The passing of Naomi Judd on April 30 brought back memories of my grandfather, due to her and her daughter, Wynonna’s, song, “Grandpa, Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Days.”
In 2017, my wife, Karen, and I heard Wynonna at one of her fine Christmas shows, where her “Grandpa” song got me thinking about my first interest in rare coins, sparked by my own grandfather, nicknamed “Red” Lievens for the color of his hair. When I was growing up in Louisiana, by the time I was 7, “Red” began giving me an uncirculated silver dollar every time I scored an “A” on my report card – and also for every birthday and holiday. (He got uncirculated silver dollars at face value from the bank until 1965.)
Before that, my parents put a silver quarter (now worth over $5) under my pillow for each tooth I lost.
From my childhood, I was intrigued by the design on Grandpa’s old Morgan dollars, so I set out to learn more about them. This inspired me to pursue the path I’m still following – rare coins as both a hobby and a career of endless joy and satisfaction. Grandpa taught me that coins made of precious metals carry a real “heft,” which implies they would always “trump” paper money of equal face value. Sure enough, dollar bills from the 1960s are still worth $1, but uncirculated Morgan silver dollars are worth a whole lot more – about $60 apiece at the present time.
Naomi Judd’ song, “Grandpa, Tell Me ’Bout the Good Old Days” won a Grammy Award in 1987 for “Best Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.” It was a #1 Country hit and gave voice to America’s longing for the kinder, gentler way of life they’d known in days gone by. Here are the complete lyrics:
Oh, grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days Lovers really fall in love to stay
Sometimes it feels like this world’s gone crazy Stand beside each other, come what may
Grandpa, take me back to yesterday Promise are really somethin’ people kept
When the line between right and wrong Not just somethin’ they would say
Didn’t seem so hazy Families really bow their heads to pray
Daddies really never go away
Oh, grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days
Grandpa, everything is changing fast
We call it progress, but I just don’t know
And grandpa, wander back into the past
And paint me the picture of long ago
Oh, grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days
The silver dollars I got from my grandfather were part of those old values – coins whose worth was real, not just symbolic like the paper dollar. Merle Haggard said the same thing in, “Are the Good Times Really Over?”
I wish a buck was still silver.
It was back when the country was strong…
…Is the best of the free life behind us now,
And are the good times really over for good?
Another country singer I know, Larry Gatlin, had a hit song back in 1979 called “All the Gold in California,” when gold was rising rapidly in price. He recently said he should have followed the recommendations of his financial advisors to purchase gold when it was about $300 an ounce in 1979. Instead, he said, “I bought horses and cows and cars and guitars and a lot of other stuff … Now, gold is about $1,900 an ounce while the horses are dead, the cows are dead, the cars won’t run and the guitars are, well, just guitars. The bad news is, I didn’t buy gold. The good news is, I now own gold and I’m going to buy even more.”
In the end, the silver dollars my grandfather gave me had the desired effect: I studied diligently in order to earn more A’s – and more silver dollars. If you have children, grandchildren, or other youngsters special to you, follow my grandfather’s example by giving them something with intrinsic value when there’s a reason to celebrate. You can’t get silver dollars for $1 at the bank, but they still make great incentives for rewarding “A” grades, and they might well increase in value a lot faster than today’s dollars in a bank.
Come to think of it, Grandpa Red deserves a great big “A” on any heavenly report card of his life!
Biden’s Political Mismanagement Will Likely Cost the Democrats Their Congressional Majority
– and That’s Good for Gold
President Biden’s job approval ratings are currently the lowest ever for a President at this point in the four-year cycle. All four of his predecessors have lost Congressional control in the mid-term elections, three of them in their first term, so it’s fairly certain the Democrats will lose one or both houses of Congress in November. The current betting at FTX (where people bet real money) shows a 77% chance that Republicans will take over the Senate and an 85.8% chance the Republicans will take back the House.
This reversal has happened to each of the last four Presidents, and it was usually very good for gold:
- On November 8, 1994, Republicans gained 8 seats in the Senate and 54 seats in the House to gain control of the House for the first time in 40 years as a part of the “Republican Revolution” against President Clinton’s more extreme measure, including his wife’s nationalized healthcare plan. Clinton blamed Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, who raised rates five times in 1994. Gold didn’t react to the news, since it was flat for most of the 1990s, trading at around $385 in 1995, but gold soared on the political changes of the composition in Congress after the next three reversals.
- On November 7, 2006, Democrats took back a net six seats in the Senate and 31 seats in the House to retake control of both Houses of Congress from the Republicans under George W. Bush, as voters were seemingly tired of the endless wars and deficit spending under the once-cost-conscious (now spendthrift) Republicans. Gold was $625 an ounce on election day 2006, and it rose steadily to $834 a year later, up 33%, despite higher interest rates, courtesy of the Fed.
- On November 2, 2010, there was the most overwhelming reversal of power in any U.S. mid-term election – what Charles Krauthammer called a “restraining order on President Obama” – with the Republicans gaining 64 seats in the House, largely as a result of the new “Tea Party” movement. Gold was $1,351 per ounce on election day 2010, and it was $1,743 a year later, up 29%.
- On November 6, 2018, Democrats gained a net 41 seats in the House to take back control of that chamber, although the Republicans remained in control of the Senate. Gold was $1,231 per ounce on election day 2018, but it then rose to $1,509 a year later, up 23% in 12 months.
With all four of the last Presidents seeing their party’s control of Congress reversed in mid-term elections, it is likely Biden and the Democrats will face the same fate this November, and that will likely be good for gold, as its price soared an average 21% in the last four times such reversals occurred.
I Recommend Silver Bars or Rounds (or Alternative Coins) for Larger Silver Bullion Purchases
— Not the 2022 American Silver Eagle
A continuing shortage of silver and silver blanks available to the U.S. Mint makes the American Silver Eagle a poor selection in this year’s silver market. It is a poor selection for large quantity purchases; however, American Silver Eagles are still great for collectors and for gift giving in small quantities.
There are delays in production and delivery of American Silver Eagles and huge price markups on the order of $13 or more above spot silver prices, which is not practical for larger orders of bullion coins. Imagine paying more than 50% over spot when you can buy the same amount of silver in the same Brilliant Uncirculated condition for just 10% or 20% over spot prices. With silver recently around $22 per ounce, imagine paying $35 for a silver bullion coin!
Silver bars and rounds are far better buys for as little as about $4 over spot per ounce (for 10 ounces) or about $2 over spot per ounce for a kilogram.