“There’s no use trying”, said Alice: One can’t believe in impossible things.”
I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
—from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland By Lewis Carroll
Would you like to own some bullion coins?
Yes, you say; in fact, I already do.
Well, you can’t, because there’s no such thing.
But, how can that be? I have these gold coins right here…see?
Yes,…very nice. Maples, Krugerands, Eagles. Coins, yes. Bullion, no.
Butbutbut…I bought them from this nice Bullion Coin dealer right down the street. My own Government said I could own Bullion Coins, and so I went right out and bought some.
Yes, well, that’s fine, but your own Government lied to you. There isn’t any such thing as a Bullion Coin.
Lied? My own Government lied to me? I’m shocked! Truly, I’m shocked!
A little further down the primrose path, over a bridge and we’re not in Kansas any more…
Some governments, some times, are so worried about the stability of their currency that they talk about passing or enforcing laws that prevent you from owning bullion. It’s okay to own money, however; whether paper money or coin money, governments generally are willing to let their citizens own money, unless they completely become Communist dictatorships. We’re not going to let things get so far out of hand here. Anyone can buy Bullion Coins from a coin dealer, even if there isn’t any such thing.
Lawyers and Dictionaries:
We have both; which is mightier?
We use lawyers for Prosecution and Defense advocates in a trial, and Dictionaries are not permitted in the Jury Deliberation room. So, Lawyers seem to come out on top. If the Government tries to confiscate privately-owned Bullion, you would send for a Lawyer, right?
There’s a reason the Lawyers don’t allow Dictionaries in Jury Deliberation rooms. One Dictionary can hold a thousand terrified Lawyers at bay. Dictionaries hold the Ultimate Truth: The definitions of words.
No American Government will ever be able to confiscate your Bullion Coins, so you won’t need Lawyers. You don’t even own any Bullion Coins, even if someone said you did. There’s no such thing as a Bullion Coin, so there’s nothing to fear but fear itself, and Dictionaries banish fear.
Here’s The Dictionary:
The Oxford English Dictionary is the principal dictionary of the English Language. This is where the definitions of words are kept. The Oxford is a rather massive 24 volumes and not easy to carry around, occupying as it does about six feet of shelf space. The Shorter Oxford, by comparison, is only two volumes and has 99.9% of the words we most commonly need. Let’s take a look at what it has to say about Coin, a noun:
“A piece of metal, usually a disc, made into money by an official stamp.” The word derives from the Old French coin, meaning a wedge or corner.
Coin is also a verb. The Shorter Oxford tells us it means,
“1. to make (money) by stamping metal
2. to make (metal) into money by stamping pieces of definite weight and value with authorized marks or characters.”
The verb to coin derives from the Old French coigner, meaning mint.
Well, that’s interesting. Right here we can see that the physical manufacturing process adds value to whatever metal might be used, and that means the coined metal is worth more than the raw materials (the metal, perhaps even Bullion).
Bullion? They make Coins from Bullion? What’s that?
Shorter Oxford to the rescue! Go, Oxford! Go!
“Bullion (noun): Metal, especially gold or silver in lump form before coining or manufacture, or valued simply as raw metal.” The word derives from the Latin bullire, to boil, and -ion, a suffix denoting a verbal action, an instance of this, or a resulting state or product.”
You can own Coins.
You can own Bullion (for now).
You can’t own Bullion Coins, because there isn’t any such thing. Once the metal Bullion has been Coined, it’s not Bullion any more. Once Coins have been melted into a lump of Bullion, they aren’t Coins any more.
You can have metal Bullion or metal Coins, but there’s no middle ground between Bullion and Coins. There’s just no such thing as a Bullion Coin.
Let me say this about that: How dare they!!!
Now, many of you fine folks bought Bullion Coins from other fine folks who sell Bullion Coins, and those were perfectly legal transactions between consenting adults, even if there’s no such thing as a Bullion Coin. To add frosting to the cake, some Coin-owning folks are concerned that a left-leaning Government might some day deny its citizens the right to own Bullion.
Stop that. You are creating your own problem.
Unless you bought lumps of metal as such, or melted your coins down into lumps of metal, you don’t even have any Bullion. You might own coins, or you might own bullion, but you just can’t own a Bullion Coin
There’s no such thing.
Well, you’ve convinced me. Looks like I can keep my coins safely buried, after all. Now, that there Dictionary…I’ll just keep that within easy reach.
Steve Smith manages a manufacturing business at http://www.smithandcompany.org/ and also is a Consulting Scientist; see http://www.consultingscientist.us/