Gold and silver are tangible assets, but are often traded in the form of futures or options, which are financial derivatives. Gold is a unique asset class (read the article on gold as an investment on Wikipedia). Historically, investments in gold have shown a low correlation with investments in other asset classes, such as stocks or stocks, mutual funds, government and corporate bonds, and even commodities and other precious metals. It's been nearly three decades since Wall Street and the media considered gold an asset class.
It would probably be generous to say that even 1% of U.S. investors have an adequate understanding of why at least a portion of 10% of their assets should be safeguarded in gold and silver, mainly in ingots. An even smaller percentage understands that they must have physical possession or a custodian who can prove that they have the gold purchased in a segregated account. Inflation is the reason why assets denominated in dollars have to yield and grow above the rate of inflation faster than the Pacman can consume your purchasing power; otherwise, you will discover that you have made a bad investment not in dollars, since you have more dollars, but in real terms, since these dollars are worth less.
The emphasis on growth assets at all costs causes people who don't understand gold to ignore the precious metal until growth assets fail in difficult times. The decision on the type of investment in gold should be based on an evaluation of each option with respect to safety and cost aspects. In normal times, people who are carried away by Wall Street's optimism about growth believe that what they are taught is that the only way to overcome inflation is to invest in assets that grow faster than the rate of inflation (they can overcome Pacman inflation). The costs of an investment in gold depend largely on the specific type of investment and the specific supplier of the product.
As a financial instrument and asset, the unique qualities of gold make it difficult to define in the financial world. The likelihood that an asset class or a single investment will decrease significantly in value is much greater than the odds that a well-balanced portfolio of many different investments from several asset classes will depreciate significantly. The relative independence of gold investments from other asset classes makes investing in gold an attractive strategy for diversifying an investment portfolio. Recognizing this, many investors are now trying to protect their assets or part of them by investing in assets that are less dependent on the stability of the financial system.
Diversification generally reduces risk to the overall investment portfolio in the event of price movements in individual asset classes. Think of inflation as a Pacman that eats away at the purchasing power of the dollar and the assets that rely on it to value assets denominated in dollars, such as stocks and bonds. Gold has certain characteristics that overlap with some of these categories, but in reality gold is a unique asset. They want you to believe that assets denominated in dollars, such as stocks and bonds, are deposits of wealth and not speculative assets.
So gold isn't a currency, it's not really a commodity, and it's definitely not a cash-generating asset, could gold be a collector's item?.