Metals are useful as an investment medium.I disagree with TCharley300 on the current situation, but he has the right of it on the outcome of an economic collapse; anyone who thinks precious metals would retain value after an economic collapse is delusional.
I wrote an entire long op-ed article on this once that some people really didn't like.
The summary: any situation that could legitimately threaten us with economic collapse is not one where "society" survives.
The Western economy isn't going to fall apart tomorrow. The only things that could fold it are inherently things that disrupt the very existence of Western society.
We are not talking "baby formula shortage" or "record high inflation that actually isn't that high." We're talking bioweapons being released and nukes dropped.
Those situations reduce daily life to a fight for survival. We are talking medieval-or-worse. People are not going to trade away their very scarce survival needs to you for a shiny piece of metal - especially when the lawlessness that would accompany this scenario would let them just shank or shoot you for it if they really want it.
Even in those times when precious metals were a distinct part of day-to-day trade, there were still issues of confidence in the currency. The entire reason we started stamping coins was so that you had an idea where the coin came from and how much you could trust its content. And even then, this only occurred in relatively developed economies - the village of farmers out in the sticks wasn't doing day-to-day business in gold ingots.
The gold standard isn't coming back. It isn't even a good one to begin with; it has a lot of problems that people who oppose the current financial system conveniently overlook.
At best, if everything went to hell, we'd probably end up adopting ammunition as currency.
I am only maintaining that gold and silver as a currency replacement in a complete economic collapse of the world economies.
It would be a known