Trust in yourself …


Ashley Biviano

Anyone who has witnessed me outside of The Evening Sun building trying to purchase a beverage from the vending machine might think I am a psycho.

I put in my dollar bill – I’ll admit, it’s pretty crumpled and folded after being in my pocket all day – and the machine spits it back out. So I try again. And again, and again and again.

“Come on. It’s a real Federal Reserve Note. I swear. An actual paper I-O-U. Take it, I’m thirsty.”

Then I go back to my desk, announce I’ve been talking to the vending machine, and start talking to my co-workers about silver.

Let’s rewind a month or so, the weekend of the Chenango Blues Fest. Awesome vendors from all over brought the fruits of their labor to sell to patrons checking out the music. Blues Fest is my favorite time to be a Chenango County resident. I always leave with a refreshed soul, lots of unique goodies and empty pockets. This year I did a couple not-so-smart things. I bought a pair of earrings, put them in, decided to put my hair up, and one of the earrings fell out somewhere in the grass. Down $20. Then, at some point throughout the day, I dropped $30 out of my pocket (perhaps I should use that wallet I carry around in my purse).

Anyway, I didn’t realize I dropped any money and I made my way to the Tie Dye Yogi tent, where I make a purchase from Joe every year. I found this terrific shirt, blue with a white heart dyed into the bottom left corner. Score! Upon reaching into my pocket to pull out my FRNs, I noticed they were no longer there. Total bummer for gal looking to make a purchase. I searched through my purse for probably seven minutes with no luck. I found a five dollar bill, but that wasn’t going to help. I told Joe I’d catch him next year.
I started walking away when I checked a zipper part of my purse one last time. Two ounces of silver from the Suns of Liberty Mint.
I first learned of the Suns of Liberty Mint while attending PorcFest in New Hampshire. I think I bought some of their silver quarters then, and have since made purchases online.

I’d say tangible wealth is pretty important. What would you do if your bank went bankrupt?

Employees used to be paid in silver coins for the work they did. With the popularity of direct deposit (and let’s face it … convenience is a drug), many folks never even see the fruits of their labor. They get a receipt letting them know how much is in their account, they use a plastic card to purchase their goods, and get an e-statement each month letting them know the remaining account balance.

“You know, Ashley, silver will never replace our money. You shouldn’t waste your money on it.”
…Really? I understand the government’s monopoly on money, but I’d disagree that silver is a waste. Fiat currency is not backed by silver or gold reserves. It’s not backed by anything. It’s just printed and used as legal tender. Silver (or gold, or other precious metals) has intrinsic value.

The value of silver is constantly changing, but it has worth. It’s physical, tangible, actual wealth. It’s not a paper I-O-U.

“Ah, I don’t have any cash but I did just remember I have some silver, if you’re interested,” I said to the vendor at Blues Fest. He was all about it. We agreed on how much the shirt was worth and made the trade. Perfect. He had tangible wealth to take home to account for the labor and time he put into creating the shirt, and I left a happy camper.

There are lots of advantages to possessing silver – or investing in silver. I’ve since used my silver quarters as a bartering tool on a number of occasions. It’s also a great conversation starter for folks who may not be familiar with its benefits.

While at PorcFest I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Breger, or Silver Dave, the founder of the Suns of Liberty Mint. Dave – A former Green Beret in the US Army – said he came to the realization after ten years that he was not defending liberty, but corporate interests at the cost of the freedom of every person in the world, including himself.

“It had become clear to me that the fiat monetary system is the basis of government power,” he said.

It was two years ago when he decided he was going to make divisible silver, in small portions so that folks were able to use it as a bartering tool.

This has indeed worked well.

It took time, research and experimentation but today he is able to make 1,000 bars by himself in a single day.

“We started with almost nothing,” he said, adding the mint now has machines that operate at maximum efficiency. He has lived in a garage for about 13 months and takes pride in producing a quality product.

“I always believe that the greatest things never come easy,” he added.

What is great about this for me is that he and the Suns of Liberty Mint provide something that is not only interesting to me, but has a real purpose.

I see it as a terrific alternative to fiat money. Sure, some places only want your FRNs that are only worth the paper they’re printed on, but other small businesses or individuals get a thumbs up in my book when they express interest in something a little different.

It’s probably time to boycott the use of the vending machine outside the office. It never seems to be content with my I-O-Us, and I’m sick of arguing with it.

I enjoy purchasing silver when it makes sense to me, I like to save some and then allot myself some to spend. I like to see where I can use it.

Let’s be honest … Chenango County isn’t the most forward thinking place on the planet. We’ve all got our ways of doing things. But I have been absolutely shocked by the positive reception when I say, “Well, I can give you a little bit of silver for that instead of cash, if you want.” I’ve used them as a tip at a restaurant, a gift for a friend, compensation for a job completed at my house … lots of things.

When I look at my bank account I realize I don’t have a whole lot of extra after everything is paid. However, I do have the satisfaction of knowing I have a nice little bit of cute silver, and that silver actually means something.

Each silver quarter from the Suns of Liberty Mint has its weight, .25 troy ounces as well as the purity, .99 fine silver stamped on it. It also, as perhaps expected, a sun.

Rather than “In God we trust,” – something I’m not all about in the first place but is all over the monopolized paper currency in circulation – the silver quarters are stamped with “Trust in yourself.”

Now that’s something I can support. Absolutely.