Mysterious silver

The world consumes more silver than is mined. Silver is so undervalued that its price could rise five hundredfold after the next collapse of the paper money system.

Silver has been mined since about 5 000 BC. The first documented silver mines were near Athens. Today, most silver comes from Peru, Mexico and China. However, the largest silver mine operators are in Canada.

Mining has become more efficient over the centuries, especially in the late 19th century. However, as coins lost their importance and the silver standard slowly gave way to gold, the price of the precious metal fell dramatically.

Gold gradually became more and more popular and expensive. Silver was no longer considered as an investment and began gathering dust by the tonne. For centuries, many countries maintained a fixed exchange rate of approximately 15 ounces of silver to one of gold, as the two metals were thought to occur in the Earth’s crust in roughly this ratio. By 1920, however, one hundred ounces of silver had to be paid in exchange for an ounce of gold. Yet then there was a twist in the tale!

Silver was suddenly needed to electrify millions of homes, manufacture cars and produce photographs. It was and is the best electrical and thermal conductor. It reflects light better than any other material. It acts as an excellent lubricant and is versatile, even usable as a catalyst. In addition to industrial applications, silver is extensively used in the medical technology field. It has thus become one of the most important raw materials. By contrast, gold has never found a major industrial application because of its high price. Silver only became an irreplaceable and indispensable industrial metal because it was so cheap at the end of the 19th century.

Indeed, it became so indispensable that soon not only were all stockpiles used up, but mining began to turn a profit again. Every ounce mined was quickly processed in the 20th century.


In the 1940s, there were approximately ten billion ounces of silver on the Earth’s surface, half of which was held by the US government. By comparison, there was approximately one billion ounces of gold. Now, after 80 years of high silver consumption, the tables have turned. There is now much more gold on the surface. While silver is used in a variety of products (and then mostly thrown away), there is almost no loss of gold – it is reworked over and over again.

A rough estimate is that there is now five times more gold than silver available globally. Silver reserves have fallen from ten billion ounces in 1940 to under one billion today. Gold stocks, including jewellery, have increased from one billion ounces in 1940 to five billion today, according to widely accepted figures from the World Gold Council. The US government, the largest owner of silver with five billion ounces in 1940, no longer owns any silver today.


The price of the precious metal has risen continuously in recent decades, but so slowly that the public has not even noticed.

Silver plays two roles: it is a basic industrial metal and it is also a historically anchored and desired value for investment. No other material comes close to it in this respect. In other words, silver is more valuable and rarer than gold. In fact, today it should be five times more expensive than its yellow brother yet its current price is only one seventy-fifth of gold’s!

How is that possible? Well, the prices of silver and gold have apparently been manipulated for decades by the same bankers who have also been silver fixing and gold fixing (setting the prices of silver and gold). They are kept artificially low for one reason only: to hide the fact that the US dollar, which belongs to private bankers, is worth nothing. A sharp rise in the prices of silver and gold would reveal the worthlessness of the dollar.


Today’s global system of unbacked paper money is based on nothing more than trust and the hope that debts will be repaid one day. The only thing that could seriously shake this confidence, and the very foundations of the modern financial system, would be a (particularly sharp) rise in the prices of gold and silver in US dollars.

Why? Gold and silver still have essentially the same value and therefore unchanged purchasing power. When their price rises, it means that the value of the dollar (in which both metals have had to trade since Bretton Woods) falls, and consequently more has to be paid per ounce. So how do the bankers do it? How do they keep silver prices down? Read the article entitled Manipulating silver prices.

Banking concept. Flat silver bars isolated on a white background.