Metal mania has gripped some investors amid the ups and downs of the capital markets, spurring everyone from governments to private enterprise to dream up new ways to meet the demand for gold and silver. In some cases, responses have seemed extreme.

The state of Utah in March passed legislation allowing the use of debit cards backed by gold and silver. (No card issuer has seized upon the opportunity.) Donald Trump made headlines in September when he announced that he would begin accepting rental payments in gold bullion from his tenants.

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