Silver In A Deflation

February 27, 2009

How does silver perform during a deflation? A question many of our readers have asked.

Today, most investors are fairly convinced that gold does fairly well during a deflationary environment. Since gold has held better than all asset classes these past several months, many mistakenly believe that gold does best during inflations, but they are not sure about gold during deflations. The fact is, from times past, gold actually does best during deflations, rather than inflations.

The seminal work on this topic was produced by Professor Roy W. Jastram of the University of California at Berkeley when he penned the book called, The Golden Constant. Jastram stated that during the preparation of his book, he found that, throughout the centuries, the history of silver was intertwined with gold. The two metals were found together in nature, were combined in the artifacts of man, and were held precious throughout the world when used as coinage. Both became the means by which wealth was measured and commerce carried out. However, where gold maintained its value over long periods of time, even centuries, silver's movement in the monetary history was erratic and volatile. So, Professor Jastram asked the fundamental question you are asking, "Just how does silver perform during inflations or deflations?"

Precious metals have a long-standing reputation as hedges against inflation. Jastram writes, "This is not valid based on evidence of a century and a half in the United States and more than three centuries in England. The truth is, in most cases, the two metals, yes, both silver and gold, gained operational wealth in deflations." From a long-term perspective, gold has held its purchasing power very well in the United States.

His report went on to say just how silver fared in relation to gold, and the findings are quite significant to those in the silver community. As stated previously, silver has a history of being much more volatile than gold and remains so to this day. There were periods where silver actually outperformed gold and periods when it underperformed. This is historic fact and yet might give a serious student pause to reflect upon the presumptions and beliefs held about silver.

If only one metal had to be chosen to protect your wealth, the answer from history would be the gold market. However, the most recent timeframe studied by Jastram, which was inflationary, revealed a significant out-performance of silver over any other commodity, including gold. But I must emphasize that the timeframe covered a long period when the price of gold was still fixed by government edict.

Regardless, the facts from the past cannot be refuted. The average price for silver in 1978 was $5.40 and the average price in 1979 was $11.09. But between 1978 and January 21, 1980, silver increased nearly tenfold.

As I have stated many times, the easy money has been made in the precious metals but the BIG money lies ahead, because if you think like I think, once this "disinflation" turns into a dollar collapse people will be looking for anything that will hold value, and that certainly includes both the precious metals.

Remember there is no fever like gold fever, and that will ignite the silver market, as those looking to gold might be priced out of the market and, thus, willing to buy silver!


It is an honor to be,

David Morgan


Mr. Morgan has followed the silver market daily for more than 30 years. Much of his Web site,, is devoted to education about the precious metals. David Morgan will be speaking in Vancouver Canada Jan 25- Feb 1st.

David Morgan ( is a widely recognized analyst in the precious metals industry; he consults for hedge funds, high net-worth investors, mining companies, depositories and bullion dealers. He is the publisher of The Morgan Report on precious metals, the author of Get the Skinny on Silver Investing, and a featured speaker at investment conferences in North America, Europe and Asia. You can receive a free 30 day trial subscription here

The Fourth Coinage Act of 1873 embraced the gold standard and demonetized silver, known as the “Crime of 73”