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The Wallace Street Journal

Hi-Ho, Silver Summit

November 4, 2011

By David Bond, Editor

Wallace, Idaho – To the 307 million residents of the United States, and the 246 residents of Canada,  Europe, Shoshone County and the Cayman Islands who missed Silver Summit 2011, our sympathies.

The descent upon Spokane, Washington's full-glam Davenport Hotel by the world's faithful for Silver Summit 2011 was nothing short of spectacular. Remember: we are the people our parents warned us about. Spurned by the precursors of CNBC 15 years ago, the hardiest of gold bugs reformed themselves around what has become the Internet. But there was no room for silver bugs, even amongst the gold fanatics. So we had to invent ourselves, which we did in 2003 at the first Silver Summit. Silver had bumped its head above $5 an ounce and we knew there was no going back.

It's a crazy corner to be in, where even the 321gold bugs think you're nuts. But we've done it. Paul Sarnoff was right: silver is Everyman's metal. It will kill what ails you – fungus, infection, the clap, even a toxic spider bite – and it will give you safe harbour as the planet's paper money system turns to ash. Mind you, gold will perform the same services, but at 50 times the price.

(Myth has it that silver and gold earned their wings as “precious” metals because of their very salutary medicinal values, which we are just now re-discovering, dating back to Mesopotamian times. And they didn't rot or burn in transport across the Med or through the forests and deserts of ancient Europe and Africa, thus rendering themselves worthy as “legal tender” in trade between nascent nations and cultures.)

What made this year's Silver Summit special – notwithstanding a star-studded speakers' list that included Eric Sprott and Gordon Holmes, and not to mention the Great Shoot-Out between GATA's Bill Murphy and CPM Group's Jeff Christian – was the realization that in our midst were companies who'd gone from “moose pasture” status in our early years to New York Stock Exchange-listed silver- and gold-producing entities. Let us rattle off a few that come to mind: Great Panther, Endeavour Silver, First Majestic, Silvercorp . . . with apologies to those we've missed.

This is big stuff. You can spend a year going to can-kicking shebangs like the Money Show, which before the Big Crash were hawking such wares as time-share condos on rusted-out cruise ships, or to IIC shows to watch hacks flog their own books. Or you can come to a Silver Summit, where harried CEOs spend two days on their feet at their booth with photos of their hopes and dreams, PowerPoint presentation and cat-torture laser-pointer at the ready, striving to bring their penny-stock company into the full fruit of reality.

The Silver Summit's folks deliver. Endeavour Silver was a $2 stock when they first came to the Silver Summit; it is now $12. First Majestic was a $2 stock when they first came to us; now they're in the $20 range with a market cap larger than Hecla's. Great Panther was 50 cents back then; now at $2.50. Silvercorp Metals came to our third Silver Summit – I remember them well, because CEO Rui Feng challenged me to come to China to investigate his claim that he had a world-class Bunker Hill-sized deposit in the Henan-Found project – was priced then at $1.20; they're now at $10 and will soar much, much higher when the short-traders who attacked their shares last summer go to prison.

The interesting cover of this year's Silver Summit publication, The Drill & Pick, designed by esteemed Kellogg, Idaho, artist Richard Jansen, was inspired by last June's Stanley Cup battle (for the unwashed, the Stanley Cup is Professional Hockey's version of the World Series) between Vancouver and Boston. The odds of picking a winner in a silver stock are about as long as betting on the Canucks against the Bruins. (The Canucks lost, albeit the series went the full seven games.) But there are winners.

You see the point. The Silver Summit is not for tossers. It is a celebration of the entrepreneurs in our midst who see the beauty of realized dreams as they gaze at mere rocks and by sheer will, turn them to metals. We are all, whether investors or survivors, wealthier as a result.