Indeed, prior to 1900, the gold-to-silver ratio hovered around 16. This was likely because many countries were using gold- and silver-backed currencies. For instance, France and the United States (among others) assigned statutory limits on what the ratio could be.
Also, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there’s 17.5 times more silver in the Earth’s crust than gold, which could provide another explanation for the pre-1900 gold-to-silver ratio average.
My conclusion is that gold will continue to be the chief focus of those interested in finding a hedge against the profligacy of the world’s banking, monetary, and government regimes. However, silver seems to be undervalued, and I’m in both.