There will be roughly 3 phases of trade after the collapse.
In the first phase, 0-5 years
post collapse, survival supplies are going to be the most in demand. In this phase, precious metals won't be worth much yet, since they don't have any practical survival value. Also, not everyone has the knowledge about precious metals to estimate their value. Honestly, if someone brought a gold chain to me, I wouldn't know how to test it or value it. I don't know much about carat and karat. Plus, not everyone is going to have a scale. (Helpful tip: get a scale now and you could be an important trade authority post-collapse.) However, it all depends on the person you're trading with. Some people will strictly be in the mindset of survival supplies are all that matters, while others will already be engaging themselves in precious metals trade. In the first year, you will even be able to find people that will still be using paper currency, because they are holding on to the belief that governments will reestablish themselves, and they want to be rich when that happens.
In the second phase, 5-20 years
post collapse, precious metals will be the dominating currency once again, but barter will still be a daily occurrence. That's right folks, get ready to spend a couple decades bargaining with people every time you want to buy something. uuuuuugh! After spending some time overseas, you realize how tiring those events can be. Around this time, you might even find communities that have created their own money standards. Right now everything is worth a certain amount of dollars. Post apocalypse, you might have communities that will say everything is worth a certain amount of cups of flour, or a certain amount of chicken eggs, or a certain amount of tobacco leaves, etc. In fact, crafty shop owners will have a chalkboard out front that gives the day's price of their goods. For example, "Price of 1 pair of new leather shoes: 200 .22lr or 2oz gold or 125 tomato seeds or 3 gallons alcohol". Those items all have intrinsic value, and because they are common enough and exchangeable, they become standard items used as money.
In the third phase, 20+ years
, kingdoms, city-states, tribes, nations, etc. will rise from the ashes. Ironically, many of them will call themselves 'America' or 'USA'. It might be a little confusing. Many of them will establish their own currency and begin to press their own money and establish a form of central banking. Bartering begins to disappear.
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