Two millennia ago, three wise men arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts for the Christ Child. A famous Christmas carol celebrates how Caspar, Balthazar and Melchior brought with them the most valuable items of their day—gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Back then, an ounce or two of each one was worth more than a peasant could earn in a lifetime. Today, frankincense and myrrh are no longer as rare, or as valued, as they were back then. But gold—the first gift of the Magi—is still as highly regarded as it was 2,000 years ago… or 3,000 years before that.
This Christmas let me suggest that you do as a Wise Man did 2,000 years ago; give the gift of gold to someone who is special to you.
A good friend of mine told me that he is going to put a 1-ounce gold coin in his granddaughter’s stocking this year. Since she’s only 1 year old, he’ll let her play with the bright shiny object for an hour or so. Then he’ll ask her parents to put it away for safe-keeping for several years.
“This is how I’m going to start her college fund,” he said. “I’ll do this every Christmas. By the time she’s ready for college, I expect two things will have happened. One, her gold coins will be worth a heck of a lot more than I paid for them in paper dollars. And two, as their number and value increases over the years; I hope she’ll appreciate the tremendous difference between something of real, permanent, lasting value—gold—compared to paper fiat currencies, which governments can inflate at will.”
That’s one smart grandpa. May I be so bold as to suggest that you go thou and do likewise? If a 1-ounce gold coin is over your budget this year, remember that the U.S. Eagle—made by the U.S. Mint from gold mined right here in the U.S.A.—comes in 1/10th-ounce, 1/4th-ounce, and 1/2-ounce versions.
In addition to the Eagle, the U.S. Mint currently produces a 1-ounce coin in .9999 pure gold that I recommend to your attention. It is the gold Buffalo, which I wrote about here.
Today’s gold Buffalo is modeled after one of the most popular coins in American history—the 5-cent Buffalo piece, or nickel, that first appeared in 1913. As you can imagine, today’s Buffalo costs a lot more than that. As of early Friday the spot price of gold was $1,159. Because of fabrication and distribution costs, expect to pay 6 percent to 8 percent over spot for each uncirculated gold Buffalo you buy.
If this is a lot more than you planned to spend on anyone this Christmas, let me recommend a much more modest investment—one that will only cost you $25 or so. It is the remarkably lovely silver Eagle from the U.S. Mint.
This genuine silver Eagle (each coin contains one ounce of 99.9% fine silver) is as lovely as it is historic. One side features “Walking Liberty,” first designed by the noted sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens when Theodore Roosevelt was president.
Many people are not aware that the Mint still produces silver coins every year, so it makes quite an impressive gift. Who wouldn’t rather receive one in their stocking, instead of a lump of coal?
Any coin dealer will be able to provide you with gold and silver Eagles from the U.S. Mint. Check your yellow pages under “coins” for a list of retail outlets in your area. Or go to the U.S. Mint’s website, www.usmint.gov, and click on their list of approved dealers. I’m proud to say that my firm, Asset Strategies International, has been on that list since it was first created a dozen years ago.
Another way to give the gift of gold is through jewelry. Most jewelry store offerings are a very expensive way to acquire the Midas metal. The necklaces and bracelets they offer are usually not pure gold—a 14-karat necklace contains only 58 percent gold. And yet this machine-made jewelry is often priced at three to five times its gold content, or more.
A much better deal is a collection of .9999 pure gold jewelry which my company offers in partnership with another firm. It’s called The Heirloom Collection and you can check it out by clicking here. Every link in every chain in The Heirloom Collection is hand-crafted by artisans who have been making these exquisite pieces all their lives. In some cases, they are the second or third generation of their family doing this.
Let me also mention that these pure-gold works of art come in exact weights, from 1 ounce to 5 ounces. They are an incredibly portable form of wealth. You can take them anywhere in the world and, if need be, sell them any place that buys gold. (It’s worth noting that when FDR ordered the confiscation of all bullion and gold coins in America back in the 1933, gold jewelry was exempt.)
If all of that isn’t enough reason to interest you in these wonderful examples of an artisans’ skill, let me mention one more: Your wife or significant other will be thrilled beyond words to receive one of these exquisite creations as a gift this holiday season. Better yet, give her a matching bracelet and necklace set and watch her face glow in appreciation.
Giving the gift of gold (or silver) is a wonderful way to remind your lucky recipients of your principles and your generosity. What a marvelous way to give them many years of pride, pleasure and positive memories of you.
Sure, stocks and bonds and CDs are all very nice. But this holiday season; why not give a gift of lasting value? There is nothing that preserves wealth better than gold. That was true 2,000 years ago. It’s true today. And I expect it to be true for the next two millennia as well.