A conversation about gold during the coffee hour
«Gold can't be considered as some kind of a financial account».
Private possession of gold can neither be taxed nor declared. It symbolizes freedom and independence!
The correspondent's life is a constant search for new information. If you're a correspondent of a top-class magazine, your life turns into a constant search for positive information. Yellow press and TV programs are full of negative opinions. I really wish there were less of such opinions. We don't have free time at all. I can't even afford the time to talk to my children. And it's time to decide what I'll give to my spouse as a birthday present the day after tomorrow. I've been thinking for almost three days so far and I still have no idea. Keeping these depressing thoughts in mind, I was driving through downtown Paphos after completing another editorial assignment. Suddenly I noticed a signboard depicting gold bars and coins. I didn't have enough time to make out the text: the traffic was heavy and in a couple of moments I left the mysterious office behind. However, I managed to make out the telephone number and, by force of my professional habit, I that simple digit combination by memory. When I got back to the editorial office, I made a telephone call. The call was answered by an English speaking woman. I introduced myself and added, that I wanted to interview her boss. She answered several subsidiary questions and asked me for my contact details, so that she could call me back. After I realized that the meeting would actually take place, I rushed to Andrey's office. He is our best financial matters expert.
I briefly explained the situation. Andrey gave me a scolding glance and said wearily: «It's likely to be just an another financial pyramid, like the notorious «MMM». Such people usually raise funds, provide investors with fake stocks and then disappear. You shouldn't waste time talking to them».
Arguing with our expert made no sense at all. So I just turned on the speaker of his desk telephone set, called the above mentioned company and said in Greek: «Hello, I would like to buy gold coins».
The same woman answered me in Greek: «We are at your service, what kind of gold coins are you looking for?». I turned a deaf ear to her words and asked the next question immediately: «Can I buy gold coins and take them with me or will you store them somewhere?». The girl seemed a bit confused, she didn't fully understand my words and replied politely: «I beg your pardon, but we do not provide our customers with safe deposits. You're free to decide where to store your gold».
Andrey stared at me with astonishment, it looked like he wanted to say: «Oh, so that's how it really is».
The following day I went to the gold trading company's office with Andrey at the appointed time. Along the way to our destination Andrey gave me the list of questions he had prepared for the interview. After reading the list up to question four, I realized these questions would produce a mostly negative reaction. Andrey read my mind and added in an authoritative voice: «Just pretend you're smart and keep smiling».
We entered the office. Victoria, the girl I had talked to on the phone, gave us a hearty welcome. On the coffee table in the waiting room there were booklets with pictures and descriptions of different types of gold and silver coins. Among the booklets I spotted a last month's issue of our magazine («Lifestyle»). Then two middle-aged men came out of the director's office. Victoria introduced her chiefs George and Dmitry to us, she had been speaking English all the time. After becoming acquainted with each other, we started our meeting with a cup of coffee, keeping up with a Cyprian tradition. At some point Victoria addressed Andrey in Russian, both of us looked at Dmitry and George with amazement. George laughed and shook his head: «No, no, no, I'm Cypriot. My wife is Russian and Victoria's husband is Cypriot. So, all of us are Russian to some extent».
After George's kind joke the formal atmosphere was gone and it gave us an opportunity to proceed to the questions that shaped the goal of our meeting. Anticipating Andrew's awkward questions, I warned interlocutors that they were free to skip any of them they found tactless. Dmitry replied smilingly: «We'll only skip the questions that deal with somebody's private life».
Andrey immediately asked the first murderous question on our list.
Andrey: So, what is the reason for purchasing gold? What use does it make and who needs it?
George: To tell the truth, I'm surprised to hear such a question. Don't get me wrong, I'm not surprised that you've asked it. But it still surprises me that everything that has happened in Cyprus haven't provided you with a reasonable answer yet. What has happened to the people who kept their money with banks? And what has happened to the people who invested at least a part of their savings in gold? However, the constant risk of bank failures isn't the only reason for investing your savings in gold. The price of all kinds of paper currency is dropping rapidly. The purchasing power of paper money is decreasing due to inflation. Back in 1933 an American Gold Eagle coin weighing one Troy ounce had a nominal value equal to 20 US Dollars. This kind of coins was current and they could be exchanged for twenty-dollar bills any time.
Nowadays these coins cost 1400 US Dollars each. It means that over the last 80 years has depreciated 70 times. One hundred years ago a good suit of clothes cost two ounces of gold. Today its price in gold is exactly the same. Let us assume that 80 years ago your grandmother hid two parcels and each of them contained 1000 USD, however in the first parcel there was paper money, while the second one was full of gold coins. Today you would have two parcels. One of them would've contained 50 half-rot twenty-dollar bills, while the other one would've contained 50 perfectly preserved twenty-dollar gold coins, their total price would've been equal to 70 000 USD, according to today's exchange rate.
I often ask different people: «If you had to travel forward in time to the year 2034 or 2054, what would you take with you: Euros, Dollars, stocks, loan securities or gold?». I haven't heard any answers except «gold» so far.
Dmitry: George is absolutely right, he has given a perfect example. Indeed, if you have 200 000 Euros or US Dollars there is a risk that one day all your savings will turn into toilet paper. However if you invest a part of your savings in gold, you won't be taking such a risk.
When you snatch your hand away from a hot object, your actions are driven by instincts, not by your mind. The self-preservative instinct is the strongest of all. The behavior of a squirrel, collecting nuts in order to survive in winter, is driven by the instinct of self-preservation. If she finds a rotten nut or a hollow one, she throws it away and looks for a good one instead. The squirrel realizes that in winter, when there won't be much nurture around, she and her cubs will only be able to survive if they have a stock of good-quality nuts, without rotten or hollow ones. Strange enough it may seem, but when we exchange paper money for gold, our behavior is driven by the very same self-preservation instinct. In fact, we throw the «bad nuts» or the paper currency that loses its value over time and substitute it with «good nuts» or with gold as its price is very stable.
As early as in the 18th century French philosopher and writer Voltaire said: «Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value – zero». Contemporary economists decided to control his statement and surprisingly found out that Voltaire had been absolutely right. In the history of mankind there were dozens of different types of paper money. However, all these kinds returned to their intrinsic value and vanished. The people who had witnessed the reign of such great names of history like Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin, sincerely believed, that paper currencies that existed at that point in time would always be in use. None of those currencies are in use today. Dollars and roubles that existed 100 years ago have only preserved their names. Nowadays these are basically different currencies with diverse value and appearance. Some types of currency have a very short lifespan, while the others decrease in value gradually, however all of them eventually reach the zero point. The value of Euros, Dollars, British Pounds, Swiss Francs, Japanese Yens will decrease to zero someday as well. It's just the matter of time. Take a look at the graph depicting the decrease of value of US Dollars and you will see our current position and how fast we are moving towards the zero point.
Andrey: Thank you for such a detailed answer, it is a really wide-ranging and mostly interesting topic, but we have many other questions to ask. So, why have you chosen gold instead of stocks?
Dmitry: (laughs, then turns on a large display on the wall using remote control and puts the keyboard on our side of the table) Enter «the history of stock market crashes» into any search engine you prefer. It will answer your question in the most correct and simple way.
George: Some acquaintances of mine bought stocks for 40 Euros each. Now these stocks cost 40 cents.
Andrey: But gold prices not only increase, they also deteriorate from time to time, don't they?
George: Yes, of course, gold prices do fluctuate. There are no assets that only get more and more expensive and never decrease in price. It's like tidal breathing. You can't only inhale air without exhaling it. However, the longer periods of time you consider, the more obvious it gets that gold prices keep growing most of the time, they only decrease before going up with a leap. Actually such periods when prices temporarily decrease give you a great opportunity to enter the market. However, it is essential, that during the monetary history of humanity, which is approximately 5000 years long, the value of gold has never decreased to zero. There also haven't been any cases when the price of gold deteriorated several times, but it happens to stocks quite frequently.
Me: (I decided to take the initiative and ask a question that wasn't included in Andrey's list) The situation concerning the stock market is quite clear, but shouldn't we invest our money in land and real estate instead?
Dmitry: This kind of investments has a large number of latent defects, including insufficient liquidity. It means that you won't be able to sell land or real estate quickly enough when you need it. Urgent sale of this kind of property usually forces you to cut its price by up to 50%. Another major disadvantage is the lack of divisibility. For example, you won't able to sell 1/20 of the house you have purchased. Even if somebody agrees to purchase 1/20 of the steading you've bought for 100 000 Euros, making such a deal will turn into a toilsome experience. And if the steading isn't particularly large, one-twentieth of it is just a patch of land, who will ever decide to buy it? However, if you buy standard investment gold coins, the situation will be quite different. You can sell as many coins as you need at any moment in order to get the needed amount of any currency. Furthermore, if you purchase land or real estate, you will have to pay the corresponding taxes every year. And the tax rate can change any time. For example, some day it can increase several times. And you have no voice in this matter whatsoever. We never give away any personal information about our customers, but trust me, there are many substantial people among them, who have decided to focus on selling land and real estate. They understand it better than anyone else that the private ownership of gold can't be taxed and doesn't need to be declared. Because gold isn't a certain kind of money, it's just an obsolete barbarism (according to Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve and the central bank of the United States). Therefore, your private gold reserves can't be considered as financial accounts or property assets, that are subjected to taxation and declaration. Your private gold reserves can only be regarded as your collections of «obsolete barbarisms». So when you choose gold or real estate as an investment object, you turn either into an «unreasonable barbarian» or a «conscientious taxpayer». And, to all appearances, the number of «unreasonable barbarians» in the most developed countries keeps increasing.
Andrey: What do you mean?
Dmitry: I mean that the demand for investment gold and silver coins has risen dramatically. People are starting to realize that the experiment concerning the unendowed paper currencies has reached its completion phase. People don't want the safety and value of their savings to depend on the actions of banks and governments.
George: I've been to the USA lately. I had a conversation with the taxi driver who took me to another business meeting and we actually found plenty to talk about. He said that every month after getting salary he bought one gold coin. I asked him, why he did that. The driver replied: «Possession of gold symbolizes freedom and independence».
Me: Alright, so what part of the funds that are at our disposal should we spend on gold? What do you think?
George: This question is a bit incorrect. You can't «spend» your funds on investment gold, because gold itself is a currency. It has a unique code («XAU») in the interbank communication system called SWIFT. It is included in the same ISO 4217 list as the US Dollars (USD) and Euros (EUR). When you come to the bank and exchange your Euros for Swiss Francs, do you spend your money or do you exchange it? If you deal with gold everything is pretty much the same. If you buy investment gold, you exchange your currency. Just reflect on the phrase you frequently here on the news: «gold and exchange currency reserves». Pay attention to the fact that the word «gold» heads the list.
Dmitry: The size of your investments in gold depends only on your trust in banks and governments. If you trust them 80% of the time, you should invest 20% of your savings in gold. However, if you trust governments and banks implicitly and believe that the radiant future is just round the corner, it is unnecessary to buy any gold at all. In this case you should just get a deposit account and keep your money in a bank.
Andrey: Why do you prefer investment gold bars and coins over gold wedding rings?
George: According to the EU laws, gold is VAT-free. When you purchase jewelry, you pay the double VAT tax: for the gold itself and for manufacturing the jewelry. Therefore, buying investment gold bars and coins is the most profitable way of purchasing gold.
Me: What should I buy then: gold bars or gold coins?
Dmitry: If you're not a large-scale investor, we'd recommend you to buy coins. In the first place, you won't have to saw the gold bullion if you decide to sell only a part of it. In the second place, nowadays the market is flooded with fake gold bars with tungsten cores. The physical density of gold and tungsten is almost the same (gold is only 0.02 gr/cm ³ more dense). Even if you have really good equipment at your disposal, it is extremely difficult to distinguish a genuine gold bar from a fake one without damaging it in the process.
Fraudsters have learnt to hide tungsten cores under thick layers of genuine gold. If the gold bar is large enough, the thickness of gilding can reach 8 mm. Finding out whether a particular gold bar is genuine or not is quite a difficult task itself, but it isn't the main problem. The problem is that today everybody knows about such frauds. It creates lots of additional difficulties when somebody decides to sell his gold bar. Of course, gold coins are widely counterfeited too. However, even an inexperienced jeweler's assistant can distinguish a real gold coin form a counterfeit. We have top-class equipment that lets us check gold for genuineness using nondestructive analysis. We never damage your gold with acid or touchstones. We can find out both the fineness of gold and the exact chemical composition of admixtures in percentage terms. We also handle certificates to our customers, so they'll know how much silver, zinc, copper etc. there is in their gold products.
Me: So, you can analyze the chemical composition of my wedding ring and tell me the exact number of admixtures it contains immediately, don't you?
George: Certainly we can.
Dmitry: You will be charged 10 Euros for the analysis and your certificate. Just kidding. Give me your ring.
Describing contemporary technologies is quite an unrewarding task, but in a while they gave me a certificate with a full description of all the metals my wedding ring consisted of, it also listed the fineness of gold measured in carats. Unbelievable!
Me: Do you buy scrap gold?
George: No, this is not our business. We only deal with investment gold, however we offer nondestructive analysis of all kinds of jewelry.
Andrey: Have your customers ever asked you to analyze the chemical composition of a counterfeit?
Dmitry: Yes, of course. However there are many kinds of counterfeits. One customer asked us to analyze a custom made gold crucifix. We came to the conclusion that it was made of 16-carat gold. The customer was disappointed. It turned out that the jeweler deceived him. He had sold that cross to the customer as 18-carat gold a couple of years earlier.
Andrey: To tell the truth, we don't usually measure the fineness of gold in carats.
Dmitry: It wasn't our idea to use both carats and other gold standards. In fact, this system is very easy. 24-carat gold is fine. 22-carat gold is 22 parts gold, 2 parts another metal (ligature). In order to convert carats into fineness, divide the fineness of 1000 by 24 carats and then multiply the result by the given number of carats.
George: I think we still should hang a lookup table on the wall with this formula and an example for descriptive reasons.
Me: Alright, you've almost persuaded me to take part in gold trade, if I had some spare money, I'd invest it in gold, that's for sure. But where and how should I store it?
George: Unfortunately, in Cyprus it's still a burning issue. In many other countries there are private storehouses like ViaMat and Brink`s Global, which offer their customers safe deposit services. At the moment nobody offers such services in Cyprus.
Me: Why shouldn't everybody store gold in bank safe-deposit boxes? Isn't it safer than keeping it in private storehouses?
George: When people buy gold, they express their distrust of the current banking and financial system. I should remind you that right after the 9/11 all the banks in the USA closed their doors. All Americans were denied access to their safe-deposit boxes for a fortnight. Also in 1933, when president Roosevelt de facto confiscated gold from the USA citizens, at that moment people could only access their deposit boxes in the presence of tax department representatives. People haven't forgotten about it. They don't want their belongings to be subjected to any forms of administrative control. They don't want to store their values in banks. Therefore, the demand for private storehouses that can't be considered as banks has risen dramatically. The Swiss company ViaMat has representative offices all over the world and it has been active for more than 60 years. The British company Brink's Global has been operating for more than 150 years so far. But in Cyprus everybody has to find a place for storing his gold on his own. Actually you won't find any vacant safe deposit boxes in the banks of Cyprus.
Andrey: Alright, let us suppose that I've gone to the countryside with my wife to have a picnic. Then at noon I buried all my gold in a certain place before making a good number of family photos right next to it. Then I tracked that place using GPS and wrote the whereabouts down on the back side of the fourth drawer in our clothes-press. Or perhaps I dug a one meter deep pit just near our front door, put my gold their and then filled the pit with concrete. How long will I have to wait after that? If I invest my money in gold, how long will the pay-off period be?
Dmitry: (with a smile of admiration) Andrey, you should write some guidelines for our customers: "Where to store your gold safely»!
George: I'm pretty sure you still remember, not too long ago everybody asked: «How can we make some money?». The situation has changed, nobody asks questions like that anymore, now people ask us how not to lose all the money they have earned. Gold doesn't make you richer. It just doesn't let anybody to rip you off your hard-earned money. If you want to purchase gold and double your cash after selling it six months later, it isn't suitable for you. You should try your like in casinos. However if your investment horizon is measured in years, gold turns into the most reliable and the most profitable option.
Dmitry: One day I decided to ask a priest for investment advice, I just couldn't come up with a better solution. I was confused, I didn't know what to do and nobody was able to give me a reasonable piece of advice. The priest listened to me attentively, then he replied: «When we look into the future, three years look like an eternity. However, when we look back into the past, three years seem like a split second. You must learn how to look into the future in just the same way you look into the past». At that moment that price of an ounce of gold decreased from 1000 USD to 800 USD. But I still followed the priest's advice and three years later an ounce of gold cost 1800 USD.
Andrey: How do you sell investment gold and how much money will you lose due to various take-offs when making such deals?
Dmitry: If you buy jewelry and then sell it as scrap gold, your losses will be mostly considerable. For example, when you buy a 10-gram gold chain, you pay much more than 10 grams of gold really cost on the market. And you get much less than 10 grams of gold really cost when you sell it as scrap gold. The buyer of your gold chain will likely remelt it after analysis, this is quite an expensive process. Investment coins don't have such a disadvantage. When you buy a coin, you only pay the market price of an ounce of gold and a small fee for mintage, storage and insured shipping. All these additional expenditures never exceed 3-5% of the original price for the most popular investment gold coins. Of course, if you buy rare coins or limited editions, additional expenditures will be higher. But this is quite a different case and a different type of investments, the price of such coins is affected both by the cost of gold and the rarity of particular coins. Sometimes the cost of buyback is even higher than the market price of gold at the moment of the deal. It depends on the situation on the market. Anyway, if you decide to buy the coin back, its price will be very close to the exchange price of gold. As it has already been mentioned, gold is a currency. Therefore, it should be considered as type of currency. For example, if you go to the bank right now and exchange your Euros for any currency except the US Dollars, you'll suffer certain losses. If you decide you buy your Euros back on the spot, you'll suffer losses again. So, if you buy British Pounds for Euros and then sell Euros for British Pounds or buy an investment gold coin and sell it immediately, you'll suffer the same losses. But when the price for gold increases by 30-50%, you will hardly care whether the price of your coins overran the market price of gold by 3% or by 5%, this is the only difference. By the way, gold coins are never sold for the market price of gold. The market price only determines the price of the bank gold bars, which weigh 400 ounces each. That is, the market price for gold de facto is the wholesale price for an intermediate product. In order to have an opportunity of buying such bullion for their market price, you not only have to be a very rich person, you also need a right to take part in gold exchange. It is very difficult to acquire such a right if you are a juridical person and it's virtually impossible for a private citizen. Furthermore, if you want to take part in gold trading as an official bidder, you'll have to make large payments on a regular basis. If you buy such goods as wheat, rice, coffee or beef at retail, additional charges can reach 40-100% of their original market price. Comparing with these exchange goods, gold investment coins have the lowest retail mark-up of 3-5%.
Me: What shall I do with my coins three years later if your company goes out of business for some reason?
George: As far as I know Cyprus is the only EU country that had no investment gold market until recently. I think there will be dozens of coin shops here in three years.
Dmitry: In February I visited an international expo called «World money fair» that took place in Berlin. To my surprise, in Berlin you can buy or sell all kinds of investment gold coins in every currency exchange office. There are also exchange rates everywhere, the locals regard gold just as a common currency. So even if you fail to sell your coins in Cyprus, you will always be able to sell them in other EU countries.
Me: Do you have to settle any formalities if you want to take gold coins from Cyprus to Germany? Are there any export limitations?
Dmitry: (takes a list of EU customs regulations out of the drawer, it is translated in many languages, including Russian, I saw that list in airports many times, but I've never read it) This paper says that within the European Union there are no limitations concerning the transportation of goods if their total cost is 10 000 Euros per capita or lower. That is, if you travel to Germany with your family, each family member can take 10 gold coins with him if every coin weighs one ounce. Few people know about it, but Russian officials have passed the same laws recently. This laws apply to all people who arrive in Russia by air transport. However, these regulations do not apply to the passengers arriving in the Russian Federation by railroad or motor transport.
George: I'd like to correct and supplement Dmitry's remark about Cyprus. There have been currency export limitations since the bank crisis. Unfortunately, I'm not sure whether these limitations have changed or not. When I went abroad last time, there was an advertisement in the airport, saying that you can freely export up to 3000 Euros (both in paper money and gold) from Cyprus. It confirms that gold is a currency in the first place, not a good. There aren't any limitations concerning the export of goods.
Andrey: Listen, why should we iron out all these difficulties connected with the storage and the transportation of gold? Isn't it easier to purchase so called «gold certificates» from reliable companies?
Dmitry: I have a deep personal belief based on the very basics of arithmetic: paper gold is a fraud. Even if the seller doesn't know it. On paper, every gold bar in the world has been sold to 53 unsuspecting «owners». It means that 53 different people consider themselves the owners of a particular gold bullion, according to the documents they've been given. The main advantage of gold is that the counteragent takes no risks at all. In contrast to banks and governments, gold can't go bankrupt. But gold is tangible. Intangible items are not gold. Some counteragents only promise you private ownership of gold. Every counteragent can retract from his engagement due to bankruptcy. It wasn't me who feigned this proverb: «Paper gold is fool's gold». In the USA there have been plenty of criminal cases concerning the so called paper gold lately.
The investigation indicated that the companies selling fake certificates had no real gold in their possession whatsoever. It wasn't surprising at all, this is quite common for fraudsters. Law enforcement investigation started, because the fraudsters had been charging their customers on a regular basis for storing non-existent gold.
Me: What is the current price of gold? Is it high or low?
George: Judge for yourself: gold prices reached the peak level in 2011 (1920$/oz.). It was the highest price in history. Then the prices decreased to 1180$/oz. and, from my point of view, the devaluation stopped. At the moment gold costs 1350$/oz. Every peak of gold prices is always followed by another one, it has been a standing rule of gold trade for 5 000 years.
Andrey: Do you suggest that someday an ounce of gold will cost 2000$ or even more and the prices will still grow?
George: It's just a matter of time.
Andrey: Can you remember any particular cases when private possession of gold helped people in some way?
Dmitry: We always consider each war, famine market crash or exchange crisis the last one. We always sincerely believe that nothing like that will ever happen to us. Millions of people who died of starvation thought like that at various moments in time. They believed that they had been living in a developed world. And that the horrible events of the past would never come back. And even if something like that happened, somebody would certainly save them. There are several curious historic facts: none of the people who possessed gold died of starvation during the Nazi blockade of Leningrad. Some of them died during bombardments or due to the collapse of buildings, however none of them became victims of famine. In May 1940 when Hitler occupied half of French territory within a fortnight, lots of traders refused to exchange their goods for the national currency in the unoccupied territories. They were afraid that the Nazi troops would occupy the rest of France just as quickly and the French Francs would lose their value in a flash turning into useless pieces of paper. Under such circumstances traders would rather accept German Marks. But that option was unacceptable as well. French authorities could've treated such actions as acts of treachery and dealt with the traders harshly in accordance to the martial law. So they decided to exchange their goods only for gold. People who didn't possess any gold just couldn't buy anything for their paper Francs. At that moment you could only buy food, clothes, medications and petrol if you had a certain amount of gold. Traders realized that gold had neither national nor political signs. Just like any other asset of that kind, gold will always remain valuable, regardless of the form of government.
Me: What about 3000$/oz.? Will the prices ever reach or even surpass this point?
George: Certainly they will. But you won't like what you will see.
We said goodbye to each other, Andrey and I left the office, got into the car and not a word escaped from our lips. I felt quite depressed after that conversation. Then I told Andrey that perhaps we shouldn't publish the final part of the interview, because it had a negative connotation. Andrey kept a very tight hold on the steering wheel, like we were driving along a serpentine mountain road, after a brief pause he replied: «What if it is just the down and dirty truth, free of negative connotations? You know, in my old school there was a large cutout box under the stairs. There was an inscription: «Danger! Keep out!», - and a skull and bones. We didn't take it as a negative connotation. We took it as a warning sign. What if there were no inscriptions? Somebody would've tried to open it. Let's publish the full and uncensored version of the interview, I'll talk to the boss».
I don't know why, but Andrey's attitude impressed me. We passed various shops by. Some of them were closing their doors already. A depressive idea suddenly struck me: «Oh my God, it's my wife's birthday tomorrow, there will be a lot of guests and I still haven't bought her a present!».
«Make a U-turn, I've left my cell phone in their office», - I shouted. Fortunately, there was enough space between the cars and Andrey turned right immediately. On our way back to the office he gave me an accusatory glance and said indignantly: «You should buy a chain, pierce your nose and fasten your phone to the nose-ring». I nodded guiltily and looked at the watch, I just hoped that nobody would call me at that moment. Fortunately, the phone in my pocket dead silent.
Andrey stopped the car not far from the office and asked me to be quick. I came in time. George had left already, but Dmitry and Victoria were still there, they were just going to close the office. «It's my wife's birthday tomorrow, I need a gold coin, but I don't know which one should I choose», - I sputtered. On the coffee table among advertisements and flyers I saw a beautiful picture of a gold coin with an Australian kangaroo. I pointed to that booklet and said: «I think this one will do».
Dmitry replied: «If you want to give it to your wife as a birthday present, I'd recommend you to buy a Kruggerand. South African kruggerands aren't as beautiful as Australian kangaroos, but it has the distinctive color of rose gold, just like the best designer jewelry and gold watches. Who knows, maybe your spouse will decide to remelt the coin and make some designer jewelry out of it. There's enough gold both for a ring and a pair of earrings. Both a Kruggerand and a Kangaroo contain one ounce of pure gold and 2.83 grams of copper. It is the copper that gives the 22-carat gold (fineness of 917) such a fine pinkish color. If you know any jewelers who can execute your order in their spare time, you'll save a lot of money comparing with purchasing a finished product».
When I got back to Andrey I was holding my cell phone as a sign of our joint victory over circumstances. I had a Kruggerand gold coin in a transparent acrylic capsule in the right pocket of my jacket. We passed by the same shops, but this time a had a strong sense of my superiority. Andrey was saying something about the interview and that the world's dollar-based financial system can collapse at any moment. But I wasn`t listening to his words. I was trying to imagine how happy my wife would be to receive such a gift.