Commentary: Storing Your Gold Outside the United States
By Richard Schwary – California Numismatic Investments
The Heresy – It is amazing to me how many people ask about storing gold overseas. To me this is one of those crack-pot notions that were introduced along with dried food for the coming apocalypse back in the gold rush days of the 1970’s. So the idea of gold storage outside the US has been around for a long time and depending on the anti-government rhetoric foreign gold storage seems to insight new advocates on a regular basis.
In 1975 when gold ownership was again legalized in the United States the famous Harry Brown published a great book (You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis) about the benefits of owning physical bullion gold. In the book he also suggested that storing gold in U.S. banks may not be a good idea and went on to name several Swiss bank alternatives.
Harry died in 2006 but his book can still be found and is worth the read from an historical perspective but Brown’s minor premise that the US is not a safe place for treasure was absurd then and is even more dangerous now.
Today’s international landscape is entirely different than when Harry was busy with his groundbreaking effort. Back then Swiss accounts were private and terrorism was at best a minor issue in this country. Governments throughout the free world were not interested in who squired away gold bullion overseas as they just liked the additional business.
Today this idea is on everyone’s radar and is a proposition fraught with problems even if you know what you are doing because gold is a cash substitute and therefore of great interest to customs. A customer of ours decided to travel with his gold into Mexico and besides the obvious danger from strangers was soon facing Mexican police interrogation, confiscated gold and finally a $25,000 attorney bill. In my opinion he was lucky as things could have gotten much worse.
The notion of moving gold outside our boarders is misguided at best but if you just can’t accept the fact that the US is the best haven consider a safer approach: First, sell your gold in the US and deposit the money in a US bank which has a branch in your country of interest. Then use that money to repurchase gold bullion the next time you are overseas but not until you are sure there is safe storage and there are no legal or tax implications. But why bother?
As I have said before my family is second generation Ellis Island stock and some of my Uncles were World War II war heroes, one of whom went down over the English Channel after a bombing run and lived to tell the tale. When I was a kid I used to ask my Grandpa why he immigrated to the United States. He would smile and say that the reason the United States is such a great country is that Americans only worry about making money and so don’t have time for mischief or political trouble making. I did not realize how right he was until I was much older and while you might think Wall Street is crooked or the government is up to no good there is no better place to store your treasure than in the good old USA.
We do have our share of troubles but the 4th Amendment to our Constitution protects us from unlawful search and seizure and the rule of law is upheld by that beautiful lady who wears a blindfold. So I will take my chances right here over any other country in the world thank you very much.