The Most Unusual Precious Metals Forgotten by Preppers

by Erich

This guest post was provided by Garfield Refining, a precious metal refinery offering service to both individuals and businesses across the nation. This 120 year old refinery located in Philadelphia, PA buys, sells & refines precious metals including gold, silver, platinum and palladium. For more on Garfield and updates on precious metal prices visit Garfield Refining on Facebook.

People who worry about what’s happening in the world—the threat of environmental disaster, economic collapse, political catastrophe, a reign of global terror—tend to put stock in precious metals, often with a focus on gold. But gold, for all its glitter, might not be the best—certainly not the only—precious metal for a prepper to stockpile. When looking to precious metal refining for an opportunity, palladium should be among a survivalist’s first stops.

Palladium is lighter than platinum and just about as dense as silver—and thus makes for beautiful jewelry. But jewelry might not be your primary concern in a post-catastrophic U.S. Instead, you might be interested in the merits of palladium for its chemical and electronic applications, its usefulness in dentistry and autocatalysts (critical in the working of internal combustion engines) and its potential value in fuel cell technology, oil refining, and water treatment.

Already a key component of contemporary society, palladium will prove invaluable to any attempt to rebuild, and palladium refining—and the palladium refiner—should be of critical interest to anyone bent on survival of whatever disaster awaits us.

Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, is another metal best known for its decorative properties—which, again, might well be the least of its merits. Decorative, yes, but brass is also a substantial metal used extensively in applications requiring low friction—gears, locks, doorknobs, bearings, ammunition casings, plumbing, electrical fittings or zippers.

Because of its acoustic properties, brass is also, of course, used in musical instruments. In situations where sparks are a concern, as in tools and fittings around explosive gases, brass is also of great practical value.

Then there’s mercury, perhaps poisonous when let loose, but ubiquitous for good reason. The only metal that is liquid at standard temperature and pressure, mercury is without equal for use in thermometers, barometers, manometers, float valves, switches, fluorescents, and sphygmomanometers. Though various substitutes have come into fashion in clinical and scientific settings, in a post-catastrophic future, mercury is certain to be the go-to precious metal for everything from lighting to medical and dental applications.

Even now, in the form of one of its most common ores, cinnabar, mercury is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, ointments, eye drops, nasal sprays, antiseptics, laxatives, and diuretics. Those who hope to survive into a new millennium will do well to look to this precious metal, along with brass and palladium.

As any prepper knows, taking the time to plan now will only pay off in the future. While your neighbors might be scrambling for food and shelter, you can be secure in knowing you have taken the necessary steps to ensure you have set aside all the essentials including the more unusual precious metals.

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Comment by Randy
2013-06-07 12:24:03

The only problem is not everyone recognizes the value of palladium, like they do silver or gold. Will my neighbor trade me some gas for a palladium bar like he will for some silver?

But then you are doing your job…spreading the word trying to get folks educated.

Thanks for the info.

Comment by BobbyD
2013-06-07 14:03:47

One fellow who lived through the Balkans war has said that even gold and silver are not
very useful in trading for life saving goods in those times. Few recognize the value of these precious metals, even if one can get a reading on the market value. What can one do with a one ounce or even a half ounce gold coin? No one has that amount of goods to trade with you. And, when others see that you have gold or silver, or? they get the idea that you are wealthy and suddenly your life is at risk. Something to think about. Palladium and mercury? Maybe even more fuzzy.

Comment by Diana
2013-06-07 15:20:35

Actually learning new skills such as weaving, shoe repair, baking from scratch, soapmaking, knowledge of herbs, etc will do far better in a collapse since no one would have much use for metal you can not spend or use such as silver & gold. Barter will be key & the essential everday items are what will be needed

Comment by Cristine
2013-06-07 15:56:06

Lead…..for obvious reasons…

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-06-08 02:11:09

amen to that precious metal Cristine

Comment by Jeff Freeman
2013-06-07 16:16:40

I stock up on the arsenic and cyanide pills as well. This guy needs to use some sense

Comment by duggy dugg
2013-06-07 16:52:29

silver if you can afford it might be useful after the Armageddon or depression for those who don’t want biblical terms used …when the power goes out ; when commerce is disrupted ; when services collapse ; few things will have value ; tuna ; 9mm shells; canned food; water; mre’s [forget what the wonks say , you’ll eat them if you are hungry] alcohol; tobacco; fire arms ; books ; cards ;bbq / fireplace ask any survivor of andrew; northrigde ; katrina; fukushima;sandy;moore ok ; even they could get a meal or shelter or new clothes a few miles out of the disaster area ..when the dollar dives there will be no out of the disaster area……

lotta info on composting and composting toilets…aquaponics…wind…rocket stoves ………start now ..prepping is not easy despite what the experts say…..

Comment by duggy dugg
2013-06-07 16:54:55


Comment by duggy dugg
2013-06-07 16:56:08

agree with christine

Comment by duggy dugg
2013-06-07 16:58:39

sewing machine would be very very very handy

Comment by Lindsay
2013-06-07 17:47:59

Only the old fashioned trundle type if we have no electricity…if we do have juice, yes, an electric sewing machine would be awesome.

Comment by Ray
2013-06-07 22:48:47

I think Mercury’s dangerous effects need to be reiterated. Never, never touch mercury, a neurotoxin, with bare skin. But, this was a very interesting article. I’ve never even considered getting palladium. I’m gonna look into it. Thanks for the read!

Comment by Christopher
2013-06-07 22:53:55

We bugging in or bugging out? Carrying metal if bugging out means a simple 100 oz take up space, about the size of a small (18 oz size) peanut butter bottle. Also, 100 oz = 6 ib 13.714 oz on terms of precious metal. Think about that if you have to carry it with all your other gear. And while we are talking about thinking, let us not forget that knowledge trumps everything and your knife is # 2. I give credit to BobbyD for sharing what he did. It makes a lot of sense. Speaking of good sense, Diana offers some of the strongest suggestions so far, again, knowledge based, was weighs nothing.
Now back to the metal stuff and the 100 oz example. At this evenings spot prices (see I want to do a little Silver @ $21.69 = $2169, Palladium @ $755 equates to $75,500., Let’s not forget Rhodium (not mentioned yet above) @ 1075 costing you 107,500, that shinny yellow stuff as some of us call it (AKA GOLD) is $1384 this evening, costing 138,400 for a 100 ozs, and Platinum which has been sneaking it’s way back to the top of the heap runs 1501, extended out gives you $150,100. so here is what is see. If you have lots of extra cash, and in some of these examples I mean a LOT of EXTRA CASH, and you are not going to be walking very far buy some of each. The only one that seems practical for bartering would be silver, old silver coins (pre 1964) and maybe rounds. But remember that 6 plus pounds could be a handgun and ammo, other essential gear, clothing, medical items, etc. Bet cha if you got seriously hurt, needed stitches or some medical attention, a good hot meal, or some of the stuff duggy dugg mentioned you would be willing to give a whole lot f that heavy metal you been hiking with.
I agree, some as in a modest amount might be worth having on had, but in a true LONG TERM disaster or survival situation, precious metal would be high on your list of priorities. If it is, we might end up finding you in pretty touch shape at your camp.
Remember, KNOWLEDGE is the single most precious / valuable thing you can acquire, retain and use in a true survival situation. It is lightweight, take up no space in your pack and has thousands of uses. True survivalists invest in themselves.
Just my opinion – thanks for sharing yours…

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2013-06-08 02:17:50


Keep in mind, prepping is much more than just preparing for TEOTWAWKI. A big part of it is getting ready for personal disasters such as job loss or common “disasters” such as growing inflation and economic slowdown. Having a stock of precious metals would be a great help in either of these cases.

Of course…I wouldn’t recommend getting any of these until you have put away a solid amount of food storage and other more important things.

Comment by Harvey
2013-06-08 11:03:11

Let’s get down and dirty here.

In my view, gold, silver and palladium will be equally useless. Timing is critical when speaking of ‘trading currency.’

So consider a scenario of total loss of electric power for five years, regardless of what triggers it. Immediately… and ongoingly… the basic needs will be for food and water. These will be so necessary that… basic rule … no item of trade will be valuable enough to buy them. Those who have banked enough food and water must protect it at any cost, yet those with a banked surplus might trade it for either weaponry (guns and ammunition) or manpower ( guards) Other forms or currency -seeds and farm equipment – will come later.

Medical care also has tradability. Get trained.

Comment by Harvey
2013-06-08 11:06:43

Hoarding is taking more than you need
in a time of Lack.
Banking is storing more than you need
in a time of Plenty.
Hoarding is a selfish act.
Banking is a wise act.
We are in a time of plenty.

Begin banking.

Comment by iris
2013-06-08 14:46:09

Ore would be on the top of my list as one can make many useful items with it. Yet, food will always be the best trading tool. Mercury would be very limited in use like thermometers when handled properly. Digesting it has known to cause Alzheimer’s and/or mental confusion. Sea shell flour could probably be used for teeth but would have to be mixed with a glue and not just any glue. How does one make glue? Maybe glue, if one could make it, would be a good trading tool?

Comment by sandy
2013-06-08 16:47:46

I would have to agree that food, water, toilet paper for the ladies, and ammunition would be barter tools. Remember your friends will kill you for food if their kids are hungry, so imagine whatever strangers will do for it… arm yourself and teach your families how to use the arms you have. Another thing a gun is useless without ammunition.

Comment by Duncan
2013-06-09 20:22:58

Boil hooves or nails or claws for a good sticky. Or use pine resin in appropriate situations.

Comment by mercury man
2013-06-11 09:55:28

@Ray, my Dad was an electrical engineer in the 1950’s and he had pounds of mercury at the house and I would play with it as a kid in my hand all the time.
I’m 55 now and I am pretty sure I’m not having any side affects from my childhood playing with mercury.

Comment by River Ranch
2013-06-18 10:13:45

Where in the world would you get asenic and cyanide pills – and would you plan on using them yourself, or on those who threaten you. Your comment is definately something to ponder.

Comment by Simon
2013-06-24 12:24:05

Why has no one mentioned the medical properties of Silver, it kills bacteria and viruses on contact.
Rich Ancestors would use Silver water containers, to store their drinking water in,, which mean’t the Silver was unknowingly killing any bacteria/viruses, also the water was poured back and forth into 2 Silver jugs (thus bringing more of the water into contact with the Silver) to give the water some “life” before being drunk (leave a glass of water on the side for 24 hours then drink it, then you’ll know what I mean by what I just said),…I’m not sure it would work on fungus’s, but vinegar does.
So getting yourself a Silver knife fork and spoon would indeed be a good investment!

(Always boil your water if your unsure of its quality, a 10min rolling boil will sort it)

Comment by Robb
2013-06-26 14:22:40

Great article! ive been a prepper for some time saving all the gold and silver i can get, and would of never thought of mercury in a million years. thanks for the tip! not to mention mercury is a great way to extract gold from fine sands, a practice frowned on in todays world but in a preppers world its an option. of course one should learn the dangers and the right techniques, after all survival is the main goal..

Comment by kiljoy616
2013-07-01 22:11:16

He did say eating it, did you eat it a lot as you where growing up?

Still mercury is worthless for the average Joe to use, plenty of better things to spend money on for a Level 2 or 3 catastrophe.

Comment by kiljoy616
2013-07-24 03:32:41

So basically when the world goes FUBAR. Food and Ammo will still probably get you more. Having a skill always helps.

I can’t rap my head around precious metals without a government or some kind of authority that dictates value. I can’t imagine figuring out how many chickens are wroth that shiny coin in the palm of the hand. But a bottle of honey now that I can.

Comment by Clint
2013-08-06 21:16:10

Is anyone here even remotely familiar with the type of hazards posed by mercury?! It’s a poison proven to do neurological damage when ingested. Those vaccines with the preservative Thimerasol? It’s basically mercury. And people can’t figure out why autism rates are off the charts.

Comment by Lloyd
2013-09-05 22:21:36

When all is shut down, the metal I would like to have extra of would be steel … in the form of a well point, pitcher pump, two man saw, tree saw, splitting axe, spliting wedges, sledge hammer, and things of that nature. They may even be great for barter. I would think tools of survival will be more valuable than any form of currency when food, water, and a heat source are what are needed to stay alive.

Comment by Prepper2
2013-09-25 13:03:02

The most important and precious Metal you will need to own is “Lead” in the form of AMMO, lots and lots of AMMO in popular calibers!! And never barter it away. As Lead will allow you to obtain everything else you will need for longterm survival..

Comment by Halo2Boss
2020-08-16 06:44:25

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Comment by Ryan
2021-05-18 03:20:27

Your neighbor will kill you for that silver bar if you try to trade it. Better hold it until society comes back or you need to make something to help bring society back. The point of the article

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