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How to Buy Bullion (What to Ask and What to Own)

Phoenix Capital Research's picture




 

 

Quite a few articles have been written about the importance of owning Gold and other precious metals as a means of maintaining one’s wealth in the face of rampant money printing by the world’s Central Banks.

 

Today I’m going to share some ideas on how to actually buy bullion.

 

As far as precious metals go, you need to:

 

  1. Own actual Bullion
  2. Store it yourself (not in a bank)

 

I do not recommend owning a paper gold-based ETF because frankly the custodial risk is high (that is, there’s no telling if the Gold is even there or who would get it if the ETF is liquidated).

 

In comparison, physical bullion, stored outside a bank, is literally money in hand. You know where it is and you can find out what it’s worth. Compare that to a Gold ETF in which you’re hoping that the bank actually has the Gold and that it could actually send it to you if you requested (fat chance).

 

In terms of actual gold coins, there are three coins that comprise the bulk of the bullion market. They are Kruggerands, Canadian Maple Leafs, and American Gold Eagles. I’ve been told to avoid Maple Leafs by both a trader and a bullion dealer as they can easily be scratched which damages the gold and reduces the coin’s value.

 

In terms of silver, the easiest way to get it is via pre-1965 coins (often termed “junk” silver). You can also get silver one-ounce rounds (coin-like medallions) and 10-ounce bars. Or you can buy Silver Eagles coins.

 

I cannot tell you which dealer to go with, but look for someone who’s been dealing for years (not a newbie).  You should always ask for references from the dealer (former clients you can talk to about their purchases/ experiences).

 

Some warning signs to avoid are dealers who try to store your bullion. Never, I repeat, never store your bullion with someone else. Always store it yourself. Also, be sure to talk to the dealer for some time and ask him or her numerous questions about the industry, the coins, etc. (feel free to test him or her on the information I’ve provided you with e.g. the three most liquid Gold coins, etc.). If they can answer everything you ask in a knowledgeable fashion, their references check out, and you verify everything they say with a 3rd party, you should be OK.

 

This concludes this article. If you’d like more information on inflation and protecting yourself from it, we feature a FREE Special Report detailing the threat of inflation as well as two investments that will explode higher as it seeps throughout the financial system. You can pick up a FREE copy of this report at:

 

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Best Regards,

Graham Summers

 

PS. We also On that note, feature a FREE report concerning the threat of a European Banking Collapse. It’s called What Europe’s Collapse Means For You and it explains exactly how the coming Crisis will unfold as well as which investment (both direct and backdoor) you can make to profit from it.

 

This report is 100% FREE. You can pick up a copy today at:

 

http://gainspainscapital.com/eu-report/

 

 

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Mon, 10/22/2012 - 07:23 | 2909043 Grimbert
Grimbert's picture

The UK / European dealer I use and recommend:

http://www.coininvestdirect.com

 

shipping is free over £/€2500.

On an oz of gold the markup over spot is around 3%, but higher for smaller coins. The coins arrive in a massive 9" cube box with a tiny packet in the middle

 

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 06:14 | 2909007 bardot63
bardot63's picture

Stop what you are doing and go right now to  http://www.dansdepot.com/blog/buying-gold-where-to-start/#more-1013  and that includes you, Graham Summers!   This site

has several articles on gold.  Just clik on the author's pix to find them.

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 00:06 | 2908885 Magnum
Magnum's picture

The author doesn't mention Aussie kangaroos, which are gorgeous pure gold coins, and readily available.  Until I think 2011 all of the Aussie gold coins came in really nice plastic capsules that protect them.  Austrian Philharmonic are just as good.  The other coin is Gold Buffalo, pure gold and highly desired.  Perth Mint bars are very nice too.

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 02:41 | 2908963 SULax
SULax's picture

Magnum,
Coins or bars is your point? Diversify, get both. Prefer to have an acid test done on a bar than on a beautiful Buffalo. If stacking coins, stack current bullion coins like Am Gold Eagles, Buffalos, Krugerands, Phil's, Libertads, etc...because they come in standard sizes (1/10th oz, 1/4oz, 1/2oz, 1oz, and sometimes depending on the coin - 2oz and up) compared to British Sovereigns that are .2353oz gold or Swiss franc (which date matters deoends on gold content but a 6.4516gram coin contains 0.1867 Troy oz of gold). As you can see its much easier to stack 1/10's, 1/4's, 1/2's and.1's to keep how much gold you own straight in your head without an excel spreadsheet. Keep it smile. Stack what peop,e around you will understand. Don't stack Buffalos (24kz 1oz) or Gold Eagles (22K - 1oz) made in USA if you live in Asia. If you buy bars, make sure they come with an assay card from a reputable dealer. Or join an online anonymous forum like Bullionstacker.com whereby you can learn all these intricacies and more. I did a year ago and it has straightened my stack and the way I look at it out. Hopefully this was helpful

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 23:57 | 2908875 imbrbing
imbrbing's picture

Graham knows this crowd and this article was nothing but a troll piece to get some trust.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 23:51 | 2908872 DrunkenPleb
DrunkenPleb's picture

Anyone that trades on the ASX have an opinion to share on Perth Mint and their PM.GOLD warrant?

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 20:42 | 2908586 CitizenPete
CitizenPete's picture

I don't  like the Latvian Spinglers in .85 ozt 985 grade with the picture of a pointed shoe on them.  Face value 2.7 New State Kroners.  They're not known around the world for their purity and they aren't backed in full faith by the Kurdistan Submarine fleet. They are not stored in my dirty vacuum cleaner bag that the maid threw out yesterday.

 

Simple rules:

Buy only bullion people that people know (unless your a collector that knows what they are doing.)  Eagles, are perfect.  Remember coins like Maples and Buffalos are pure 24kt .999+ gold (unlike Eagles and Krugerrands which are .9167) and they will scratch very easily if handled. The Krugerrand has copper in it in addition to the 1ozt gold for some durability (22 karat gold 91.67%), and even though a different color shade, (the American Gold Eagle contains silver as well), I believe they both weigh about the same (OVER 1 ozt).   

Diameter:  Eagle 32.70 mm  /  krug 32.77 Thickness: Eagle 2.87 mm / Krug  2.84 Gross weight:  Eagle 33.930 g / Krug 33.930 Face value:  Eagle $50 / Krug 

They also com in fractional amounts. 

Don't buy the older coins or slabbed coins, unless the numismatics are part of an investment strategy -- in other words do NOT pay a premium for numismatics unless your a collector, that is your hobby, or you just like wasting your fiat money.   The choice of newer coins are best for safety from possible counterfits and tampering, followed by SMALL bars (1ozt and under) perhaps in assay cases.  Same for silver.  

If you don't believe there are counterfeits I'll post pictures of all the fake stuff I have that friends bought.  It's all from China.  If you have ever been to a "collectors mall" in Beijing or Shenzen then you know that its is full of fakes.  Buyer beware. 

You can weigh coins you purchase with a calibrated digital scale and measure them in order to compare against published specifications -- you can't fake the size and weight combo. 

Buy from a reputable dealer, and if you are buying in quantity (combine ordered with family and trusted friends), look for low premiums from large distributors who offer free shipping and insurance.

Depending on your State you might purchase from a coin dealer, but usually they're premium prices suck plus they may TAX you.   If you live in OHIO DO NOT BUY FROM A LOCAL COIN DEALER (they are required to charge additional coin tax.)

Over the years, I have had good luck buy/sell with APMEX (for a few noodles) and Tulving (for the whole macaroni box).  Not so good experience with others.  Buyer beware on eBay, etc. -- do your due diligence.  Also research who the authorized US Mint Dealers are for Eagles -- if things ever did "dry up" these might be the last bastion of supply for Eagles (Silver and Gold).  Private sales with trusted parties are best.

Store some in your trusted Uncles safe, some in your house, and a portion somewhere else.   My buddy stores his in his banks safe deposit box, for easy government access. 

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 19:17 | 2908492 UncleFurker
UncleFurker's picture

 

Be very wary of old-looking silver coins - the chinese are now very adept at producing fakes using a steel casting with copper and then silver plating on it - always check with a magnet before buying things like 1800's silver dollars! Always carry a magnet with you!

My silver pile has been growing rather nicely thanks to http://silver-dollars.com

As as for scratched maples - if you're buying them at bullion value for bullion purposes rather than asthetics, then the scratches don't matter.

 

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 19:22 | 2908476 devo
devo's picture

I like the Mexican 50 Pesos. They're like 1.2oz which feels awesome in hand, and they carry low premium.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 17:50 | 2908364 max2205
max2205's picture

I'd rather have the MCD ads than GS filler. GS IS A skip

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 17:48 | 2908350 Fred C Dobbs
Fred C Dobbs's picture

I clicked on this article thiking I would learn about which old gold coins to buy.  The French Angel 20 Franc coin is my new favorite.  Anyone have opinions on this or any other Franc coins?  

http://www.tulving.com/bullion/world_gold_french_angel_20_franc_coin.htm

 

 

 

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 21:03 | 2908638 davidgdg
davidgdg's picture

I only buy the historic coins. Why buy modern bullion when you can own a piece of history for a similar price?

Any of the following are good:

French, Swiss and Belgian  20 francs and Italian 20 lira (all the same size)

French 40, 50 and 100 francs

UK sovereigns and 1/2 sovereigns

US Double Eagles

My favourites are the French 100 franc coins. Fabulous fat heavy coins, often in near mint condition and 100 to 150 years old. US Double Eagles are a close second, especially older Liberty Heads.

 

 

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 03:14 | 2908977 Fred C Dobbs
Fred C Dobbs's picture

I took some gold out of the US last year.  I declared it and was asked if it was bullion or numismatic.  Since coming back I only buy historic coins.  I will look into the 100 French Franc coins.  I will not buy english coins with their kings and queens on it.  

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 20:30 | 2908597 CitizenPete
CitizenPete's picture

IMHO Buy what you can easily sell or trade on the market and locally.  If you think these fit the bill then go for it. Maybe call a few local dealers in your area and ask them what they will PAY you for them -- then you will know if any premium is in line with the local market.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 17:38 | 2908335 knukles
knukles's picture

if it's real un-fucked .9999, whatever the image, form, coin, bar, jewelery, it'll all scratch just the same....

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 18:26 | 2908427 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

I purchased some pre-scratched Maple Leafs at just 1% over spot. Spot at that time was $750 right after Obama won the election. You can scratch them just by pulling them out of the plastic sheet they come in. Considering the current spot price I could care less about the (minor) scratches on them.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 20:52 | 2908626 franzpick
franzpick's picture

And when the impending stampede out of u.s. paper money into hard assets suddenly starts, and a full-on back-alley dollar-black-market develops, neither desparate citizens nor currency dealers will care about scratches either.

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 08:01 | 2909094 SilverIsKing
SilverIsKing's picture

The fact that this guy mentioned scratching in an article supposedly intended to show one how best to preserve one's wealth shows what a douche the writer is.

How about an article on how to shoot a Beretta versus a Glock. If you point the Beretta at your face and pull the trigger, you will scratch your face.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 17:06 | 2908276 cosmyccowboy
cosmyccowboy's picture

i will never buy another coin with the queens image on it! give me lady liberty any day of the week!

 

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 20:38 | 2908608 CitizenPete
CitizenPete's picture

What if is the Queen's image with a penis pointing at her or a lawn dart stiking in her ear... just saying? LMFAO

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 17:47 | 2908352 Fred C Dobbs
Fred C Dobbs's picture

I agree cowmyccowboy.  

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 16:30 | 2908220 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

my little 5YO boy , enjoyed this article

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 16:40 | 2908236 cifo
cifo's picture

"I’ve been told to avoid Maple Leafs by both a trader and a bullion dealer as they can easily be scratched which damages the gold and reduces the coin’s value."

Reduce it to what? Less than the value of gold in it?

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 18:27 | 2908429 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

The premium above spot is reduced.

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 07:04 | 2909038 _underscore
_underscore's picture

If you're paying anything above ~2% over spot you're a numismatist or a mug. The way to avoid losing the premium-over-the-premium is not to pay it in the first place - don't be tempted by any coin/bar that is.

 

 

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 14:47 | 2908059 TheCanimal
TheCanimal's picture

I hear PHYS and PSLV are honest as well as CEF and GTU.  The GLD and SLV are levered derivatives.  For money that you have to keep in the system, 5-10% should be in PHYS, PSLV, CEF and GTU.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 20:36 | 2908602 CitizenPete
CitizenPete's picture

Maybe, but as closed end funds, how much over the spot price are you willing to pay per ounce, to know that is exists, or that you can go through some gyrations and pay more fees to get it.  If you invested larger sums or already have physical then maybe.  I played the CEF and Sprott game before.  Irregardless, who clears the shares when you sell and are you happy with that counter-party risk? 

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 14:26 | 2908019 Quinvarius
Quinvarius's picture

An article that makes some sense.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 14:08 | 2907992 KingTut
KingTut's picture

I find GS's posts useful and informative.  Like any blogger, you have to apply a strong "noise" filter to it.  He has very strong opinions, but they do seem at least reasoned, if not always well-reasoned.  But so what?   Doubtless many of his assertions will turn out to be wrong, but so will some of my strongly held opinions.  There is not one blogger I agree 100% with.  So I have to draw from many sources to strengthen my own POV with facts, thougths and expereices of others.  Welcome to the post MSM world.

The subject of gold ownership is a tricky one.  One solution is to buy real gold as anonymously as possible, and store it yourself.  However, there are two fundamental problems with this.  First, how do you know the gold is real?  You may trust your dealer, but how does HE know it's real?  (He doesn't.)

Second, your gold can be stolen from you.  In hard times (which is why you're buying to gold in the first place) people might find out you have it, come to your house and steal it, or put a gun to your head and you WILL open the safe for them.  Perhaps you believe you can shoot them first.  Good luck with that.

All this becomes much worse when you're talking about a lot of gold, say more than $100,000.

However, there is a solution to both these problems.  Buy good delivery gold bars and store them with a reputable vaulter like Brinks or ViaMat.  Good delivery bars are guaranteed to be real gold by the refiner.  These bars NEVER leave the hands of certified vaulters and transporters.  Your dealer/broker cannot be trusted with possession, so he will never touch or see them.  However, if you (stupidly) take personal delivery of one of these bars, its provenance is broken: it MUST be melted down and reassayed by a certified refiner to be sold back into the system.  This assures that the bars in the good delivery system are always real.  No good delivery bar has ever been found to be Tungsten (which is easily detected).  This system was created to prevent the obvious gold frauds that have plagued amatuers for 1000's of years.

Of course the problem is that gold bars are expensive.  At 400oz. they are running around $700,000 each.  To solve this, several dealers offer allocated portions of such gold bars.  These dealers buy good delivery bars and allocate the correct number of grams to each client.  Buying good delivery bars actually means they simply move from one part of the vault to another, never touched or seen by the dealer. They don't even know the exact location of the vault.  Obvisouly you want to make sure they always have enough gold bars to cover all the allocated gold accounts.  This is solved by publishing a daily audit of gold bars vaulted by the dealer along with an audit of all the accounts (using secret coded names, of course).  You can immediately see that they have enough gold to cover everyone with a claim.  Ideally, the bar audit is published by the vaulting company, a separate company whose reputation is sacrosant, and is never involved in the buying and selling anything in it's vaults.

Finally, if this isn't quite safe enough for you, you can take delivery of a registered bar.  If you are an idiot, you will have it delivered to your house by armored car and bury it in your back yard.  If you are smarter you will just leave it in the same vault, registered to you and pay the storage costs yourself.  These are likely to be much higher, because the dealer gets such a good rate for having 100s of bars.

The benefits of this system are obvious.  Your gold is in a world-class secure vault, its provenance is guaranteed and it's totally insured.  Yet, you can buy small amounts without ever having to buy a entire bar.  You might worry that it wil be confiscated because it's in a location known to the government.  But in that case selling gold will become illegal, with all the attendant risks of a black market.  These dealers have a nice solution to that: multiple vaulting juridictions.  Typically you can have your gold sotred in New York, London, Zurich and maybe even Hong Kong.  It is unlikely all those countires will engage in, or allow the US to demand, confiscation.

A few gold coins is not going to save your ass if things get rough.  You'll need a substantial portion of your savings in gold to make a real difference.  I do not recommend trying to assay it then protect it yourself, you will fail.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 20:11 | 2908569 bardot63
bardot63's picture

Reqasoned arrument, there, King Tut, but if you can't hold it, you don't own it.  There's nothing tricky about gold ownership. Just convert your paper currency to gold currency and you own it.  You used to own paper-now you own metal.  That was easy.  World class secure vault, totally insured---by what???  By whom???   By the way, Brinks has never been robbed....???  What currency do you think the insurers use to pay for stolen gold -- gold???

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 06:49 | 2909028 Ace Ventura
Ace Ventura's picture

"What currency do you think the insurers use to pay for stolen gold -- gold???"

TOUCHDOWN!!!

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 18:06 | 2908394 dolph9
dolph9's picture

I agree and have substantial holdings with GoldMoney and BullionVault who have my confidence.

Let us be honest...gold is a currency speculation and one which is doing very well.  There is never going to be a time when you will actually transact with gold coins, and, if we do go back to such a time, you won't want to be living in it, and it will be emotionally impossible to part with your gold.

 

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 20:13 | 2908574 bardot63
bardot63's picture

Let6's be really, really honest, dolph9.  Paper is currency speculation. Gold is real currency.

 

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 18:04 | 2908390 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

You wouldn't be an employee or owner of Bullionvault by any chance, would you?

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 17:34 | 2908197 New World Chaos
New World Chaos's picture

Your good delivery bar will be legally stolen many times over- first by being tungsten, then by the bullion banks' 100:1 fractional reserve scam, then by controlled demolition of counterparties, then by confiscation order, then by your greedy ex. 

Maybe you survive the parasite gauntlet and get a genuine 400oz gold brick and TPTB botch the paper trail.  Shaved-off pieces will be considerably discounted.  Try to buy anything smaller than a private island, and just by trying to get change, you will soon be trying to outrun zombies and black helicopters while carrying a 400oz gold brick.

Small, recognizable coins from the coin shop, bitchez.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 14:31 | 2908033 Quinvarius
Quinvarius's picture

You can buy all the paper receipts for gold you want.  I am not interested.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 23:09 | 2908829 AGuy
AGuy's picture

Bury in backyard. Spread a box of steel washers or nuts in the area to prevent easy location via metal detector.

 

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 14:27 | 2908023 CunnyFunt
CunnyFunt's picture

"Second, your gold can be stolen from you."

You mean that it is safe in Brinks' vault, where it can be legally looted?

I'll take my chances, thank you ... cash, no receipt.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 19:03 | 2908479 KingTut
KingTut's picture

"I'll take my chnaces, thank you"

That's the rub isn't it: how to minimize your risk.  Is your back yard more likely to be looted than a brinks vault? Will you be able to get insurance?  Will you even live through the robbery?

As for legal looting, only the government can do that, and once they make owning gold illegal, holding gold after that makes you a criminal and exposes you to a black market if you need to sell it.  Think big guy with baseball bat.

Don't confuse Brinks with MF Global who "lost" their customer's cash.  Their prospectus indicated that when customers deposited cash with them, it became MF Global's, not the customer's.  This is just like any bank: your "money in the bank" is NOT your money.  You are a creditor of the bank: you statement is essentially an IOU.  If the bank goes under, your money is GONE.  Only the FDIC can bail you out.  This is why you don't want your gold in a bank.

Brinks is NOT a bank, the stuff in their vault does not belong to them and they cannot sell it legally.  Even if brinks goes out of business, the gold is still yours legally.  You CAN get insurance for gold in a brinks vault, so in the outrageous event brinks stelals it, then you will be compensated.

The beauty of gold is that it is a tangible asset.  The government can't make it or destroy it or even control it effectively.  However, it is also perfectly fungible: gold mined by the Egyptians is the same as gold mined yesterday in Vrginia City.  Chinese gold is identical to Russian gold, south African gold or American gold.  So it can be stolen quite effectively: once its gone you can't prove it was ever yours.  Thus, you need to minimize the risk of that.

 

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 20:12 | 2908571 GrinandBearit
GrinandBearit's picture

Government jackboot thugs can come into Brinks and seize everything if they wanted to.

 

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 19:59 | 2908543 CunnyFunt
CunnyFunt's picture

Tangible assets to me aren't tangible if I can't put my hands on them at any given time. I understand your points, but I don't have nearly as much faith in the system as you seem to.

"As for legal looting, only the government can do that ..." Yes, only BANKER CONTROLLED government can do that.

Additionally, I won't have to worry about robberies since I don't keep any gold, silver, guns, food, etc. That last fishing trip was a disaster.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 17:16 | 2908287 Eternal Complainer
Eternal Complainer's picture

And furthermore, if somebody thinks they are going to just waltz in and hold a gun to my head.....etc, ...then I will wind up with a new gun :) and the lawn will get some freshly mulched fertilizer. :)

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 13:57 | 2907958 NoTTD
NoTTD's picture

Gee, I've never heard any of this before.  But physical and store it outside the banking system? Revolutionary!

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 13:48 | 2907942 BattlegroundEur...
BattlegroundEurope2011's picture

20% VAT on Silver in the UK.  FFS!

 

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 14:24 | 2908016 Matt
Matt's picture

In Canada, taxes on anything under 0.995 purity, as far as I know.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 19:34 | 2908500 August
August's picture

My understanding re Canada is that silver under .995 is subject to GST, while gold must be .999 or higher to avoid being taxed (i.e. as a "worked" material rather than as a "raw material".

A large percentage of jurisdictions tax sub-.999 gold on the above basis.  Anyone who purchases sub-.999 gold is setting himself up for a GST/VAT surprise if he ever sells said gold in such a jurisdiction; he will also likely have to sell at a poor price, since sub-.999 gold has no signifcant re-sale market in such jurisdictions;  a refiner will likely be the only buyer for sub-.999 metal who will offer anything remotely close to spot.  Try selling a Krugerrand in Australia, or a gold Eagle in Canada, and see how much fun that is to do.

Any gold is much better than no gold, but the best gold for ease of trans-national sale or transport is .999 legal tender coins:  Kangaroos or Maple Leafs.   If you're inclined to fondle your coins excessively, buy Roos, since they are encapsulated, and will not be easily scratched.  If you must handle your coins directly, just fill the bath-tub with circulated Sovereigns, and dive in.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 21:28 | 2908696 GOSPLAN HERO
GOSPLAN HERO's picture

Canadian bullion is .9999

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 13:41 | 2907923 whotookmyalias
whotookmyalias's picture

I was told that if Maple Leafs get too scratched, you lose the premium above the gold value.  Not the end of the world for many here.

Plus they make these things called tubes.

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 13:27 | 2907894 Tango in the Blight
Tango in the Blight's picture

Put up a sign My dog WILL bite you on you window, keep him hungry and stack guns and ammo.

Having lots of gold at home will attract the wrong sorts, so be prepared!

Sun, 10/21/2012 - 13:24 | 2907892 “Rebellion to t...
“Rebellion to tyranny is obedience to God.”-ThomasJefferson's picture

Seriously, was this article written for 3 year olds or complete retards?

Undoubtedly the dumbest post I've seen on ZH yet.

Clown boy writer should move on to People Magazine and those wannabe brain surgeons.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!