One of the most frequently raised concerns by silver investors (including many of my clients) relates to storage. Where do I store or hide my physical silver not only to keep it safe from thieves and robbers (should they gain access to my property), but to ensure access in case of an economic crisis or emergency? In my personal opinion, three options stand out as effective.
The first option is to purchase a high category safe (CAT 2 and above). The higher the category, the heavier and more difficult it is to access the content. For example, a CAT 3 safe can weigh between 400-1000 kilograms, with 70 mm body thickness and three locks. Such a safe is designed for use in jewelry stores, banks, diamond dealers and various high risk institutions where the protection of valuables is a priority. Therefore, this is an ideal way to protect your silver from petty criminal. The cost is prohibitive, as it can cost upwards of R15,000.00 (subject to size requirements). As far as I understand, even professional locksmiths with tools could take a significant amount of time to break open these high category safes. (As a reference point, a typical low cost gun safe can be pried open in less than a minute with a crow bar, so those should not be an option). However, there is a down side; while owning a high category safe is beneficial, there are too many stories circulating in which house robbers force owners to open these safes at gun point. In my opinion, this remains a high risk option, especially if information of the existence of the safe is passed on or sold to career criminals.
The second option is to hide the silver somewhere on your property. Some examples include burying it inconspicuously in a specific part of the garden (in a water tight container of course). A good memory is key here, as is doing it without being seen by your neighbours, and perhaps even your young children who will jump at the opportunity to tell their friends á secret about buried treasure’. Some have suggested burying the silver about 4 feet deep, covering it with one foot of earth, then placing some circulation coins above the silver, then adding another foot of ground, and then finally placing a crushed soda or beer can before adding the last remaining two feet of earth. This way, even if by some remote chance metal detectors are used by thieves, they would be alerted to a crushed can and most likely move on. Should these sophisticated thieves be tenacious enough and continue searching/digging, they would find a few coins and move on. This may sound over amusing and comical, but it is not an uncommon technique for hiding silver.
Other techniques include hiding bullion at the bottom of XXL patio plant pots. Personally, I have not heard a robbers stealing the 300 kg patio pot with a lemon tree neatly planted in it. In fact, I’ve even heard of silver being stashed in a one of the old geysers we all have in the roof of our homes. Again, house robbers don’t typically remove old geysers.
So, should you choose this option (since you have no access to a private vault as per my next point), imagination is your only limit.
The last option is perhaps the ideal option, namely, storing silver at your local private vault company. Unfortunately, as far as I know, this option is limited to Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town, cities in which private vaults operate. These are extremely high security premises that specialise in the storage of cash, important documents, and valuable items like bullion. One option is International Bank Vault (IBV) in Nelson Mandela Square and Durban (http://internationalvaults.com). They have world class security features that are of international standards in order to ensure peace of mind. Due to location and unlimited access to my box, I personally prefer to use the services of Knox Titanium Company (www.knoxvault.co.za) in Killarney. As per their website, Knox is based at the former US consulate building, has state of the art systems, and the best of breed technical and IT security, which in combination make Knox the safest Safe Deposit Box facility in the country. For under R300 per month for a small safety deposit box, Knox is the ideal precious metals storage solution for silver investors. And by the way, you are not obligated to declare the content of your box, which should give you additional peace of mind.
Should you have reservations about handing over your silver to a third party for storage, there is additional insurance available on the content of your box with numerous insurance companies for a minimal fees. Thus, should an asteroid hit the building (which is the only possible way to get forced access to the content of the boxes without your consent), you are fully covered. .
A final thought. Perhaps the ideal way forward for any prudent investor is to diversify risk and allocate a certain ratio of one’s physical silver position to each of the above strategies. It would certainly mitigate risk, and provide you with the assurance that you have access to portions of your wealth at any given time.
Disclaimer: I am not in the business of precious metals storage and neither do I qualify to provide professional advice on storing precious metals. Therefore, the above is merely my personal recommendation and preference. Should you have any further questions or advice relating to the above blog, please do not hesitate to make contact with me.