James S. Schlifke
Silver is the most electrically conductive of all elements and has the highest thermal conductivity of any metal. Its atomic number is 47.
Silver has long been valued as a precious metal, and it is used to make ornaments, jewelry, high-value tableware, utensils (hence the term silverware), and currency coins (the only country today that still uses silver coins in circulation is Mexico, while the US ceased using silver as currency in 1965, though several more coins with lesser silver content were produced until 1969). The US mint began producing silver bullion coins in 1986 and silver proof versions of the half-dollar, quarter and dime (along with conventional metal dollars, nickels and pennies) in 1992 and continues to make the silver bullion and silver proof versions of currency today.
Today, silver metal is also used in electrical contacts and conductors, in mirrors and in catalysis of chemical reactions. Its compounds are used in photographic film, and dilute silver nitrate solutions and other silver compounds are used as disinfectants and microbiocides. While many medical antimicrobial uses of silver have been supplanted by antibiotics, further research into clinical potential continues.
Much of the two previous paragraphs was gathered from Wikipedia.org under silver and credit is hereby given.
SILVER AS CURRENCY
One of the earliest known uses of silver as currency was as used in Electrum, a gold-silver alloy utilized by the Lydians (which would now be part of Turkey) in 700BC. The British currency, pound sterling, reflects the fact that it originally represented the value of one pound of silver. Similarly the French Livre has a similar etymology while plata in Spanish means both silver and money.
The earliest silver US coin was the flowing hair dollar in 1794. Although silver coins had been accepted as currency in the colonies at least 40 years earlier as the Spanish eight reale also called “pieces of eight.”
MODERN SILVER PRICE ACTION
The Hunt bothers, Nelson Bunker and William Herbert borrowed a great deal of money in addition to their substantial fortune in 1980 in an attempt to corner the market in silver. They succeeded in driving the price to $49.45 per ounce but ended up losing a fortune in their attempt. Considering the effect of inflation, that peak equates to somewhere between $137 and $150 per ounce today. That peak (on an absolute basis) was surpassed on April 25, 2011 when cash silver reached $49.752 per ounce.
CURRENT PRICE OUTLOOK
Since then silver has failed to continue the preceding sharp uptrend and reached a relative low of $26.046 on September 26, 2011. Little more than three months later on December 29, 2011 the price bounced from $26.151. Since this was not a major bottom but rather a bounce off support in a secondary reaction, thus it was not a double bottom, but a spectacular trade opportunity nonetheless. Within two months to the day (2/29/12), silver topped out at $37.430.
The price action since the new high in April of 2011 has formed a flag. The base of that flag is the rally that began in December of 2008 at a price near $11. The bottom of the flag is about $33. Thus the anticipated breakout outside the top of the flag is $33-$11 or $22. Assuming we breakout of the top of the flag at a price of $38, that anticipates a move to $60. Since this pattern has been forming for 3-1/4 years it would not be surprising for it to take a like period to make the anticipated price target.
The most recent price run-up was the move from $26.151 on December 29, 2011 to $37.43 on February 29, 2012. Many traders tout Fibonacci retracements as trading strategies and the most reliable of those retracements is 50%. There is a book that has been written regarding trading 50% retracements and it is titled, “The Trading Rule That Can Make You Rich“, by Edward D. Dobson © 1979 Trader’s Press, Inc.® The 50% retracement that results from those two points is $31.79. This perceived bounce could occur at any time.