I want to answer this question on Homebrew.SE, but I'm at an uncharacteristic loss for words.

One example of the concept I'm trying to describe is gold that had heretofore been sitting in people's jewelry boxes or bottom drawers. With skyrocketing prices, more people became more aware that they were sitting on a valuable resource, and thus brought that resource to market.

For some reason, my brain is trapped on the metaphor of dark matter, which is not apt.

What would you call that untapped inventory? "Untapped inventory"?

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    Why get hung up with the word "inventory"? Untapped reserves, untapped resources, realisable assets, etc. are all far more common expressions. Much depends on context, obviously, but only commercial organisations would have inventories in the first place. Anyone can have unrealised assets in the attic or a bottom drawer. – FumbleFingers Mar 8 '12 at 19:16
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    I'm not hung up on the word "inventory". It's just the only one my brain can come up with at the moment. "Reserves" is great. – Rich Armstrong Mar 8 '12 at 19:38

I would go with untapped reserves.

For what it's worth, untapped inventory does in fact appear to be used in just such a sense. I googled it for a cursory confirmation, and came up with a considerable 438 results, most of which apply to this context.

However, untapped reserves rings truer to my ear, and Google comes up with 885 results. Though untapped resources is even more common, it often means something slightly different - describing more of an ignored type of resource than an hidden stash of a popular type of resource. (E.g. a secret gold stash would be untapped reserves, but palladium might be an untapped resource.)

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  • "Untapped reserves" is good, but could apply to something like the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which we know about and just haven't tapped. I'm looking for something that the holder does not know has increased in value, which is brought to market by that increase. – Rich Armstrong Mar 8 '12 at 19:40
  • You could consider unrealized reserves or unrealized assets, as FumbleFingers suggests above. It's stronger on that point, but you can still use unrealized to refer to assets/reserves you already know about, but simply haven't made full profit from. Google shows 267 results for the former and 784 for the latter. – Daniel Mar 8 '12 at 19:45
  • I'm not sure there is a specific term only for reserves which are not even known to exist. I suspect it's probably because that specific concept isn't an important one in economics; the broader term untapped reserves (and the rest) will suit economists quite well. – Daniel Mar 8 '12 at 19:51

Nouns for the inventory could be:

  • Cache (means hidden supply)

  • Stockpile

  • Repository

  • Hoard

But you wanted a word for the act of bringing the item to market. Maybe trade in or simply sell.

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