Many people build their investment portfolios with securities, but stockpiling gold and silver coins as a way of building wealth dates back thousands of years. And, with good reason: Gold and silver are valuable commodities, and their prices are considered a fairly reliable indicator of the health and wealth of nations. Even though precious metal coin sales transactions are fairly uncomplicated, you need to use your eagle eye to spot good deals.
About Market Prices
Keeping track of gold and silver prices as they rise and fall on a daily basis could keep you from getting ripped off. Gold and silver are traded on commodities exchanges such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange. You can monitor gold prices on any financial news website that keeps track of stock market statistics. The price of precious metals is based on 1 ounce -- about 31 grams -- of pure metal. Prices fluctuate daily, depending on supply and demand. As of publication, the price of silver runs about $30 per ounce and the price of gold runs about $1,550 per ounce.
Investment-quality gold and silver coins contain 99 percent of the pure metal. Furthermore, the price of a used coin doesn't drop just because its previously owned. However, retailers usually price new gold and silver coins at market prices plus a markup. You might get a discount if you buy your coins in bulk. If you and your spouse wish to buy new gold and silver coins with no scratches or dents, the United States Mint, the most famous mint in America, sells them in its online store and on site in Denver, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Bullion coins are available through many brokerage firms and participating banks, from which you may purchase them at the prevailing market price of the metal and an added fee that helps cover the costs of coining and distribution. You also can buy such coins on the websites of reputable coin retailers such as the American Precious Metals Exchange (apmex.com) or the Northwest Territorial Mint (nwtmint.com). Reputable coin sellers usually offer live customer service and post their return policy on their websites. If you wish to examine coins first-hand, contact coin dealers in your area.
Used and Historic Coins
If you want to buy used or historic gold and silver coins, estate sales, pawn shops and auctions are the best places to shop. You also may make purchases from auction websites. You can usually negotiate a sales price with used and historic coin dealers, but it's best to be cautious. To get a deal at your price and terms, browse merchandise and ask questions. Write down information about the coins and research their history online or at the library. Confirm that the dealer has a written return policy that allows you to get your money back. Take used and historic gold and silver coins to an appraiser to confirm authenticity immediately after you buy.
Gold can be scratched, but it doesn't oxidize, meaning it doesn't tarnish and turn a yucky green or black color. However, silver can be scratched and also oxidizes. For this reason, it's best to leave them in the cases in which they come. You also can purchase coin storage containers from a coin dealer or a mint. When you are ready to sell -- whether in a few months or years down the road -- your coin collection's condition could facilitate a faster sale. The U.S. Mint recommends contacting your insurance company to confirm that your coin collection will be covered in case of theft or damage.
- United States Mint: Storing and Displaying Coins
- The Federal Trade Commission: Investing in Bullion and Bullion Coins
- CNN Money: Commodities
- Blanchard: U.S. Rare Gold Coins
- American Precious Metals Exchange: About Us
- Northwest Territorial Mint: About Us
- Electrical Contacts: Fundamentals, Applications and Technology; Milenko Braunovic et al.
- United States Mint: Facilities, Tours and Sales Counters
- United States Mint: Investors in Gold Have Another Choice
- Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
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