In my journal I wrote a couple weeks ago about the prices versus availability of precious metals, particularly silver. It seems to be even worse now, if I can take Kitco's selling site to be any indication.
Your choices are either to buy a large scale bars (the cheapest of which is an $11,000 silver bar), requiring a substantial cash outlay if you're middle or working class, or you can buy the sub 1 oz coins (and the Olympic edition Gold Maple), all of which trade at a substantial premium above spot price. Kitco still seems to be only offering a buy premium on silver at the moment.
More telling, I think, is that while gold and silver have been fairly volatile, trading up and down over the last week, the lease rates have been steadily climbing. Make of that what you will, but I think somebody somewhere knows that there's another time bomb ticking in the financial infrastructure somewhere. 2009 could be an interesting year in the so-called Chinese sense of the word.