BS walks

A commercial outfit called Lincoln Treasury ran a full page ad—designed to look like news—in the May 5 Reno Gazette-Journal to advertise something called U.S. State Silver Bars. These are small troy-ounce bars of silver with the head of a Native American on one side and the name and shape of Nevada on the other.

The Native American is actually taken from the U.S. buffalo nickel (1913-1938), so he’s not from a Nevada tribe. The nickel was designed by sculptor James Earle Fraser, and he said he made the head a composite of a Cheyenne, a Kiowa and a Sioux.

The bars sell for $134 each. The price of silver floats, but it is usually in the two digits range per ounce, so most of the $134 must pay for the recycled art. Silver prices have been rising steadily since the first of April, and some analysts are predicting a sharp rise in silver prices this year, but even the most optimistic predictions are around $55. There are definitely better deals around in coin shops.