4 Facts About Black Friday And Gold
Every year, around Thanksgiving, we see and hear a lot of questions about the ties between gold and Black Friday, and whether Black Friday pricing can be found on gold. So we thought we'd cover a few of the basics about how that association started, why you're not likely to see Black Friday discounts on gold bullion, and how you still can use the popular retail holiday to save money on your gold purchase.
1. The original Black Friday was caused by two US gold investors in the 1800s.
On September 24, 1869, the gold market collapsed after two investors tried to corner it on the New York Gold Exchange. James Fisk and Jay Gould led a group of investors in an attempt to capitalize on the government's gold resources and the Civil War Reconstruction debt the government had issued. Gould and Fisk utilized insider information, influence and access. Using personal connections, they recruited Abel Corbin, the brother-in-law of the U.S. President at the time, Ulysses S. Grant. Through Corbin’s influence, they were able to gain inside information about the government’s intent to sell gold from the assistant treasurer of the U.S. In late summer of 1869, Gould began buying up large amounts of gold, driving the price higher. A month later on September 20, 1869, Gould and Fisk began hoarding this amount, refusing to sell and driving the price even higher. When the U.S. released $4 million of gold into the market, Gould and Fisk knew it was coming and released theirs first on September 24. With so much supply, prices suddenly plummeted. It took 100 years for gold to naturally reach the prices it reached during this artificially created and unsustainable surge.
2. Almost 135 years later, Black Friday gradually became the name of a celebrated retail event.
After its initial use in the 1869 gold run, the term “Black Friday” was used a number of times in different contexts to describe an unexpected and catastrophic event that happened to land on a Friday. Its first retail use was allegedly by law enforcement in Philadelphia in 1961, during preparations for shopping hordes the Friday after Thanksgiving, occurring at the same time as a major sporting event and other local events that would drive up traffic and congestion in the city’s downtown. It became a known (and usually negative) term among Philly retailers, transportation and emergency workers. But the term was not in common use, even among retailers, in other parts of the country. Gradually though it caught on and retailers embraced the term aggressively in the 2000s, relying on it for countless promotions that bled over onto Thanksgiving Day itself.
3. Black Friday discounts on gold bullion are unlikely, this year or any year.
Because pure gold bullion is a commodity, rather than a good produced at one cost, and then marked up for sale, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever find gold bullion marked off – even for an event such as Black Friday. You may find gold jewelry and other decorative goods marked down for such events, but this represents a discount on the final artistic or decorative product, not on the value of the gold itself, which is typically less the than the sale price of jewelry or other such products.
4. Smart gold buyers can still find ways to save on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
However, that doesn’t mean that gold sellers and resellers such as the U.S. Gold Bureau do not offer incentives for Black Friday or even the Cyber Monday that follows Thanksgiving weekend. Instead, you can expect add-ons to be waived or additional products included at cost. This doesn’t discount the gold itself, but it does represent a true savings to savvy buyers.
For example, on 2012’s Black Friday (and Saturday, November 24 after it), the U.S. Gold Bureau offered buyers the chance to acquire up to five 1 ounce gold bars at “spot price,” when buying any Gold American Eagle 70 proof coin set by phone order. Similarly, the company contributed free shipping and insurance on any order of any size for purchases made on Cyber Monday, November 26, 2012.