-- Published: Monday, 1 February 2016 | Print | Disqus
By Dr. Jeffrey Lewis
Bill Ayers, the proprietor of Per Diem Metals joins us to discuss the fabrication of fractional coins, the process and much moreÖ
In this episode, we discussed:
- Billís molding process and challenges
- Where you can find Per Diem Metals
- The Story of Per Diem Metals
- Some Reasons to Own Fractional coins
- The Future of Fractional Coins
Jeffrey: Hey everyone, itís Jeff here and today I wanted to share with you an interview with a new friend. A friend that I met recently. As many of you know, I was at the Silver Summit, it was in San Francisco, just a couple of weeks ago and the night before the event I attended The Bix Weir event. He had a party through an event on the Friday before and I met a fellow named Bill Ayers. It turns out, he has a really interesting story and a couple of businesses that I wanted to share with you. As some of you know, Iíve posted on the forum about this, but Bill makes these really amazing one-tenth ounce fractional silver rounds. I wanted to interview him and hear more about the process, itís fascinating. Weíve also been talking about refining lately and so this kind of dovetails with that.
There were also some questions I had put out the forum and I think fractional silver, fractional gold, itís somewhat of a controversial topic in the realm of what to do buy because a lot of fractionals that exist are more expensive. They carry a higher premium and I may have actually been confused as to the reasons, but we donít have to go there now. Anyway, Billís here with us. Bill welcome, thank you for being here.
Bill: Thank you for inviting me.
Jeffrey: Weíre actually doing this in person, which is probably something that will never happen, again. Most of the time weíre doing these interviews, itís over the phone or on Skype, so this is also an added benefit. Bill, tells us a little bit about your story and what lead to these world of one-tenth silver rounds?
Bill: Well, okay, that could be a huge story, so Iíll try to hit the highlights. Just like probably most of everyone in this community, I started thinking about the economic situation, what was happening. For me, the trigger was 2007, 2008. I started looking at money, whatís real money, et cetera. Thatís where my journey started with previous metals. Now on the side, the casting and making of things I wanted to make a silver ring years and years ago, so I looked up on YouTube how to cast a silver ring. I bought the stuff and started experimenting, loved it and so I been fiddling around with that for years.
Now what got me into the coins, I was working a gig at a big publishing company. Iím more an entrepreneur. Iíve had more businesses then jobs. I was in a job, sitting around eight hours a day trying to look busy, going blind looking at the computer like really my eye sight getting worse by the day and feeling pretty much miserable. I started thinking about different business that I could do and searching things online, and found the people who did hand cast silver on YouTube. I like that, but I thought I want to do something completely different. They go big and chunky, so I said, ďWell, letís go small. What would that be like?Ē It was this last summer when there was a big silver crunch and you couldnít get the pre-65 coins and I thought, ďWell, theyíre going for 50 to 100% premium. What is it happens again? What happens if silver goes to $300.00 dollar an ounce? Will people move towards smaller units, I donít know.Ē
As I fun hobby, nights and weekends, I started trying to cast and I quickly learned itís not easy. The one-tenth ounce, what happens when you pour it, it just turns into a little bead. If you go half ounce or bigger, itíll fill a mold, but the surface tension on silver is so high at that small quantity you canít do it.
Bill: That started my eight month journey of figuring out how the heck to do this. I did probably three or four different types of mold and as many different types of materials to finally figure out how to do it and to get it like a coin. You know, flat on both sides and thatís the trick.
Jeffrey: What did you finally come around to what answers this high surface tension issue?
Bill: Without giving away all my secretsÖÖ.but I will. Iíll tell you because even I tell you, trust me itís a huge journey every step. I probably told myself eight times, this canít be done, I canít do it.
Bill: Every time I said that, I got pissed off at myself and said, ďThatís why I need to do it'< c that means someone else has tried and quit that stuff, so I kept doing it. The more you hit, the more valuable itís going to be.
Bill: Right, so what I came up with was a kiln system. I built a kiln. I looked up online how to build a kiln like all from scratch in my garage, built a kiln that goes up over 2,000 degrees and I created, kind of think of it like a waffle iron. A bottom piece with the molds and you have to pick the grains of silver and put them in each and every little mold, like weigh every grain, put it in. Itís a horrible process. It is tedious. You heat it up, it melts and so you have all these little balls of silver sitting in these little molds and you take another piece of mold and lay it very gently on top, and it presses it, right?
You let it get up to heat again to make sure the bubbles are all out and you very, very, very carefully take it out and set it off and cool it.
Jeffrey: So does that second mold, is that where the dye and the way youíre stamping it or is that a different process?
Bill: No, okay so then I have whatís more or less blanks, right? Once they cool out enough, I can dump them out of the mold, then I stamp them one-by-one on a block of stone I have in my garage with a custom stamped hammer. BAM, BAM. One-by-one and then I put them in a tumbler. Itís a typical rock tumbler, metal tumbler, jewelry tumbler and tumble them and that polishes it. Take them out, dry them off and theyíre done. Thatís it.
Jeffrey: Thatís fascinating, so youíre able to identify what you wanted to do and then find a lot of the information on YouTube, which is a testament to the fact that thereís information out thereÖ
Jeffrey: Öat our fingertipsÖ
Jeffrey: Öbut then you still ran across the challenges that any of us would have. Now youíve found, at least, some of the processes that you need. Theyíre unbelievable and so along the journey there must have been Ė a know there were lots of resistance points, can you describe one part of the journey where you thought, ďThis is it.Ē I mean you said that you were going to quit at each stageÖ
Jeffrey: Öwhat was the worst or the hardest part?
Bill: Okay, so probably in experimenting with the molds, I made that up myself. I know no one else that does something like this, so I went through all these standard mold types and none of them worked. Iím like, ďWell thatís why there arenít tenth ounce rounds hand poured because you canít do itĒ, and thatís when I said, ďScrew that. Iím going to make it up. Iíll figure it out.Ē I started thinking about other devices that do similar things and I realized the problem Ė you know first you have the problem, you have this bead of silver, you canít pour it anything because itíll be lopsided on side, or the moldís not hot enough and itís so small, and all this stuff. You canít get it exact measurement, so you have to smoosh it, thatís your only option. I figured what Iíd smoosh this stuff, well a waffle iron.
Okay, how do you they work? Heat on both sides. I actually thought about making a kiln that was like a waffle iron and then once I went through the mental process of that, Iím like, ďNah, forget that.Ē Thatís beyond what I want to get into.
Bill: That was a big one. When I went through, probably about, my third or fourth mold type and realized that thereís nothing that exist that will do this; that I could find anyway. That was probably the biggest challenge.
Jeffrey: If any of you want to see them, you have a website. Now tell me a little bit about where the name came from?
Bill: Right, okay, great. As some of you may know, thereís a rumor, myth, saying, whatever Ė people have opinions Ė that one-tenth ounce of silver is historically the wage for a day of labor. You know, carpenter, field worker, whatever, so itís per day, per diem, so I called them per diems.
Jeffrey: Thatís cool.
Bill: Thatís where the name came from.
Jeffrey: Yeah, yeah I know. It makes sense, that makes total sense and by the way, the website is per diemÖ
Jeffrey: Öperdiemmetals.com ó Okay and weíll have that some place wherever youíre listening. Now that you have this process and I understand weíve talking about how orders are coming in, youíve sold some, you have people now contacting you through the website asking about custom ordersÖ
Jeffrey: How do you see this unfoldingÖÖgoing forward?
Bill: Itís a great question. I donít know for sure, but I have a couple of ideas. When I started this, I working that job. Since then, Iíve been laid off and thatís when I went, ďOkay, Iím going to go more into this and create more of a business out of thisĒ, but I also know that this is sort of a niche within a niche within a niche, and it may never become anything substantial, but I love to do it. Iíve had a ball. I like the people I deal with. Iíll just keep doing that regardless, right? As a business owner, I believe thatís what real key ingredient to any really successful business, that you do it anyway. Okay with that said, I also see if silver starts increasing in price, as it should at some time Ė you know you look at historical processes Ė itís going to happen. That could make the smaller denominations more interesting.
As we were talking before, if an ounce of silver is $300.00 dollars, itís like carrying a $300.00 dollar bill in your pockets; itís not very useful, but if you have a tenth of an ounce now itís $30.00 bucks, thatís more usable.
Bill: If that happens, if silver goes to $300.00, I guarantee you, youíll not be able to get pre-65 coins. Like everyone has them, is already not selling them.
Jeffrey: Weíve seen in horrible prices there is a black hole in the physical market where silver continues to be absorbed despite poor sentiment and lower prices. You bring up, I think, a really good point and this is actually an interesting segue into a question that came up in the forum. There were plenty of comments and people are definitely supportive of this as an idea. Some others are interested in refining and thereís somewhat of a dovetail with refining, in terms of, how you get silver to the point where you can put it into these molds.
I guess youíve touched on it, so you know, the question was, ďDo you see much of a future for smaller denominations and if so, -yeah, I mean I guess youíve answered this also Ė maybe if you have anything else to say about having a special usage. I mean thereís two ways it could go down, right? It could be that silver is so valuable that you donít really want to part with it. You may not want to transact with it, maybe itís too valuable for any kind of transaction and that these coins are privately minted by you. They have a collector value just on their own however, thereís another scenario where, hey if someone really doesnít want to transact in dollars and yet youíre buying smaller items, if youíre in a great market kind of situation, you donít want to pull out a $300.00 dollar ounce ÖÖAmerican Eagle. Youíd rather, and maybe not even barter with an old gold necklace, Ö if you had these fractionals Ö
Jeffrey: Can you just add to that?
Bill: Yeah, so right on. At heart, I am a real anarchist. I wouldnít even say libertarian. Iím more. I believe that we, as humans, are capable and able of governing ourselves, and when I say anarchist, I donít mean chaos. I mean self-rule Basically, do what you say youíre going to do and donít hurt other people. There it is, we can all agree on that, right? If we do that, things work, right? Given the opportunity to. Humans are very giving and loving when theyíre not being stepped on, or stolen from.
With that said, you wondering what Iím getting to. Silver is a way of getting around the controlling governments. If you control food, money, or energy, you can control the other two. If you control them, you control everything. Iím not trying to change the system, Iím stepping out of it, okay. Iím not going to fight the Federal Reserve. Iím not going to fight the laws theyíre govern in place, Iím just going to make them irrelevant to my life because we are empowering all of that. Itís not them, itís us. Weíre doing because we agree to, right?
Iím already doing trade with silver. I have a process that if people want to send me in their old generic coins, or silver they donít want, I then give them back per diems, at a rate, right? A cost, but thereís a step up. These per diems are selling at 40-60% over stock, so Iím already trading in silver.
Jeffrey: Yeah, this has been not only something thatís really cool and a fun hobby, or passion, but itís something that allows you to do what all of us, in a way, where weíre giving ourselves an opportunity to step out of the system, or step aside, and itís a beautiful thing.
Bill: Yeah and I see no reason to fight it. I think over time and history as shown that, that doesnít work, so why do it?
Jeffrey: Well, I thank you really. This has been great Bill. What Iíll do is post this somewhere in the forum and Iím sure thereíll be some more questions after we post it, but in the meantime, let me just repeat the website where you can go and see these and/or get in contact with Bill directly. Itís perdiemmetals.com.
Jeffrey: Iíve seen the website. Itís very simple to navigate.
Bill: Thank you.
Jeffrey: I appreciate it.
Bill: It has been fun.
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-- Published: Monday, 1 February 2016 | E-Mail | Print | Source: GoldSeek.com