A wide-ranging survey of investment opportunities in precious metals from the editor of Fact magazine. Covering much the same ground as Peter C. Cavelti in New Profits in Gold, Silver, and Strategic Metals (1984), Kehrer also avoids making specific recommendations. He confines his attention to gold, silver, and the platinum group (which includes palladium), ignoring beryllium, cobalt, germanium, manganese, tungsten, and other non-precious metals with strategic value. In each case, he provides a briefing on the metal's applications and supply/demand prospects. Industry could make do for some time with aboveground stocks of gold and silver should the world's mines be closed down, Kehrer reports, but any cutoff of either Russian palladium or South African platinum--both of which are vital elements in catalytic technology, among other things--would cause severe disruptions. In addition to assaying the price outlook in this sort of perspective, the author examines the pros and cons of making investment commitments via bullion, certificates of ownership, coinage, the common stocks of mining companies, futures contracts, mutual funds, or options. He also offers savvy tips on dealing with metals merchants, meeting tax obligations, avoiding counterfeit goods, and spotting potentially advantageous ratio spreads, e.g., when gold quotes are appreciably more or less than the traditional level of 34-35 times silver postings. There's even a catalogue of databases and software packages for the PC crowd, plus a short list of advisory publications. Further, the text features charts, tabular material, and directories which impose a welcome measure of order on a frequently complex subject. A comprehensive and ready reference to precious metals markets, preferable to the Cavelti entry on the basis of its deeper coverage.