Mish International (located in Menlo Park) owner Robert Mish was recently interviewed for his thoughts on the physical gold & silver markets.
Key quote: "he sees a US populace largely unappreciative of holding precious metal as a store of wealth, and engaged in a slow process of dis-hording their gold and silver to eager foreign buyers who are more than happy to take the bullion back to their shores."
As a Palo Altan, I think it's interesting that despite all of the wealth creation going on here and in the surrounding Silicon Valley, we are actually net sellers of precious metals.
His description of his typical local gold/silver seller sounds like a good number of the people I know in PA/MP/RC/LA who are overextended.
"The typical seller today is really the opposite of who they were 30, 40, 50 years ago. People used to save either through a bank account to keeping some coins around, putting away silver dollars when they came back from Reno or Lake Tahoe. They would be buying some interesting furniture or jewelry and then they had income in excess of their expenses. Today, so many households are stressed having expenses greater than their income or servicing a lot of debt that they are starting to sell the things, the heirlooms that they so prized before. So we are seeing people sell their Rolex they do not want anymore or cannot afford to keep, their old jewelry, their parentís jewelry and belongings that they inherited. The coins they collected when they were a kid, it is sad in a way because what we are seeing is the dis-hoarding of a culture."