Subj: Hiding Tangible Wealth
Date: 12/31/98 1:12:19 AM Central Standard Time
From: (Holly Deyo)

Dear Community Builders,

Everyone is always looking for "creative hidey holes" where to stash things. A lot of homes here in Australia are pretty "straightforward" without crevices and built in cavities. Because of this, many people stash things in an opening above the oven or in the bottom of their woodburning fireplace (areas safe from fire). Since these are well-known places here, they'd be the _last_ place we'd stick  something of value. This website provides some excellent suggestions.

Hiding Your Tangible Assets

Once you've bought some gold or silver, you need a place to keep it safe. Forget bank safe deposit boxes. In a Y2K crisis (or any other financial emergency), banks would be closed, along with their vaults and safe deposit boxes. Private depositories are available in some cities, but in an emergency, you must have 24 hour access to your valuables.

You may hide your gold and silver on or off your own premises. We'll discuss on premises storage, but you should also think about storing in a safe that belongs to your attorney, neighbor, relative, or employer. If you have a secure vacation home, you might install a safe there, to add some distance between your valuables and the city. However, most people will want to hide their things on their own property. Whether you're trying to protect yourself against government snoops or freelance thieves, the rule is, what they can't find, they can't steal.

Before you stash anything, look at your house from a burglar's eye view: where would he go first? He wants to enter and exit in the least time possible, certainly less than 10 minutes. What hiding place  would escape him?

Where does the thief look first? He snatches the easy electronics (TV, VCR, computer, microwave) and the silverware sitting on your sideboard. Next he'll clean out your dresser drawers and your closet. The white socks you laid over your jewelry won't stop him. He'll rifle through the pockets of your hanging clothes. He'll visit your freezers because people think that's the cleverest place to hide valuables. He'll pull out drawers and rush through their contents. Now his time is just about up, and he has to run or meet the cops. What hiding place will pass the "Thirty-Minute Test"? If a burglar had thirty minutes in your house, what place would he never look? That is where you want to hide things.

It helps if the place seems impossible as a hiding place.

About hiding things in your freezer: If you must hide something there, at least camouflage it. Take half-gallon milk carton, cut off the pyramidal top, and slice down the corners about 3 inches. Put it in the sink, fill it with water, line the sides with fish fillets, then put in gold or silver coins. At the top put more fish fillets. Fold down the flaps of the carton, cover it with aluminum foil, and stick it in your freezer.

HIDING HOLES IN YOUR HOME Every home is full of dead ends and spaces where you can hide a lot of value - 100 ounces of gold is only a double handful. Exercise your imagination. What about the area under your stairs, the very lowest steps? From the closet beneath the stairs, build a false front that locks into place. Or take up a stair tread.

Look behind kickboards under your bathroom and kitchen cabinets for storage space. What about the space at the bottom of your bookcase? Air conditioning intakes and return plenums? Inside clothes rods in closets or shower curtain rods? Behind baseboards? What about building a false back in a closet, then re-lining the closet with cedar paneling? How about taping things underneath dressers or heavy tables? Can you hollow out newel posts or chair legs? Remember, the searchers may have a metal detector.

FAKE INTAKES AND SOCKETS You can also build fake air intakes or electric sockets into the wall. It's easy to cut a hole into the sheet rock with a keyhole saw, insert a sheet metal box, and screw it to the studs. Cover with an air intake grate, and you're fixed up. For a false electric socket, buy a socket box, socket, and face plate at your hardware store. Cut a hole in the sheet rock, attach the box to a stud, and put on the face plate. This space will hold 25 - 50 ounces of gold.

We do not recommend you convert an existing electric socket, because of the risk you'll shock yourself.

An old hot water heater or washing machine offers a huge storage space for silver or rifles. Make sure you dummy in hook-ups so no one will suspect it's a phony.

FIRE-PROOF SECURITY BOXES Ordering a floor safe installed in your basement is the ideal answer to security. If that's out of the question, then go to Wal-Mart and for $20 buy a fire-proof security box. The smallest size (6.5xl4.5xll) holds 315 cubic inches, enough room to store a little more than half a bag of US 90% silver coin.

These are bulky to store, however, so before you buy one locate a hiding place. Here as everywhere, the more you spend, the better product you get. Pay careful attention to the UL ratings. How long at what temperatures will the storage box protect the contents? Do not send in the consumer card that comes.

THE MIDNIGHT GARDENER Burying your gold and silver is one solution to the problem. You'll need several lengths of PVC pipe (available at any hardware store) sufficient to hold your coins. A foot of 6" diameter PVC pipe will hold about $100 face value US 90% silver coin. At the same time, for every container you plan to make, buy one round cap end and one screw-top end. Be sure to buy plenty of PVC pipe cement and Teflon sealing tape. If you don't have a hacksaw, you'll need that, too. If you've never worked with PVC, be sure to ask the hardware store sales clerk how to do it.

MAKING A BURIAL CAPSULE Cut the PVC pipe to a handy length, not more than 18". Prepare the surface of the end and the inside of the cap with steel wool, apply PVC cement, and stick the closed cap on one end.

Prepare the surface of the other end, apply cement, and cement in place the screw-top closure. Let it sit 24 hours, and your Midnight Gardener capsule is ready to use.

Before you bury it, however, you'll want to drive out all the moisture (very important for silver). Turn your oven on to its lowest temperature ("Warm"), and place your Midnight Gardeners in the oven.

Leave them about 15 minutes, then take them out of the oven, put in your coins in, and screw down the closure. Be sure to put Teflon tape on the threads before you screw down the closure. If you set your oven at a temperature that is too hot, you will have the biggest mess in your oven since Oven-Off commercials. Remember, PVC is plastic, and you only want to warm it enough to drive the moisture out of the air inside.

BURYING THE CAPSULE Now you are ready to bury your Midnight Gardener. But how will you remember where you buried it? Best to plant a bush over it, or measure an exact distance and direction from some landmark not likely to move, i.e., the corner of your house, a fence post, etc.

Bury it at least three feet down. Cover it with eighteen inches of dirt. Place some old scrap metal in the hole. A junk alternator is perfect. Then fill rest of the hole. If anyone with a metal detector searches your place, he will dig and find the alternator, and, you hope, give up.

The best security here is to buy six or eight old alternators, and bury them randomly all over your yard at different depths. Now the searcher is looking for a needle in a haystack. Obviously, the Midnight Gardener method of hiding gold and silver is not recommended for storing items you might need frequently or often..

CONCEALMENT CONSTRUCTION In the last few decades rising crime has given birth to concealment construction. These specialists will search your home for overlooked spots where they can build in a safe and conceal it so thoroughly that not even professionals will suspect it's there. We heard about one safe so well concealed that FBI and DEA agents searched the house with metal detectors for six hours and never suspected they were standing within 12 inches of the concealed safe!

Concealment artists may install a safe in the back of a closet, for example, and rebuild the walls right over it. An electric lock keeps the false wall in place until you activate it remotely with a pin or paper clip. Or the hiding place might be a thousand other places in your home or car.

Concealment construction can install a safe as large or small as you please, enough for jewelry and a few gold coins, or big enough to walk into and store the family silverware and a hundred rifles. There are only two drawbacks. It's not cheap, and unless you live in a large metropolis, there probably won't be a specialist in your area. Expect to pay a minimum of $500 up to $5,000 or more for professional concealment construction. y2k net

Affection always,

Holly and Stan, awaiting New Year's Eve (tonight)

Seismo and Taco, awaiting dog bones!