An American Hero: Burt Blumert

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Burt Blumert
was a champion of freedom, a modern day hero. He owned Camino
Coin
in Burlingame, CA, which he sold about a year or two
ago.

Burt Blumert
was a long-time friend of recent presidential candidate, and freedom
champion, Ron Paul, who also once owned Camino Coin.

Burt Blumert
was also the publisher of LewRockwell.com.

I first met
Burt Blumert when I needed to sell some silver back around 2004
for a stock deal. Burt was the only dealer I could find who could
give me a wire transfer the same day for the size of silver that
I wanted to sell.

Since then,
Burt became one of my top suppliers, and also a good friend. For
a while, I did not know how important and influential Burt was
to the freedom movement. Part of that must have been due to his
wry humor that was lost on me. I once suggested to him that he
should write, and he quipped, "Who has time for writing?"
when I knew so little about who he was, and so much that he has
written. I thought he was serious. I was clueless.

Check
his archives.

To get a
glimpse into the man let me tell you a few stories.

Once when
I was visiting his Coin Shop, waiting patiently to talk to him
as I was waiting to do one of my typically large deals, he was
on the phone for a long time trying to convince a man to not buy
just a single ounce of gold, because the shipping cost would be
an excessive premium on the cost of the gold, as shipping would
cost too much for shipping and insurance for a single piece of
gold, which is an exorbitant percentage, and thus, it would make
far more sense to gather a group of friends together to buy at
least 10 ounces, so as to save money on the shipping, and pay
less of a percentage. Burt went around and around with this man,
saying he would be happy to ship one gold coin if he insisted,
but he passionately tried to talk him out of it, as Burt honestly
thought that shipping only one coin would be a bad deal.

I was amazed
and touched by several things. First, I was touched by the obvious
love that Burt has for all of his customers, whether small or
large. I was also astounded that he would spend so much time on
one customer, particularly a small customer, when I was waiting
right there, when my own purchase was so much bigger. I was also
astounded that he was actually, and passionately, trying to talk
the man out of the sale, for his customer’s sake!

But perhaps
it also revealed something about Burt’s attitude towards where
the gold price was headed. After all, I reasoned at the time that
a 10% premium would be counted as next to nothing if the gold
price were headed upwards of several 100% over the next few years.

Later, I
learned that Burt published LewRockwell.com.

I always
felt like Burt knew more about me than I did about him. Once he
quipped, "Yeah, it’s been a while since we’ve had any of
those heavy hitting stock traders buy silver, and when they start
buying, you know it’s time to sell." I thought I should have
reminded him that I was a large stock trader, and then launch
into all the reasons why one should buy silver, but I just kept
quiet. I suppose he probably knew that about me and was just teasing
me. The humor of these bullion dealers, you have to watch out.

A few years
after I met him, I finally attended one of Burt’s freedom conferences
in Burlingame, CA. It was unlike many of the other mining shows
I’ve been to in Canada. The only thing that is similar is the
annual "Freedom Fest" in Vegas in the summer.

At the second
freedom show I attended, I brought my brother Terbo
Ted
, who later was inspired to run for congress.

Ted remarked,
"It’s funny, all my friends are so passionate about freedom
and are so against government corruption, but all these old guys
know so much more about it on an intellectual level, and they
are all so cool, because they can express "down with the
man" so much more eloquently! Our dad would have loved to
know about these guys!"

Burt similarly
had good things to say about us, as ignorant as we are, he remarked
about us, "It’s good to see young people like Jason and Ted
here, you guys are the future."

I’ve had
a few serious conversations with Burt, too. I once asked him about
the guys at GATA.org, who are doing all they can to reveal the
market manipulation in the gold price. I have high respect for
both GATA and Burt, so of course, I wanted to know what he thought.

Burt reminded
me that he has been a gold dealer since 1959, and that it was
outright illegal to own gold bullion until after 1975, so compared
to back then, today we have a free market in gold. To him, the
"young fellows" over at GATA should not be so surprised
that governments make war on gold, as "it’s always been that
way."

Burt sent
me one of his essays in which he says GATA deserves to win the
"Freedom Futility Award," in his essay: "The
King Doesn’t Like Gold, Never Has, Never Will – Unlike Mr.
Chang
."

Clearly,
it’s always been that way during Burt’s lifetime, but not in all
of human history. At times, governments rise up in support of
gold, as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantine
Empire
‘s gold standard lasted over 600 years.

But also,
people today just don’t know as much as men like Burt Blumert
does. Part of the problem with being so smart is that you can
be out of touch with what the common man knows.

People today
often think that the U.S. government has the gold to back the
currency in Fort Knox, not knowing that the U.S. government has
only 261 million ounces of gold or less, which, even if they had
the full amount is not enough to back even 1% of the money in
U.S. banks!

Burt replied
to my point about the Byzantine Empire with:

Yes, your
history is right on, Jason; gold and silver were the only money
through 1913. The founders were well aware of the evils of paper.
Sure there were occasional earlier breaches, like the US War
between the States, and the French had some relapses with their
revolution. The British were also shaky every now and then.

So, I’ll
amend my observations about the King to focus on WWI and after.

Our own
history since then is sordid.

What is
our role? We must expose the crooks and encourage dealers who
don’t grasp the philosophy, but give the customers a fair shake.
Education is the key, especially for the customers.

Some folks
look to conspiracy as the single answer and that is my only
point. I see the same problem with those folks who believe that
exposing conspiracy in every event is the only action necessary.
Gary North’s last two articles for LRC focus on that issue.

Jason,
I sincerely believe that your work is superlative. Some of your
readers, however, get lost along the way and think unmasking
the bad guys would solve the problem.

Unfortunately,
after 50 years at Camino I am spending these days looking for
beaches to bask on. (I haven’t found any yet.) But, I don’t
visit the office very much. Maybe we can have lunch with Lew
one day soon. As you know he loves the Bay Area and visits regularly.

I do follow
the markets and can report with certainty that when the gold
price broke recently, one New York buyer, who wanted physical
gold, ordered 50,000 Krugers. Dealers were paying up to $5 over
melt last week. My best recollection was that the last time
that happened was in the 1970s. I traded 100 of my own KRs for
100 American Gold Eagles and kicked in 1%. I may have to be
patient, but I think I will come out Okay.

If someone
was to bid $5 over for a Silver Eagle, I believe he would buy
some coins.

Just some
passing thoughts,

Burt

I
realize that Burt started his gold coin dealership in 1959, which
would have been when he was 30 years old. I’m going to be 39 tomorrow,
so Burt "saw the light" 9 years earlier than I did in
my lifetime, but in my defense, I’ll note that I became a gold
and silver advocate by age 30, too.

I would have
liked to have told Burt about my new coin shop, but now I’ll never
get to make that phone call. I missed my chance to have lunch
with Burt, but maybe I’ll need to call up Lew.

Here are
some excerpts from our last few emails that we exchanged from
late 2008:

Good
morning Jason and congrats on the new baby.

Although
I’m sort of retired from the metals business, I still snoop
around and am happy to help my old clients and pals.

Of course,
I’m involved with Lew every day and I actually have a book coming
out next month, Bagels,
Barry Bonds and Rotten Politicians
.

It’s a
compilation of some of my better satiric pieces. There are two
sections devoted to Gold and I’ll make sure you get a copy.

As you
know, I am a fan of yours and feel you accomplish a great deal
alerting your readers to scamsters, but sometimes you "protesteth
too much"

In any
event, please see something I did a few years ago (it is in
the book)
"The
King Doesn’t Like Gold, Never Has, Never Will – Unlike
Mr. Chang
."

keep
watching the rascals / yes, get the word out

 

Jason:

Keep up
the good work

The rascals
who default on commitments deserve to be in jail. Those who
cannot honor commitments because someone else defaulted on them
may be pitied, but they still deserve a special place in hell.

For 50
years as a dealer, we never stored customer metals. At Coin
Shows and Hard money Conventions, we shouted the message to
all, "Take delivery of your metals."

Most listened,
but just as there is a new audience for the Three Stooges every
seven years, there are always fresh victims who will surrender
their gold and silver for a piece of paper.

Keep spreading
the message, Jason. If you help just one poor sucker to keep
his gold and silver the struggle was worthwhile.

Burt
Blumert

I want to
focus on that first story I told you about Burt. Think of how
important it is to convince a customer to convince a few of his
friends to buy gold, too.

I did some
more thinking about that. The U.S. Mint only has 10–15 direct
distributors. All mints work that way, with so few direct buyers.
In turn those distributors can only handle a limited customer
flow. In turn, their dealers can handle a limited customer flow,
and so on.

At Rocklin
Coin Shop, we handle about 50 customers a day, in a busy day,
and being open 6 days a week means we can handle about 300 people
per week, as, of course, many are repeat visitors. But the city
of Rocklin is 50,000 people. To serve so many people nearly half
of our customers, 166 of them, would have to open up their own
coin shop, each serving another 300 customers, to serve the whole
city!

The world
needs a whole lot more Burt Blumerts, and we will sorely miss
him.

April
6, 2009

Jason Hommel
[send him mail] is
editor of the Silver Stock Report.

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