Putting A Trillion Dollars Of Platinum In Perspective

Tyler Durden's picture

So you want a trillion dollar platinum coin? Ok: here are some facts:

  • Platinum has traditionally been the most valuable precious metal for one simple reason: it is rare.
  • It is so rare, that all the platinum ever mined could fit into a 25 cubic foot box.
  • The weight of that box comes out to just over 16 tons: this is how much platinum has been mined since the start of time.
  • A coin valued at $1 trillion and made out of platinum would, at today's price of $1557/ounce, weigh in at 642.3 million ounces.
  • 642.3 million ounces is also roughly 18 thousand tons, or about 1100 times more than all the platinum mined.

In other words, putting a coin that is worth $1 trillion in perspective to all the platinum ever mined, would look something like this:

Now, putting the sheer legal idiocy of the proposal aside, and CNBC's John Carney has written a good article about why it is indeed, legal idiocy, the simple reality is that for this retarded idea to work, there has to be some justifiability, or even remote credibility of the "legal tender" backing the value. Sadly as the chart above shows, there can't possibly be such justifiability.

Or can there?

Remember, as we said, the chart above is indicative of reality at today's prices. So if the Treasury plans on literally coming up with ridiculous laws, what is there to prevent it from merely coining a one ounce, or half an ounce, or one gram Platinum coin and assigning it the value of $1 trillion.

Sure it can. There is a problem with that, however: it is called currency devaluation and is also what FDR did with executive order 6102 when he confiscated America's gold - he basically devalued the US Dollar by well over half overnight (which, for all those curious, is the endgame in the current depression also, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it).

In other words, when one strips away with all the rhetoric, all the advocates of this insidiously stupid idea which gets a new life every time there is a debt ceiling crisis, are doing, is arguing for a massive devaluation of the dollar: because for the trillion dollar coin idea to be even remotely plausible, the price of Platinum, and by implication the entire precious metals complex, would have to go up by a factor of some 1,100.

It also means the value of the paper US currency would have to go down by 1,100.

Which, by the way, is precisely what all those who wish for the Fed to continue funding America's unprecedented spending binge, which can never be satisfied by taxes alone, are hoping for.

And of course, they will eventually get it.

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tradewithdave's picture

We started covering the platinum seigniorage fiasco in June of 2011.  We thought it was a joke.  



walküre's picture

that's one mfer of a coin

based on today's valuation or are they talking the REAL value?

gold at $50,000 oz is no longer a wet dream

Pladizow's picture

"All paper currencies are toilet paper, the dollar is simply two ply." - Thomas Caplin

"All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in the constitution or confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, as much from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin and circulation." - John Adams in a letter to Thomas Jefferson

"We are in danger of being overwhelmed with irredeemable paper, mere paper, representing not gold nor silver; no sir, representing nothing but broken promises, bad faith, bankrupt corporations, cheated creditors and a ruined people." - Daniel Webster, speech in the American Senate, 1833

"Money is a new form of slavery, and is distinguishable from the old simply by the fact that it is impersonal, there is no human relation between master and slave." – Leo Tolstoy

"Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked: 'Account overdrawn.'"  - Ayn Rand


boogerbently's picture


You find a buyer, I'll find the tungsten.....errr.....I mean platinum.

francis_sawyer's picture

datz alotta joobux 4 a liddle Pt...

flacon's picture

Platinum is too expensive. It should be made out of copper. No that is too expensive, make it out of plastic like Fisher Price:  http://tinyurl.com/a6l5cwt

Better yet, just make it out of paper, or even better just type in $1,000,000,000,000 into a computer. 

ZerOhead's picture

Ya... platinum... hmmm... that's my turf guys...

There are about 6 millions ounces mined per year or around 180 tonnes.

I think the mistake made was in confusing 25 cubic feet with a 25 foot cube... but then again that's just my 2 cents...


metastar's picture

It's a fiat platinum. It's worth 1T because they say so.

Fiscal prudence suggests conservation of platinum and

stamping of the coin onto a Bernank turd.

dwdollar's picture

I predict as the Ponzi enters it's final stages, the financial gimmicks thought up and/or carried out by those still defending the system will become too absurd for rational minds to comment on. This "gem" of an idea is very near that threshold...

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

The only idea worth considering is ending The Federal Reserve

Town Crier's picture

Something is worth whatever a buyer is willing to pay for it, no?  Who is willing to buy this coin for one Trillion dollars?  A Picasso painting (maybe equally ridiculous, according to Picasso himself) is worth millions because someone will buy it for millions.  Without a buyer the Picasso is worthless, unless you scrape off the paint -- then maybe you can sell the canvas to a boat builder to make sails with.  Who will value this coin at one Trillion dollars and buy it?  --  No entity other than the hooligans who created it.  Recall Bill Hicks' routine, "We're the hooligans... got to catch us."

zhandax's picture

Guess if this flies, I am a trillionaire twice over.  I have a $100,000,000,000,000 Zimbabwe note and an ounce of platinum.  Problem is, I know the difference.

GetZeeGold's picture




PT is too common......only rhodium would work for this.


Then again.....maybe not.

SamAdams's picture

It appears that none of you are "getting it", which is surprising as normally this is a liberty loving, intelligent crowd.

The idea is that it is FIAT, but it is fiat issued by our own government, debt free.  The value is whatever the government assigns to it, not what the materials are worth.  Note that it is always this way or the coins get smelted (gold eagles don't trade at their face value).

So, the government issues a coin made out of whatever, deposits it with the FED and issues dollars debt free.  Are you catching on yet?  This is in fact a work around the banker cartel.

Yes, I know...  In a perfect world all money would be backed by a tangible good.  Well, think about the actual supply of gold, and how many dollars are in existence.  Backing the dollar with gold would cause a huge depression as a lack of supply of the metal.  Oh yes, sure you could revalue, but that also would lead to problems.

Maybe what we really need is a hybrid, at least in the near term.

auric1234's picture

FIAT coins would be affected by counterfeit just like FIAT paper notes.

How long until the Chinese pick up and flood the US with thousands of 1T platinum coins?


trav777's picture

iridium is rarer.

Or could use Cf252.

He_Who Carried The Sun's picture

@METASTAR: You are correct! They can take ANY platinum coin of ANY weight and print one Trillion on it and it will be perfectly legal.

Tyler didn't get it (not the first time). Its got nothing to do with the market value of Platinum. Just the coin has to be made of Platinum. That's all...!

SamAdams's picture

I stand corrected, there are a few of us that get it.  See my post above....

TwoShortPlanks's picture

An no Unleaded cars will ever be made again.

Seb's picture

On the link provided in the article:


there are two contradicting facts:

1. "The annual production of Platinum is about 130 tonnes."

2. "All of the Platinum ever mined [...] would weigh over 16 tons."

(and in the context, by "over 16 tons" it is implied under 17 tones, not any number bigger than 16).


If the volume of 7,6 cubic meters is correct, then the weight of all the platinum ever mined would be around 160 t. Still not consistent with 130 t annual production.

saveandsound's picture

Excactly... it's 200 Tonnes per year. This ZH-article is not well founded.

LongBalls's picture

I never thought I would say this; Tyler FAILED with this article. The amount stamped on the coin has nothing to do with the metal. Just as if you buy a Double Eagle gold coin. The face value has no real representation of it's true market value. The economic facts behind this principal go both ways.

A Lunatic's picture

You can't represent a trillion dollars of ACTUAL debt with a coin worth diddly shit regardless of whatever the fuck one scribes on the surface.

saveandsound's picture

My guess:

FED and ECB will make a Debt Jubilee in a couple of years, maybe earlier. During the next years they are going to buy - let's say - half of "their" goverment bonds and then "out of the sudden" will postpone these liabilities interest-free for 100 years. They can't clear the debt, hence that meant they had to work along with negative equity (which actually wouldn't disturb a true neo-keynsian, would it?).

Indirectly that means foreign debtors will be expropriated (as well as domestic savers) and US-Dollar and Euro should loose purchasing power for foreign goods tremendously.

From that point on my vision becomes obscured ;-) , but that could certainly ignite inflation, followed by new over-indebtness and another set of unconventional measurments. Asia is going to take over. It'll take some time, but finially we have got to share wealth and power.

Any ideas besides going to war? 

zhandax's picture

Won't happen.  The last time someone who was owed a debt offered a Jubilee, Moses was the keynote speaker. /sarc

saveandsound's picture

@zhandax"Nobody wants to build a wall"



However, none of the big player have started to sell US-Dollar or Treasuries in large amounts so far. China, Germany, Switzerland, and so forth are afraid of loosing their markets. And Japan's debt almost reaches 250% GDP - we will see how long that is going to last.

Interesting: Japan supposely faces deflation for 20 years now - but 6 of the wolrd most expensive cities are japanese. "Deflation" - suuuure. 


LongBalls's picture

Well then type it up on a computer screen and hand it to the Fed Res. Is this not how they create it? It's not like this would screw over the sovereign debt holders. We are talking about the Fed here. Money is a creation. The Fed is the magician. Open your eyes bro! Or is this Mr. Bernake I'm speaking with?

GetZeeGold's picture



OK....I read it. It's batshit crazy......seriously.

ZerOhead's picture

But while we are on the topic of Platinum can I just take a minute or two of your time to inform you that about 70% or so of global output comes from the politically 'stable' and completely 'non-corrupt' country of South Africa?

The current production cost of extraction for many of the biggest miners exceeds $1,400 or close to the existing market price...

And I don't expect wages or energy or explosives costs to be decreasing any time soon.

Oh... Did I mention it's a STRATEGIC metal?

Impala Platinum (IMPUY.PK) is one of the world's largest producers of platinum. On pg.12 here, they list their platinum cost-per-ounce at $1,461 (10,994 ZAR at 7.521 ZAR per USD). On pg. 6, they list their price-received-per-ounce platinum at $1673.

Theta_Burn's picture

Yet Gold costs more to own?!?!?

ZerOhead's picture

And gold production costs are often under $300 an ounce for many of the big miners... and if you use gold rather that platinum in your F-35 jet turbine blades they will simply melt away.

But then again we can't afford wars right now anyway right?

(Excluding depletion allowances of course... )

knukles's picture

Silly, gold only costs $5 to get out of the ground and whole asteroids are made of gold.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

Don't forget all that gold in the ocean.  It's just out there, floating.

unrulian's picture

and in the rivers...on the bottom...as a result of shitty boats

prains's picture

Is that the trillion dollar dildo the usa has been fucking the rest of the world with for the last 100 years??????

lakecity55's picture

So, that's where we invade next?

"R2P... we must protect the miners. I am ordering an invasion."

F. Bastiat's picture

The Webster quote is good - do you have an authoritative source for it?

samcontrol's picture

wow that guy in 1833 sure got his timming right .
They always inflated and looks like they always will.

Pool Shark's picture



Let's just go ahead and mint eight "Ningi's" or one "Pu" and be done with it


[I want the rubber contract on that...]


Sancho Ponzi's picture

According to Wikipedia all of the gold ever mined throughout history has a value of about $10 trillion (and that's at $1900/oz) so the US Debt now handily exceeds the value of all gold and platinum ever mined, ever.

I feel better already.


DoChenRollingBearing's picture

The US Teasury could put out the call to "buy any and all gold" for an arbitrarily high figure, let's say $10,000 / oz.  They would get lots of sellers (maybe a little of mine, but not much!), but they would also have put a bottom in on the price of physical gold.  They would get enough to be able to pay down a LOT of the debt...

Freegold soon follows.  Then the gold that Treasury got would more than easily be able to pay down all the rest of our national debt.

Who wins?  Holders of physical gold.

Who loses?  Anyone who missed the Gold Train...  Also, anyone who believes current US Government promises.  Does ANYONE here believe our government?  Huh?  Not even EatRand or IvyLeagueMike I would venture...

NotApplicable's picture

Of course I believe my government. Other than fostering delusion, why would I want to lie to myself?


walküre's picture

As price goes up, the motivation to sell goes down. Those holding physical pms are not enticed to sell and convert. Why would they? To buy trinkets? The average gold investor has typically enough liquidity to cover payments on basic necessities. The real price won't be discovered on the Comex board. Comex will become obsolete when people are willing to convert tens of thousands in worthless paper for gold at black market sales. That's how it's going down my friend. Lessons learned from USSR.

samcontrol's picture

ok , say that is the way it's going down.
The fall of the USSR took decades.

for WHEN is your black market thesis ? When will COMEX become obsolete ?
2013 or 2033?

Spitzer's picture

A classic comment on FOFOA

I can see where playing the FED a patsy has some political value, and there has been some movement in the direction of that "set up", but the US vs. the BIS and all it's CBs seems like a desperation senario almost equal to dollar hyperinflation.

The Fed and its gold certificates from the Treasury, the Treasury and its allegiance to the IMF, the ESF playing derivative counterparty black ops behind it all.

What a cluster ...

No doubt, all "rules of engagment" will be broken as the paper burns.

I think this is where we come full circle back to dollar hyperinflation as the one and only outcome that makes any sense from a standpoint of likelihood.

The dollar and gold will rise together toward the end (has this already happened?) and then the paper gold market will crash to dirt-zero.

That is the stunner, when people suddenly realize that the dollar denominated "price" of gold they've been chasing is not based on gold at all, but rather a synthetic derivative, 199 parts paper and 1 part gold (some will say 100:1 but I tend to agree with J.S. Kim).

It will be easy to understand then how a .5% gold / 99.5% paper derivative burns with the rest of the paper, you just cash out with a loaf of ass-wipes and a salt-grain of metal.

But today, most see this derivative as being pegged 1:1 to physical.

Because ... it is.

I mean, think about it. Gold dealers will release today, in trade for paper currency, real physical gold on a 1:1 relationship (plus marginal premium) to a worthless hybrid used to obfuscate the dollars strength in oil, while masking the true value of gold, in order to vaidate the baseless dollar, and create a currency trading arena, within that scope, to create false volatility which produces paper gains and losses based on bets of future volatility.

That will be the paradigm shift of a millenium, considering that not one man in a million truly understands the half of it.

At least the "surplus population" will be dealt with as the lemmings leap en masse onto concrete and asphalt.

Christ, I hope they don't put me on cleanup duty.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Yes, Spitzer, I should have mentioned that I first read that idea from FOFOA.

+ $55,000!