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Monday, March 30, 2015

Queen Anne coronation medal designed by Isaac Newton

Oxford University PhD student James Hone has discovered a manuscript in the National Archives at Kew that proves Isaac Newton personally designed the coronation medal commemorating the accession of Queen Anne in 1702. Newton was Master of the Mint at the time, but before this discovery scholars believed that the medal was designed by court painter Sir Godfrey Kneller.
[T]he notes show Newton switching ideas from science to maths, classical history, politics and literature.
“It tells us that Newton didn’t conceive of himself as a scientist, but a master of lots of trades. The understanding of him as a great scientist is a later imposition, he would have seen himself more as a public servant.”
Finding a manuscript in Newton’s own hand complete with sketches and explanations of the metaphors woven into the design lends new insight into the man, his work at the mint and the seething cauldron of politics bubbling around Queen Anne’s coronation.
Official commemorative medals were struck for every coronation of a Stuart monarch. There were gold versions to hand out to the peers and diplomats attending the coronation and cheaper silver versions to throw into the crowds gathered at Westminster Abbey. Original documentation about the design and production of most of the Stuart tokens has not survived. That makes the Isaac Newton papers on the creation of the 1702 medal all the more significant.
Hone was doing research for the Stuart Successions Project, a joint study by Exeter University and Oxford University of printed material written during and about the succession crises in Britain between 1603 and 1702, when he came across a set of manuscripts from Newton’s time as Master of the Mint. One of them was a 50-page document that, judging from the completely rusted clasp keeping the pages together, hadn’t been read for years. The manuscript detailed the design of the first coronation medal and other prospective medals as well.
Newton was in his mid-50s when he was appointed Warden of the Royal Mint in 1696 during the reign of King William III. He was enlisted by Secretary to the Treasury William Lowndes to help in the Great Recoinage of 1696, an attempt by the government to solve a currency crisis by taking old, badly clipped silver coins and counterfeits out of circulation. Newton committed to the task with characteristic vigor, going undercover in taverns and dark alleys to gather information on counterfeiters. He personally interrogated suspects and witnesses and prosecuted dozens, securing convictions in 28 cases. He also helped establish the Bank of England as ordered by Acts of Parliament.
He was appointed Master of the Mint in 1699, and even though both the mint positions he held were widely considered sinecures, Isaac Newton took the second one as seriously as he had the first. He retired as Member of Parliament for the Cambridge University constituency to dedicate himself to the job. Little surprise, then, that he was writing 50-page treatises on commemorative medals when his predecessors had left that sort of thing to Mint minions. He put his extensive knowledge of mythology and allegory to work crafting a doozy of a propaganda piece.
The obverse of the medal is profile of Queen Anne similar to what you’d find on the regular coinage inscribed “ANNA D.G. MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB REGINA” (“Anne, by the grace of God, Queen of Great Britain, France and Ireland”). The reverse is the juicy bit. Anne is depicted as the Greek warrior goddess Pallas Athena standing on a hill with the rays of the sun shining down upon her. She holds three bolts of lightning upraised in her right hand and her aegis in the left. At her feet is an aggressive monster with two heads, four arms (two of them hold clubs, the other two rocks) and eight snakes in place of legs. This side is inscribed “VICEM GERIT ILLA TONANTIS” or “She is the Thunderer’s viceregent” across the top and “INAUGURAT XXIII AP MDCCII” (“Crowned April 23, 1702″) across the bottom.
The multi-headed serpent element suggests this monster is the Hydra, classical symbol of a complex and die-hard enemy that springs two new heads for every one you cut off. Before now scholars have thought the monster represented a domestic faction opposed to Anne’s rule. Hone discovered that Newton had a whole other think going.
But Newton, in his own notes on the design, describes it as a symbol of “any Enemy with which Her Majesty hath or may have War”. In other words, the monster presents the double threat posed by Louis XIV and James Francis Edward Stuart [Anne's exiled half-brother, the Catholic son of James II], the Old Pretender. The motto looks back to William and Mary. By describing Anne as a “Thunderer”, Newton explains that he was alluding to the coronation medal of 1689, which likewise portrayed William as a thundering Jupiter. In a sentence, Newton explains that the coronation medal “signifies that her Majesty continues the scene of the last reign”.
The messages of the medal were not lost at the time. Some of William’s allies used the medal to suggest that Anne was William redivivus. William’s Tory enemies, on the other hand, considered it a potentially seditious object. The High Tory Vice Chancellor of Oxford even banned students from discussing the medal in their panegyrics to the new queen! This medal, it seems, had political bite.
The medal’s depiction of Anne as the warrior queen continuing where King William had left off seems to have made people nervous in other ways as well. She never again appeared as a fighter. There were two other medals cast after this one in 1702. The second featured her profile on the obverse and her husband Prince George of Denmark on the reverse. The third had the usual profile obverse and a European town under siege on the reverse. The inscription says “VIRES ANIMUMQUE MINISTRAT,” meaning “She gives strength and courage.” Gone was the warrior goddess vanquishing the country’s enemies with her terrible power of the thunderbolt. In a matter of months her she was whittled down into an inspiration, a sort of spiritual Betty Grable pin-up shoring up troop morale. That shift became permanent, and it’s very noticeable because there were multiple issues of Queen Anne commemorative medals with battle scenes on the reverse.
Hone thinks Newton’s work at the mint may have played a part in his knighthood. Queen Anne knighted Isaac Newton in 1705, three years to the month after her coronation, during her visit to Cambridge. He was running for Cambridge MP at the time and the election was a month away, so historians generally believe the knighting was a political gesture rather than recognition of his work for the crown or his scientific accomplishments. Newton was only the second scientist ever knighted. Sir Francis Bacon was the first to receive the honor in 1603.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Crash and a Universe of Messiahs

Except for Larry Kudlow and his ilk, there are precious few who do not recognize that there is something seriously amiss right now in the global economy.  It is clear to most everyone that indefinite financial repression in the form of Zero Interest Rate Policies and Endless Easing means easy cash for Banks and Coroporations closest to the Banks, and suffering for everyone else, is nearing the breaking point.

There is no exit Strategy.  There is no Growth.  Just more and more debt created by Governments, donated to Banks, and sold for profit to everyone else.


Enter an army of Messiahs all hoping to cash in on your bewilderment.

Most popular right now is Martin Armstrong who has some very clever and interesting things to say.  He is dispensing this advice right now partially for free like all Messiahs,  A) To encourage you to pay for his Special Secret Advice, B) Because he is unable to trade on it himself and make any money for himself.

He will tell you it's out of the goodness of his heart, like all Messiahs.  The truth is when he did trade he lost billions, lied to investors, was convicted of securities fraud, then went to jail, not to ":Protect his Source Code"  But to protect his store of GOLD that he refused to turn over in compensation to his victims.

That doesn't mean, like many MESSIAHS, that he doesn't have some very interesting observations about our current plight.  He does.  Read them, and take whatever truth out of them you can.

Because anything that increases your understanding of our current plight is a good thing.

Read all the Messiahs.  Peter Schiff and Eric Sprott and Marc Faber will tell you to buy gold.  They of course are selling gold.  It doesn't mean that they don't also have interesting things to say.  They do.

Jim Rogers will tell you to load up on commodities. He sells commodities.  He also has interesting things to say.  That doesn't mean he doesn't believe in commodities.  He probably does, because he got into them because he realized how to profit from them.  He's also enormously bright.  So there's going to be truth in what he says.  Some truth.  Some self interest.

You always have to sort out which is which.

In all, just recognize nobody's giving any information away, unless they feel it benefits them personally.  This, in part, is why our system is about to collapse.

The real traders like Soros and Kyle Bass will never tell you what they're doing, until they've already cleaned up from it.  You can try to find out what they are doing though, and try to figure out why.  But they're not dispensing advice, because they know how to trade.

All I'm saying is read it all and spend a lot of time making up your own mind.  Because unless you have the conviction of understanding a trade you came to on your own, you'll never have the conviction to sustain it when it goes against you, or the understand when to get out of it. if conditions change.

Only those who think for themselves will be saved.  Those who believe in a Messiah will get hosed.

Monday, March 16, 2015

When will gold bottom out?

Everyone's giving up on gold.  Thank God.

A few more months of downtrend and there won't by many die hards left.

We'll be like the Japanese in the trees after WW II.  Still fighting the last war.

The butt of every financial joke.


Because that's what it will take.

As the dollar rockets higher and higher, it will be read by 99 percent of pundits as a sign the US economy has turned the corner and the economy is healthy again.

Rather than being read as a Global Economy collapsing under an overdose of nonredeemable debt, forcing capital to flee out of dying currencies into a currency being kept alive by daily transfusions of ever more potent debt - that is potent only by virtue of a magic printing press.

What is this magic printing press?  It is good faith.  Bona Fides.  The good faith that the US government will enforce laws fairly, will repay debts in a timely manner, and will keep the peace.

Large parts of European population  no longer believe in the Good Faith of the EEC.  Europe is suffering through a youth unemployment of 30-50 percent.  Spain's Podemos, France's Front National, Renzi's party in Italy all represent pluralities that are nationalist, isolationist and anti-establishment.

Japan still believes, though tiny Japan is losing faith.  Russia is imploding.  The Middle East is imploding.  South America is suffering terribly from the collapse in commodity prices.  Global growth in the first world has been below 2 percent for many years.

And that leaves the good old USA.  Also growing at 2 percent almost six years after that last recession.

What happens when then next recession hits with the dollar sky high, debt levels higher than they were in 2008, and interest rates at Zero?

You think there might be a dent in that Good Faith that has fled three corners of the earth and crowded into the last corner of the good old USA? 

It won't take much of a dent to send nervous capital fleeing once again.

But when Faith in America has been shaken where will it flee?

Where it has always fled.  The last refuge: Hard Assets.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Gold: the Disconnect between Bullion and Investment Objects

While the price of gold bullion remains under pressure you hear more and more how gold is just "another commodity."  You hear this from analysts who have something at stake in the argument against gold.  Many just want to appear "right" about the downdraft in bullion.  Others are engaged in puerile pissing matches with other analysts.

But those who follow and engage in the massive and ever increasing bull market in Gold Investment Objects have no doubt that gold exerts the same fascination over human beings that it has done for all of human history. Because although all historically important objects are increasing in value even as the dollar rises, gold objects are outpacing objects made of all other metals.

Take the George III coronation medal for example.  George III is a very popular King as he ruled over one of history's largest empires and he was the last King of America.

in gold with a mintage of 858  this medal in top condition sells for about $12000 and up.

In silver with a mintage of 800 this medal in top condition sells fo about $1200

If this were a discrepancy peculiar to this particular issue, that would be one thing.

But take this wonderful Claudius coin minted in 43 AD that depicts the Emperor-to-be, just after the assassination of Caligula, hiding behind the curtains in the palace window, where he was discovered by the Praetorean guard, and then hailed as emperor under their protection.

Now, there are no mintage figures for this coin, of course, but the gold appears more frequently in the auction archives  than the silver example. But for argument's sake let's say the number of extant coins is about equal.  Given similar condition the gold sells for about ten times the price of the silver.

Certainly the same is true for this Caligula aureus in top condition which sold recently for about $280,000 whereas the silver denarius in top condition though a bit more common, is still a condition rarity and sold for about $28,000

And take the famous Constantinian multiples or medallions that were issued to mark historic events.  The gold multiple of 7 solidi to mark Constantine's Jubilaeum is the most expensive gold medallion at over 750,000 dollars.  The most expensive silver medallion at 250,000 dollars marked Constans' victories over the Sassanians and Samartians.  Both beautiful, and probably unique- but clearly gold is prized more highly than silver.


Another interesting example of a considerably more common coin is the Brutus issue depicting three or four lictors on the reverse.  These are two different coins, of course, but the gold is somewhat more common than the silver and in top conditions sells for nearly double the price.

And while we're at it, is it a coincidence that the world's most expensive Investment Objects are most often made of gold.  And it's not that the gold bullion content adds the value.  It's the intrinsic value of gold.

What does that mean?  It means people value the material itself.  The Thing In Itself.  Res Qua Res. Ding an sich. 

So: to those who claim gold is just another commodity soon to be consigned to the scrap heap of history, I would say: don't bet against human nature, it generally prevails in the end.

 Patek Phillipe Henry Graves Supercomplication Pocket Watch  World's most expensive watch: 11 Million dollars.

Deluxe Cycling: Goldgenie’s 24 Karat Gold Plated Bike Selling For $390,000 world's most expensive bike: 390,000 dollars

 The Most Expensive iPhone 6 And Its Priced In The Millions world's most expensive I phone 1.7 million dollars

Most Expensive SUVs in Market in 2014  Wold's most expensive SSUV 1.2 million dollars

   World's most expensive toilet: 32 Million dollars


Monday, March 9, 2015

Some perspective on the "strong" jobs market from the Daily Pfennig:

"I traded emails with a longtime Pfennig reader on Friday, expressing my disgust with the fact that it has been a year filled with more business deaths than births, but the BLS continues to add jobs using their Birth/ Death Model. In February it was 132,000..  Given that we know that there are more deaths than births these days, shouldn't that have been a -132,000.  And if so, then we'd be talking about 32,000 new jobs created, which is still probably bloated.

My friend Dennis Miller of Miller's Money, a Casey Research letter, sent me a rant from somebody he reads that I wish I could replicate, for it goes through every number with facts, not surveys that are hedonically adjusted. I'm going to borrow some of that here:  Since 2008 we've added 3 million jobs, while 13 million people have supposedly left the workforce (yes a lot of baby boomers in there, but not 13 million) and the unemployment rates is supposedly lower today than it was in 2008. The working age population is up by 16 million, we only have 3 million more jobs, but the unemployment rate has fallen. 

So, in the end, because I really didn't mean to spend all day on this. Here's something to think about. I've been telling you over and over again that the economic data has been weak here in the U.S.  But let's get a quick overview just to refresh our memories.  What we have here  is an economy that's losing energy jobs left and right and by the truckload each month, we've seen manufacturing new orders decline for 6 straight months, we have corporate profits falling, real median household income sitting at 1989 levels, and 80% of all economic reports miss to the downside, and yet. We're told that 295,000 jobs were created in February.

I guess I should be celebrating, right? Why always be on the "dark side" of these things Chuck? Well, if it felt right, I would celebrate. the problem is, for me, that it just doesn't feel right.. The guy that I owe most of my feelings of trepidation with the BLS number to is John Williams of, who said of Friday's report, that "the drop in Unemployment Rate was due to Unemployed giving up looking for work, instead of finding work"  He also kept his Unemployment Rate figure at 23%... "

Friday, March 6, 2015

Billionaire Hedge Fund Managers buying gold as the price drops and retail investor flee: (they probably just don't understand the global economy)

Bloomberg 2/1/15
(Bloomberg) -- Hedge funds are the most bullish on gold in more than two years, betting the metal’s allure will strengthen as slowing economies in Europe and Asia threaten U.S. expansion.
Speculators increased their net-long position by 80 percent this year, U.S. government data show. The U.S. economy expanded at a slower-than-forecast pace in the fourth quarter and Federal Reserve officials acknowledged global risks at the end of their policy meeting last week.
Weaker foreign expansion has increased speculation among investors that the Fed will wait longer before raising U.S. interest rates.
If we’re in a really bad global economy and we have more downbeat news here, the motivation for the Fed to raise interest rates isn’t there,” Marty Leclerc, the chief investment officer at Barrack Yard Advisors who oversees $400 million in assets, said by phone Jan. 30. “That would hence make gold more attractive if everyone is debasing currencies.”

 George Soros;

Soros Fund Management more than doubled its investment in the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) to 884,400 shares, a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing for the quarter holdings showed.  (newsmax 3/3/15)

John Paulson:

Paulson & Co. increased its holdings by 26 percent to 21.8 million shares.
Between these two funds alone, that’s a total of $3.5 billion secured in the yellow metal.

(newsmax 3/3/15)

“The negatives we see include stretched valuations and earnings headwinds later this year, including a strong dollar, which reduces the translated earnings of foreign subsidiaries,” Einhorn said Wednesday on a conference call discussing the reinsurer’s results. “From a macro perspective, we are worried that emergency policies are now failing.”
Einhorn said he is maintaining wagers on gold and against the Japanese currency and France’s sovereign debt. (Bloomberg 2/17/15)

Kyle Bass:

Bass: I'd Much Rather Own Gold Than Paper (bloomberg 3/5/15)

Jim Simons
Billionaire Jim Simons Bought $94 Million of Barrick Gold Corp (motley fool 1/20/15)
  Simons is the founder of Renaissance Technologies. Since launching the company’s flagship Medallion Fund in 1989, he has averaged over 35% annual returns for clients after fees. Today, Simons is widely considered to be the most successful hedge fund manager of all time.

And even gold's biggest critic: Martin Armstrong went to jail for 11 years rather than give up his personal stash of hidden gold bars and coins as compensation for the victims of his stock swindle.  He still owns all that gold, even as he advises others to sell.

Elizabeth Warren To Janet Yellen:

“During the financial crisis, Congress bailed out the big banks with hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money; and that’s a lot of money. 

But the biggest money for the biggest banks was never voted on by Congress. Instead, between 2007 and 2009, the Fed provided over $13 trillion in emergency lending to just a handful of large financial institutions. That’s nearly 20 times the amount authorized in the TARP bailout.

“Now, let’s be clear, those Fed loans were a bailout too. Nearly all the money went to too-big-to-fail institutions. For example, in one emergency lending program, the Fed put out $9 trillion and over two-thirds of the money went to just three institutions: Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch.

“Those loans were made available at rock bottom interest rates – in many cases under 1 percent. And the loans could be continuously rolled over so they were effectively available for an average of about two years.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Gold: As everything goes against gold, and it falls below 1200 once again


We are in the middle of an enormous Dollar bull market.

The Euro is imploding.  It is a flawed currency and will probably not survive.

The Yen is being quantitatively eased into oblivion

The Ruble is all but worthless.

The Real is suffering a crisis of confidence.

All that money is flowing and will continue to flow into the relative safety of the US dollar

DOLLAR INDEX 5 Year chart.  The dollar index will get much much stronger.  Because the US dollar is the only viable reserve currency.  It has become the global safety play.


YET the dollar strength is not indicative of a strong US economy.

In fact the US economy growing at about 2 percent with stagnant to declining wages; a vastly underemployed work force; with historically low household formation; and Zero percent interest rates that are crippling savers, the elderly, and the middle class while creating vast misallocations of capital with virtually no lending, no capital investment and a money multiplier that has fallen to historic lows.

As the dollar continues to strengthen in this environment it will not be long before the economy sinks back into recession.

When that happens - AND IT HAS ALWAYS HAPPENED - the dollar will continue to strengthen  - and at the same time GOLD WILL RISE AGAIN.

WHY?  Because once we sink unequivocally back into recession with rates at ZERO and a middle class that is already drowning - CONFIDENCE in the FINANCIAL SYSTEM WILL CRATER.

And that is what will kick gold back into the stratosphere.  Gold is a measure of financial stability.  It has nothing to do with deflation or inflation.  It is simply a measure of financial stability.  And when that goes, gold rises.

Whether at that time - and it won't be long from now - gold is at 1000 or 1100 or 1200 - who really cares?  Gold is still 400 percent higher - right now near the very low - than it was when it took off in 2000.

And once it starts to move as confidence cracks - it will move fast and furious and anyone who doesn't own bullion at that time will have a hell of a time finding any.

And remember this: though you read all sorts of claims reminding you that if you had only bought stocks in X year instead of gold you'd now have doubled your money.  It all depends on X.  If you'd bought nasdaq in 2000 when gold was at 300 you'd still be way down inflation adjusted compared to a 400 percent gain in gold.  That's just playing with statistics.  Any idiot can do it.

It takes confidence in believing your own eyes to have the conviction to make money OVER TIME.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Who is Martin Amrstrong?

It is quite obvious to a growing number of independent investors that something is very wrong with the global economy.  Despite permanently rosy reports from Bloomberg, Fox, and CNBC it is clear that the Eurozone is imploding with Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and France functionally bankrupt, Japan is on the life support of a permanently devaluing currency, Russia is ruled by a madman intent on starting world war III, Brazil is imploding, and nobody knows what's really happening in China - but growth is obviously slowing dramatically.  

That leaves the US as the sole engine of the global economy, stoking the global recovery with 2 percent growth - 5 years into a supposed recovery, while 70 percent of tax receipts go to fund an 18 trillion dollar deficit that is growing by the second.

In the search for answers as to what is going to happen many people are turning to a variety of Economic prophets, and Martin Armstrong with his Economic Confidence Model has developed quite a following.  In fact a movie has been recently released chronicling some of his amazing economic forecasts.

Personally I find a lot of what he writes to be fascinating - and useful.

Yet there is that pesky fact of his incarceration for Securities Fraud.

He claims he was set up by rivals who wanted to steal is secrets and/or silence his apocalyptic pronouncements.

The government claims he ran a ponzy scheme that bilked investors out of 700 million dollars.

You can be both brilliant and unscrupulous.

I have found a court copy of his guilty plea.

As part of his guilty plea, Armstrong entered a sworn allocution admitting to and describing his crime: Read it and judge for yourself:

In his allocution, Armstrong admitted that between 1992 and 1999, he sold
promissory notes issued by Princeton Economics subsidiaries ("Princeton Notes") to investors, mostly Japanese corporations. Armstrong, through his agents, represented to the investors that the proceeds from the sale of the Princeton Notes would be held in accounts at Republic NewYork Securities ("Republic") and that those accounts "would be separate and segregated from Republic's own accounts and would not be available to Republic for its own benefit." 

According to Armstrong's allocution, after he suffered "some millions of dollars of
trading losses," he decided "not to disclose to investors that . . . substantial losses had been experienced in this trading of futures. And we did not disclose it." 

Armstrong also admitted that his concealment of his losses went beyond non-disclosure: "letters were sent by my company to investors concerning how much money was in fact in the accounts assigned to them. I . . . did
send out those letters, even though . . . I knew the amounts in the accounts were less than the letters stated." 

Armstrong then described how the segregation of the investors' accounts came under pressure from Republic: [I]n about August 1999, Republic requested that I merge the [] investors' segregated accounts with trading accounts in which I sustained . . . substantial trading losses. 

And Republic further requested that monies in the investor accounts be used to offset trading losses in the trading accounts. I agreed to these requests . . . . This was contrary to the promises I had made and the representations I . . . continued to make to investors that the accounts pertaining to the Princeton Notes were [not] and would not be accessible by Republic itself for any purposes.

Armstrong further stated "I did not inform investors that I had agreed to Republic's request to merge the funds . . . nor did I inform the investors that the merger had in fact occurred, nor . . . [did I] disclose . . . [to] the investors that funds in their accounts had been used to pay for the [trading] losses . . . ." 
Armstrong stated that he was aware at the time he made them that "[his] representations to investors that the accounts would be kept separate was an important factor in the investors' decision to hold the Princeton Notes."

 Armstrong "understood at that time that by falsely representing the situation of Republic with respect to segregation of investors' funds [and] by falsely representing to the investors that my trading performance was better than it actually was . . . what I was doing was wrong and improper." 
Finally, Armstrong admitted, "[i]n taking these actions and agreeing with others to do so, I knew at the time that I was deceiving the investors in connection with the purchase of Princeton Notes . . . 

Armstrong claimed then that though he admitted the wrongdoing above, this did not constitute a crime.

In this case, Armstrong's actions were egregious and recurrent. He conspired to defraud sixty investors to whom he has been required to pay approximately $80 million in restitution. Armstrong was also sentenced to sixty months' imprisonment for his crime, a sentence that reflected the district court judge's view of the seriousness of Armstrong's misconduct. Armstrong's conduct was not a brief, isolated, event; his fraudulent activity lasted from 1992 until 1999 involving multiple misrepresentation to numerous clients. 
Armstrong's actions show a high degree of scienter. At the time he conspired to
commingle investors' accounts with other accounts to cover trading losses and to conceal the account commingling, he "knew . . . that [he] was deceiving the investors in connection with the purchase of Princeton Notes" and knew that "[t]his was contrary to the promises [he] had made and the representations [he] . . . continued to make to investors . . . ." Armstrong admitted that he
"understood at that time that by falsely representing the situation of Republic . . . [and] by falsely representing to the investors that my trading performance was better than it actually was . . . what [he] was doing was wrong and improper.