I want to bring your attention to some recent correspondence I had with Timothy Green, a veteran journalist and seasoned gold bug. For almost three decades, Green worked as a consultant on the annual gold surveys of Consolidated Gold Fields and Gold Fields Mineral Services (now GFMS), focusing on the Middle East, India and the Far East.
His first book, "The World of Gold," came out in 1968 and has been revised several times. His latest book, “The Ages of Gold,” is reviewed below and no doubt will see several revisions in the years ahead. Green has written for Life, Fortune, The Smithsonian, Readers Digest, the Observer and several other major publications and is eminently qualified to discuss the often complex but never boring subject of gold.
Green believes that gold’s safe haven status has become a key driver in the current marketplace, noting its strong performance against several major currencies including the Euro and Sterling. He’s also certain that "grassroots gold buying of coins and small bars will continue – and, importantly, people will hold that metal for a long time. That kind of buying is not a quick trade, but a generational thing."
"In 1930s in similar situations Europeans became great hoarders of gold coin, especially in France, Belgium and Switzerland, and hung on for decades. When I first looked at the gold market in Paris in l966 the story was still the hoards under the bed and in the cabbage patch. In short, a new generation of long term hoarders is being established," he pointed out.
Green sights Ralph Hawtrey, a distinguished economist at the British Treasury in the late l930s who remarked: "There is a very real convenience in using metallic reserves. Other assets take the form of debts, and every debt depends for its value on the person and local situation of the debtor. Gold is an anonymous asset, and is capable of transportation from one place to another without retaining any link with the place of origin."
"In writing my book, The Ages of Gold, I noted that Hawtrey’s perception of the metal as a unique asset remains true to this day. Thousands of small investors now buying gold coin and small bars seem to agree," he said.
The Ages of Gold is the story of the mines, the markets, the goldsmiths and the merchants who over the past 6,000 years made gold a symbol of wealth and power. Green chronicles gold’s origins in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Troy, Minoan Crete, Greece, Rome, Byzantium, Pre-Columbian South America along with the voyages for West African gold by the Phoenicians. His carefully crafted, well-illustrated 480 page tome masterfully links the modern world of gold with the ancient one which is no small feat.
The Ages of Gold is available online at the GFMS website (http://shop.gfms.co.uk). While you are there, don’t forget to check out their annual gold, silver and other metals surveys which are renowned throughout the minerals industry.