“Eviter Les Contrefacons”

“Eviter Les Contrefacons” literal translation, avoid counterfeits.

I first saw this phrase on a large poster in Emily’s Café, 8700 E Pinnacle Peak Rd, Scottsdale, AZ. By the way Emily’s Café is a pleasant place to enjoy a delicious breakfast or a sandwich for lunch, I especially enjoy the omelets, excellent. Getting back to the poster, the original was painted by the Italian artist Leonetto Cappiello for Café Martin in Paris. I had a little French in college but had to Google the phrase to find out what it said.

It has occurred to me that this phrase is pregnant with meaning in todays economy. At no time  in history has the entire world been subject to a mass counterfeiting conspiracy. Usually counterfeiting is done by the criminal class, this time the counterfeiting is being done by governments and central banks, but I repeat myself.  For the first time in recorded history no money or currency anywhere in the world is backed by precious metals, gold and or silver. Todays monetary system rests completely on fiat currencies. All fiat currencies eventually revert to their intrinsic value, which is zip, zero, nothing, nada, zilch!

This unprecedented printing of money by central banks, aka Quantitative Easing, amounts to nothing more than counterfeiting. You do not have to be a rocket scientist or even an economist to understand this will eventually end in disaster. How is one to protect himself from this wholesale debasement of the currency? The smart money is investing in hard assets, gold, silver, real estate, antiques, collectibles, art, etc.. For the little people like you and me the easy protection is to own gold and silver. For a good explanation of the role of gold and silver go here and here.

As a point of interest, there are two United States monetary coins in circulation that actually do have intrinsic value, that is a value independent of their monetary value. The two coins are the 1982 and older copper penny, which are 95% copper. Depending on the price of copper they can actually be worth more than a penny. These coins are still in circulation. Every time I get pennies in change I look for the 1982 and older ones and put them in my penny jar. The second coin with intrinsic value is the five cent nickel. They are 75% copper and 25% nickel. Depending on the price of nickel and copper they also can be worth more than five cents. Amazingly the nickel is still being made by the US mint. Whenever I get a nickel coin in change I keep it too. (Article on saving and accumulating nickels, read here.)