The first time I ever saw a gold coin was in 1968.  I had seen lots of silver dollars before but gold was illegal to own and I had never actually seen a gold coin before.  I was standing in the elevator of the Empire State Building descending to the ground floor and I noticed a gold coin hanging around the neck of the gentleman next to me.  It was hanging as a medallion over his cream colored turtle neck sweater worn with a light blue blazer.  I was so focused on it's beauty, I barely noticed the woman by his side.  It was Ayn Rand and the man wearing the gold coin was her husband.
 
I had come to the Empire State Building to attend a lecture by her that evening on the state of the nation.  Ayn (pronounced like, and rhymes with, lion) had an institute there that provided lectures on all sorts of subjects -- from economics to politics, to philosophy, to psychology, and much more.  It was there, that I first became interested in economics and gold.

Some guy named Alan Greenspan was giving a ten lecture course on "The Economics Of A Free Society" and I signed up. (To this day, I am one of the few that speak Greenspanese, fluently).  In that lecture series he many times referenced the gold standard.  That sparked my interest in gold, the gold standard, then gold stocks, and finally gold trading.  It was from that first glimpse of that gold coin hanging around Frank O'Connor's neck that led me to where I am today.

 

I met and spoke with Ayn and she gave me a list of classes and lectures being given that year.  As she looked at me I couldn't help notice her eyes.  They were probing, intelligent, and benevolent all at the same time.  They were huge. Never before, or since, have I ever felt so perceived.  I had the pleasure of going to many lectures Ayn gave over the next year.  Little did I know at the time that her book Atlas Shrugged would become the second best selling book of all time, second only to the Bible.  Her books presently have enjoyed a major comeback with a brand new audience.  I do believe Ayn Rand is more popular today than she was when she was alive.

At Ayn Rand's institute, the "Foundation For The New Intellectual"  they also had a book store.  Among the books recommended was "Economics In One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt.  That one little book caused me to fall in love with economics.  For me it turned "the dry science" into a fascinating journey. I was later to make contact with Hazlitt, and he became instrumental in helping me establish myself as a writer.  To this day I try to emulate his clarity, and his simplicity.

In Greenspan's lecture series he constantly referenced the 19th century gold standard.  Already having a curiosity about gold I started researching it and found very little information about what a gold standard was and its evolution.  That remains true to this day.  Greenspan was instrumental in forming my economic viewpoint and focusing my attention on the importance of gold in a monetary system.

By 1971 I had accumulated enough knowledge on economics that I waswriting a column in a small town paper called Dollars And Sense.  (I think I could have been the first one to use that title).  By that time, I had read the Theory of Money and Credit and Human Action by Ludwig vonMises, most of the classical works of the great masters, and was deeply engrossed in A Monetary History Of The United States by Milton Friedman. 
 

I was taking Economics 101 in college but in my boredom with the class,I saw an opportunity to take an undergraduate course in international economics as an exchange student in London that summer.  I bluffed my way into two different college professor’s offices asking for sponsorship.  I was turned down by the first, but remarkably, accepted by the second.  I wasn't interested in a grade, (I'm not even sure to this day whether I was legallysupposed to take the class), I only was interested in getting to London and studying economics from that vantage point.

Three months later I found myself in London enrolled in a bunch of unimportant classes. However, I made an agreement to send one paper on current events every week for 10 weeks to this professor on international economics that I signed up with.  I spent the 10 weeks at the London School of Economics Library reading every interesting book I could get my hands on.  A monetary crisis was brewing that year, goldwas soaring, and I was viewing it from abroad.

Somewhere along the line I stopped getting comments from my economics professor back home.  I thought the papers I was sending were pretty good and right up to the minute -- applying theory to current day economic and monetary affairs.  When I returned home I had to hunt the guy down.  He wouldn't see me for several days. Finally he allowed me a few minutes. 

I walked in and he looked a little flustered.  I asked him if hehad received the ten papers I had sent to him.  He almost yelled at me that "this is junk!"  I asked him why?  He said, "The money supply does not cause inflation!"  I told him that Professor Milton Friedman had been suggesting differently.  Now, you have to understand that in 1971, Friedman was regarded as a radical and extremist.  Of course he won the Nobel Prize for economics not too many years later. The professor said his theories were simplistic and that monetary theory was more complicated than that.  Anyway, he refused to pass me.

Undaunted, I worked up a couple of articles based on those papers the economics professorhad turned down.  I sent them to Henry Hazlitt.  He liked them and suggested I send them to Barrons.  Robert Bleiberg, the editor, said he would recommend me to The Freeman, a magazine on Liberty. Hazlitt also said he would forward them to Leonard Read, of the Foundation For Economic Education. The magazine and the foundation were connected. Two weeks later I received a letter from the editor of The Freeman, PaulPiorot.  He complimented me on the articles and called them "the most lucid account of the international monetary muddle I've seen.”  They publishedmy articles, and they wound up in many libraries here and around the globe.  The last thing he asked was,“By the way, who is Paul Stevens?  Paul Stevens was my pen name at that time.  I had come out of nowhere.

 

In 1972, I became advisor to my mother Tonie Nathan who was the Vice Presidential candidate on the first ticket of the Libertarian Party with John Hospers.  Tonie Nathan became the first woman to receive an electoral vote for vice president in history.  We toured and made many appearances and Tonie was an excellent spokesperson for the ideas espoused by the Libertarian Party.

I wrote several other articles on gold forThe Freeman in the early 1970's.  I was among a handful that fought for the legalization of gold, which finally occurred in 1975.  That year I was invited to attend a Seminar on The Monetary Problems Of Our Times.  It was sponsored by the Liberty Fund and a tribute to Ludwig vonMises.  There were about a dozen of us invited:  Henry Hazlitt; Author/Professor Hans Sennholz; Author and Professor, Benjamin Rogge, Dean of Economics and author of many text books on economics; Phillip Crane, Congressman and author of legislation to legalize gold in the US, together with Ron Paul; William Peterson of the Department of Commerce; and John Exter, Central Banker, and many more.

 

All of those in attendance were in their 60's and above.  One Paul Nathan, 29, unknown, bearded and dressed in a sport coat and turtleneck shirt rather than a suit and tie, was rather conspicuous in his unconventionality.  But then, so was my past.

 

I do not consider myself a republican, a conservative, a gold bug, or a libertarian.  I voted for Reagan in 1980 and I voted for Clinton in his second term.  I believe that economics is neither liberal nor conservative, just as I believe that science is neither liberal nor conservative.

 

Before and since that time I have been a full time investor; beginning in 1968.  My first investment was in Homestake Mines. I lived through the closing of the gold window, the great inflation of the 1970's, gas lines, and the imposition of wage and price controls of the 1970's, the Hunt Brothers attempt to corner the silver market, the Reagan Revolution, and the birth of the bull market in stocks in 1982.

In August of 1982, as an investment advisor at the bottom of the stock market at DOW 778, I sent out an alert to sell gold and buy common stocks.  I projected that the biggest bull market of ourlifetime was ahead of us, suggesting the Dow would triple by the end of the decade.  I coined the phrase “technological revolution “and compared what was to come to the industrial revolution.

I became a full time private investor in 2000 and recommended once again accumulating gold and gold stocks at 250 an ounce.  In the last decade I have made a profit nine years out of ten culminating with a 40% and 80% profit in 2008 and 2009 during which it is estimated that 95% of investors lost money.  I called the top of the market in July of 2007 and suggested going short.  And I bought stocks in March of 2009 at the market lows.

 

Now comes the fun part -- the future.

Nathan