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Where did the gold and silver for Britain's coins come from?

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Anyone hanging around the gold sector for the last 20 years knows where much of Britain's gold went.

Chancellor Gordon Brown sold half of it between 1999 and 2002, supposedly to diversify the country's foreign exchange reserves but more likely to rescue London bullion banks from their short positions as the gold market turned upward and broke the gold carry trade of the preceding decade.

With the gold price having increased about eight times, from L180 to L1,500 per ounce, since the "Brown's Bottom" sale began, the operation turns out to have cost the British government something like a trillion bazillion pounds. But what the heck -- the banks were saved.

Since Britain does not have extensive gold deposits, where did the gold for its coins come from? Geologist and mining equity analyst Graham Birch, a member of the Board of Directors of Canadian financial house Sprott Inc., has written a book on the subject, "The Metal in Britain's Coins -- Where Did It Come from and How Did It Get Here?," a fascinating excerpt from which was posted this week on Sprott's internet site.

Birch reports that much of Britain's first gold and silver came from international trade (including the African slave trade) and piracy, the gold being stamped into the sovereign coins that built an empire, only to be extracted from the population by the government to finance wars and similar necessities, leaving the population with paper cash that has devalued by nearly 100 percent in a century.

Birch concludes: "We can have no confidence that the pattern is going to change. Gold seems certain to outperform sterling and any other paper currency. And now there is no offsetting interest to make holding currency any more palatable."

Since gold remains both the supreme money and the mechanism of escape from a corrupt and unfair financial system, monetary gold and silver in private hands are much resented by many governments and always vulnerable to more of their expropriation. So monetary metals investors may do well to learn some of the history Birch relates. The excerpt from his book is here:

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

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