Should bad things happen!) e.g. I want to pay for petrol with Canadian silver coins? Will this work? PS and does anyone really know?”

This is a really great question and one we haven’t directly answered anywhere else before. Although we have written about the pros and cons of silver coins versus silver bars here.  

New Zealand Has Never Seen a Complete Currency Collapse

To answer Dave’s P.S. first: “Does anyone really know?” Our answer is “No” – no one can know. As we’ve never had a situation in New Zealand of a complete currency collapse. A situation where we’ve needed to use silver to purchase everyday goods.

Of course that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen…

But given no direct local historical examples of a currency collapse, all we can do is make a somewhat educated guess.  

What Has Happened Elsewhere During a Currency Collapse?

Therefore probably the next best thing we can do is to look to overseas jurisdictions, where currencies have collapsed.

In recent examples, nations that have experienced a currency collapse have virtually always turned to a foreign currency to use instead. Such as in Zimbabwe, where the US dollar was mainly used when trust in the Zim dollar was completely lost.

What happened in Zimbabwe in their currency collapse

However we are likely nearing the end of the US dollars run as global reserve currency. So perhaps relying upon holding US dollars isn’t the best bet either?

Looking at Zimbabwe we recall reading articles about people panning for gold and exchanging gold for food like this one from 8 years ago: Zimbabwe – gold for bread.

I found this quote from the video elsewhere, since the video is no longer available:

“If you need cooking oil, you need to exchange for gold. If you need soap, you need to exchange for gold. Everything is gold gold..no Zimbabwe dollars.” The shops in Zimbabwe didn’t take paper Zim dollars–only gold.

Articles from later dates than the one above talk more about Zimbabweans using US Dollars. Although as this article below says it took a while for US Dollars to be used widely: Zimbabwe after hyperinflation – In dollars they trust.

So in the early days it seems like gold would have been used. Probably barter as well. Along with the South African Rand and then mostly the US Dollar.  

Currency Collapse in New Zealand More Likely to be Result of Global Monetary Breakdown

US Dollar Crisis - Currency Collapse
A currency collapse in New Zealand is more likely to be caused by a loss of confidence in the global monetary system.

However our guess is that if a currency collapse occurred here in New Zealand, it would more likely be as a result of a global collapse in confidence in the world monetary system.

Rather than simply as a result of government money printing localised just to New Zealand. (But never say never! After all the RBNZ began its own money printing in March. It’s also setting up to implement negative interest rates in 2021.)

As alluded to earlier, we are likely nearing the end of the US dollars run as global reserve currency. Monetary scholar Edwin Vieira has pointed out that every 30 to 40 years the reigning monetary system fails and has to be retooled. It’s now been 49 years since Richard Nixon removed the ability for foreign countries to convert US Dollars in gold.  

So in this Case Gold and Silver Would be the Better Bet to Own Than US Dollars

So in the case of a global monetary system breakdown causing a currency collapse in New Zealand, it looks like gold and silver might be the better bet to own than US dollars.

On to the question then about the utility of buying foreign minted coins such as say Canadian Maple silver coins.

How widely accepted would foreign minted coins be?

Your first thought may be that most people on the street today wouldn’t even be able to recognise a Canadian silver maple or an American silver eagle 1 oz coin!

Canadian Silver Maple would be good in a currency collapse
Well known coins from national mints like the Royal Canadian Mint, US Mint and Perth Mint in Australia, would most likely be more trusted to be authentic and pure in a currency crisis.

However in a currency collapse situation where trust in all fiat money evaporated, it would be a fair assumption to make that people would learn in a hurry what various coins looked like.

Well known coins from national mints would likely be more trusted to be authentic and pure. This might include mints such as the Royal Canadian Mint, US Mint, the Austrian Mint, the Rand Refinery in South Africa and Perth Mint in Australia.

Odds are we would also have seen a sharp rise in the number of people buying gold and silver in the lead up. So there would be more knowledge about gold and silver coins than that which exists here currently.  

Therefore a Silver Coin From a Well Known Mint Should be a Pretty Good Bet

So the popular Canadian Silver Maple 1 oz coin, that Dave was referring to, would likely be a good bet.

Even if we never see a full blown currency collapse (a bet we wouldn’t want to take), silver coins will still offer protection from the almost assuredly ongoing devaluation of all currencies.

2016-1oz-kangaroo-silver-bs
Perth Mint Silver Kangaroos are the best buy currently when looking for a globally recognised silver 1 oz coin.

But right now you may also want to consider the Perth Mint Australia 1oz Silver Kangaroos. We have some backdated versions of these coins currently.

500 x 1oz Kangaroos are around $180 cheaper than the silver maples. Odds are these would be just as widely recognised as the maples as well. The Perth Mint is a well known government backed mint globally. It has a high profile globally and is already well known here in New Zealand too.

When buying 500 backdated Perth Mint Australian Kangaroo coins, you’re effectively getting 4 coins for free in comparison to 500 Canadian Maples.  

Currently Austrian Philharmonics and South African Krugerrands Are the Best Value When Buying Silver Coins

The huge increase in demand for silver in the early stages of the COVID-19 lockdown resulted in most 1oz silver coins being sold out.

But in the past week we now have most coins available to order again. The premiums on most of these coins have fallen compared to what they previously were too.

Right now, Austrian Philharmonics and South African Krugerrand’s are the best value coins.

You can see the difference in price between these two and also the Maples and the Kangaroos below. Then either click below or go to our online gold and silver shop to request a quote. Minimum order is for 250 coins. Just specify how many coins you’d like when you make your request. The best pricing is for 500 coins or more.

Silver coins can also be purchased in smaller quantities of 25 coins. However these are generally at a higher price per coin compared to buying in 500 oz boxes such as those above.

If you’re not already a subscriber of ours then you should be! Our VIP subscribers are the first to hear about deals like these.

Sign up below or go here to learn more. You’ll also get our free ebook “19 Nuggets of Knowledge on Gold and Silver”.

To learn more about the role gold may play in the global monetary system check out this article If/When the US Dollar Collapses, What Will Gold be Priced in?

Editors Note: This post was first published 25 July 2017. Last updated 27 October 2020 to include latest pricing on silver coins.

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19 thoughts on “COVID-19 Makes Us Wonder: What Use Will Silver Coins be in New Zealand in a Currency Collapse?

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  15. Christopher Collins says:

    In a currency collapse will paper still be valuable as a means of exchange? I see the lack of it in peoples hands today as they rely on digital money, therefore it could be valuable in the collapse along with precious metals? Should we hold some as well as Gold and Silver?

  16. Glenn says:

    Yes particularly in the early stages of a crisis. Some physical cash may be very useful to have. We see evidence of this when ATM’s or EFTPOS systems fail in areas when there are outages. So definitely a good idea to have some cash hidden away just in case.

  17. Steve says:

    Q1. When can we stop calling fiat ‘money’?
    Q2. Can Junk silver (pre-1965 us coins) be beneficial in an NZ market?
    Q3. Why aren’t real money or currency (finances) taught in schools? Along with Taxes?
    ‘Hidden secrets of money’ should be on every schools curriculum.
    Thanks for all the great work you’re doing.

  18. Pingback: The Death of Term Deposits in New Zealand? - Gold Survival Guide

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