We Should Stop Helping the Silver Scammers

We’ve all seen ads like this a million times, but for some reason this one finally caught my attention. It’s the usual pitch: there’s a limited supply of silver bars, and California residents can get them cheap if they act fast! “For the next 2 days residents who find their state listed on the Distribution List above in bold are getting individual State Silver Bars at just the state minimum of $57 set by the Federated Mint.” And if you order ten bars, shipping and handling are free!

The current fixing for an ounce of silver is about $15. So if you pay $1,140 for $150 worth of silver, they’ll throw in shipping gratis. What a deal.

Anyway, I know this is all legal because the fine print says yada yada yada, and there’s no law that prevents selling goods for an astronomical price. But really: are we all so desperate for advertising dollars that we have to sell space to folks like this? I guess the answer is yes, but maybe that ought to change. We all know who gets taken in by these kinds of ads, and it doesn’t speak well of any publication that continues to be complicit in this.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.