Many websites specialize in helping potential gold buyers evaluate their options.
When looking to buy gold online, make sure the website gives detailed information about the following elements surrounding a gold purchase:
GoldSilver is an excellent choice for gold purchasing, storage, and sales.
The U.S. shipping, handling, and insurance is free of charge through GoldSilver on orders of $499 and over!
There aren’t any minimums with GoldSilver—only a standard flat-rate shipping fee for every U.S. order, regardless of weight or dollar value.
Shipping to storage facilities in the U.S. is free for orders over $499 at GoldSilver.
International vault storage options are available through GoldSilver at the following locations:
Here is a link from GoldSilver’s website that will allow potential international buyers to gain more detailed information on their shipping process.
Through using GoldSilver, you can expect the following:
ITrust Capital is an IRA custodian offering gold IRAs. That means you can use your existing and future 401k savings to acquire gold over time and in a tax advantaged account.
The wonderful thing about ITrust is that it is the only Gold IRA that offers 24/7 trading via their online platform.
As with all Gold IRA’s, you will not be doing the custody. In the case of ITrust Capital, custody is handled through the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa and Winnipeg.
The minimum account size for ITrust is $1,000, so you need to make sure you have that much ready to invest into your IRA before you can open an account with them.
With ITrust you can count on low fees (only $50 above spot per ounce and a mere $29.99 flat-fee to pay for platform, storage, and reporting) as well as transparent pricing.
Part of what makes APMEX’s website so impressive is how extensive their catalog is. APMEX is based in the USA. When browsing for gold on APMEX’s site, users will find a plethora of options that are both well detailed and organized.
APMEX makes you feel like a precious metals expert. Their gold section is separated into the following categories to make sure you’re ahead of the curve:
With all of these options, you won’t have to feel lost in the numerous gold buying options.
It’s easy to sell to APMEX. You can request a quote, call the website, finalize your price, and pack it away for shipment. Once your purchase has made it to APMEX’s facility, APMEX will verify the products. After the evaluation, expect to get paid within a business day.
The minimum buy-back to sell to APMEX is $1,000.
Citadel provides top-notch security by parting with APMEX. The private storage facility is a partner of Brink’s, one of the world’s leading security company’s.
Shipping costs to APMEX storage facilities are affordable. For orders over $500, there isn’t a shipping fee—and for orders under $500, the shipping fee is $9.95. Once your orders are shipped, they are insured to protect against theft, damage, and loss.
Regal Assets stands as the #1 rated metals and crypto IRA company. Beginning with a small investment and a broad vision, Regal Assets sought to simplify the process of purchasing precious metal assets at a time when the industry was under a massive bureaucracy.
If you’re looking to add high-value metals to your investment portfolio or retirement account, look to Regal Assets. The goal at Regal Assets is to put clients first through a non-pushy approach to customer service that revolves around education.
Storage is taken seriously at Regal Assets. Customers are provided fully-insured storage at some of the lowest costs in the industry. When storing gold at Regal Assets, you can expect the following:
Storage at Regal Assets is a partner of security industry leader Brinks.
Since Regal Assets additionally focuses on amplifying investment portfolio’s, the selection of gold items is more refined. While more refined, you’ll find all the in-demand gold options that include the following:
SchiffGold works to provide gold buyers with a dealer they can trust. Staff at Schifgold work to make the process of buying gold as easy as understanding the value of purchasing gold.
Customers who are looking to purchase precious metals through SchiffGold can expect the following:
Selling gold to SchiffGold is a straightforward process that can be done in the following steps:
The live-pricing charts of gold on SchiffGold’s website are interactive and easy to understand.
Expect to be linked with some of the finest professional storage services at SchiffGold. With storage locations all over the world, you won’t be locked into a long-term commitment. Your vault will be protected 24/7 by vault guards and additional security features.
Bitcoin is recognized as a valid form of payment when purchasing gold and silver on SchiffGold.
If you’re looking to diversify your bullion collection, SchiffGold offers a page on their website dedicated to advertising limited edition gold bullion. These products are limited by the governments that distribute them.
Schiffgold confidently recommends coins such as the Canadian Gold Wolf to more serious investors.
You won’t have to decide between low prices and quality service when working through SchiffGold. The purity and authenticity of every product are guaranteed. Prices are competitive, and sales members provide help with a low-pressure approach.
You will most likely have to pay extra shipping fees if you’re an international buyer. Storing your gold after you’ve purchased it online is one of the essential parts of buying gold.
A lot of quality gold selling websites emphasize their style of customer storage. Gold buying websites frequently put the purchases in the buyer’s name and ship them to a private storage vault.
One benefit of buying gold online is convenience. Once gold is under a buyer’s name in a personal vault, investors can easily add to their gold assets with just a few clicks.
However, if you are buying gold as a protection against a SHTF (Shit Hits the Fan) scenario where you think dollars will be worthless, you should custody your gold yourself and not allow a company to hold it for you.
It’s important to note that chances are, you’re going to receive higher prices when buying gold at smaller, local coin shops. Smaller coin shops have both limited sales and inventory levels, which make them charge higher premiums.
Watch out for local dealers that have prices that seem too good to be true. Some gold scammers will present more than fair prices while stalling orders and providing non-existent customer service.
When seeking a place to buy gold locally, look for the following:
While some people prefer buying gold at a local shop, purchasing gold online is the safest and most convenient way to acquire gold.
Let’s access the pros and cons of buying gold locally, in-person:
Buying gold coins from a bank is recommended. Many banks in the U.S. sell gold coins, although many won’t publish that information on their website to minimize security risks.
Visit the U.S. Mint website and utilize their authorized dealer directory to get information on what banks near you sell gold coins.
An additional method of acquiring information on a bank selling gold coins is to call the bank. While the bank may not advertise the information on their website, they’ll be happy to give information to potential buyers.
Purchasing gold coins from a bank comes highly recommended since the risk of the buyer being ripped off is drastically lower due to heavy regulation and straightforward dealings with the U.S. Mint.
Websites such as BullionVault offer allows users to invest privately in gold while accessing professional bullion markets. When looking for lower costs in buying, selling, or storing gold, look no further than BullionVault!
BullionVault sits as the world’s largest online investment gold service and is co-owned by GBIT and Augmentum Capital.
Storage is a priority at BullionVault. Physical gold exists through BullionVault in professional vaults located in New York, London, Toronto, Zurich, or Singapore. Since BullionVault is a large company, they’re able to negotiate lower storage prices that always include insurance.
Sometimes selling gold comes at a penalty, but not with BullionVault. Users of BullionVault can sell at any time with no penalties and will receive their money through wire transfer the following day.
Do you know what you want and are looking to cut to the chase? No problem! You can purchase gold through BullionVault in about two hours.
Let’s wrap up our evaluation of BullionVault by pointing out the reasons you should buy and store with them:
Similar to buying gold, it’s essential to shop around for the right person to sell your gold. If you purchase gold from a reputable website such as one of the sites we explore below, there is a fair chance they have an established seller program.
Before you start shopping your gold around online, have your gold’s price estimated by individuals such as local jewelers. Go to three or four stores for estimates.
Watch out for ‘rogue’ buyers. Rogue buyers are individuals who go from town to town with pop up shops that tend to undercut the value of gold owner’s assets so the rogue buyer can turn a profit. They also exist online.
If the person buying gold from you doesn’t ask to see your I.D. or doesn’t have a state-issued license to purchase gold, it’s best to take your gold elsewhere.
One strategy rogue buyers can use to undercut sellers is weighing the gold with a system called pennyweight. A pennyweight equals 1.555 grams so that a pennyweight would give the seller less money instead of standard gram measurement.
You’ll have a better chance of getting the best value for selling your gold if you go through an accredited gold buying and selling a website, such as one of the sites listed above. Many online sellers are continually looking to expand their inventory.
Online sites such as eBay, Craigslist, and other online websites have platforms geared explicitly toward the gold trade.
The online vendors listed above are our top recommendations. However, there are other methods to buy physical gold, including:
Local Coins Shops/Bullion Dealers – Local coin shops in your area may offer a decent way to purchase physical gold. However, this varies greatly by region, and the quality of coin shops in your area. Premiums over spot price may not be as competitive as online dealers, and the potential for fakes/counterfeit coins may be higher. If you choose to buy from a local coin dealer, make sure to do your research beforehand to identify the best option in your area.
Other Collectors & Investors – If you know other people who collect or invest in gold, you can make direct purchases from them. There are also online forums and other resources you can use to work with other collectors. While you can sometimes score better deals this way, the potential for fakes, scams and even robberies is far higher – so in general we do not recommend this method for buying physical gold.
Through a Retirement Account – Most gold investors are aware of the potential to invest in gold ETFs and mutual funds through their retirement accounts. However, few are aware that some retirement accounts (particularly self-directed IRAs) allow for the purchase of physical gold bullion. Rules are complex and highly dependent on the administrator of your plan, so if you go this route you will have to do your own research.
Through a Broker with Secured Storage – Another unique way to buy physical gold but not actually take possession of it is to purchase through a gold broker that offers secure off-site storage. Popular options include BullionVault.com and GoldSilver.com. With these companies, you do technically own physical gold, but the broker will store it for you until you decide to take possession. This method is not for everyone, but presents an interesting option to consider for hands-off investors.
In the end, the most important thing to remember when it comes to buying physical gold coins is that you need to work with a company you can trust. Be cautious of newer vendors who lack a reputation, and keep an eye out for any red flags. If in doubt, stick to very reputable vendors like those listed on this guide.
The difference between coins and rounds is simple. Coins are legal tender, and they are produced by government mints, such as the US Mint and the Royal Canadian mint. Rounds are round, like coins, but they are manufactured by private mints, and they are not legal tender. Coins have a face value, such as $1 on the American Eagle and $5 on the Canadian Maple Leaf. Obviously, the face value has no connection to reality. Rounds do not have a face value.
Coins and rounds are usually produced in 1-ounce sizes, though you can also buy them in other weights, such as fractional or one-ounce multiples. Government mints around the world produce the coins and back their purity and weight. The year in which the coin was minted is stamped on the coin, as well as the coin’s purity. The purity ranges from .999 to .9999.
Most coins maintain the same designs for decades, except for Silver Chinese Pandas, which I believe get a new design annually on one side, the panda side. Rounds come in all kinds of designs, everything from cartoon characters to holiday themes. I’ve even seen silver rounds with pictures of Bigfoot on them.
While buying gold in person has it’s pros, purchasing gold online is the best choice to make. Increased accessibility, lower prices, and more inventory options should be enough reasoning to make your next gold purchase online.
Don’t worry about the security of buying online. Reputable brokers such as the websites mentioned above insure packages and are partnered with top-notch security facilities.
Let's now delve more deeply into each of the best coin seller sites online so you can find the best one for you.
There is no single best answer for everyone, and much of it will depend on what you want to buy or sell and how you want to pay.
Money Metals Exchange serves to guard a customers’ precious metal assets against financial disaster and dollar devaluation. The program is reputable as industry rating group Bullion named Money Metals “Dealer of the Year.”
75,000 customers and 500,000 readers make up the Money Metals website.
Stefan Gleason founded Money Metals Exchange in 2010. Gleason founded Money Metals in 2010 due to growing frustration over national advertisers that marked up coins 50-100% over their melt value.
Before creating Money Metals, Stefan Gleason was the president of a nationally distributed newsletter that aimed to help subscribers protect their investor rights, freedoms, and privacy. With the growing success of Money Metals, Stefan Gleason has appeared on networks such as CNBC’s, Fox, CNN, and C-SPAN.
Clint Seigner is a co-manager and leading editor of money metals.
Seigner’s efforts include the following:
Mike Gleason is the second co-manager. Focuses of Mike Gleason include the following:
Domestic shipping includes fixed prices with monthly plans. International shipping options are also available.
The following options are available as payment methods when working through Money Metals:
Yes! Money Metals does sell both Gold and Silver Eagles.
You can buy American Gold Eagles on Money Metals in the following weight classes:
Silver Eagles on Money Metals’ website are sold in units of one troy oz.
You can even buy proofed gold and silver coins on Money Metals. Proof coinage is rare, early samples of the coin type.
The Money Metals Exchange ‘Weekly Market Wrap’ Podcast is a podcast hosted by Money Metals co-manager Mike Gleason.
Each episode of the podcast is under 30 minutes, which allows listeners to get valuable precious metal investment info directly. ‘Weekly Market Wrap’ episodes contain guests that often offer their expertise regarding the precious metals industry.
The podcast is under Apple’s business podcast genre and has a favorable rating of four stars from users.
Be sure to listen weekly to get the most up-to-date information.
Starter kits through Money Metals take the hassle out of people’s first precious metal investment and are for beginners. Half the trouble of investing in gold and silver is simply getting started—and Money Metals understands that.
You can invest in both gold and silver with the Money Metals starter kit.
Since coins through the starter kit are privately minted, you save money with lower premiums that are above melt value.
Price transparency is an essential benefit of purchasing a Money Metals starter kit. Frequently, buyers of gold and silver are ripped off by dealer markup or independent hustlers.
It’s essential to have different sizes of coins so you can sell the smaller set of coins during a potential financial crisis without losing the bulk of your investment.
If you’re looking for a well-rounded, substantial core investment to secure your future, look toward purchasing a Money Metals starter kit.
Not only can you sell bullion to Money Metals, but they also make the process as easy as possible for you. Investors who are looking to sell are usually looking to sell quickly and always at the highest price.
Money Metals sells at low premiums and buyback prices that are above most other competitors.
Don’t worry about whether you can sell the metal you purchased from Money Metals as they buyback any metal they sell.
Precious metals owners can also sell items to Money Metals that they bought from other retailers. All it takes is a simple phone call to lock your sales price.
Make sure to get specific information on the types of precious metal you are looking to sell before placing a phone call to Money Metals looking to sell.
To help students combat the rising costs of higher education, Money Metals teamed up with the Sound Money Defense League to introduce the first gold-backed scholarship in modern times.
Both groups set aside 100 ounces of physical gold that translates to scholarships for students adept in the areas of economic policy and monetary policy. The total amount awarded is $6,000, with $2000 being the highest amount awarded and $500 being the lowest amount.
To apply for the scholarship, you must be the following:
Students looking to apply just need to submit an essay and an application form.
One of the longest standing currencies to date, that’s withstood the test of time even in the face of rising, and falling nations is gold. It’s a highly precious metal and, for centuries, has been the lynchpin holding civilizations together in both war and peace.
Because of its inherent stability, dependability, and security, It’s no surprise that some of the smartest investors choose to invest in gold. As a precious metal commodity, investing in it is one of the best ways of increasing your real tangible assets.
However, it’s not just a commodity but also has the characteristics and behavior of monetary assets. Its inverse relationship with the dollar is the only common feature it has with other commodities from an investment standpoint.
That said, because it’s barely exposed to the fluctuation of business cycles, it’s less volatile to market conditions and is relatively stable in times of financial distress. This makes it a great investment vehicle for hedging your portfolio against changing market conditions.
Investing in gold and adding it to an IRA is one of the best ways of safeguarding your retirement while simultaneously increasing its value. Now, if you’re here, you’re probably wondering if JM Bullion is competent enough to handle your IRA account.
In this JM Bullion review, we’ll be putting the precious metal vendor under a microscope to help you decide whether you should invest in their bullions or have them be custodians of your gold-backed IRA account.
Without further ado, here’s our detailed JM Bullion review. But first,
JMBullion is a Dallas, Texas-based online retailer that specializes in selling precious metals and their products. As a precious metal dealer, JMBullion offers its investors a unique opportunity to purchase gold, silver, and other precious metals and have them shipped directly to their front door.
They primarily sell physical bullions, i.e., from coins to bullets to rounds to bars to coins to statues. Quality is at the heart of their service, and they maintain it by working directly with precious metals distributors and mints to ensure the products investors receive are of exceptional quality.
Having been founded in the fall of 2011 by Jonathan Wanchalk and Michael Wittmeyer, JMBullion has remained true to its mission, which is to help investors worldwide own physical bullions instead of owning precious metals on paper.
The company first opened its doors in Lancaster, PA, where it would remain for the first two years of its life. Michael and Jonathan started way back when the average weekly asking price for gold per Troy ounce was about $1,755.52, and that of silver was $37.24.
Fast-forward nine months later, and JMBollion hit its first $100,000 sales a day, a significant milestone in the life of the company, especially when you consider that it was a two-person job. With it’s first-anniversary just around the corner, Jonathan and Michael hired their first employee.
Now a little over a year old, with more than a few employees and sales going through the roof, JMBullion hit $ 1M in sales. Riding their wave of success, JMBullion made a critical decision to maintain their growth trajectory; they moved to Dallas, Texas.
The move was aimed at improving market penetration and help the company to access a much wider talent pool. And the move paid off, because two months later and the company had grown their customer base to over 100,000 customers.
With sales going through the roof, an exponentially growing customer base and workforce, JMBullion got its first monumental recognition. Having recently ventured into Dallas, the company acquired the number one rank in Dallas 100 in 2015.
Barely a year after its move to Dallas, Texas, JMBullion delivered its one-millionth order since its inception back in 2011. This was a testament to its continued growth, reach, and popularity.
Soon after, the company made it to the Inc. 500 and came in at number 40 as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the US, competing with big names like Microsoft, Oracle, etc.
JMBullion offers free shipping and shipping insurance on all orders over $99 and charges a base shipping fee of $3.99 on orders below $99. This allows customers to maximize the value of their orders, but they also provide shipping options on checkout.
However, it’s worth noting that JMBullion only ships to addresses in the US, and this includes shipping to P.O Boxes as well as military addresses. They also offer a variety of shipping carriers, but the two most popular ones are UPS and USPS.
They’re able to ship at a considerably low fee thanks to their base shipping carrier, but depending on the order, they allow customers to upgrade their shipping carrier during checkout. And because they know the value of discretion when shipping precious metals, they securely wrap your order in a protective package before placing it a shipping parcel with packing material to keep it safe.
They also allow customers to track their shipment from the moment you order to the moment your order arrives on your front door. They ship orders within a day of clearing payment and send you an email notification the moment your order is shipped.
As an online retailer for precious metals, the company provides a variety of payment options. They also have a transparent payment process that makes it extremely easy for customers to check out.
That said, they’ve laid out some conditions for each payment method to streamline the whole process. While they accept credit or debit cards, they need to have a minimum balance of $0 and a maximum balance of not less than $5,000 without discounts.
JMBullion supports the most popular online payment method, PayPal, albeit customers need to have a minimum balance of zero with a maximum of $10,000, and they don’t provide any discounts. To get a discount on your order, then we recommend using a Paper check, ACH, BankWire, or Bitcoin.
They offer 4% discounts on all orders paid through Paper Check, BankWire, and ACH. However, for Paper Check and ACH, customers need to have a minimum balance of $0 and a maximum balance of $50,000 and $10,000, respectively.
With Bank Wire transfers, JMBullion customers need to have a minimum account balance of $2,500 and a maximum of $250,000. To pay with Bitcoin, customers need to have a minimum balance of $0 and a maximum of $150,000, but they get to enjoy a 3% discount on all orders.
JMBullion has a variety of American Gold Eagle coins for sale at any one point. The iconic gold eagle coin featuring lady liberty created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1907 and a limited reverse design is one of their most popular products.
It was designed to be an accurate depiction of the country’s growing economy and usher in the 20th century. JMBullions also sells American silver eagle, which is one of the country’s most popular choices for both collectors and investors.
JMBullion makes it incredibly easy for investors and collectors alike to sell their silver and gold bullions. After being in the industry for nearly a decade, JMBullion has streamlined the entire process and shortened it to just three easy steps with some of the highest buyback rates on the market for almost all precious metals.
The first thing an investor needs to do is call their toll-free number, negotiate the price of their gold or silver bullions before finalizing the sale. Once you’ve locked in a price, the next is to ship your bullions to them using their mailing instructions.
After your product is received, they first inspect it and after approval, the funds are released to you either through wire transfer—takes between 1 to 3 days, ACH or Paper Check.
|Arizona||Passed in Senate April 2013 and the House on April 8, 2013. SB 1439, the Constitutional Tender Act, which allows businesses and the state government to accept payments in gold or silver was eventually vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer. |
On February 14, 2014 a new bill (SB1096) passed the Senate by a vote of 18-12 and is awaiting a vote by the House.
|Colorado||Senate Bill 12-137 killed by Senate democrats in March 2012.|
|Georgia||Introduced February 17, 2009.|
|Idaho||Passed April 2012.|
|Indiana||Introduced January 2013.|
|Iowa||Cited in the news but cannot confirm.|
|Minnesota||Introduced May 2011.|
|Missouri||Passed April 2012.|
|Montana||Rejected by 20 Republicans and 32 Democrats in March 2011.|
|New Hampshire||Introduced January 2011.|
|North Carolina||Introduced March 2011.|
|Oklahoma||Passed in the state Senate on March 11, 2014 by a vote of 37 to 4. Senate Bill 862 (SB862) is now waiting to be voted on by the House.|
|South Carolina||Passed April 2012.|
|Tennessee||Introduced February 2011.|
|Utah||Passed March 2011.|
|Vermont||Introduced January 2013.|
|Virgina||Introduced January 2011.|
|Washington||Introduced January 2012.|
GoldSilver.com is a premier global precious metals (just gold and silver, hence the name) dealer. GoldSilver.com has been owned and operated by Mike Maloney and a strategic team of experts based in Southern California for more than a decade.
The online model is simple. GoldSilver.com primarily sells highly liquid (common) gold and silver bullion, coins, and jewelry. They pride themselves on making it as easy as possible to invest in precious metals. Purchase online through the website or feel free to call with questions.
GoldSilver.com offers a holistic precious metals program. They are happy to assist with getting your metals to you, to secure storage facilities, or safely into retirement products, like an IRA (where metals are allowed to appreciate tax-free). This turnkey approach and network of precious metals solutions beyond the initial purchase (like access to their vault storage in Delaware and Utah, list of retirement professionals, etc.) helps patrons to take advantage of low prices and make intelligent investment decisions.
GoldSilver.com was founded in 2005 by Mike Maloney, the former precious metals adviser to international finance guru Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad). Through the site, Maloney encourages GoldSilver.com customers to benefit from his extensive experience via investing tools and information available on GoldSilver.com. In 2005, Maloney founded the site, wrote the Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver, which is the bestselling precious metals investment book of all time, and began conducting large investment seminars around the world.
GoldSilver.com offers free shipping (which includes handling and insurance) for precious metals orders to the United States of at least $499. Free shipping for purchases of $499 or more also includes shipping metals to secure storage facilities. For all purchases below $499, flat rate shipping within the United States is just $25, again inclusive of handling and insurance charges.
GoldSilver.com will also ship internationally. Note that international shipping charges are determined by the weight of the order and the destination.
Paying for your purchases at GoldSilver.com is simple and straightforward, and there are no stated minimums or maximums listed. You can pay with a credit or debit card and through PayPal. If you buy your metals with Bitcoin, you’ll receive a 3% discount. For Bitcoin transactions in excess of $1,000,000 equivalent, you’ll need to contact them directly rather than ordering online. You can earn a 4% discount when paying via Bank Wire or by personal check.
Yes, GoldSilver.com sells competitively priced Gold and Silver Eagles. These coveted pieces represent a portion of their limited, optimized catalog. To provide the best user experience, GoldSilver.com focuses on a concise offering of highly liquid pieces offered at competitive prices.
Yes, you can sell bullion to GoldSilver.com, but there are a few restrictions.
The main limitation of their buyback program is that you can only sell back products that are in increments or multiples that they stock, and the products must be new. This restriction allows them to adhere to their small, user-friendly selection of quality products. International buybacks will be paid by wire transfer with a $25 fee. Domestic customers can receive buyback payments by check or e-check as well (for no additional charge).
Log in to your account or call to set up a buyback contract. Then you’ll receive instructions to send your product in for verification and approval. Once they certify the purchase, you’ll receive your proceeds from the sale within three days.
APMEX is the world’s largest online retailer of precious metals, based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, formerly known as Edmond Coins.
Owner Scott Thomas and CEO Kenneth Lewis have led the company since Scott founded APMEX in 1999. Since then, APMEX has successfully completed over $11 billion in transactions and currently offers more than 20,000 different Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium coins, bars, rounds, jewelry, and other collectibles from mints around the world.
APMEX buys and sells precious metal products, bullion, rare coins, and currency. Their customer base includes individual collectors and investors to wholesale dealers. Though based in the US, the online APMEX experience caters to audiences in Canada and throughout Europe.
APMEX also owns Citadel Global Depository services. Citadel, which is managed by Brinks Security, provides maximum-security precious metals storage for APMEX customers.
APMEX currently has over 28,000 positive reviews, averaging 4.8 stars, and has received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Scott Thomas, who is an avid coin collector and worked as a mortgage underwriter, founded Edmond Coins in 1999, forming the American Precious Metals Exchange, later simply APMEX, in Edmond, Oklahoma.
In 2004, APMEX launched its first website. Five years later, they began shipping internationally. By 2009, APMEX reached its first $1 billion in sales. The following year, APMEX headquarters were moved into the building that formerly housed the Federal Reserve Bank of Oklahoma City.
In 2012, APMEX founded Citadel Global Depository Services, Inc. as a wholly-owned subsidiary. Citadel offers storage for APMEX clients that is managed by Brinks Security.
Over the years, APMEX has also launched several successful, exclusive partnerships with eBay (2013), PCGS (2020). In 2018, APMEX started its own line of Silver bullion called 9Fine Mint.
In 2011, APMEX famously paid the security deposit for commercial space in The Trump Building in Manhattan’s financial district to now-President Donald Trump entirely in gold bullion. At the time, many considered it a publicity stunt that highlighted the dollar’s weakness.
Domestic orders above $99 are shipped for free, orders below that threshold are assessed a $9.95 shipping and handling fee. Citadel orders under $500 are also assessed a $9.95 shipping fee. APMEX will ship products within 1-3 business days of receiving cleared payment.
Most shipments are via the USPS and are insured for the full amount. Ground shipping via UPS is available for $7.95 as long as you aren’t shipping to a P.O. Box. Shipments often require signatures, but you can make sure that yours will, by adding a $3.95 signature requirement. All expedited shipping methods require signature a signature upon delivery.
APMEX serves customers in the United States and routinely offers delivery to over 83 other countries including:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the UAE.
International shipping rates are quoted at checkout and may be subject to additional duties or taxes upon receipt.
APMEX accepts most major payment options, including credit cards (this excludes prepaid cards, though), PayPal, bank wire, eCheck, personal check, Bitcoin, and Bitcoin Cash.
Like other gold and silver sellers, APMEX offers a 4% discount for preferred forms of payment, which includes wires, checks, Bitcoin, and Bitcoin Cash. The discount is already shown for each item as you view it on the website. APMEX doesn’t accept ACH transactions or money orders.
Per APMEX policy, checks and eChecks are held for four days before your order ships. Once your first check clears, you are eligible to pay by eCheck with APMEX in the future. Once you are an established customer, you can pay for orders up to $100,000 by check or eCheck.
APMEX only accepts same-day wires, so if you want to capitalize on the 4% savings, don’t opt for a two-or three-day option at the bank. Orders above $500,000 need to be verified and reviewed on a per order basis.
To pay using Bitcoin or Bcash, you’ll be given a BitPay invoice to be fulfilled within 15 minutes. APMEX accepts Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash for orders up to $250,000. Orders in excess of that amount are reviewed individually.
APMEX allows for five days to receive payment. If your order is canceled or you must cancel your order, users are subjected to a $35 cancellation fee and any market loss if applicable. Market loss can be paid by credit card, personal check, or bank wire within 30 days.
Yes. APMEX has purchased over $1 billion of products from the retail market over more than 100,000 transactions. Their buying process is quick and straightforward and backed by their long-standing reputation in the industry.
To begin selling your items to APMEX, request a quote online or via phone to lock in your price.
Then ship your product with APMEX logistics support (they have special rates in place with UPS and USPS to ensure that your precious metals arrive swiftly and are appropriately insured). APMEX will make sure to process your payment by the end of the next business day. If they don’t issue your payment within that timeline, they’ll give you a voucher towards your next purchase.
Unlike other sites with limited buying policies, APMEX will purchase any bullion, numismatics, and rare coins or currency as long as they can authenticate it.
APMEX and SD Bullion offer a large selection of precious metals to customers in the U.S. and abroad; however, the APMEX site caters more to the international experience. For domestic purchases over $99, both companies will ship and insure your order. Smaller purchases are subject to $7.77 shipping from SD Bullion and $9.95 shipping from APMEX.
SD Bullion specializes in highly-valued bullion, offering a more limited selection at better prices than APMEX’s expansive offerings. Their range is limited primarily to Gold, Silver and Platinum coins, bars and rounds. They do not offer many rare, collectible coins as APMEX does. To ensure that they have the best prices on the items that they do sell, SD Bullion offers to price match any bullion merchant offering a lower price than they do.
Occasionally, SD Bullion will offer coupon codes and place items on sale. The Founders of SD Bullion, the Silver Doctors for whom the site is named, host complementary content on their website and YouTube channel. The APMEX site has lots of news and advice on theirs as well.
SD Bullion works with smaller purchase requirements than APMEX. Debit cards, credit cards, and PayPal can only be used on smaller purchases up to $5,000. Money orders and eChecks for purchases up to $9,999, and cashiers and personal checks for orders up to $20,000. Like APMEX, SD Bullion accepts Bitcoin up to $250,000 with 15 minutes to complete the request. For all cash orders above $20,000, bank wire is required.
At SD Bullion, all-cash purchases, including checks and wires, will earn you a 4% discount. Unlike at APMEX, using Bitcoin to pay at SD Bullion will not entitle you to a discount, and they do not accept Bitcoin Cash.
SD Bullion’s cancellation policy is also more punitive than APMEX’s. In addition to market loss, SD Bullion will assess a 3-5% cancellation fee along with any collection expenses.
SD Bullion also offers offshore Gold and Silver Bullion storage in the Cayman Islands. The international storage facility may appeal to some buyers as it is outside of U.S. Jurisdiction, unlike APMEX’s Citadel facility.
Both GoldSilver.com and JM Bullion are both well respected by online precious metals customers. JM Bullion provides a very straightforward, customer-focused online experience optimized for the casual investor looking for a great deal with a wide variety of products.
JM Bullion sells a myriad of gold, silver, platinum, copper, and palladium coins bars and coin and bar accessories from all over the world. GoldSilver.com’s selection is limited to just gold and silver and streamlined to a couple dozen of the most popular, liquid products. In addition to silver and gold bars and coins, GoldSilver.com sells a limited collection of pure, simple silver and gold jewelry. The product selection at GoldSilver.com is limited to the most popular and, therefore, liquid selection of high-end coins and bars from select mints.
JM Bullion offers a more user-friendly website geared to your average user, with a vibrant sale page and a simpler buyback program than GoldSilver.com. Goldsilver.com has the edge in investment support with market theories, predictions, and explanations, thanks to Maloney.
Finally, they offer similar payment offerings and discounts. JM Bullion has stated maximums for each payment type, which may result in multiple payments if necessary. Both companies ship to vault storage. JM Bullion only ships to the United States while GoldSilver.com ships worldwide.
SD Bullion offers gold, platinum, and silver bullion in addition to a variety of bars and coins. GoldSilver.com provides a limited selection of silver and gold in the most liquid offerings available. SD Bullion is geared towards small-scale retail investors who usually want to buy gold to keep on hand. GoldSilver.com targets the large-scale investor interested in a straightforward, no-frills approach.
SD Bullion offers free shipping for purchases as low as $99, whereas GoldSilver.com charges $25 to ship and insure all orders that are under $499. Additionally, GoldSilver.com highlights its storage vault network and guides its customers through the secured storage or alternative retirement investment strategies that they are highly compatible with. SD Bullion does not offer secure storage, so you must take delivery of your product.
Both offer competitive pricing and investor resources to guide precious metals investors. SD Bullion is an excellent option for individuals who are new to investing in metals. They provide a good variety, fair prices and have really low barriers to entry. Also, SD Bullion has great options like the AIP (Automatic Investment Program) designed to guide and encourage new investors as they get started.
JM Bullion launched a year after Money Metals in 2011 to provide users with some of the following elements while investing in precious metals:
Both sites have relatively comparable catalogs that emphasize essential precious metals and focus on specific popular models such as Eagle coins or Krugerrands.
Bitcoin and standard credit cards are available payment options for buyers on each site.
While these sites are neck and neck in many ways, one difference is that Money Metals is utilizing the podcast media platform as a way to communicate precious metals news and information with investors.
Utilizing the podcast media platform is a great way to connect with more auditory listeners.
APMEX and JMBullion both offer excellent online precious metals shopping experiences. While JMBullion deals exclusively with domestic sales and deliveries, APMEX provides an optimized experience for customers in the US, Canada, Europe, and the U.K. The APMEX website converts prices to accommodate additional supported currencies. Similarly, APMEX will ship to customers abroad.
While APMEX’s extensive rare coins collection and impressive catalog edge out JMBullion’s selection, JMBullion does occasionally offer lower prices, especially on their weekly sale items.
Shipping and insurance are free for both companies on domestic orders over $99. Below that, JM Bullion charges $3.99 to ship an order.
Both companies offer a 4% discount for preferred payment types, including bank wire and check. JMBullion provides a 3% discount for Bitcoin purchases and does not yet support Bitcoin Cash purchases. APMEX offers a higher 4% discount for both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash purchases.
JMBullion enforces smaller transaction limits on PayPal and check purchases and requires minimum balances on various payment types. Unlike APMEX, they accept ACH transactions as well. JMBullion insists on establishing a purchase rapport using paper checks over a few initial purchases before a client is eligible for eCheck payment options. APMEX can select the eCheck payment option after a single paper check transaction.
JM Bullion’s market loss policy simply requires they are made whole in a canceled transaction at current market prices. Unlike APMEX, they don’t charge any additional fees.
SD Bullion, which is an acronym for Silver Doctors, is an online retailer of precious metals, was founded a year after JMBullion came into being i.e., 2012.
They’ve got a diverse range of highly valuable metals on their website that includes gold, platinum, and silver bullions, as well as a variety of bars and coins. The company came into being after the massive success of its parent company—SilverDoctors which was founded in 2011.
It was built to be an educational resource for collectors and investors, and after seeing a need for inexpensive top quality bullions, the founders—“Bull Run” and “The Doc” created SDBullion.
JMBullion is the brainchild of two entrepreneurs—Jonathan and Michael, who are deeply passionate about precious metals. While the retail of precious metals online is nothing new, they saw a gap in the market and decided to fulfill it.
By improving user experience, providing dedicated customer support, a variety of payment methods, as well as investor-friendly options such as AIP, i.e., Automatic Investment Program, JMBullion, have quickly set themselves apart as a premier precious metals retailer.
APMEX (American Precious Metals Exchange) is the world’s largest online precious metals dealer servicing customers in the US, UK, Europe, and Canada. With a catalog of more than 20,000 different gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion and coins (including some exclusive to APMEX that are older and harder to get) from around the world, they have an expansive array of items to tempt any collector. This collection is in stark contrast to GoldSilver’s simple website with a limited assortment of liquid products.
APMEX offers noteworthy volume discounts to maintain globally competitive pricing. Both APMEX and GoldSilver.com provide occasional sales. Like GoldSilver.com, APMEX offers a 3% discount for Bitcoin purchases. They do, however, limit cryptocurrency payments to $250,000 equivalent at one time in contrast to GoldSilver.com’s $1,000,000 online maximum.
It’s easy to sell to both APMEX and GoldSilver.com. The main drawback is that GoldSilver.com will only buyback what they stock, so you’re limited in what products you can sell to them. The minimum buyback to sell to APMEX is $1,000. GoldSilver.com doesn’t state a minimum buyback.
Like GoldSilver.com, APMEX offers a private storage facility for its customers. Shipping costs to APMEX storage facilities are affordable. For purchases above $500, there isn’t a shipping fee—and for orders under $500, the shipping fee is $9.95. GoldSilver.com’s shipping policy is similar.
So you are sure you want to invest in Gold, but you aren't sure which is the best for you.
In this section, we'll explain all types of Gold investments so you can make an educated choice.
Investing in gold is often labeled a risky investment by financial media and institutions but when done properly, that presumption could not be further from the truth. The important thing to know about gold investment is that there are a multitude of ways to do it and choosing the right method is key to fulfilling your personal investment conditions and expectations.
We go through a list of the gold investing options and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each, hopefully helping you get pick the best way to invest in gold. Note that when it comes to gold its not only what type of gold that you invest in that matters, but also how you invest in it, therefore some categories below can overlap in certain cases. The gold investment pyramid below highlights the different ways to invest in gold depending on the risk appetite of the investor and their general purpose.
Gold bullion bars are the preferred form of investing for financial institutions, governments, and anyone with a lot of money. The reason is that the amount of gold in gold bullion bars must be above 99.5% in purity to qualify as investment grade and sizes are generally quite large (1 KG or 400 ounces are common) and therefore gold can be acquired with little to no premium over the spot price.
Pros: + Lowest price for acquiring physical gold. + Bars usually come from large and trustworthy mints and refineries
Cons: - Liquidating might be more difficult due to sheer value - Risky to carry around or keep in the house - Not convenient for using in small to mid size transactions
For smaller investors, bullion coins might be a more preferred gold investment method. Premiums for coins differ from location to location but these days with some smart shopping and online options, bullion coins can be gotten at small premiums. A distinct advantage is that an investor can slowly accumulate possessions and spreads out the risk of any type of gold being counterfeit, stolen, lost, or other risk to many individual parts.
Investors in this area should be cautious of what type of coin they are buying because different coins have different amounts of gold purity which can drastically affect the price. The buy/sell spread for gold coins also can be large and therefore cost you if you don’t intend to hold the coins for a long time. Modern gold coins like the British Sovereign serves as legal tender. Both bullion bars and bullion coins are capital gains tax free in most parts of the world (in the US they stand as 28% for most types of gold ownership).
Pros: +Easily acquired +Potentially usable as money
Cons: -Premiums exist over spot price -Many gold coin types exist, possibly causing confusion -Buy/sell spread does not favor the retail investor
If you’d like to own physical gold (bars or coins) but would rather not deal with headaches associated with storing the precious metal yourself, then you can choose to invest in gold through allocated accounts which theoretically assures that the bank in question would keep your portion of gold in their vault somewhere attributable directly to you.
You do have to pay extra for this though and don’t expect to have a private storage box just for you as not all bullion banks or financial institutions have such private vaults but hallmark, weight and fineness are all recorded and your gold stays there and may not be used by the banks for other purposes. You actually own this gold and the banks job is to keep it safe.
Pros: +No need to worry about gold delivery transportation or storage
Cons: -Requires yearly handling/storage/insurance costs
For investment in gold but without the storage costs, unallocated gold accounts is usually shown as a preferred choice and represents over 90% of accounts at banks. This doesn’t mean that unallocated accounts are in fact better, to the contrary they invite a lot of risk which allocated accounts do not face.
In an unallocated account, the bank might do with your gold as they please and the bank in this case is in a position of debt to you. So if the bank faces problems they will likely sell the gold invested by its customers to meet its reserve requirements. If something were to happen to the bank, unallocated gold accounts are usually not covered by governments who only provide a guarantee for its sovereign currency.
Unallocated accounts can come in many forms and sizes and are offered through a variety of institutions through different names like gold pool accounts. Both allocated and unallocated gold accounts involve gold certificates that you hold that symbolizes your ownership position.
Pros: +Cheap and easy way to invest in gold
Cons: -The safety of ‘your gold’ is at the fate of the bank that holds it with no mechanisms in place for protection
An even easier way to get into gold investing is through ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) - or a variant of it like ETCs (Exchange Traded Commodities), CEFs (Closed-end funds) or ETNs (Exchange-traded Notes). These are not ‘funds’ in the most traditional sense because they usually don’t have a collection of different securities but instead only exist in the purpose of tracking the price of gold and they have managed to do that nearly flawlessly to this point (some funds contain a more general mix of commodities or derivatives of gold but are less popular).
The funds are said to be backed by gold, but the legitimacy of these physical gold holdings has been a source of controversy among gold investors. Regardless, for speculative or short term investors, it’s hard to beat the convenience of ETFs which have gained huge popularity over the last several years.
The most famous among them is the US based ETF with the ticker “GLD” (streetTRACKS Gold Trust) and also “IAU” (iShares COMEX Gold Trust). There is a small administration/handling fee associated with these funds of around 0.4% per year and also commission fees might apply in some countries of up to 0.4%. The tax implications might also be different depending on your country compared to investing in physical bullion.
Pros: +Very convenient and hassle free way to get exposure to gold +Useful tool for gold traders
Cons: -Additional fees & capital gains taxes might apply -Some funds might not have the amount of gold they claim
GAPs are a type of saving plan which allows individuals access to incremental saving in the form of gold. This allows individuals access to small sized gold investing without the associated premiums. Each month a specific amount of money is deposited by the investor which in turn is used to buy gold in the account. Over time this amount builds up and can be cashed out for physical coin/bar delivery, jewelry, or even money if one wishes. Another advantage of gold accumulation plans is the diversification benefits it offers that most traditional savings plans are left without.
Pros: +Small incremental gold investing without premiums +Buying over a long period ensures an average cost that shields the investor from buying at the peak of a bubble
Cons: -Slow & steady investment style could result in missing opportunities of buying more on dips in the gold price
Similar in mentality are gold based pensions, which are becoming more popular and widespread in an age of stagnant financial markets. Citizens in the UK can invest in gold through Sipps (Self-Invested Personal Pensions) and Americans can do the same through Gold IRA investment opportunities (Individual Retirements Account).
These type of gold pension investments have the advantage of tax reliefs but certain rules do apply, such as the gold generally not being allowed to be in your possession. Therefore ETFs, allocated accounts, and e-gold would all qualify.
Pros: +Tax free gold (for US citizens)
Cons: -Needs to be arranged by yourself
So far the gold investment types mentioned have more or less revolved around gold itself. Gold mining shares take a different approach for investors optimistic about the prospects of gold. If gold prices go up, then the ‘producers’ of gold will naturally benefit as well. Gold stocks generally have higher risk than gold itself because even if gold prices do go up, other things could go wrong related to the mining operation, management of the company, general stock market movement, as well as unforeseeable risks like nationalization of mines.
Investing in gold mining can be highly profitable however as they have been undervalued recently and those who are well operated can rise faster than gold does (up to 2 or 3 times higher gains). There is also the added benefit of investing in a company however as dividends can be gained (which gold itself does not) and a human element is present giving investors more control than investing in the same homogeneous commodity as everyone else.
Gold mining majors are the established companies who already have established operations and are actively digging gold out of the ground. Junior mining companies are the riskiest of the bunch with the most upside, because essentially they are prospecting and looking for areas which could contain gold and such discoveries, when they are found, can lead to huge profits.
Pros: +Can outperform gold in good times +Dividends +Diversification to other forms of gold investing
Cons: -Management and operational factors could result in decoupling (move in opposite direction) from gold price -Risk of nationalization
Gold futures and options are probably the best way to make money if you know what you are doing. This realm of investing is reserved to experienced and often large size investors in the form of institutions or banks. Gold buyers, sellers, and speculators all partake in this market - the first two with hopes of locking in prices through contracts with made at future dates and hedging their costs in this way (miners and gold fabricators like jewelers).
Others speculate and try to make money from gold price movements and being able to anticipate the direction better than others. The main opportunity for speculative investors here is that leverage can be used (money can be borrowed to invest) - thereby amplifying any gain (or loss) made. Often in this market no gold actually trades hands as contracts are resolved monetarily before expiration.
Gold forward contracts are similar to gold future contracts except that each contract is custom negotiated specifically by the two parties in question, and it is done in the over-the-counter market (OTC) which is off the exchange markets. Gold warrants are another form of options but are issued by private organizations and not necessarily exchange traded. It should be reminded that options, futures, forwards are extremely risky and should only be conducted by advanced investors.
Pros: +Potential for exponential gains +Can speculate future prices at fraction of cost of underlying asset
Cons: -Highly risky -Physical gold often isn’t in the equation and paper gold contracts don’t guarantee gold ownership
One of the best ways to invest in gold in India is in the form of jewelry. Gold buying traditions run strong in the country and jewelry especially is in high demand. Gold Jewelry in India trades at a low premium over spot prices, which gives it a distinct advantage over other countries where the creation costs can be significant - and therefore makes gold jewelry a fine form of investment. Other advantages of gold jewellery as an investment include the fact that you can give it as a gift if necessary (and this is always useful in Indian culture), it shows material wealth openly, and is easily transportable.
Pros: +Flexible uses
Cons: -Higher cost than bullion, especially in western markets -Unlikely to get equal value when trying to sell due to person preferences
Certain types of gold investors like to own historic or rare gold coins, these are called numismatic coins or semi numismatic coins. They often trade at much higher prices than the value of gold inside them and are attractive to collectors. Selling or buying gold coins on eBay of this type is certainly an investment technique worth exploring for those interested in it.
Pros: +Can be acquired for cheap from uninformed sellers +Holds additional worth beside its gold worth +Pre-1933 coins are immune to government confiscation risks in the US
Cons: -Illiquid and imperfect market, resulting in possible losses if one wishes to sell even during times of static gold prices. -Requires extensive knowledge.
Investing in scrap gold is an alternative route, often for smaller investors who can trade in their time and expertise to make modest profits. Using services like eBay, Craigslist, or directly asking friends and relatives around them, it is possible to buy gold plated items or broken gold jewelry at a discount to what they are actually worth. Gold refineries or cash-for-gold shops can pay you their value in gold near spot prices if negotiated properly.
Pros +Possibility of making money without gold prices going up +Low risk
Cons -High effort -Hard to assay the amount of gold in the item
There are plenty of options to make money from gold investing but one must choose the right type of gold investment depending on their background and personal goals. An individual investor’s opinion on the future of gold and coming economic developments is also key when choosing the right type of gold investment method.
In short, if you are the type that believes a huge financial crisis is coming, its best to have the physical gold in your possession or at least in an allocated account from a trustworthy organization. Instead if you believe gold is just riding a bull market and only wish to make money from it while its a hot asset to own, then trading it through ETFs, or futures contracts, or gold options will be the most convenient way to go about it. This article only aims to provide you the gold investing options available, the decision and eventual profits/losses are ultimately yours and yours only.
There are two basic ways to own gold: physical coins and bullion that you can hold in your hand, and shares of investment vehicles such as gold ETFs and mutual funds. Both perform similarly in normal markets, yet there are some stark differences.
On the other hand, the downsides of physical gold include the hassle of storing it securely, the premium over spot price that is typically paid, and the risk of receiving fake coins (which can be eliminated by shopping with a trusted online vendor).
While investing in gold funds may seem like a simpler option, there are some important downsides to consider. A big one is the ongoing fees associated with these funds, which can really eat into your performance over time. And equally important is the fact that you don’t truly own any gold when you purchase these funds. In a worst-case-scenario, “paper” gold may not do you much good.
Many wonder if Gold can still be viewed as money today.
In this section, we will explore Gold's history as money, its status today answer to this question and help you decide if Gold is right for you.
In 2011, Congressman Ron Paul questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in a U.S. House Financial Services Committee Meeting with a simple query that should have in return, commanded a simple answer. Bernanke didn’t seem all that comfortable with the question, but concluded that no, gold is not money, and consequently opened up the flood gates to economists and historians around the world who had an entirely different opinion the matter.
So is gold really money? To be able to answer that question - we must first clarify what ‘money’ really is and perhaps more importantly, how the need for ‘money’ derived in the first place.
In present day, it’s easy to associate money with a bunch of government created pieces of paper that allows you to exchange it for goods or services you wish to purchase. Yet money in the paper form has only been used in a widespread form for several centuries. The need for money developed as people started living in communities and wanted access to a variety of goods they could not create themselves.
The concept of barter was born, in which two parties could exchange goods they possessed given they had relatively equal perceived value. Other historical findings have suggested the existence of gift economies, with acquaintances giving each other presents with nothing immediate expected in return. Regardless of the intent, it was clear that a clearer and more consistent method was needed to ascertain the value of goods exchanged, or the reciprocal value needed to be given when returning a gift with a gift.
The biggest problem with barter was the fact that it required a coincidence of wants which was terrible hard to find, as you can imagine, in a world pre-internet without tools such as Craigslist or Facebook. People therefore gravitated towards trading their excess production for an intermediate commodity that they felt had a greater chance of trading for other things they wanted.
The properties of popular intermediate commodities shared some key characteristics with money: high demand and a non-perishable nature. These intermediate commodities were the first types of money and are now referred to as commodity money. Different social, geological, and cultural factors resulted in different types of commodity money across different societies. Livestock, plants, cowrie shells, rice, and different metals all constituted a predominant type of money at one point in history for extended stretches across different societies. Heck, even today, we can see unorthodox items being used as money such as cigarettes in detention facilities or the advent of computer code (Bitcoins) to represent money.
Many types of money have come and gone, and generally this has had to do with the evolution of money and finding better alternatives. So what is money, and what specific attributes should money possess? Three main properties of money are: 1) it should be a store of value, 2) it should serve as a medium of exchange, and 3) it should generally be accepted as payment for goods and services.
Money as a store of value is fast losing its identity in the current system of fiat money, with governments able to create money at will and consequently inflate and devalue the money in question. Gold on the other hand is harder to deflate (although many rules in history have tried), because it requires forcing citizens to hand back their gold since gold can’t just be fabricated. Looking back at the past hundred years, gold has done a fine job retaining its value (if it wasn’t confiscated of course) while the almighty U.S. Dollar has lost over 97% of its value during this same stretch. So the first requirement of gold as money is fulfilled beyond doubt.
We can identify if gold meets the second requirement by measuring up against 7 key characteristics of a medium of exchange:
Gold is able to value assets of all types in a very reliable manner thanks to its scientifically ingrained elements of rarity, purity and weight.
Gold has been used for thousands of years in jewelry and has unique qualities that also make it useful in fields such as industry, medicine, computers, and electronics.
Gold can’t be destroyed as it doesn’t oxidize, doesn’t tarnish, it doesn’t rust - there’s literally nothing that is better preserving than gold.
Gold can be carried in a pocket, wallet, bag, or even worn - and its high value means you don’t even need to carry much of it.
Gold is the most malleable and ductile metal of them all and can easily be melted and shaped into coins of different value. 6) High Value/Weight Ratio - Along with platinum, gold is the most valuable of metals.
With its unique color and shine, gold is one of the most recognizable items in all the world.
Just like any other form of money, gold is also susceptible to counterfeiting given the right circumstances. Tungsten and other cheaper metals can be used to impersonate gold to a certain extent, but a plethora of tests are available for vigilant individuals to test the authenticity of gold including acid test, visual observation, weight test, ring test, bite test, and official appraisals.
It’s safe to say that gold passes the second test of a type of money with flying colors.
And here lies the crux of the matter. Gold, in many key parts of the world, is not a widely accepted form of payment. Specifically in the US, specific rules have been set to hinder the use of gold as a method of payment - which is how the Ron Paul vs Ben Bernanke ‘Is Gold Money?’ debacle started in the first place. So what are these legal obstacles of gold as money?
These restrictions, especially the capital gains tax, prevent gold from circulating and therefore acting as a form of money in the US. The fact that gold is unable to play by the same rules of other competing currencies like the Euro, Yen, or Sterling severely limit its ability and therefore make gold as a currency very impractical.
Even if gold was allowed to compete on equal grounds as other forms of currency, there is no real incentive for gold owners (who already appreciate the value gold has over paper money) to use it as currency because of something called Gresham’s Law that states: “Bad money drives good money out of circulation”. In other words, why use your valuable gold as money when you can simply fork over the paper money you are getting paid with (and therefore have lying around) when you know that it’s essentially a ticking time bomb in terms of loss of value.
Having said that, gold is serving as money in certain geographic locations. For example in Turkey, physical gold can be turned into banks, appraised, and then converted into a gold account that can function as a means of payment. In India also banks are accepting gold deposits to secure loans. Even in the US, states such as Utah are beginning to make Gold as a currency legal again and facilitating its everyday use in transactions.
In international trade, a lack of trust in the dollar as the reserve currency is fast spreading, and this is opening the door for gold to take its place, like Iran (with sanctions serving as the spark) starting to sell oil in exchange for gold. Central backs have once again turned into net buyers of gold, and this is another signal that gold’s use as money is only growing in magnitude.
So in the theoretical sense gold has enough going for it and fulfills enough requirements that yes, we can call it money. It might not be money in a global, widespread, and omnipresent sense but neither is the Zimbabwe dollar yet it is classified as money and a currency. With the trend of gold as money growing by the day, the answer to the initial question of whether gold is money should become more obvious, but for now this lengthy article should give you enough information to evaluate in your own mind, if gold is indeed money.
We have established that Gold is money and that lots of people invest in it.
But is it still used for anything else except as a store of value? Does Gold have practical utility?
If you’ve long wondered “what is gold used for?” - then look no further as we’ve amassed practically all modern uses of gold today and created one big list of present day uses. Just to give you the big picture before we delve into the details, 45% of gold today is used in jewelry, 45% in used the form of investments and finance, and the remaining 10% is for technological and industrial use (75% of that going to producing electronics).
Gold in Jewelry: Until recently, jewelry constituted nearly all the demand for gold and stood far and away as the most common use of gold. The last several years has seen a rapid rise in the demand of gold as an investment however and today jewelry represents ‘only’ 45% of total yearly demand. The properties of gold - namely being malleable, ductile, noble, rare, and yes shiny - all help contribute to making gold a preferred metal in the creation and use of jewelry.
Gold in Investing: The second most popular use of gold is in the form of investment through various tools such as ETFs, futures trading, and bars/coin investing with 45% of yearly demand going way of investors. Regardless of whether you expect gold prices to explode or not, you’d be hard pressed to argue against gold’s function as a store of value which in today’s inflationary markets is certainly an investment that people are starting to consider more and more seriously.
Gold in Banking: Related to the point above, central banks have once again become net buyers of gold and are starting to fill up their coffers with gold bullion (now a tier I asset with the Basel III bank regulations) to serve as reserves with the US Dollar starting to lose its credibility. In Turkey, commercial banks can hold gold to meet their “required reserves” and as a result are in the process of acquiring gold from citizens who are estimated to hoard gold worth anywhere from $100-$300 billion.
Gold as Money: Through a majority of recorded history, especially since around 560 BC and the minting of the first gold coins, the yellow metal has been a preferred form of money across most civilizations. The last century has seen a shift to paper fiat money and away from gold, but recent global financial woes has once again increased the appetite for the precious metal to serve a monetary function.
Gold in Dentistry: According to Artzney Buchlein, who published the first book on dentistry in 1539, gold leafs were used to fill out cavities going back 3,000 years.The earliest found records of gold being used in dentistry stretches back to 700 B.C. with Estrucan dentists using gold wires to place replacement teeth into the patient’s mouth. Modern uses of gold in dentistry is usually in the form of white gold or gold alloys and include areas such as bridges, fillings, crowns, and orthodontic appliances thanks to gold being a bio-compatible metal. The fact that gold is inert and non allergenic has kept it as a popular choice despite rising prices and development of cheaper substitutes.
Gold in Phones: Gold in connectors, switches and relay contacts allows phones to remain free of corrosion and are an important part of modern cell phones. An average of 33 gold-plated contacts are present in phones which allows rapid dispersion of heat and prevents tarnishing. U.S. Geological Survey estimates that a single mobile device contains an average of 0.034 grams of gold - which translates to $1.83 of gold per phone under today’s prices. The number of cell phones sold annually has surpassed 1 billion, which has naturally opened up added incentives to recycle gold out of older cell phones.
Gold in Computers: Gold can be found inside desktops and laptops in the form of edge connectors employed to mount microprocessor and memory chips onto the motherboard as well as plug-and-socket connectors used to attach cables. While silver and copper are better conductors, gold’s resistance to corrosion makes it the preferred choice.
Gold in Electronic Devices: Gold is present in almost all small electronic devices because of low voltages and currents are easily interrupted by corrosion or tarnish. So that means anything from GPS systems to tablets to calculators to alarm clocks contain gold. Even large appliances such as microwaves, washing machines, and TVs contain a hint of gold.
Gold in Medicine: Gold is used in the healthcare industry in a variety of forms and applications:
Arthiritis: Slow but steady injections of sodium aurothiomalate or aurothioglucose (gold salts) are sometimes used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Gold salts are use to
Cancer Treatment: Radioactive gold nanoparticles are implanted in tissues to serve as a radiation source in the chemotherapy of certain types of cancer. This gold dust used as a drug-delivery microchip is one that holds plenty of promise.
Lagophthalmos: Lagophthalmos is a disorder where one is unable to close the eyelids completely. Gold weights are surgically attached to the patients to weigh down the eyelid and make it close through the force of gravity.
Medical equipment: Critical tools such as surgical equipment, life support devices and pacemakers contain gold due to its nonreactive and reliable nature.
Diagnosis: Gold nano-particles ringed by a charged polymer coating and an X-ray scatter imaging technique has allowed scientists to detect small tumors (as small as 5 millimeters) that would otherwise be undetected by ultrasound, CT and MRI scans which are limited to 5 centimeters in diameter. This method can be used for diagnosing the flu as well.
Implants: Gold is resistant to bacterial infections and hence can be featured inside the body in the form of inner ear implants, stunts, gold beads and the wires of pacemakers.
Gold in Aerospace Equipment: When the price of gold is not a major factor and absolute reliability is required, we can truly see the extent of gold usage in modern applications. Consider if you will the U.S. Columbia space shuttle - it contained gold usage in a dozen of different ways and packed a reported 41 KG of gold. Key to gold’s use in aerospace is its ability to reflect infrared radiation.
Gold coated polyester helps the spaceship reflect harmful rays as well as stabilizing core temperatures across the ship. Astronaut outfits also employ gold, particularly the visor, for pretty much the same reasons outlined above. Much of the electronics on-board also contain gold with the main reasons outlined in earlier sections, but with the added benefit that it severs as a lubricant between mechanical parts in vacuum of space.
The above gold applications probably cover over 99% of modern gold uses and will have hopefully answered questions about what gold can be used for. If you prefer more basic information that can more easily be consumed, do check out this infographic.
Unlike a car, television or a house, gold is not something that greatly varies in its purest form.
Gold found in ancient ruins from thousands of years ago will technically (if we ignore the novel/antique aspect of it) have the same worth as a newly minted gold coin in present day IF they have identical weight and purity.
So the different gold types discussed in the industry are simply variations of pure gold, meaning types of gold that have taken a different form due to being mixed with other metals, or taking different shapes, or simply represented in different forms.
The purpose of this post is to remove any sort of confusion that might be present about what’s gold, what isn’t - and usually most critical, how much actual gold is inside ‘it’.
9K, 10K, 12K, 14K, 18K, 22K, 24K Gold: You might have heard gold being described by a certain number followed by the letter ‘K’. This simply tells you how much actual gold is in the ‘gold’ jewelry or object in question. Something that is 24K gold is technically pure gold (although depending on the country, pureness of 99% is usually enough to qualify it as 24K). The K refers to the term ‘karat’ or ‘carat’ which is an ancient form of weight but now is used to determine the pureness of the gold in question. For example 12K (which is half of 24K), would tell you that your ‘gold’ item has 50% actual gold inside it, with the rest being other types of metal such as copper and silver. So whatever the karat value of your gold, divide it by 24 and multiply by 100 to reach the % purity that your gold holds. In the U.S. gold below 10K purity can’t be sold as gold jewelry.
Colored Gold: Gold can take different colors depending on the metals it is mixed with. The different gold hues are generally for the purpose of jewelry. To give you a quick idea here are some different types of gold colors and how they are made:
1) White Gold: For gold to take a white color, it must be mixed with a white metal such as nickel, manganese or palladium. Standard White gold is usually 14K of gold (58.5% purity) while the rest is divided as 21% copper, 7.84% zinc, and 12.73% nickel. and White gold can often be rhodium plated to give it a more shiny and white appearance. 2) Rose, Pink, Red Gold: Gold can take these colors when mixed with copper. The more copper in the alloy, the darker the tone of red that will surface. A common rose gold alloy composition is 18K (75% gold) mixed with 25% copper while a 50/50 mix of gold (12K) with copper results in what we would call red gold. 3) Green Gold: Green gold, otherwise known as electrum, is a natural forming alloy which combines gold and silver. The greenish color varies depending on the exact mixture but back in the 73% gold, 27% silver 4) Blue Gold: 46% gold, 54% indium. 5) Purple Gold: 80% gold, 20% aluminum. 6) Black Gold: 75% gold, 25% cobalt.
The term gold bullion refers to gold that gets its value from its purity and weight, as opposed to jewelry or antiques where other factors such as aesthetics, colors, design, history, novelty can come into play and affect the gold price. Gold bullion is useful for gold investors as well as gold fabricators.
Gold Bars: When you see gold in movies or pop culture, you’re likely to see it in the form of gold bars. They often take rectangular shapes, although gold bars can take a multitude of shapes as long as they’re refined. Gold bars are classified into two sub-types: cast and minted. Gold bars which are cast and therefore thicker are generally called gold ingots while gold that is stamped and hence thinner/flatter can carry the names gold biscuits or gold wafers. Gold bars come in many different shapes and sizes and can generally be split into 55 categories. Only about 30 types of gold bars are in general circulation around the world with the Good Delivery gold bars being the most popular.
Gold Bullion Coins: It’s often mistaken that gold coins are expensive because they are usually antiques or precious collectors items - this isn’t the case with gold bullion coins. This form of gold works exactly the same way as the metal bars, except their shape are in the form of coins and are usually much smaller. This makes them easier to carry and spend in a nightmare scenario where you may need real gold.
Many different countries produce their own gold coins with national emblems embedded onto them but the most popular ones in the market today include Eagles, Maples, Kruggerands, Pandas, Prittannias, and Sovereigns.
Numismatic Gold Coins: These types of gold coins generally don’t have a fixed weight or purity to it and tend to be old gold coins that are no longer in production. This makes these gold coins collector’s items or antiques and this can usually lead them to have value far above their weight in gold.
Unrefined Gold: Gold in it’s raw/original state is naturally unrefined and can take different forms. Gold nuggets for example are naturally occurring piece of native gold that have quite large sizes and have a purity ranging from 20K-23K. Unrefined gold can also be in the form of gold dust, or other types of gold deposits.
Gold Scrap: Gold scrap refers to any gold item that has more value for the gold inside it, than its worth as an item. Usually broken gold jewelry is a good candidate as well as old ‘things’ lying around the house like a gold plated electronic items or pieces which are no longer used. Many different grades and types of gold scrap exist with names such as Electro Plated Gold, Gold Plate, Gold Wash, Gold Filled, Rolled Gold being thrown around to describe them.