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Friday, November 4, 2011

The true value of money

What is the true value of money? Perhaps the best way to assess its value is to melt down the coinage and sell the raw metal:

Which reminds Tyler Durden of this story about Kyle Bass, the investor who made millions from the subprime meltdown.

[Bass] still owned stacks of gold and platinum bars that had roughly doubled in value, but he remained on the lookout for hard stores of wealth as a hedge against what he assumed was the coming debasement of fiat currency. Nickels, for instance.

“The value of the metal in a nickel is worth six point eight cents,” he said. “Did you know that?”

I didn’t.

“I just bought a million dollars’ worth of them,” he said, and then, perhaps sensing I couldn’t do the math: “twenty million nickels.”

“You bought twenty million nickels?”

“Uh-huh.”

“How do you buy twenty million nickels?”

“Actually, it’s very difficult,” he said, and then explained that he had to call his bank and talk them into ordering him twenty million nickels. The bank had finally done it, but the Federal Reserve had its own questions. “The Fed apparently called my guy at the bank,” he says.

“They asked him, ‘Why do you want all these nickels?’ So he called me and asked, ‘Why do you want all these nickels?’ And I said, ‘I just like nickels.’”

He pulled out a photograph of his nickels and handed it to me. There they were, piled up on giant wooden pallets in a Brink’s vault in downtown Dallas.

“I’m telling you, in the next two years they’ll change the content of the nickel,” he said. “You really ought to call your bank and buy some now.”

Don't bother asking about the true value of paper bills.

Or the bits in the computer that represent the bulk of your net worth.


Hat tip: Coinflation.


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