Update on Chris Duane, SBSS, and Mulligan Mint

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

On Monday (May 13, 2013) I did my best to intervene and help mediate between Chris Duane and the Mulligan Mint to get them back to the bargaining table. I even suggested some potential terms of agreement. But they are still deadlocked. I'm afraid that this won't be resolved until their controversy goes to formal mediation or to court. This is a very sad situation. I was hoping that they'd be willing to quickly settle this like gentlemen, but the rhetoric (at least on one side) has become so vitriolic that I don't foresee an amicable resolution anytime soon. The latest news is that today Mulligan Mint is pressing forward with the re-launch of the SBSS coins, without Chris Duane's involvement. (They are wisely setting aside 50% of the profits from current sales for Chris Duane in an escrow account.) Because Mulligan Mint is using Duane's SBSS name without his permission, I decided not to be involved in promoting the re-launch. I can sympathize with both parties, and I can see that they both have some valid arguments. Please pray that Chris Duane and the Mulligan Mint are able to mend fences and reach mutually agreeable terms to making a clean break.

Meanwhile, Mulligan Mint is still reliably producing and shipping the American Redoubt .999 silver coins. This is entirely detached from the much-publicized Duane/Mulligan Mint fray. (To explain: Chris Duane backed away from the Redoubt coin project a week before the launch, and at that time he was apologetic and encouraged me to contact Mulligan Mint, to go ahead get the coin into production quickly. Silver was under $23.10 per ounce, and there was no time to dawdle.) I'm pleased to report that the mint is in full production and fully caught up with orders. The biggest delay is just in waiting for customer checks to clear. I have been promised that shipping delays won't exceed four weeks, and presently the delay is much less than that. Rest assured that the American Redoubt coin project is not at all entangled with the legal battle between Chris Duane and Mulligan Mint. But again, please pray that an amicable resolution of their disagreement can be reached.

Next, I'd like to warn readers about getting overly idealistic when buying silver. I must remind you that privately-minted silver coins are not numismatic coins, and should never be considered a numismatic investment. With a few exceptions, low minting numbers, limited strikes, minting errors, obscure minting variations, and so forth are essentially meaningless in the world of bullion silver, in the long term. Yes, proof coins are pretty and make nice gifts. But when you are buying silver, I recommend that you simply buy genuine silver, and stack it deep. Ten years from now, when you go to trade or sell today's "rarity", it will probably be treated no differently than a battered "Christmas, 1987" Santa logo silver round from some no-name mint. So always consider that fact when shopping for silver bullion coins or bars. Never pay excessive premiums when your goal is to acquire bullion to preserve your net worth. Seeing the recent bids on the silver round auctions on eBay makes me scratch my head, and ask: "What herb have these auction bidders been smoking?"

Lastly, I need to reiterate the point that the published New York and London spot and futures prices for metals have become meaningless. Currently, most coin shops are charging $10 to $12 per ounce over spot on silver, and the premiums paid on eBay are even higher. The spot prices have become so grossly manipulated by short-selling investors that they no longer reflect reality. The real price of silver is what most dealers are actually willing to sell it for. And as I'm writing this, that is around $33 to $35 per ounce. So forget the "official" price of silver. So after you have stacked up your storage food and ammo, stack up some silver. Someday, you will be glad that you did!
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