15 SHTF Barter Items to Stockpile

Every good survivalist has a stockpile of things he or she recognizes their family may need to survive a natural or man-made disaster. However, many people forget the value of maintaining a barter store as well.

If things hit the fan, particularly in an economic collapse where the dollar is nearly worthless, a number of non-monetary goods will be more valuable than a fistful of dollar bills.

It’s also important to recognize that we can’t possibly store enough of every item to account for every scenario for an indefinite period of time. However, what we can do is have some barter items on hand to trade with neighbors so we can plug gaps in our preparations.

Imagine a neighbor with a large garden and some chickens trading a half dozen eggs and some squash for a box of ammo, or a small bottle of Vodka.

Consider stocking up on the following items, even if you have no plans to use them yourself, for their potential barter value.

Cigarettes. I hate smoking, and can’t stand being around anyone that smokes. Having said that, I recognize that in a SHTF situation many others will be cut off from their access to cigarettes, so there is plenty of barter potential.

Soap. Bars of soap, and even those little cleaning napkins/wipes that you get at the BBQ restaurants could be very valuable in a SHTF scenario. Ever see “The Book of Eli?”

Bullets. Obviously, it’s a good idea to have a decent store of ammo representing all calibers of the weapons you own. However, it is also a good idea to store extra ammo in common calibers (9mm, .22, .38, 12-guage shells, etc.) as a potential barter. After all, a gun without ammo is just an inacurate throwing object.

Alcohol. Alcohol could serve a variety of purposes in a SHTF situation. It is valuable as a potential bartering commodity, and it also has medicinal uses. Did you know Vodka is a great home remedy to counteract the reaction to poison ivy?

MREs. More portable and easier to barter than larger 5-gallon buckets, or even #10 cans of dried foods, MREs are great to have on hand for bartering. Keep a variety of flavors and different kinds of foods because you could be holding something that could complete a meal for a hungry person.

Silver Coins. Keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily mean only silver dollars with a full ounce of silver, but even older, less expensive coins with a high silver component (the 1964 Kennedy half-dollar, for example).

Detergent.  Apparently, Tide detergent on the black market is now referred to as “liquid gold.” Interesting.

Water bottles. To someone in bad need of water, a water bottle could be worth its weight in gold. Remember the rule of threes: you can live three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. Store accordingly.

Matches and lighters. A box of matches is relatively inexpensive, but for someone needing to build a fire a pack of matches or a lighter could be very valuable. Be sure these are stored safely, and if they are not waterproof make them so by storing in a watertight container.

Sugar. My grandfather used to tell stories of things that were in limited supply in the Great Depression. Sugar was something he often mentioned. Imagine how easily you could win over a sweet-tooth with the promise of a bag of sugar in exchange for something you are short on.

Toilet paper. This one is rather self-explanatory, isn’t it? Sure, there are substitutes for Charmin, but who wants to keep using leaves when paper feels so much better.

Water Filters/Purifiers. Water purification drops and filters could mean the difference in offering family members treated water or potentially harmful, bacteria-infested water. Who’d be willing to trade for that?

Bleach. May be used to disinfect water, or keep living quarters and soiled clothing sanitized.

Batteries. Can be used to power up flashlights, radios, and other electronic devices.

Candles. Emergency candles would be a great barter item for those in need of providing some light to their living quarters without electricity.

It’s a good practice to check out some of the best online shopping sites to score cash back rebates and online discounts when building your stockpile.

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  1. Seeds to grow fruits and vegetables would be an outstanding trading item as well in a prolonged extreme survival situation.

    • Seeds are an excellent suggestion, Scott! Would make sense in a SHTF scenario to live off MREs and freeze-dried in the short term, but plant seeds to supplement your stored foods for the long term.

      • Tyler,
        may I ask a couple of quick questions?
        When you talk about Alcohol, do you go for name brands or will cheap booze do as a trade item?
        Also in Australia it is legal in certain circumstances to own a still (you are NOT allowed to sell, and allowed to produce limited quantity for own use)
        Would home distilled booze (or as I call it “Rocket Fuel”) be ok?
        I’m actually thinking of getting an old pre-computer car and getting a mechanic friend convert it to run on ethanol and buy my own still to make fuel.
        Any of these idea’s make sense?
        Thanks – good and timely article! Start now BEFORE the SHTF.
        ps another Good and cheap item to store for trade goods is Tabasco sauce and or Spices. after a while canned soup and mre’s get pretty flat. ask any Soldier!

      • what is “SHTF”?

  2. Excellent list. For the toilet paper, you can purchase in bulk the little packages that are found in the accessory packs in MRE’s. They would be easier to barter with similiar to the small silver coins.

  3. The title is 16 SHTF Barter Items To Stockpile….but….I only count 15 item listed. Which is it… 15 or 16?

    • Howard, thanks for keeping me honest! Actually, I counted “matches” and “lighters” at separate items to get to 16.

  4. Heirloom vegetable seeds! These are likely to become worth their weight in gold in the coming decade. Buy genuine heirloom, pre-sealed in containers specifically for longterm storage, and store them in the freezer for longest term viability.
    Chocolate bars are another extremely valuable barter item in a SHTF scenario.

  5. Don’t forget tax statements, voter registration cards and Obama bumper stickers!

  6. “Tide detergent on the black market” — are you serious? Go on, show me the black market.
    With links and quotes please.

  7. Big trash bags. Multiple uses: rain poncho, tarp/tent, latrine liner, etc…

  8. Don’t forget about Salt – it is essential to the body.

  9. Richard Brooks

    Radio and spare batteries. (Ham radio better.)
    Rope, cord and string.
    Knife and hand tools.
    Rags, towels and blankets.
    Socks and under ware.

    • A wind up radio and several wind up flashlights.

      Seal those socks and underwear in vacuum sealed bags using your Foodsaver unit.

      Foodsaver is a great instrument for preserving things you do not wish to get wet of absorb oxygen. Firearms can be sealed in Foodsaver bags. Keeps them ready for use and they can’t rust.

      Foodsaver bags can also be used to make your own MREs using select foods.

  10. I’d add flour and noodles. Nothing better to help calm a panicked family than a good smelling/ tasting meal. Flour for baked bread (solar oven) and noodles for the rabbit stew – or Spotted owl, Condor, Bald eagle, Kangaroo rat, Fairy shrimp, Kit fox etc….

  11. Tarps, rope (for shelters). Camping gear. Bottles of propane (for lanterns, camp stoves, heaters). Canned meats.

  12. Have lots of canned fruits, beans, tomatoes, and other food items that have fluids
    and needed nutrition. Might be better than MREs.

  13. Herbert A. Good

    It is very easy to make wine. You need a large bottle, a fermentation lock, a solution to kill the natural yeast, some dry yeast packs, and something in which to store the product. Wine can be made from lots of things beside grapes, such as potato peals, just throw away the first soaking. You can boost the alcohol content be using a little (very little) sugar when you bottle it. If you decide to learn how, at least when I made it (1960), you will need to fill out an application for a permit. Once you get the hang of it you may discover that the natural yeast of your ingredients will suffice. A little water and rice and you can produce a Sake at about 18% alcohol. It’s great fun to drink some from the time you bottle it, every week until it is complete, just to experience how the taste changes as it ages. If the water is questionable, you can always make beer. Beer and wine make great trade items, items you can replenish in five or six weeks.

  14. coffee, soda, razors, baby wipes, tampons, pain meds, vitamins, solar lights, trail mix, beef jerky, cooking oil

  15. How about aspirin,ibuprofrin and various pain killers??

    • Excellent suggestions! I have been reading several stories lately about shortages of many prescription drugs. Combine that with recent recalls of a number of popular OTC NSAIDs and you can easily see why a supply of ibuprofen would be a valuable barter item.

  16. The important novel, One Second After, puts together a nightmare scenario of the aftermath from an EMP (Electo-magnetic Pulse), as it knocks civilization back 2-500 years.
    Most of what has been offered are reinforced by the list and contributor recommendations.
    Can you give consideration to vintage autos that would not have the sophisticated electronics that will cause autos to stop in their tracks? What kinds of antibiotics could survive for a long period without refrig? Sulfa?

    • I have always heard having a pre-1979 truck is a great SHTF vehicle because it doesn’t have the onboard computers like modern vehicles, which makes them more likely to operate after an EMP.

      Not sure about the antibiotics – hoping someone can address your question here in the comments.

      • Antibiotics can be bought, without prescription, at animal feed stores. Obviously you have to adjust the dosage down to human levels.

      • I use liquid “Colloidal Silver”. You can buy it from Natural Path Silver Wings. Great stuff. You can use it orally or topically.

        • It is my understanding that an EMP would also affect all batteries, which in turn would not allow one to start the vehicles in question. Any protection for the batteries?

    • It has been a long time but I think the vehicles with points in their distributors for their ignition instead of electronic ignition will work. It will be many of the cars and trucks used prior to1973?? Different cars and different years converted to electronic ignitions because it kept better timing than the old point system.
      Do some homework on your own and let us know!

  17. Conservative Bob

    A good list; I’d add basic heavy duty woodcraft [camping] tools as well as a quality set of gardening tools. Just imagine a year-long camping trip in your own back yard or your ‘safe place.’ Except if TEOTWAWKI happens it won’t be fun, and there won’t be any opportunity to reprovision!

  18. My criteria for barter items post-SHTF scenarios are these: the item must be hard for the average person to obtain or make (think things not locally produced or that are imported); easy to store and transport, doesn’t spoil or go stale, and available in small quantities, sizes or easily divisible into small units. I also look at what has been valuable and used for barter at other times throughout history. Sugar and salt meet my criteria- salt especially since it is a biological necessity and I think would be in high demand by those not living near the ocean or an area with salt mines. In addition to storing bags of sugar and salt, I grab extra packets at the fast food joints. Ditto with the small soaps, shampoos and body lotions in the hotel rooms when I travel- I stash what I don’t use every day and let the room cleaner replenish. Airline size bottles of liquor-while distilling is not that hard, the average person will not have the skills or equipment, and alcohol has multiple uses. Roasted coffee will be near impossible to come by and goes stale, but green coffee beans can be stored for a couple of years and coffee can be roasted, ground and brewed without electricity. Right now green coffee beans are also about half the price of roasted coffee.

  19. All great ideas and very helpful. * I was thinking nail clippers too.

  20. I am curious about the readers emphasizing salt on the grounds of it being a biological necessity. While I have never subscribed to the mainstream notion that salt is bad for you, I only very rarely add salt to my diet. Why would one suddenly develop such a need for salt in a SHTF scenario?
    Now, as a commodity that people want – not need – and which may be in short supply, I can see salt being of value.
    If I am missing something here, please point it out to me!

    • Salt has Iodine in it (if you buy Iodized salt) and that helps the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, a main endocrine gland in the neck, preventing goiters and hypothroidism. Salt, will also become more of a necessity when one actually “works” on the land again, due to the loss of large amounts of sodium in sweat. Something many of us need do more of sooner, rather than later, anyway : )

    • SALT is an essential nutrient for the body, it is required for blood, sweat, digestive juices, efficient nerve transmission and cognitive function.
      Iodized Salt helps prevent iodine deficiency diseases, one of the main causes of mental retardation in children.
      Low salt levels can result in stroke, heart attack and immediate onset of insulin resistance and also contributes to type 2 diabetes.
      These are just a few items of why Salt is important.
      As Steve said, when working and sweating you loose the salt in your body. If you have ever been really hot and sweaty, did you notice being light headed and actually nauseous? A sign you need salt.

      • Iodized salt was invented to combat goiter and has been quite successful in delivering iodine to the public.

    • If you eat ANY processed foods, you are already getting plenty of salt in your diet. Table salt is a very small part of the total salt in anyone’s diet.

    • A lot depends on climate. If you live in a tropical climate, the salt in your body needs replacing from when you sweat. In colder climates its not as important as you may ingest enough salt just in the food you eat, especially if tinned or mre’s. Don’t to take climate into account when putting together your shtf storage.

    • For normal everyday working and shopping, we get more than enough sodium in our diets from processed food. If you use table salt as well, most likely you’re also getting the iodine you need in your diet, since as it’s been said most table salt is iodized salt.

      But take it from a US Soldier – salt is an essential part of the hydration process of your body. I know that sounds backwards. Everyone knows that drinking saltwater is bad for you. But it doesn’t dehydrate you, as many people mistakenly think. It’s osmosis. Salt (when not in saltwater) actually helps the body absorb water. I know this from experience. Ninety degrees under the sun and in full kit, running battle drills and exercises and just doing standard work, you sweat almost faster than you can drink water. The worst part is when you’ve been drinking enough water to keep you hydrated, you know you’ve have, but now you’re starting to feel sick to your stomach and getting the first symptoms of heat exhaustion.

      Guess what? Time to pull out that salt packet you saved from your MRE and eat it. Just don’t actually put it in water.

      Besides which, in a SHTF scenario where there is a full on barter system, most likely we’ll no longer have access to processed foods and their ungodly amounts of sodium. So even though you get enough in your daily diet now, it’s still probably going to be something you’ll need after the SHTF.

    • Salt…nowadays is in everything. Take a good look at just about any food you buy and it seems its already added in somewhere. After SHTF when those that have the know how to prepare there own foods will need the salt as they will need to add it themselves.

  21. Salt has many uses besides seasoning food. Curing meat being one of them. I’m sure many here have more ideas.

  22. Dietary supplements will be helpful and new one I have added is Anatabloc. Keyword search that miracle discovery and scour the www for everything written about anatabine and why it’s so important in controlling chronic low grade inflammation. Everyone suffers from its affect and can be devastating.

    • Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc/D3/Vitamin C/Etc. supplements are very important, especially as the limits of a diet will depend on what you have to survive on when the SHTF.

  23. Just a helpful hint. Matches are, of course, essential to any survival kit. On my second camping trip as a child we suffered a severe storm, and everything we had was quickly soaked. Before our next campout, I dumped out a box of matches, laid out a long strip of waxed paper and spent the time to dip each match in parafin. Worked like a charm. You can store the bloody things a pail of water without ruining them! And if you don’t want to take the time to get them back into the box, lay them neatly on the waxed paper so that you can simply roll it up.

  24. I just ordered wild oregano oil, this is the antibiotic and pharmacy in a bottle. Read the information at the website Hedd Wyn Essentials.

    • OREGANOL P73 is one of the best, since it is made using the wild mountain grown European wild oregano that only grows in a particular region of Europe. The book, The Cure Is In The Cupboard explains the WIDE variety of uses very comprehensively. Also, check out the book, Death by Diet by Robert Barefoot, which explains the bodies need for and uses of calcium in a way we don’t often hear of today.

  25. It’s important to focus on basics, if you don’t have a lot of money, like most people don’t, to prepare. What does everyone need, to survive? Remember the ‘Rule of Threes’: You can live for 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks, without food. Don’t tempt fate! 1) Water, 2) Food, 3) Clothing, 4) Shelter. If you start there, and focus on those – you’ll be able to begin this process more effectively. Focus on those 4 things, first, and foremost. Then, be sure to have some SILVER, on hand. Pre-1965 dimes, quarters, halves, or silver dollars – these were minted by the U.S. Government, and therefore, are LEGAL TENDER. Below are additional items, for greater self-reliance, and/or for possible barter, in an economic (total) collapse-type scenario:

    In addition to the above list, I’d like to add several items for your consideration, in no particular order: 1) SALT. 2) Aspirin, vital multivitamins, and any prescribed medicines (60-day supply). 3) SEEDS (Heirloom, Organic, Non-GMO). 4) Small, portable sewing kit, military-style. 5) NEEM OIL (insect repellant). 6) EXTRA TOILETRIES – toothpaste, toothbrushes, shavers, shave cream/soap, deoderent, shampoo, haircut scissors, skin lotion, lip balm, sunscreen, etc. 7) Hearing protection. 8) Safety/sun-glasses. 9) N-95 or similar respiratory mask(s). 10) A good book on edible plants. 11) Durable, long-lasting clothing/shoes/boots. 12) For cold weather, use silk base-layer (long-johns), or fleece, or wool – avoid cotton. 13) Headlamp(s) and hand-crank LED lantern, flashlight. 14) Waterproof, storm-proof lighter. 15) Solar-powered battery chargers and rechargeable batteries. 16) Atomic clock. 17) Magnesium firestarter, and small magnifying glass. 18) Hand-crank NOAA weather radio. 19) Multi-tool. 20) 2-way radio with rechargeable batteries and 2-mile range. 21) Durable, quality watch such as the Timex Expedition series. 22) Sven saw, or folding saw. 23) Folding shovel. 24) Trauma-Pak with QuickClot (just in case you ever need it). 25) Work gloves. 26) “Boony-hat” or similar to shield head from long exposure to sunlight. 27) Waterproof “otter” boxes or hermetically-resealable plastic containers for cell phones, other electronic gadgets, thumb-drives, important documents, etc. 28) Extra garbage bags. 29) Duct tape (Duluth Trading Co. has excellent duct tape!) 30) First Aid book. 31) Extra olive oil. 32) Extra baking soda. 33) Solar calculator. 34) “Bug-out bag”. 35) Sleeping bag, tent. 36) Don’t forget about extra pet food, for your pet. 37) Extra large zip-lock (slider lock) “freezer” bags. 38) Guns, knives – for self-protection. 39) Body armor. 40) Medical supplies.

    • Pretty much all of those electronic devices will likely be wiped out with an EMP. Even if they are properly stored and do survive there won’t be any local radio service to listen to. Maybe just some hams with old fashioned vacuum tube gear would be on the air.

  26. Additionally, 1) Trangia (portable) camping stove, 2) Methylated spirits (fuel, for the Trangia portable camping stove): http://www.wikihow.com/Use-a-Trangia-Camping-Stove

    Alternatively, or conjointly – another alternative method of cooking: 1) Camp Chef Over-The-Fire Cooking Grills, or Mini-Weber Grill: http://www.cabelas.com/product/Camping/Outdoor-Cooking/Camp-Grills

    Also – TOYS. Games, puzzles, crosswords, books, portable chess-set, etc.

    The above information, on this page alone – if used well – is enough to make it through just about ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

  27. For anyone with the opportunity to hunt medium to large game in warm weather, a large shaker container of ordinary black pepper, to keep flies off your fresh meat.

  28. You can make laundry detergent and dish soap very cheaply to barter. Click on my name to find out how and visit the Cleaning Category.

  29. Colloidal Silver is better than antibiotics (which compromise the immune system). Make a generator and brew your own. Easy to do and a great bartering item. CS fights infections (I’ve used it on staph) and will make a tooth abcess disappear overnight (worked on my daughter). Google is a wonderful thing.

  30. Sounds like I need to buy a rural grocery store and put a sign in the window CLOSED FOR BUSINESS (except if you have something I want).

  31. I would add that in a SHTF scenario mechanical clocks and watches and mechanical typewriters.

    I repair and sell antique time pieces. They will be the only way of measuring time if the grid goes down permanently as in an EMP.
    I have terrible handwriting so I instantly thought of getting a typewriter, paper, ribbons and white out, etc.

    Antique timepieces will always increase in value and also be a good barter product. Buy modern windup clocks and watches. They’re not made as well but will last as long as you’ll need them and not be affected by EMP’s or need batteries replaced.

    Stock up on watch batteries if that’s the kind of watch you have.

    Well – I just increased my costs by sharing this. But – we ARE all in this together.

  32. SALT…right now 40-50 cents a can…used for flavor, dehidration, and preserving meats.

  33. If you are going to be hunkered down in a northern climate; vitamin C could be life saving if you don’t have a supply of fruits and veggies on hand. We are one of the few mammals that does not make our own, and if deficient; you will contract scurvy. Also, Vitamin D for immunity boosting during winter.

  34. 17. Camp stove
    18. Kerosene lanterns
    19. Plenty of stove and lantern fuel
    20. Camping propane gas stove
    21. Propane tanks
    22. Plenty of firewood
    23. MUSHROOMS! Grow these nutritious things indoors year round! No sunlight required. Learn how to use them! It’s a growing cottage industry.
    24. In many areas natural gas wells supply a whole farm and also run back-up gnerators for uninterrupted gas and electricity for power, heat, a/c and pumping water.
    25. Best water system I’ve found requires no electricity is Kinetico.
    Incidentally, common water softening salt neutralizes uranium or radio activity in drinking water. But still run it through a water filter after the salt treatment in the water softener.
    26. Seeds – Others have mentioned seeds

  35. get a clark jungle hammock and sleep off the ground. no bugs. no ants. no water. no rocks, roots. easy to setup and you will wake up with no pain,dry,well rested and the setup weighs 4 lbs for the deluxe version. i only wish i had discovered this 30 years ago. hardest part is choosing which 2 trees to use.:)

  36. Honey will last a long time. It is great for healing, burns, sore throats, sweetner. Baking soda will help to neutralize and cleanse. Hydrogen peroxide is a great germ killer, bleach and disinfectant. Save old rags. They are good for everything.

  37. Matches – you may need to look to find them, but you want “strike anywhere” matches – NOT the common strike on the box matches since a damp box makes lighting these matches almost impossible! Also, keep a supply of the stick matches in an old pill bottle and pad the top with some cotton (which can be frayed to make an excellent fire starter.)
    MRE’s – in addition to the food contents, keep a stock of the fire starter packets found in many MRE’s.
    Duct tape – as already mentioned, dust tape is the universal repair product and a great barter item. For things you can’t fix/repair/seal with duct tape…
    Wire – a spool of wire is always handy and has 1000 uses.

  38. I don’t know if someone already suggested colloidal silver, for antibiotic.

  39. For the person who asked- SHTF = Sh*t Hitting The Fan. Secondly Folks please READ the Header, this is NOT a list of things to Store. It’s a list of goods or items to TRADE or BARTER. If you you want to list storage items Wrong place!

  40. Clothes line and clothes pins might come in handy. Not many people have these anymore…

  41. If I buy all this stuff, how many people will I have to kill to protect it all? I remember watching the beast behavior of people after the police trials in the Rodney King event. Now I’m trying to imagine many mobs of hungry, ANGRY, selfish, armed people that will want to get my stores of goods, but not to barter. I hope I never have to experience an answer to this question. I really hate the idea of have to kill so many.

    • I was thinking the same thing and actually just asked my husband. He said ‘Ill be happy to sit outside and shoot people all day long.’ lol. Such a man.

    • True enough, but on the other hand it’s better to be the one who is prepared and is defending than to be the one without the means to live of feed the family who goes out looking for someone to rob or kill.

  42. I was thinking rat traps?
    In a SHTF situation, I’m pretty sure people would want to keep pests out of their food storage if they’re having problems. Who knows, even use them as traps to hunt?
    Just a suggestion.

  43. A drying rack for clothes. A countertop handcranked “washing machine”. Any sales buy two, four, six whatever. Bullion cubes. Packs of hot chocolate, tea bags, instant oat meal. Some things may get a bit stale, but I think expiration dates will be out of fashion. Even Wal-Mart has heirloom seeds now. Seal up and put in frig.
    Old books, cards, butane lighters, inexpensive LED flashlight. Neat LED light to clip on your cap — only 4 or 5 dollars!
    Just start! The more of us who are prepared, the better.

  44. Quick question. Would an EMP take out all electronics or just electronics that were on at the time of the event?

    And items I’d like to suggest, body armour.

    Whoever mentioned seeds, it was very good suggestion because you likely wont be able to get fresh fruit and veg in WTSHTF scenario, and that will affect your health and skin. You can make do for a certain amount of time on the tinned fruit and veg but that loses the vitamins and minerals, has a lot less than fresh so to be able to grow your own is an excellent idea. Fruit and Veg that are easy to grow where you live and possibly indoors if you have to.

    Heating – wood/coal/multi-fuel burning stove? If Winters get bad where you live, you need a backup plan if gas and electric go down.

    Something of value to buy things with and use as currency in place of your local/national currency e.g. gold or silver. With those two metals it may even be a good idea to not just have pure gold coins, bullion bars, but to also have items that are only 9ct etc, small tradable items like rings. I believe in worst case scenarios when you are dealing on street, black market, grey market etc for goods, you are only going to be dealing with the “junk gold” rates not the real full pure 22ct gold etc price. The people you’re likely to be dealing with will not know the difference and everything will be the lower impure rates unless of course you’re taking it to a bank or someone who does know the true value of your Eagle, Britannia, Maple Leaf or bar.

    And before TSHTF best to get anything sorted that needs sorting e.g. dental work etc.

  45. Inside Lamps, outside lanterns, lamp oil is safer, kerosene and Kerosene heaters

  46. For longer-term use and bartering, canning lids are inexpensive, take up little space, and due to their one-time use, are likely to be in short supply.

    Also, as a comment to the concern about having to guard all your stuff, that is true – but you might reduce the risk if you only trade in small quantities, only trade when >you< need something, and don't let it be known that it be that you have a lot of good stuff.

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