Hiding gold and silver without a safe

Friday : Questions and Answers With The Wolf Pack

Question from Rodger R

I was hoping to get some advice about hiding gold and silver without a safe. I figure that having a safe is a sure way to tell a burglar that I’ve got valuables. I can’t put in a hidden safe and the run-of-the-mill fire safes can be carried off. What suggestions does the Pack have for hiding things like gold and silver coins.?

Rodger, I suggest that you take a look at some of the offering from StoreGuns.com, they have storage vaults, secret safes, books etc., that would be helpful in keeping your gold and silver safe from vandals. M.D. Creekmore.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. We have a stand alone heavy gun safe with a fireproof and waterproof safe inside of that to store our valuables in. You can risk hiding things in books, cans ETC, but most good burglars know these tactics and will be looking for them. A safe advertises that you have stuff, but I feel is your best bet. Mine is hidden from sight, inside a bedroom closet, so it is not visible from the windows. We also have the house alarmed and 24/7 video recording. Just remember that anyplace you can think of to hide something, they have already thought about. The biggest thing is to not advertise, not even to your friends that you have valuables.

    • FarmerKin says:

      I agree. I purchased my safe from a shop owned by a retired LEO. He said that the average burglar does not generally come prepared to crack a safe. They of course will beat the hell out of it once they see it, their nature won’t allow them to not at least attempt it, which is why you want to get a good safe and have it securely bolted down.

  2. Oldokie says:

    Sometime the more visible an object is the harder it is to see. Just my opinion.

  3. If you have a locking filing cabinet, you can put the loot inside it under the bottom drawer. Or in a folder that appears to have papers in it but is really hollow like one of those hollow books. (craft project for you there). Label the filing cabinet something really boring like ” (alphabet acronym) Council Minutes, 2003-2010″ or something like that that would fit your life. Maybe “Kids’ School Drawings”? “HOI Minutes”? “Accounts Payable 2011”?

    That provides concealment but not cover. You could also bolt a small safe to the bottom of your file cabinet if it will fit and the bottom drawer slide over it still.

    Another thing I saw was, take a package of spinach or some other frozen food that most people wouldn’t try to take out and cook with, and repackage it carefully (no ripping the paper cover) with your valuables. Just keep spinach on the top – and make it so it feels/weighs about the same and doesn’t jingle.

    You could also make a fake wall outlet, put your stash in a PVC tube and dangle it from a length of electric wire attached to a non-electrified outlet in an outlet box. To get your stash, remove the box and your tube will follow. I like the extra touch of there being a real outlet in there (but a dead one). Make sure you match the style of the existing outlets and covers.

    For an extra touch, plug one of those electric air fresheners into your fake outlet.

  4. Here is one more idea: fake plumbing. Run a fake PVC sewer pipe in your basement. Stash your stuff in there. I heard about one guy who had a fake floor drain cache.

    Whatever you do, if you store paper money, put it in a metal tin because the mice will shred it for nests if you ever get mice.

  5. I understand burglars have no regard for any of your property and can toss items all over, pulling drawers completely out of desks and dressers, flipping over beds, even cutting mattresses and cushions.
    Put them in small containers and bury them in the Laundry soap (powdered); I doubt a burglar is going to do laundry.

    • riverrider says:

      i don’t know about powder but tide liquid has become a form of currency in the hood. might want to find another place.

      • I was robbed many years ago when I didn’t have anything to steal. The thief(s) totally ransacked my place so that it took almost a month (and a year with one item) for me to figure out all of the items that were missing. All the drawers and cupboards in the kitchen were pulled out and dumped. My bed was up on its side and everything in the closet and dresser out. TV hanging from the cable, bookshelves dumped. I was frankly surprised that no one heard the commotion. So from that experience, it told me that they will look EVERYWHERE and take anything. Nothing was left unsearched. It turned out that they left with the stuff in a large suitcase (that I had borrowed, so didn’t notice it missing until the person that owned it wanted it back).

  6. Retread says:

    I had the same problem. I put all PMs in an ammo can and looked around our place for the nastiest surface, which turned out to be in our male goats pen. I cleared a few square feet with a rake, pitchfork and shovel. then dug down just two feet. I enclosed the ammo can in several plastic trash bags and buried there, carefully making sure the was no evidence of that task when I was done.

    I dug it up two years later when we used it to buy our 3.5 acre farm. The ammo can was dry in and out!

    Burying it there was gross, which is good. What thief would choose to go digging around in that stuff?

  7. IMHO a large, heavy gunsafe bolted to the floor and/or wall inside of a closet is your best bet. They would essentially have to destroy the house wven to get the safe out much less get it open.

  8. All or none of the above might work .it all depends on how much time the thief takes. If you are not in an urban setting outside may be your best bet. When a friend ask about this a few years back I pointed to a pile of rusty junk farm equipment and said under there . Go a good 2′ deep and seed the ground with lots of scrap iron.
    Also leave something of marginal value for him to take. If he finds something easy he may go away happy without looking to hard.

    • Fixit,
      To add to your technique and that of Retread’s goat pen siggestion above, I would add that you should not put all of your valuables in one place. If on the off chance I find your stash, I get it all at once. Use your technique and place things in multiple places.

  9. I think if I didn’t have a good quality safe, I would make water-tight containers of short pieces of wide PVC pipe and PVC end caps to store guns, ammo, and precious metals and bury them in locations that I would later have a certain (and non-electronic) way of finding. And I would probably scatter some kind of metal debris a few inches below the soil surface over my caches to foil the guys with metal detectors. This won’t work so well where soil freezes solid in winter if you have to dig up your stuff in December.

    For hiding small stuff inside a rental apartment, I think I would put the stuff in little baggies behind wall switches, electrical outlets, inside the cover plates that hide the electrical connections of ceiling fans and ceiling light fixtures, or inside ventilation ducts. Or take the bathroom door off its hinges, remove the top piece of wood to expose the hollow core, hang a small bag inside the door, glue a new thin piece of wood on top, paint the new wood and re-hang the door. The kick plate below bathroom and kitchen base cabinets can sometimes be removed to reveal a flat storage space and the kick plate can be re-attached with heavy-duty peel-and-stick Velcro from the hardware store. Of course these kinds of simple hiding places won’t fool experienced searchers who have the time to do a thorough search.

    I really prefer a top-quality, heavy-duty, fire-resistant safe bolted to a concrete pad and located in a windowless room inside the ground floor of a house. For a demonstration on how quickly burglars can break into a flimsy safe, you can find a video at http://www.thesafekeeper.com (scroll down to middle of home page).

    • Survivor says:

      Linda, I have a T shaped, 4″ PVC pipe buried in a quiet little corner of my property. I laid a large flat rock over it. It’s been there for about 5 years and no one has molested it.

      It took quite a while to build this thing. It’s pretty close to the center of a pile of rocks. It’s infested with copperhead snakes and I wear snake chaps to visit.

      • Wow. Security snakes! Good going.

        • Winomega says:

          That makes me wonder if my neighbor wasn’t a prepper… he had quite the pile of concrete behind his carshed and warned us about letting the cat eat the chippies because of poison, even though there were snakes.

          My mother is too frail to investigate now, not to mention the trespass of stealing the pile, even if his creek is eroding her hill.

    • Thanks for the link Linda. 🙂

    • Donna in MN says:

      Drug dealers hide their stash behind outlets and in light fixtures and in the backing of Tv’s, radios, and refrigerators. The police told me this when I reported a place I rented out was broken into and found these places ripped up–by a friend of the renters to get his stash when they left.

      I would think where the nastiest place is where no one would touch or look.

  10. riverrider says:

    pvc pipe. in the flower bed. at night.

    • Hunker-Down says:

      I have a couple of 20’s in that environment that has been buried for about a year as a test. I will dig it up and open the PVC container to examine the bills (in zip-lock bags) and some unprotected strips of paper as soon as the 4th of July crowd leaves our area. If things look good, the cash in the peanut butter jar in the closet will go there.

  11. Doris Jones says:

    If you have an attic with exposed insulation, put the items in a flat metal box that fits under the insulation and recover it, pressing down enough so that all the insulation around appears the same depth and if you locate this in a distant corner, etc. it will be a very, very rare thief who ever looks long enough to find it. Another great spot is to tape the metal box to the back of your washer or dryer–almost no one will pull out appliances to find anything. Or put it in the wall behind the appliances, even behind a refrigerator. (If it is money you need to access often for any reason–make sure the appliance is on casters so you can easily move it.)

    • Inside a plastic bag at the bottom of a really dirty cat litter box (in a room where the cat can’t get to it) is a good “hide in plain site” place to store small stuff.

  12. The one big key is TIME. Most burglars do not want to stay to long in your house so they will take the obvious things and look in the obvious spot(underwear drawer) and then want to get out. If you make it harder and longer for them to find it then they may not get to it.

    I do have a safe but mainly for some guns and files I want protected from fire. I hide some of my PM’s in a couple small boxes above the drop ceiling in my basement. There are over 100 drop tiles down there and only I know the ones they are hidden in and I don’t think any burglar will even think to look in the basement . Not much down there and it is all in pretty much plain sight. So one quick walkthrough and they will not think anything is down there.

    And M.D. thanks for the spelling function on the reply posts !!! Some of us really need them.

  13. Winomega says:

    The biggest problem with hiding things is finding them again. I can just imagine using the freezer trick and then accidentally throwing away the stash because the spinach looks inedible.

    Also, get creative. I know these tricks, (the fake plumbing one was new,) so the thieves know them as well. My favorite trick that I’ve seen is to paint a gold bar black and use it as a doorstop.

    • Winomega says:

      Okay, signal to noise ratio, here are my ideas…

      How are your drywall skills? With the use of a stud-sensor, rage-punch the drywall, then put your PM’s beyond the edge of the hole before patching it up.

      Get a piece of furniture where the leg can be hollowed out or is already hollow.

      Glue the PM’s to the bottom of a bookcase and load it with books so that the only way to get to the treasure is the carefully unload the case. (Big feat of strength just to knock it over and get to the underside.)

      Toilet tank is most obvious hiding spot.

      My most bizarre idea is to get something naturally heavy, like a bookend, paperweight, antique iron, cornbread pan, have it cast in gold, then use paint to turn it into something decorative.

      I’m planning on putting some secret cubbies in, but one is going to be custom-designed for toilet paper and the other is a toss-up between medical supplies and shoe storage.

      • Winomega,
        WOW!! Must be nice to have gold bars around to paint and enough gold to have custom items cast, LOL.

        • Winomega says:

          Hah, Ohio Prepper, I have nothing, not even that pile of aluminum I foolishly left behind the dumpster so long ago.

          Perhaps I should stop throwing catfood cans in the recycle bin? I’m already being foolish with my eggshells.

  14. I found another site that carries the same tubes that Store Guns does, but theirs include all the dry storage and moisture control that you’ll need if that’s your plan for storing precious metals and money/currency. The company is called Custom Survival Solutions (www.customsurvivalsolutions.com) and their prices seem reasonable.



  15. I have a few shelves in my closet. The top shelf, which can barely be reached without a chair, has a bunch of boxes. These boxes are labeled christmas candles, family photos, baby keepsakes, ect. A few “extras” are there too. Hide stuff in an old cereal box, make a removable hole in the wall behind a small picture. Get a couple of those hide a key magnetic boxes and hide them under or behind appliances. A pvc pipe burried in a potted plant. Make a little box that can attach to a cupboard, and put them near the top lip on a bottom cupboard. Think line of site, if they are looking down in there anything in the back would easily be seen, anything near the front top, not so much unless they got down there and looked.

    Whatever you decide, dont hide it all in one place. Most thieves want to get in and out quick, so I would have ‘stuff’ lying around. An old laptop that doesnt work, a few dollars in cash on the night stand, maybe some costume jewelry in a dresser drawer. If things are in the ‘normal’ hiding spots, I think they would spend less time looking for bigger and better. And if they do run into one of your hiding spots, well it would suck, but at least they wont have it all.

  16. axelsteve says:

    I have some empty plastic pb jars. I then sprayed them olive drab. You can easily fill them with whatever and stash them someplace. Cache ammo or something with them. Make it so you can find it easily when you need it.Put a bore snake and some ammo in one and cleaning supplies in another .Stash some junk silver or whatever floats your boat.

  17. I suggest a hidden wall safe, that can be found on several websites such as : http://www.fcsurplus.ca/shopping/products/463-Hidden-Safes/426660-Hidden-Wall-Safes/

    The advantage : place it behind a bookshelf. All you need to do is to remove a few books so you can have access to it, and it gives sense to why there is no wire plugged in it.

  18. tommy2rs says:

    PVC pipe buried in the poison ivy patch or the wild blackberry patch or the briar patch or the prickly pear patch. Unintended side effect, makes you think long and hard about just how much you need to access it….lol.

  19. Survivor says:

    There once was a man that every day pushed a wheelbarrow full of dirt through the security gate of a large construction site.

    The security guards would stop him, search him and look through the dirt. They knew he was stealing something but couldn’t figure what.

    This went on for a few years. At the end of the project the security folks caught up to him and found he had just retired and was very wealthy.

    “We know you were stealing from the site,” they queried, “but what were you taking?”

    The man smiled and said, “Wheelbarrows, of course.”

  20. ladyhawthorne says:

    I’ve seen some fun cans for sale on ebay and amazon. However I would probably not buy the Coke cans, what if the thief is thirsty?

  21. I am pretty proud of the safe I just built. I took one corner of my poured wall concrete basement and build a 4×8 “safe” (okay it’s more of a safe room at that size). There was a 2×4 wall already built to close it off from the finished section so I screwed a solid wall of 2×8’s lengthwise to that. Then I stacked cinder blocks behind the 2×8’s and filled them with quickcrete (30 80 lb bags are a bear to mix by hand). The door is also made of 2×8’s. I laid a solid sheet of them down and then put another layer crossways screwed to it. I flipped every other one 90 degrees so in the end it looks like a mammoth book shelf. I secured it to the wall with 5 heavy duty hinges and put two locks on the side (hidden behind some false trim). The locks a working but are really just a decoy to the main latch which I attached to an old trophy (I always wanted one of those, don’t judge me for being corny). The top is also 2×8’s with a metal backing for fire suppression just like the door. In the end I spent about $600 and I have a safe that also doubles as a tornado shelter. If a thief ever did figure out how to get in all of the valuables are locked in a metal cabinet I found on ebay for $10. It’s not super secure but it is one more thing to make them suffer through.

    • Novice,
      I have a friend who built something similar and to get in you have to know which closet to enter and which gadget in the closet to manipulate. It is built in such a way as to be nearly invisible, unless you make detailed measurements of the house. His insurance agent told him to get a cheap glass front gun case and place it in plain sight with some junk, non-operable guns in it. Give the intruder an easy score and get them out of the place ASAP.

  22. NotAHusker says:

    When Grandma was alive she used to hide her jewelry in zippered cloths pockets in her closet. Jewelry was wrapped in tissues so it would not make a noise if someone was throwing her clothes around looking for loot.

    I look like a poor redneck with nothing of value to risk your life in stealing. My house is clean and nice but my sheeple neighbors houses are much more inviting to crooks as they like to show off, thinking the neighbors are actually impressed by the fancy cars and expensive household electronics seen through the window. Just keeping valuables out of site is a good start in securing your property

  23. Ah Crap says:

    Try getting one of those canister for flour. Put your valuables in and cover with flour. Just be careful when you take out a scoop for baking something.

  24. I used to hide my dirty magazines, tobacco, and occasional alcohol when I was a kid up under my box spring. I just pulled the flimsy fabric off the frame about 12 inches and stacked my “loot” on the wood of the frame. A piece of duct tape kept odd shaped stuff from falling off.

  25. I believe the only safe place for the prepper is in the ground, and PVC pipes seem best. Use an auger to drill a deep hole or dig it manally. Under the edge of a concrete slab will give it cover from metal detectors as the reo in the slab will trigger a detector anyway. Bury it wherever but don’t be seen! Use one end cap and an inspection screw cap at the other end, just make sure you grease the o-ring and tape over the join to keep dirt out of the threads. Don’t make the pipes too long, it’s hard to bury a long pipe deeply. An old wide mouth stainless steel thermos is good as well if it can be sealed tightly without the threads slipping. Again, grease the rubber seal and tape the join.

    A safe is a good decoy, keep a little in there if you like, that way you can “Give up your stash” is someone puts a gun to your head one day. Lots of safes get found and stolen but I have never heard of a poly pipe getting found so don’t get lazy with your safe unless it’s contents are insured. Lazy is when you buy gold and put it in the safe before digging a hole, but never dig the hole.

    If it’s only gold you are hiding you may be able to keep it in plain sight, hidden in a broken old appliance in the garage, inside something of no value. I don’t advocate this myself because anything not attached to the ground or in the ground can be accidentally thrown out. Gold will melt if a fire is hot enough though, remember this.

    Be careful using silicone sealants around PM’s. Many coins have copper in them and this will come out of the surface and discolor coins from certain acids in the sealants. I found this out the hard way when I dug up a bunch of silver coins I had in a container and found they had a green film all over them. It cleaned off easily but the coins hade only been burried a week.

    • Winomega says:

      Franko, I do have a fireproof filebox… should I perhaps keep my cats’ vaccination records someplace else? I don’t even lock the thing since it’s just stuff that is annoying to replace.

      Someone goes through the trouble of moving that much weight, go for the printer, it’s a lazerjet and the cartridges are mostly full.

      I’m tempted to un-case my computer so that thieves just settle for the motherboard and cards.

  26. Never put all your silver & gold in one place -better to spread it out in a number of places.
    In one of your closets, remove a baseboard. Use a utility knife to cut away part of the lower drywall, which will expose the hollow parts of a wall. Put your coins in a fire resistant bag, & put the bag in the wall. Replace the baseboard.
    Does your bathroom have a mirror with a cabinet in the wall behind it? Remove the cabinet. Put your coins in a fire resistant bag, & hang the bag from the bottom of the in-wall cabinet. Put the cabinet back in the wall.

  27. Dang…you want to learn how to hide something, ask a bunch of preppers! Woo-ee.
    I don’t have anything of value except my three year supply of toilet paper. I would be totally pissed if someone stole that. I hide it in plain sight because I like to look at it.
    It is worth more to me than gold, diamonds and rubies.
    I already lost all my weapons in a boating accident.

  28. Realize one thing about those guys getting into a safe in a warehouse. Nobody I know stores their safe in a warehouse, where burglars with huge pry-bars can swing them from high above the safe which they’ve laid on its back.

    I’m always amused when I see that video–very, very few burglars have either the skills or the tools to break into a safe like that. And if you store that safe in a closet or small room, where would they get the room to attack a safe like that?

    That video is made to sell certain things, not as a public service showing how vulnerable a safe is.

    My safe is bolted to the floor in a small 7×13 room with 7-foot ceilings. If a burglar could get that safe loose from the floor–and there are hundreds of pounds of nickels and other weighty items in it–they still couldn’t get it on its back.

    So don’t be overly concerned about that hollywood video, unless you store your safe in a warehouse and the thieves have room to attack with prybars like they did.

  29. Winomega a fireproof safe is a good idea for records and such and keeping it bolted to the floor in a hard to get at spot is wise also. If you have the file cabinet I think you have it weigh about 3 or 400kg and that is very hard to walk away with. If you have some little thing then just hide it in the garage under a pile of junk or in the back of an old cloths dryer say. The biggest temptation with safes is people’s desire to have it where they can look at it and access it easily. You have to get past all that and remember a safe is a target and thieves will ransack a house if given time so it must be very very well hidden.

    I thought of getting a rusty old arc welder and gutting it, putting the safe inside with access via a removable rear panel, say 6 screws and your in. Welders weigh a ton anyway so it would not be suspicious to anyone who moves it and it’s not the thing thieves would bother with even if they were after copper. Simply too heavy. With the welder on wheels it would only take a minute or 2 to get it open and I would have acess to my safe. But such an arrangement would not allow me to bolt it to the floor so I passed the idea over.

    You have to think like a thief for a while, think about how you would rob a friends place or your own place, and when you have it all worked out then look at the places you ignored. That is where you put your fireproof safe.

    • Winomega says:

      Franko, I do have a small one without bolt holes. I guess I could get a little weirder with the location, or go a little more obvious once I start remolding.

      I could also hope for a thief that is at least smart enough to figure out that it is unlocked and doesn’t have anything easy-to-sell in it.

      • riverrider says:

        when in college in norfolk the theives took my unlocked firebox. i left it unlocked to show there was no value in it except papers but they took it anyways, and everything else that wasn’t nailed down.

        • Winomega says:

          Oi, Riverrider, I guess I really should get a bit stranger about where I put the darn thing. I did want to put in a wine-well anyway, even though we’re still five years away from that hobby. The ghetto version could still hold beer and cabbages.

  30. There are a 100,000 ways to hide things , just do some surfing ……people are pretty creative when it comes to hidden compartments . Just be aware , if you do it too well , you could hide it from yourself . Dont laugh , it happens , you hide something so well that after a period of time , you forget where you put it , why do you think people find things in old houses once in awhile . When the economy collapsed in the 1930’s , people hid their valuables , decades later , people would buy a house and find it when they started doing renovations .

  31. If you store #10 cans of food, just save the next one you empty, put coins in the bottom, fill to the top with rice, label it homemade rice a roni, and put it on the bottom of the pile of cans.

  32. Hey , how about buy a plot at the local pet cemetery , then “bury ” your beloved “pet ” .

  33. On a similar note , it depends heavily on WHO you are trying to hide things from that determines how you go about it , and how much thought needs to go into it . If you are hiding things from the unskilled masses or even your standard issue career criminal , you have more options , and is much easier , both will be just going through things quickly to get what they want and then leave as quickly as possible . Hiding things from the brownshirts is a different matter , they are in no hurry and depending on what they are looking for , may employ a range of equipment to find it . This is where you need to think hard about how you do things . Example : a close knit group of like minded people got together to plan for the coming ” situation ” . One member of the group owns a salvage/junk yard . One of the caches is in the salvage yard , why ? because having one there nerfs GPR and makes metal detectors worthless . No “disturbance” signs will ever be detected as the place is ALWAYS being disturbed , with all the junk being moved around and people going in and out every day getting parts they need .

    • Electricity is something most people dont like and tend to stay away from ( brownshirts included ) . Junction boxes , circuit breaker panels , etc . ( inactive props , of course ) . Poop is another thing people dont like , septic tanks , outhouses , etc . your container must be designed for this environment , yet not interfere with its function . Very gross ……but hey ! …….if I was a thief or a brownshirt making a sweep , I wouldnt make the effort , its just not THAT important to the majority of the individuals to subject themselves to those things .

  34. My ex husband died a few weeks ago. What he had hid, and where died with him. It was a crazy fluke that our kids found out about 2 storage buildings he was renting full of his things. We found out about those. What else is out there? What will we never know?
    That is what worries me. I like to keep cash hidden. Where? If I die in a car wreck tomorrow I don’t want all that cash to be lost forever. I want my children to have it. Hiding stuff is great. How do you leave a record of what you have, and where so that if you do die suddenly it’s not all lost? Yet kept safe from prying eyes?

    • Winomega says:

      Carla, other than telling kids where you hid it, (trust them to wait until you are dead,) you could have a treasure hunt based on things that only they would know.

    • Antizombie says:

      Write a letter describing the contents of your stash and take it to an attorney. Fora minimal fee they will deliver it to your heirs upon your (sad) demise. Of course, in a SHTF situation he may be bugged out or worse.

  35. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Saw an underground vault made by MTM, the long time gun products dealer for $30 at Academy. Double ‘O’ ringed container, appeared to the be size of a 1 gallon / #10 can, about 8″ in diameter, 10″ in height. That might do for some small caches.

    The PVC ideas up there sound just as good or better, especially if cost is an issue.

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