All That Glitters?
We’ve been going to a few Christmas get togethers in the past few weeks and one thing is for sure—someone always wants to talk about the economy. That comes as no surprise, given that it’s something that affects all of us and things are looking, well, really bad.
I’m sure you’ve been in these discussions before, and if you’re like me, you forget what was said and by whom fairly quickly because let’s face it, no one knows what’s going on or what will happen tomorrow much less next year.
But the other day someone raised an issue that got my attention and has had, as they say persistence. The idea is that the best thing to do with idle assets (if any) is to buy gold. Sell your stocks and bonds, cash in your certificates of deposit and buy real gold and put it in a safety deposit box because it’s going to keep going up.
Now it’s true that if someone had given me that advice ten years ago and I’d listened to them, I’d be very happy today. The price has gone up over $1,000 per ounce over that time.
So I decided to do some research on buying gold. Like where you buy it and how you get it home and stuff like that.
And that’s when things started to go wrong. There are tons of gold buying websites out there but what got my attention was the advertisements for gold-related Christmas presents. It might not be too late for you to add some of these to your Christmas list.
Here they are, in no particular order of incomprehensibility.
T.T Trunks of Paris provides upscale trunks. They look like storage trunks but they’re not the black and silver sorts of things you are probably familiar with. These trunks, for people who have it all, have it all. The website says: “We designed our trunks in order to meet the lifestyle of the XXI century, that is more mobile, more interconnected. In addition to their intrinsic functions, our trunks are equipped with applications to allow recharging portable devices such as your computer or telephone. Thus, no matter where you are in the world, you stay connected.” One model is designed to “complement first class hotel suites” and includes a refrigerator.
I like the idea of luggage with “intrinsic functions.” But, why, you might ask do you want to be able to charge your phone via your luggage? And what does this have to do with gold? You guessed it. The website continues: “All our metallic pieces are available in several finishing like Nickel, Palladium or 24 carat Gold. We also realize any metal engravings to personalize your lockers and other rivets.”
Twenty-four carat gold luggage?
But wait. If you think that gold on your luggage is wretched excess, it gets better. A company called Mr. Kennedy will provide you with 24 carat gold shoelaces for $19,000 a pair. They are made out of woven gold threads using “ancient artisan jewellery techniques.” And when you buy a pair, “they will be delivered by security and laced for you anywhere in the world.”
And of course there is the gold cheese you may have heard about. A cheese company in England is selling a cheese “shot-through with a combination of real edible gold leaf, and real gold-Cinnamon Schnapps.” It sells for sixty pounds for 100 grams, which is roughly $422 a pound.
As I say, investing in gold is a complex business—I thought that all you could do was buy krugerrands or bullion but there are a lot more choices out there. Except I don’t think the cheese will appreciate in value.
Have a great holiday season!