Rise of precious metals marketing calls the bluff of Americans
By Al Jacobs
In case you hadn’t noticed, the marketing of precious metals is becoming a frantic exercise.
Not an hour elapses that some talk radio host isn’t making a pitch for the “only precious metals firm he trusts.” And you can’t ignore the full hour infomercials where the anointed authority predicts that gold will rise to $5,000 per ounce by year’s end. The fact that it has fallen from $1,900 into the $1,200s over the past three years is merely offered as justification that “you must buy now while it’s a bargain.”
Nonetheless, the incessant monotone goes on, as each marketer attempts to outdo his competitors with some special inducement for the buyer. One pitchman claims a free informational brochure, “a $40 value,” is available to all. Another assures the listeners they’ll have access to the firm’s top experts, as they contemplate whether a precious metal investment is for them.
But most hilarious is the offer of a “1-gram bar of silver” to whoever inquires. At first blush, this sounds generous. A little calculation reveals that at 31 grams to the ounce, and silver now near $21 per ounce, a 1-gram bar is worth 68 cents.
It’s clear; the precious metals marketers are combing the bushes in search of dimwits. Will they find enough of them to keep the charade going? To paraphrase that incomparable iconoclast H. L. Mencken: “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”
Al Jacobs, a longtime Dana Point resident and a professional investor for nearly a half century, distributes a monthly newsletter in which he shares financial knowledge and experience. It is available at www.roadtoprosperity.net.