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When Gold Turns to Paper
February 25, 2010

Coin collectors find that it is fun being a cheerleader for the price of gold and silver bullion.

This reflex kicked in last week among more than just coin collectors when it was reported that a South Carolina state representative introduced legislation that if adopted would ban “the unconstitutional substitution of Federal Reserve Notes for silver and gold,” within the state.

It seemed like a shot across the bow of politicians and big government in Washington, D.C., where there seems to be no say by the public over the issuance of trillions of dollars of currency and debt.

The legislator, Mike Pitts, seems to be looking at his legislation as a hedge against the economic collapse of the country.

A collapse may or may not occur, but if push came to shove in a financial emergency, South Carolina would probably find itself as short of gold or silver as states (and before them colonies) did throughout much of our history.

The result would likely be that any money issued by South Carolina would itself quickly turn into to paper.

On the bright side, collectors of this new paper money would have something new to collect.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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