Investors seek out gold when they are fearful. There's nothing like being able to hold a piece of shiny metal and knowing that if the sky is really falling, you've got something that can at least be traded for life's essentials.

The past couple of years have given investors that panicky feeling. Over the last extremely bumpy decade, the S&P 500 has gained an average of only 2.9% a year annualized. And that means gold and other precious metals are again playing an important role in many investors' portfolios. New York-based Tocqueville Asset Management sees the appeal of this logic. The fund company has been a fan of gold far longer than recent gold bugs have even known where to find the spot price of gold.

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