I was fortunate enough to work as a contract geologist for several mining companies in Nevada. They typically give out silver and gold as rewards for safety and attendence to employees. Of course miners would sell to me at spot for "beer money" before the wife found out. I was buying around the late 1990s to early 2000s and have since quintupled my money. I sold some and recovered my cost basis and am keeping the rest as "portfolio insurnace" as the US dollar slips into oblivion in a blizzard of TARP and Stimulus printing at the Fed. We are likely to experience a new Great Depression imo or hyper-inflation (Wiemar-Style perhaps). So my precious metals are for the rebuilding that comes after other investments in stocks and bonds are blown away and the crisis has past. The precious metals are just one element of the entire overall prep-survival strategy (that includes being debt-free, arable land, multi-year stors of nonperishable food and basic necessities, ammo and firearms).