My grandfather volunteered for the Air Force at the start of World War Two.
He became the guy who aimed and dropped the bombs on those bastard Nazis. Known technically as a bombardier, my grandfather flew on a B24 Liberator airplane and was shot down on his 25th mission. He lived to tell us about it many times over Marco Island sunsets and strong Manhattans.
Maybe I’ll tell you one of his “on duty” war stories in another post, but today I’m going to tell you one of his “off duty” war stories.
While stationed in England, when he and his crew in the picture above had a free weekend, they would go out drinking and doing all the other things that came along with boozing it up hard.
The tailgun nest on a B24 Liberator was very cramped and small for your average size person.
A little guy fit in it perfectly though.
Their tailgunner was a guy named Jack. Jack was on the shorter end of the five foot tall spectrum.
When my grandfather’s crew was in the mood for getting into it, they would head out on the town. After drinking for a while, the restlessness would kick in so they would send the tailgunner Jack into a pub all by himself at first.
The rest of the crew would wait patiently outside.
Jack would go up to the bartender and ask if he had any ummm, “ladies of the night”.
The bartender would say “yes” and then Jack would ask, “How much?”.
In this instance, the bartender replied: “three pounds”.
Jack replied: “What!?!?!? I can get the QUEEN for three pounds!”
And with that royal insult, the bartender and his English pub patrons started moving in to rough the little tailgunner up in defense of their Queen’s honor.
At that moment, the rest Jack’s B24 bomber crew would barge in to the bar and all hell would break loose.
Now here’s how I manage to loosely connect this story to the point of today’s lesson.
Back in the 1940’s, three British pounds or shillings (I forget which it was) was just change you held in your pocket.
That pocket change was also made out of real SILVER.
I bet you never really pay any attention to your pocket change today, do you?
Because most United States pocket change minted before 1965 has real silver in it too.
This kind of pocket change is worth way more than its face value.
We refer to this kind of valuable pocket change as “Junk Silver”.
What is Junk Silver?
Junk silver is any coin that has no collectible value but contains real silver.
In the United States, junk silver mostly refers to coins that were minted before 1965, like quarters, dimes and half dollars. These coins contain anywhere from 35% to 90% real silver.
Some dollar and half dollar coins dating up to 1976 also contain silver.
There is a cool website called COINFLATION that will show you just how much silver is in a particular piece of junk silver and how much that coin is worth today. It also has a neat “melt value” calculator.
For instance, when I visit the URL above, I see that at today’s silver price, a 1964 quarter is really worth $2.88 because of the silver it contains.
I usually sell all my junk.
I sell old iphones before they go out of style and the new one comes out. I sell back books on Amazon after I read them. Old clothes, cars, computers, mopeds, whatever.
Hoarding annoys me for the most part.
But I love to hoard my junk silver.
Besides the obvious fact that it contains real silver, I also hoard junk silver due to something I call the PREPPER PREMIUM.
What is the prepper premium?
THE PREPPER PREMIUM: In case you don’t know, preppers are those people who buy all the guns, gold and survival food in preparation for the collapse of society. When the prepper crowd goes into panic mode, as it did in the Y2K era, their general view is that banks will close, ATMS won’t work and ultimately dollars won’t be that valuable anymore. We’ll go back to using the original money in this country, gold and silver coins. At least until things stabilize.
But because of this view, when the preppers go into full prep mode, the prepper premium on bags of junk silver kicks in. In the years leading up to the Y2K scare, we saw premiums of up to 40ish% on bags of junk silver even while the spot price of silver didn’t move much. A similar situation occurred in 2008. Even in 2013 and 2015 we saw junk silver premiums at sometimes five or six bucks over the spot price.
So the “prepper premium” is the skyrocketing premium on junk silver that tends to show up anytime preppers start prepping and people go into panic mode.
How To Play The Prepper Premium
When the junk silver premiums are rising is exactly the time you won’t be able to get your greedy little precious metals paws on any pre 1965 silver change. So you buy the junk silver now, while the premiums are historically low. The junk silver premiums today are just cents over the spot price of silver.
If you’re new to precious metals investing, without going in to too much detail, the premium is the amount of money over or under the current spot price of silver that you pay or receive when buying or selling the metal.
So when the premiums are low, like they are now, you want to buy junk silver by the bag full!
When the next prepper panic comes and the prepper premium starts to kick in, you might be able to sell your junk silver bags for premiums of 20, 30, 40 or 50% and just move it into silver bars or rounds. This will increase your silver position by the corresponding premium amount you receive when you sell at just about no cost to you.
If the preppers are right, the money system breaks down and we go back to using the junk silver quarters, half dollars and dimes as the way to conduct commerce, you’ll basically get to be your own local bank with all the silver change you have saved up.
If neither of the above happens, the premiums on junk silver are some of the most volatile anyway. Which means if you buy them low, you’ll almost certainly be able to sell them higher in the future.
Even better, during the next prepper panic we could see junk silver premiums go way higher since the US government isn’t minting anymore of the silver change and a lot more of these junk silver coins have been melted down so they don’t exist in the amounts they used to.
CHECK YOUR POCKETS: I used to bartend in South Beach. A decade or so ago. At a restaurant right on the famous Ocean Drive. People paid with cash. I had to give change. A Grey Goose martini cost $20.25 and you better believe I checked every single coin that went through the cash register. I didn’t find a ton of junk silver, but anything that was dated 1964 or below, along with a few other exceptions, I “exchanged” it with the cash register for a newer model.
Here’s a screenshot from the COINFLATION website showing the melt value of all coins based on the daily spot price of the underlying metal in the coin….
PRO TIP: If you want to put the process of collecting pre 1965 junk silver coins into warp speed, just call up Miles Franklin at 1-800-822-8080 or go to the junk silver page on their website. Tell them Hunter Riley III told you to call them to load up on junk silver.
Then magic will be put into motion and you’ll be on your way to taking advantage of the prepper premium.
For not too much over spot, your Miles Franklin precious metals broker will sell you junk silver in quantities of $1 face value packages.
But why not just pull the trigger and get a monster $500 face value bag of junk silver half dollars which clocks in at around 357-360 ounces of melt value silver while the prepper premiums are nonexistent and regular premiums are just 99 cents over the spot price?
To get the half dollars above, you can call Miles Franklin at 1-800-822-8080
And make sure to check your pockets.
Your spare change might not buy the Queen, but it could add weight to your silver stack.
Hunter Riley III
PS….Take one quick minute and share this article for me on your Facebook or Twitter pages because it will help me find more smart readers like you. Weirdly, I also have a few more private, one on one consultations available this month which you can sign up for here. Must be a slow month for gold and silver hahaha. This means you should probably start stacking.….