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Friday, December 30, 2005

Australian Gold Nuggets

The term Australian Nuggets seems to bring back memories of the old pioneering days when men were men and gold was bright and shiny and in the form of beautiful nuggets rather than in small bars or coins.

Probably the most famous of the gold nuggets is the very large "Welcome Stranger". Found at Ballarat in the 1869 it weighs in at 2,284 ounces (71.01 kilos). That, at today’s price of $650 USD per ounce, would be worth $1, 484, 600. Not bad for a day's digging!

Large gold nuggets are now considered rarer than diamonds. Nuggets only form very near to the surface, and as current mining is underground future finds are unlikely except where individual prospectors have a lucky day out in the fields. Most nuggets have already been discovered and even the largest have been melted down.

Despite this, gold nuggets are still available from the Perth Mint in sizes ranging from 1 gram up to about 10 ounces or more. One can also purchase gold nuggets from eBay.

It is rare however to find any gold nuggets over 14 ounces for sale.

With gold nuggets there is almost always a presentation case or it is sealed in a plastic bubble. Although this is an additional cost it also comes with a certificate detailing its authenticity and this cannot be removed from the plastic without damaging it. This tends to ensure that your nugget is genuine and in prine condition.

Gold nuggets are collected often for their historical value rather than for investment purposes. Although some people do collect for their future investment value, most people prefer gold coins and bullion bars for investment purposes.

Gold nuggets have a magic all their own and each gold nugget usually has a story all its own. How the nugget was formed, discovered and who the original prospector was can form part of the history of each gold nugget.

A delightful hobby, if an expensive one, collecting gold nuggets is really like collecting parts of history and you can sit there and feel a part of that history when you hold in your hand an Australian Gold Nugget.



Buy Gold Coins

When you buy gold coins you can be assured they will maintain their value regardless of the economic climate and even improve their value over time.

Some of the things to look for when you are buying gold coins are:
  • Type of coin. Eagle, sovereign etc.
  • Size of coin. These can vary also Sometimes measured in value and sometimes in weight.
  • Face Value. 1 rand or 10 rands (South African) for example
  • Weight. Usually measured in troy ounces or part of an ounce but grams have also become a popular weight measurement recently
  • Fineness. (999% fine) Amount of gold compared to other metals, such as silver, Gold bars are usually measured as 999 parts per 1000. Most gold coins are usually 917 parts per 1000. other metal is added to make them easier to mint.
  • Gold Content in Grams. The weight of the gold contained within a gold coin measured in grams
  • Gold Content in troy Ounces, The weight of the gold contained within a gold coin measured in ounces.
  • Price. How much you would be expected to pay for the gold coin advertised. This would include any margin added by the seller and any tax that might be applicable.

The above information should be clearly displayed along with, ideally, a picture of the coin. Sometimes the date it was minted and the condition is included also if it not a mint coin (new, never been used, Mint Issue), will be mentioned.

Some old coins can have a value far beyond the face value or the gold value.

Such coins are worth keeping as they will only continue to increase in value over the years.

Much better that a printed bank statement, there is nothing quite so satisfactory as having some gold coins to look at and feel and know they are yours.



Thursday, December 29, 2005

Buy Gold Bars

When it comes to buy gold bars, all gold bars come in a range of sizes from 50 grams, 100 grams, 1 kilogramm, 1 ounce, 10 ounces, 100 ounces and 400 ounces, to give a broad indication. The thinner gold bars are often referred to as gold biscuits or gold wafers.

Of course the very wealthy can purchase the 400 ounce bars and these are usually stored in banks, but it is mostly countries and large businesses that would use gold in such quantities as a means of storing their wealth this way. For us ordinary mortals it is usually the 1 gram up to perhaps 50 or 100 ounce bars that we can afford.

There are many bars available in the market imported from all over the world. Some of the more well-known refineries of gold bars are Credit Suisse, Johnson Matthey, PAMP Suisse, Perth Mint, UBS and Rand Refinery to name but a few.

How Much do Gold Bars Cost?

Firstly it is very useful to have a comparison of the weights of gold. 100 grams equals 3.2151 oz Troy ounces and 31.1035 grams equals 1 troy ounce

Gold always sells at the current market value with a margin from the dealer.

The margin can be high or low depending on the dealer, packaging, any sales tax and freight. For tiny 1 gram bars the margin is going to be considerable, perhaps even the cost of the gold again, so this would not be a very viable purchase. Purchasing a 100 gram or 50 ounce bar would give you a drop in the margin and, as you are getting more into the professional markets and less into the 'consumer' market, packaging becomes less of an issue. After all you want to buy a gold bar, not some plastic and printed cardboard with it.

The Fineness you often see, refers to the purity of the gold. Gold purity is expressed in parts per thousand. So 995 is 995/1000 or 99.5% pure. Today, it is possible to produce gold up to 99.9999% purity and referred to as 999.

This explains why you have two bars of identical weight going for different rates. The variation would be the fineness of the gold. It would be referred to as either 995 or 999. The 999 being more expensive since it is better refined.

Where to Buy Gold Bars

Most gold and coin dealers online and in shops sell small gold bars. Sometimes one can purchases them from governmental outlets such as Post Offices. Also from Mints, such as the Perth Mint in Western Australia, for example.

Check out what is on offer and how it is packaged. Check the prevailing value of gold and how much you want to spend.

Gold make an excellent long term investment and storage of assets. You could do a lot worse than buy gold bars!



Gold Bars at Ballarat

Gold Bars are now flowing off the production line at Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, after a 87 year layoff.

This is a form of renaissance for Victoria Australia, known for its past gold fields and the great Australian Gold Rush.

In August 1851 gold was first discovered in Ballarat Victoria, Australia. By September that year, over 1000 miners had rushed to the area and the Great Australian Gold Rush had begun. Within 3 years there were over 20,000 miners and in one year 10 million recorded grams and possibly much more unrecorded had flowed out of the area.
Over 12 million ounces of gold has been extracted from 'them thar hills', and now we can expect around 200,000 ounces a year to be flowing out of Ballarat in the form of gold bars and coins in the future.

Ballarat is the place where the famous great Welcome Nugget was found. It weighed 68,956 grams and contained an estimated 68,272 grams of pure gold!

Ballarat is the third mine to reopen in the State with plans for a further mine at Bendigo in Victoria in 2006.

It seems there is still plenty of gold in the hills of Victoria Australia and you can still purchase Australian gold in the form of gold coins, bars and nuggets from the Perth Mint as well as gold and coin dealers.



Monday, December 26, 2005

Buy Gold Bullion

Buying gold bullion is not as common as buying gold coins. The magic of gold coins far surpasses gold bars in the majority of people's minds.

However, gold bars have an attraction all their own and are an excellent way of accumulating gold on a regular basis.

According to the Industry Catalogue of Gold Bars Worldwide, there are 50 accredited manufacturers of small gold bars, producing 338 standard gold bars between them. As with bullion coins, small bullion bars contain a minimum of 99.5% fine gold. In general, the fineness ranges from .995 to .9999 gold.

Gold bullion comes in many sizes and from many producers. Gold bullion may be bought in a variety of weights and sizes, ranging from as little as one gram to 400 troy ounces (1 kilogram is equivalent to 32.1507 troy ounces) which is the size of the internationally traded London Good Delivery bar. The term “small bars” refers to bars weighing 1000g or less.

Precious metals are measured by the troy ounce, as distinct from your bathroom or postal scale ounces which are known as avoirdupois. 14.58 troy ounces equals 16 postal scale ounces making the troy ounce around 10% heavier than avoirdupois. So this should be taken into account if you have gold bars, or even gold coins, and decide to weigh them on the kitchen scales.

Perhaps the most common sizes affordable and manageable for most people are the smaller gram bars. From 1 gram up to 100 or more gram bars are available at current gold price plus a gold dealer mark up. the smaller the bar the higher the margin of course.

The Perth Mint in Australia. for example, will sell you bar sizes from 1 gram up to 100 grams. As at time of writing, a 1 gram bar will cost just over 20USD (30AUD) and a 100 gram bar will set you back about 1300USD (1900AUD) including freight. Due to production costs, the smaller bars carry a higher margin for the Mint and therefore you pay a higher premium than if you purchased a larger bar.

Examples of other established and popular gold refineries include PAMP (Produits Artistiques de Métaux Précieux) a gold metals refinery based at Castel San Pietro, in Switzerland. Johnson Matthey, a refinery that has been established for many years and is considered one of the leading producers of gold bullion. Also minting are AGR Matthey in Australia and Midwest Refineries in the US among many others.

Today gold bars are also popular and safe because large private manufacturers such as Pamp Suisse, for example, standardized production and created the polished look which makes gold bullion bars so enticing and appealing.

Along with gold coins, purchasing gold bullion bars is an ideal way to improve your assets and besides, its' fun!



Friday, December 23, 2005

Sell Gold Coins

As the price of gold rises many people start to consider they would like to sell gold coins. They may have accumulated some gold coins over a period of years and now the price of gold is higher might be looking to make a profit.

Although it is not difficult to find someone to buy gold, of course it is better to keep ones gold coins as it looks very likely that gold will continue to rise as the dollar and economy drops into a decline.

But ff you are keen to sell gold coins either because you have a large stock of them or because you are interested in trading or making a living selling gold coins, there are two basic ways you can do so.

Gold Bullion Dealer
First you can become a coin or bullion dealer. If you have a very large quantity of gold coins this might be the way to go. It would, however, require some considerable expertise in the subject of gold coins and gold bullion. There is some investment in time and marketing and, if you are selling on line, then a website and all that that entails. It can also require a heavy investment up front in additional stock and, if you are opening a shop, some expenses in setting up the shop. There is also the question of licenses and or governmental approvals which may be required in some countries. Also there are tax considerations to consider. What sort of company will you have, private or public, individual or a limited company.

Yes if you want to be a coin dealer, there are many things to take into account just to sell a few coins.

Sell Gold Coins Privately
An alternative, if you have just a few coins or a one off sale, then you can sell your coins either to another individual, by auction or to a coin or bullion dealer. The individual will usually give you the best price, usually the spot or just above. But it is harder to find an individual who is willing to buy a simple gold coin. Auction is another possibility. You can get a good price or a not so good price depending on the current market and who is actually online bidding. The coin or bullion dealer will give you the spot gold value of the coin(s) you are selling less their margin as, of course, they want to make a profit when they resell the coins.

Gold Coin Auctions
On the auction option. This has been taken up by many people around the globe, and a few have turned it into a business. If you enter the words ‘gold coins’ in the search field at eBay you will get something like 80 pages of gold coins for sale. The thing to look for here to find out what gold coins sell is to look, not so much at the coins for sale as the number of bids. Some coins will have heaps of bids and some very few if any. Those that do not have many bids are not so popular and if you have those sorts of coins you are not likely to sell then very well. If you have the same sorts of coins that are attracting lots of bids well you can be sure you will get lots of bids too and a good price for the coin.

To summarize, some pointers to look for here are:

What coins attract the most bids?
Who sells the most coins?
How do they promote and sell their coins?

As this is an established field it is an excellent way to find out all the ins and outs of selling coins. Being a public auction such information is exposed and, whereas a bullion or coin dealer might be reluctant to help you be a competitor in the business, here you can simply watch and observe the various ways coin dealers on eBay and other auction houses sell their coins.

Probably the biggest advantage is when you have a track record and ideally, are a power seller. But all power sellers were new once and everyone has to start somewhere. You may only wish to sell a coin or two or you may be keen to start up a career selling coins. Either way, provided you are honest and demonstrate this with your eBay feedback, you will surely sell your gold coins to your and your buyers satisfaction.

Should You Really Sell Your Gold Coins
Really one should only sell gold cons when one needs to. Gold is still under valued and has some way to go to hit the real price of gold and, although, you are likely to find someone who will buy gold there is more to be gained by keeping your gold coins and watching them increase in value.



Thursday, December 22, 2005

Selling Scrap Gold

Selling scrap gold is an interesting area of gold most people have not been aware of until recently. Since the value of gold has risen more and more people are becoming aware that they can sell scrap gold and make a tidy profit from it.

But how do they do it?

What is Scrap Gold
Scrap gold can include any products that are made of gold or include gold in its manufacture.

Bent/Broken Jewelry
Bracelets or chains that are inextricably tangled
Broken and unwanted gold scrap
Casting gold and grain
Cluster Rings
Gold alloys
Gold bracelets
Gold bullion
Gold chain
Gold class rings
Gold Coins
Gold coins and bars
Gold dental crowns and bridgework
Gold dust and sweeps
Gold Earrings
Gold findings
Gold flake
Gold ingots
Gold nuggets
Gold Pins/Brooches
Gold screen and mesh
Gold sheet
Gold sheet,
Gold shot
Gold sizing stock
Gold solder
Gold sponge
Gold wedding bands
Gold wire
Gold-filled scrap
Goldsmith's bench filings and sweeps
Items with missing stones
Karat gold jewelry
Melted gold
Old gold watches
Placer gold
Polishing and buffing dust

The condition is immaterial. Old gold that cannot be restored to its former glory is ideal and the gold can be recovered.

Usually it would not be economical to repair such articles but they can easily be sold as scrap. One would not necessarily get the face value of the item, such as a coin for example, but one would get the gold value less a small margin from the dealer accepting your scrap gold.

Scrap gold can also be found in computer mother boards, old cell phones, scrap electronic boards. High grade scrap such as gold plated integrated circuits, gold plated connectors, gold plated fingers, pins, connectors etc.

How to Sell Scrap Gold
There are plenty of buyers for scrap gold. And they will jump over each other to get your gold!

The better ones will offer a special gold kit. This basically consists of a prepaid envelope and some kits may also consist of forms for describing the items you are sending in and various other details.

You simply fill in the forms and enclose the item with the form in the special bag and post it. It is advisable to make a copy of all the details you have entered on the form (a photo copy is a good idea) before you send it.

Usually the envelope is covered by insurance up to a certain amount by the company issuing the special kit. You can check out the details of this on the website. If you consider the gold you are sending is worth more than the insurance offered you might need to come to some other arrangement with the scrap metal merchant.

How Much Will You Get?
Generally speaking you will get the value of the gold the moment it is assessed by the dealer less a handling fee. It is important to note that the price a dealer may pay will not reflect the retail price of that item. It reflects merely the value of the gold by weight and quantity only. What that fee is, is difficult to say as it can vary with the type of gold and the quantity you are offering and the terms under which the dealer operates.

The dealer, when they have made an assessment, will advise you either by phone or email or letter, depending on your mode of communication, and you can then decide if you want to sell it or not. If decide to sell you simply advise them and they will send you a check. If not they will return the gold.

Before you send the item off it is a good idea, if possible, to get an idea of what the gold is worth.

How much gold is there in the item? what is the price of gold on the day? At the top of this web site are charts giving the current price of gold. That is pure gold of course 24 karat. Gold is generally priced at USD per troy ounce. If you have old and battered gold coins, weigh them. Apart from some minute alloy such as copper or silver, they will be mostly gold and if they are Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coins, will be gold only.

The item you are selling may be of a lesser karat, such as a 18 or 22 karat ring for example, and so would be worth proportionately less as there is less gold in the ring.

Tips and Hints for Selling Scrap Gold

It is a good idea to remove anything of value from the gold you are sending in. With rings, for example, prise any stones out of the item or remove the gold from the rest of the piece so one can weight the gold separately. Keep in mind that other alloys such as silver, platinum and the stones may have a value also. If you can separate them, all the better. If not ensure it is clear that there is other precious metal there and get a price for that also.

The purer the gold with less of other extraneous matter, the better. I may pay to spend some time extracting the gold yourself if possible and can be done safely.

In any transactions with gold, it is prudent to make a complete copy of everything you do. Copy all forms you send off. Photograph the piece you are sending if possible. Make notes on phone calls made with names and dates. Keep all emails.

Ensure you understand the complete process with the dealer from start to finish.

What to do with the Money?
So you have sold your scrap gold and have received a check. As gold continues to increase in value against the dollar you might like to look at investing that money in some gold coins or bars.

That way you are likely to keep your funds. But of course that depends upon your circumstances and the reasons why you are selling scrap gold.



Sell Gold

This articles is about how and why one would sell gold. The need or desire to sell gold can be just as important to some people as it is to buy gold. Some daily investors buy and sell gold on a regular basis. They tend to be more professional rather than just the guy in the street who is not so familiar with the ins and outs of the gold market. So how does the ordinary person sell gold and why should they?

Why Sell Gold
Some times the need arises to sell gold. For example, if circumstances demand that we need funds for some emergency or we see some potential in the market that demands quick action which we cannot resist.

People keep gold for various reasons. Asset protection, catching a good opportunity when the value of gold increases. Preserving assets which others cannot access (ex spouses, creditors etc). Even just liking the idea of keeping ones assets in gold rather than in a bank.

So the reasons to sell gold may vary also. Cashing in some assets to recover funds for some purpose such as pay bills, buy that car you have always wanted, take advantage of a dramatic increase in gold value. Seeing an opportunity elsewhere and selling your gold to utilize those funds elsewhere.

How to Sell Gold
How you sell gold can depend on what types of gold you have.

You might not want to sell all of your gold so if you have bullion in the form of coins and bars, these are easy to sell. You can sell all or even just a portion of your total gold holding this way. Most dealers and even private individuals are willing to buy gold. Generally you will get, from a dealer, just below spot. The dealer also wants to make some money and he has to on sell the gold to do so. Selling privately you can get the spot price and sometimes a little more. Gold sold by online auctions, such as eBay generally sell for over spot. But if the price of gold moves up quickly the buyer can still get a good deal. Timing is everything here.

Here are a few points worth remembering also.

Coins are easier to sell than the larger bars. Basically people do not have to pay so much money for coins. A ten ounce bar is a lot of money for many people and comes under the category of big ticket items. Such bullion bars would really be sold to dealers who have a high cash flow. Individuals will buy coins however and generally pa over the then current value or price of gold..

Of course, the price you get for selling your gold is dependent on the prevailing price of gold at that time.

If you are going to select a dealer, ensure you select a reputable one for your gold coins or gold bullion. The larger dealers online have a reputation to consider and also have a standard process for buying gold. It is good advice, also, to check a number of established reputable dealers as the price offers may vary.

When it comes to selling by auction, such as eBay, it will be easier if you have an established eBay account with a track record as expressed in the feedback pages. However, if you are selling large quantities of gold coins you might want to consider one of the larger auction houses such as Sotheby’s for example.

But if you are simply selling one or two gold coins then a dealer would most likely be your best option. Some coins are easier to sell that others. Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coins, American Eagle and Sovereigns are always popular with buyers and consequently very easy to sell.

Should you Sell Gold
For most of us, the entrance point into the fascinating world of gold is actually owning gold in the form of coins of various types and sizes or perhaps, if we are more fortunate, gold bullion bars,.

Most people like to save their gold coins and bullion not just for the looks or for the knowledge that they "own some gold", but also for investment purposes. One can quite easily accumulate a healthy investment in gold which, over time, does not diminish but in fact improves in value.

The best advice for selling gold is of course don’t sell gold but instead buy gold.

But if you absolutely must sell gold, rest assured that at least you will get top value for your gold coins or gold bullion!



Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coin

First minted by the Royal Canadian Mint in 1979, the Canadian Maple Leaf is a pure .9999 (24 Karat) gold coin with no additional alloys added due to a special minting process by the Royal Canadian Mint. This has resulted in the Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin being the purest of gold coins.

The Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin is considered to be one of the most beautifully designed gold coins in the world. On the obverse (head) side there is a bust of Queen Elizabeth II, designed by Arnold Machin. On the Reverse (tails or flip side) we have the famous Canadian Maple Leaf symbol.

Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins are official legal tender and can be bought from most of the major coin dealers.

Only gold mined in Canada is used and the gold coins are issued in 5 different sizes or weights.
  • 1 Troy Ounce
  • 1/2 Troy Ounce
  • 1/4 Troy Ounce
  • 1/10 Troy Ounce
  • 1/20 Troy Ounce
This makes the Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin an excellent investment and very easy for just about anyone to collect. The cost is little more than the value of gold and you know that you are getting all gold when you purchase a Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin.

In addition, the Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins are also valued highly not just by collectors and investors but also by jewelers since they are easy to convert into jewellery, being pure gold.

The Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin is an excellent all rounder. It makes an ideal investment or gift or can be collected simply because you just like the beauty of the coin.

In addition, you will be happy knowing that the value of your coins will continue to improve. As well as the gold content such coins usually improve in value over the years from a collectors point of view. So you can’t really go wrong collecting the Canadian Maple Leaf Gold Coin!



Tuesday, December 20, 2005

American Eagle Gold Coins

American Eagle Gold Coin is probably the most popular gold coin in the world. They are official legal tender gold coins in the US and, by law, are produced from gold mined only in the US. They are often considered one of America's most beautiful coins. Americans purchase more American Eagle Gold Coins than any other gold coin.

On the obverse (front) of each coin there is a graceful Striding Liberty design inspired by the Augustus Saint-Gaudens original design of the $20 Double-Eagle gold coins minted from 1907 to 1933. The reverse (back or flip side) of the coin displays a nest of American Eagles.

The coins are struck with 91.67% (22 Karat) fine gold. The total gold weight of the coin is stamped on the reverse of each coin. Special dies designed to show minute details of the coins, are used and this imparts the coins with a radiant golden shimmering glow in the light.

All American Eagle Gold Coins are minted to exacting standards and are of the finest quality. They are available in 4 sizes, 1/10th, ¼, ½, and 1 ounce, suitable to fit any budget. As gold is a comparatively soft metal, most coins contain a very small amount of alloy of copper and silver, as well as the stated amount of gold, to improve hardness and resist scratching.

One unique aspect of American Eagle Gold Coins is that it is the only coin where the weight, gold content and purity are all guaranteed by the US Government, which means that investors can buy and own the coins with confidence knowing that they do truly own the stated amount of gold.

One can purchase American Eagle Gold Coins from most major coin dealers as well as brokerage houses and even banks.The American Eagle also the most traded gold coin in the US and one can just as easily sell as well as purchase American Eagle Gold Coins. They are easy to store buy and sell and many people keep them for a 'rainy day' or in case of severe hardship or economic duress.

American Eagles are also available in silver and platinum but, by far, it is the American Eagle Gold Coin that people love most of all.



Saturday, December 17, 2005

Investing in Gold Coins and Gold Bullion

Investing on gold coins and gold bullion can be a fun and intensely interesting activity. Gold coins and gold bullion have been an alluring attraction for man throughout the ages. Wars have been fought over it, love has been won by the use of it and merchants have been made wealthy because of it. It has been said that gold attracts people to it almost with a life of its own!

Gold has always been regarded as a precious metal and the first recorded use of it is in Varna, Bulgaria around 5000 BC. Melting point: 1063° C, it is a bright shiny, soft and malleable metal primarily used in coatings for electrical connections. Pure fine gold is 24 Karat (abbreviated K). Alloys of gold are calculated on a basis of 24 parts. 14K is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals. Gold colors are created by alloying other metals that impart their color characteristics to the gold.

It is not difficult to see why gold has been such a favorite choice over the years. It does not tarnish or rust. It holds its value relative to the value of goods and services.

With the advent of the internet the buying and selling of gold coins and gold bullion has become big business. Tons of gold are now moved around the planet literally at the speed of light.

Here are 5 good reasons for owning and investing in gold coins and gold bullion:
  • INDEPENDENCE. The security offered by gold is provided by its very independence. Gold is independent of states, currencies, productivity and credit worthiness. Some economic or political influences may affect the price of gold, but its value and its acceptability remain independent of them.
  • RESERVE ASSET. Many experts advise private investors to hold between 5 and 10 percent of their wealth, in the long term in precious metals. Experience has shown that the regular purchase of gold coins helps to protect the smaller investor against price fluctuations.
  • SECURITY. Gold has always been prized as precious and valuable. Over the years gold has proven itself to be one of the most reliable stores of value.
  • STABILITY. Despite possible price fluctuations on the open market, the value of gold has remained remarkably stable and has shown repeatedly the tendency to rise.
  • LIQUIDITY. Gold is traded around the globe 24 hours a day. With gold you possess an international currency which can always be sold around the world at any time.
In these uncertain times investing in gold coins and gold bullion can be a truly worthwhile investment for the future.



Thursday, December 15, 2005

What are Gold Sovereigns?

Gold sovereign coins first made their appearance in the UK under King Henry the VIIth in the 15th century. Such coins are now rare and can fetch over $12,000US.

Fortunately modern Gold Sovereigns are available at a much more affordable price.

There are basically two types of Gold Sovereigns today. Australian and UK Sovereigns. The UK coins were usually struck in the Royal Mint although some have been struck in Canada and Australia. The Australian Gold Sovereigns were usually struck at one of the mints either in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide.

Many of these have a value over and above the value of the gold content due to their rarity and the regard people have for them. Early Australian Gold Sovereigns, for example, have increased in value almost 10 fold since 1977.

Both Sovereigns have had a similar history in that they have been struck initially, then production halted for a few years before being struck again, usually with different obverse and reverse details. This has improved their investment value which yearly continues to climb.

When choosing Gold Sovereigns important factors such as the date it was struck (or made), the condition of the coin, weight and the usual factors relating to gold coins should be looked at.

Sovereigns tend to be collected more for investment value than trade. The quality of the coin has become more important here with an attractive and perfectly minted coin having a much higher value than one which has been worn or chipped. It is important to be able to ‘grade’ the condition of gold coins when seeking coins for investment purposes.

Sovereigns are a useful source of portable money. Soldiers often carry Gold Sovereigns with them when going to war. Gold Sovereigns can be cashed in and are accepted just about anywhere.

Much better than savings in the bank, Sovereigns have continued to increase over the years and a good collection of Gold Sovereign coins can be expected to improve in value very nicely over the medium to long term.



What are Krugerrands?

The Krugerrand gold coin is named after Stephanus Johannes Paul Kruger. Known as Uncle Paul, Kruger was a former South African President and famous figure in the formation of the South African Republic. His head is on the obverse, or “heads” side of the coin. The reverse or “tails” side shows a Springbok Antelope, one of the national symbols of South Africa.

The Krugerrand was first minted in 1967 and was the first gold coin to contain exactly one ounce (31.1.55 grams) of fine gold. The Krugerrand was produced to provide a way for individuals to own gold. By bestowing legal tender status upon the coin, Krugerrands could be owned by citizens of the United States where, at that time, private ownership of bullion was prohibited but ownership of foreign coins allowed.

In 1980 smaller sized coins were produced including a half, quarter and one tenth ounce coins. All sizes have continued to be minted every year since. As a result of this the original kruger, as it is often called, is referred to as a “full” or “one ounce” kruger and people in the coin trade understand the kruger or krugerrand to be the full size original coin.

Krugerrands are available through the usual coin dealers and coin auction houses. When purchasing krugerrands or ‘krugers’, ensure that the size is mentioned clearly. Also ensure the date of mint, price and condition are clearly stated.

Although a matter of taste, the krugerrand is not generally considered aesthetically pretty but it was never really designed to be. It was designed to be just a lump of gold an individual could own. More tastefully design coins are available if looks matter, such as the British Sovereign or the Canadian Maple for example.

If you are interested in a solid gold coin that clunks satisfactorily in your hand and the gold content is guaranteed, you would be hard put to go past the pioneer of modern gold bullion coins - the now famous krugerrand gold coin.



Which gold coins are the best?

There are many different types of gold coins. Which are the best? Some of the more famous gold coins include:

American Eagles
Australian and UK Sovereigns
South African Krugerrands
Canadian Maple Leafs
Chinese Pandas

The criteria one looks for in a gold coin are such items as:
  • Type of coin. Eagle, Sovereign etc.
  • Size of coin. These can vary also. Sometimes measured in value and sometimes in weight.
  • Face Value. 1 rand or 10 rands (South African) for example.
  • Weight. Usually measured in troy ounces or part of an ounce but grams have also become a popular weight measurement recently.
  • Fineness. (999% fine) Amount of gold compared to other metals, such as silver. Gold bars are usually measured as 999 parts per 1000. Most gold coins are usually 917 parts per 1000. Other metal is added to make them easier to mint.
  • Gold Content in Grams. The weight of the gold contained within a gold coin measured in grams.
  • Gold Content in troy Ounces. The weight of the gold contained within a gold coin measured in ounces.
  • Price. How much you would be expected to pay for the gold coin advertised. This would include any margin added by the seller and any tax that might be applicable. This is often referred to as 'price above spot'.
When buying gold coins the information should be clearly displayed along with, ideally, a picture of the coin. Sometimes included is the date it was minted and the condition, if it is a mint coin (new, never been used, Mint Issue).

In fact, if the quality of the coins are up to par then it is really a matter of personal taste what coins one collects. American Eagles appeal to some people, Sovereigns to others. One simply picks those coins that appeals to one’s taste and collects those.

So the criteria for which coins are the best is the quality of the coins on offer including the value of gold contained, its condition and weight compared to the price.

Once you can establish that to your satisfaction, you are ready to collect the best gold coins which of course are the gold coins of your choice and have fun doing so!



Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Should you buy gold online?

If asked, should you buy gold online the answer is that it is quite safe to buy gold and gold coins online and there are many places one can do so provided one follows a few rules.

Obviously one should be sensible about it and ensure that one is dealing with a reputable dealer as well as understanding what you are buying. Is it the right type of gold for you? Is it the right price for you?

Here are a few guidelines that can help you to buy gold on the internet.

First ensure that you know exactly what you want in terms of gold. Is it gold coins? If so, which ones do you want? Sovereigns, Eagles, Krugerrands or others? Or are you looking for gold bullion? What size or weight?

Next, work out how much you can spend on a particular transaction. This should be an amount you can afford. It is nice to browse but easy to overspend. Especially when purchasing gold! Be aware that there may be shipping and insurance costs to add to the total payable.

You should ensure you purchase from a reputable dealer. Most dealers on the internet are reputable but there are a very few who would not be considered reputable.

If you find a dealer that has:
  • No contact details other than a generic email, such as hot mail, or contact page.
  • No security for credit card payments. In other works the lock does not appear in your browser when going to the payments page and the http does not change to https.
  • No information about delivery.
  • Poor looking and/or unprofessional site.
It is advisable not to buy from that dealer no matter how enticing the products appear to be.

Generally, you can safely purchase gold coins or gold bullion from internet dealers. Usually the larger dealers will also have shops or outlets so you know they have a location and are here for the duration and not just for the night!

Always thoroughly check the web site. Study the products and prices. Read the terms of service (so few people do) and make sure you understand what you are buying and from whom. Ensure you know how much the total cost is, including such costs as shipping and insurance, and you should be right!

Gold and gold coins are a great buy online!



When is the Best Time to Sell Gold?

It has been asked, when is the best time to sell gold? Apart from traders who buy and sell, most people actually hold their gold in a number of ways. Bullion, gold coins, gold held in trust or escrow for them and visible through an accounting process are some of the ways.

Shares in gold mining companies (miners) are also available but this is not quite the same as holding gold and the value of such shares can depend more on the activities of the company than the value of gold itself.

There is nothing quite like having and holding gold in your hot little hands.

The trend of gold since the 1800s to present time is, overall, stable and now rising. From 1800 to the 1970s the value of gold compared to the US dollar remained stable at around 29 to 31 dollars per ounce. From the 1970s to the 1980 is rose to over 600 dollars per ounce. A very dramatic rise and many will remember this. It has since dropped and stabilized in the range of around 300 to 500 dollars per ounce but appears to be rising again.

Unlike the US dollar or any other floated fiscal currency, gold (and silver for that matter) maintains a stability not subject to the same manipulative forces as currency is. Gold is not subject to inflation or depression. In fact when the Dollar drops gold is seen to be more valuable because it does not follow the drop suffered by the fiscal currency but maintains it’s own integrity and value.

Of course if one needs the money one can sell gold, but that is not dependent on the value of the gold or the investment value.

Apart from that scenario which is more dependent upon one's own circumstances than the circumstances of gold price movements, when is the best time to sell gold?

The very best time to sell your gold bullion or gold coins is ... well ...Never!



How Secure Are Gold Coins?

When people ask how secure are gold coins, you can tell them that gold coins are very secure. Physically of course, gold coins will last for hundreds of years. Gold coins from the 6th century have been found in Western Turkey and were originally made from electrum, a natural alloy of silver and gold.

Nowadays gold coins are struck with pure refined gold. Many countries produce gold coins, including:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • China
  • Great Britain
  • South Africa
  • USA ... to name just a few.
Some of the more common coins one can easily collect are the very popular American Eagles, Gold Sovereigns from Australia and the UK and the famous Krugerrand from South Africa.

Gold coins are very secure. They do not tarnish. They are easily stored and can be a very economical buy. Best of all, they retain and even improve on their value over time.

Purchasing a car means that the value of the car deteriorates the moment you drive it out of the showroom. Purchase a gold coin however and you are secure in the knowledge that your asset in the stored value of that gold coin will retain its value and even increase in value over time.

You can purchase gold coins from many places from the coin dealer down the road to some of the top professional dealers in the world, through the internet.

To ensure your security and that you are purchasing genuine gold coins, do a study of gold coins. Find out what is available and compare prices. The best security indeed, is in the value. Gold coins can be purchased from as little as $40 US so getting your gold coins is certainly within your reach if you are on a modest budget.

There is nothing quite like the feel of a sold gold coin between your fingers. Once you have that, you will want more.



Buying Gold For The First Time

Many people do not realize how easy it is to buy gold and gold coins. Buying gold for the first time is actually quite easy.

Most people think in terms of the large solid gold bars. Although these are obtainable the cost and storage of such large solid metal bars is out of the range of most people who would like to own some gold.

It has also been traditional to purchase gold in the form of jewellery. This is fine except that the high cost and markup on jewellery make it a poor investment unless you know exactly what you are purchasing and can get the gold at the right price. Antique jewellery, for example is one way provided you understand the values of such.

A better and far simpler option is purchasing gold coins or small one ounce or 5 or 10 gram bullion bars. These are within the reach of most people and, in fact, one can purchase gold coins for as little as 40 US dollars and one ounce bullion bars for a little more than the current price of gold.

Gold coins and small gold bullion have the added benefit of being very easy to purchase and easy to store. One can simply hide them in the house somewhere, as many people do, or store them in a bank. In addition, gold coins are easy to sell in times of need and, provided you have kept them for a decent amount of time, you will get a good return on your gold coins. Anyone who purchased gold coins a few years ago, for example, will be please with the steady increase in gold value that will have given them at least a 30 percent increase in the value of their coins.

Best of all, gold coins and small bullion bars have a good investment value. The profit gold suppliers make on the sale of coins and small bars is marginal and, over the long term, does not really affect the investment value. The longer you keep your gold coins and small bullion bars the more stable your investment will be.

For people buying gold for the first time, it is probably better to start with the purchase of some Gold American Eagles or Gold Sovereigns. There is nothing quite like the feel of gold coins clinking in your hands and once you have experienced that you are quite likely to take up the very fascinating and profitable hobby of gold coin collecting.



Why Does The Price of Gold Change?

From the 1800s to 1975 the price of gold and gold coins remained fairly steady at $19 to $21 US. In 1975 the gold standard was removed and this then contributed to the increased fluctuations in the price of gold.

The dollar was originally pegged to gold in March 1900 and the dollar was then 'backed' by "twenty-five and eight-tenths grains (1.67 g) of gold nine-tenths fine", and was set as the standard unit of value. The value was then set at $20.67 per ounce of gold. Consequently there was little movement in the value of the dollar, being pegged to a stable metal. The dollar, and the economy was fairly stable for many years.

Until, in 1975 the United States floated the dollar with respect to both gold and other currencies. With this the United States was, for the first time, on a fully fiat currency and the dollar was no longer pegged to gold and there was, in effect no gold standard. Today the dollar, like the currency of most nations, is fiat money without intrinsic value, which means that it has no backing and would be entirely worthless but for the fact that people have been persuaded to use and accept it as if it had worth.

After the gold standard was dropped the value of gold shot up to peak at over 640 dollars per ounce in 1980 before settling in the 300 to 500 range which it now occupies. The economy also suffered with waves of inflation and recessions. It has continued to do so ever since.

Gold, however, continues to have value and although the 'price' fluctuates more due to the manipulation of the dollar than anything else, the value of gold remains stable.

So, in point of fact, it could be considered that the value or price of gold is not changing. Only the dollar value subscribed to it is changing, depending on the fluctuations of the value of the dollar and the vagaries of the political, and economic climate.

It pays therefore to invest in gold and gold coins.