By Richard Schwary – California Numismatic Investments

At first blush this might sound like an odd question but I get this one on occasion, so I did some homework you might find interesting: Most everyone is focused on the price of gold, which is fine but I think there are a number of benefits to the yellow metal that are overlooked if your focus it too narrow.

For me, one of the giant advantages gold has to offer, and something which always trumps price, is privacy.

Think about this for a moment and name one other thing in your economic life that is as private as gold. In the old days you could purchase bearer bonds but I don’t think these have been issued for many years and to my knowledge there is no paper substitute for gold in your hand.

I guess you could just put cash into your safe deposit box but that is so uncreative and if inflation springs forward this could turn into a nightmare. And other things like rare coins or antiques or other collectibles have their place but what can compare to a stack of bullion coins when you want to raise cash? Just grab a hand full and walk into your local coin dealer and ask for a cash payment. Most will be happy to do so if they have the cash and larger dealers always provide for this possibility but be careful to follow the cash reporting rules or your Uncle is drawn into the frame.

So back to my all important privacy issue as far as a major benefit in owning gold: Any other investment or savings requires your personal information to transact and so at least a limited number of people are involved besides yourself. Not that this is bad but what if you just wanted to be completely by yourself in a financial situation? No bank, no brokerage, no government, no personal links to the transaction and at the same time you wanted financial parity meaning you wanted a cash substitute that would hold up no matter where in world you landed? Why there is nothing that compares to gold bullion when it comes to this extra advantage. And to my way of thinking this giant plus must be coveted by many investors when they think about the developing Big Brother approach to the increasingly socialized Western thinking.

So back to my homework: We called Wells Fargo Bank and got the measurements of their two smallest Safe Deposit Boxes and did the math. Now keep in mind that Safe Deposit boxes are not uniform in size and this much gold would present a big weight problem, but you get the idea.

The size of their smallest box in inches is 24 by 5 by 3 and that will hold 51 tubes of 1 ounce US Gold Eagles. Using our buy price today (Jan 28, 2011) of $1393.00 that would be worth $1,420,860.00! Wow!

A medium size box in inches is 24 by 10 by 5 and it would hold 180 tubes which would be 180 times 20 (the number of coins in a tube) times $1393.00 ( Buy Price) or $5,014,800.00!

Now I’m not trying to sell US Gold Eagles but I use this example to illustrate that even a small Safe Deposit box could easily hold almost 1.5 million dollars in product and a medium size box could hold  5 million dollars! You can scale this notion up or down but the point is that creating a currency equivalent using gold bullion is not as crazy as it might have once seemed.


  1. Usually upon the death of one of the box owners the bank stops access and requires the box to be opened in the presence of the tax man.

  2. Putting precious metals in a safe deposit box is a very, very bad idea. There have been plenty of news stories about boxes being falsely labeled as abandoned and the contents essentially stolen, especially as states try to make up revenue shortfalls–they can claim that they couldn’t find the owner of the boxes’ contents and keep whatever was inside. I would never keep precious metals anywhere that I was not able to access 24 hours a day on property that I owned. You absolutely do not want your precious metals or other valuables under the jurisdiction. Besides that, certain provisions of the badly-misnamed “Patriot” Act prohibit storage of precious metals in safe deposit boxes and allow the government to confiscate them. Check out the articles for yourself:

  3. The safety deposit box “sounds” like a good idea, but as the other people noted, beware of the tax man. You also forgot to mention how much that “little” box would weigh with all that gold in it. Gold is a very heavy metal.