A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 12, 2010
Poor Man’s Gold (silver nickname)

Silver is sometimes called the “poor man’s gold” because silver is cheaper to buy. The term “poor man’s gold” was used in 1932 by Rene Leon, but other metals (copper, brass, et al.) have also been termed “poor man’s gold.”

Gold bullion was illegal for Americans to hold between 1933 and 1974; the term “poor man’s gold” has been used mostly since the 1970s, when both precious metals have been available for sale.

Silver has also been nicknamed “the people’s money” (since 1885), “gold’s little brother” (since 2007), the “common man’s metal” and the “devil’s metal” (both popularized since 2010).


Google News Archive
29 January 1932, Victoria (TX) Advocate, pg. 1, col. 1:
IN COMMENTING on the silver problem, Rene Leon recently said, “So long as these two precious metals (gold and silver) are going to be used for money we must restore the equilibrium between them. Silver is the poor man’s gold.”

24 July 1932, Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 2A, col. 5:
MONEY
Precious Metals and World Crisis
By RENE LEON
Authority on International Exchange and Technical Advisor to the House Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures at Recent Hearings on Silve Question in Washington
(...)
Poor Man’s Gold
Silver has been the poor man’s gold and it has served him faithfully throughout the ages; it has stood the test of time, the while other gold equivalents have come and have gone, and it has honestly deserved the sanction of the customs of those whom it served.

Google News Archive
15 January 1934, Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle, pg. 4, col. 2:
Two-thirds of World’s Population Depend on
Silver for Their Buying Medium

BY ROBERT T. BANKS.
Chairman of the Mining Bureau, Spokane Chamber of Commerce.
Silver is the poor man’s “gold.” Two-thirds of the world’s popualtion know no other money; their life savings are in silver coins and ornaments. Gold they may never possess, but they may gaze upon it in awe in their temples and churches.

Google News Archive
25 June 1972, Palm Beach (FL) Post, “Silver: A Modern Fool’s Gold?” by Eliot Janeway, pg. F14, col. 1:
NEW YORK CITY—The ballyhooed silver appreciation of recent years has reached a crossroads. Silver has been touted as “poor man’s gold,” not only cheaper to buy, but legal for American citizens to own.

Business Insider
The “Poor Man’s Gold” Is The Real Winner In The Gold Rush
Jeff Clark | Apr. 12, 2010, 12:06 PM
(This is a guest post from Jeff Clark at Casey Research.)
The U.S. Mint just reported another record, but this time it wasn’t for gold. The Mint sold more Silver Eagles in March and in the first quarter of the year than ever before. A total of 9,023,500 American Silver Eagles were purchased in Q110, the highest amount since the coin debuted in 1986.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Monday, April 12, 2010 • Permalink