Silver has always stood the test of time, coming back as a winner, whether as an essential commodity or as a valuable investment. Since ancient times it has been the money of the people, used for trade, salaries and savings. While gold signified wealth and power, silver was the coinage of daily life and commerce. The Greek drachma or Roman denarius represented a day’s wages – all that effort for one tenth of an ounce of this very special metal. While gold may be distinctive in its softness, colour and weight, silver has held its own in other ways. It is more suited to coinage (either pure or alloyed as 80% coin-silver) and it has special electrical and reflective properties that have kept it in demand right up to our high-tech information age.
The price of silver was once the most stable of all commodities because one ounce formed the basic monetary unit in national and international trade. Empires rose and fell on the availability of silver and, when it was in short supply, the debasement of currencies heralded the end of King and Empire alike. Although the value of silver was once best measured against a day’s labour, the end of the gold standard has meant the dollar price has gradually risen to today’s trading range of $14-16 per ounce. As to the future, recent forecasts see this rising back towards $18 by the end of the year.
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