Friday, December 01, 2006

Bars of Gold

Bars of gold can make a great investment as well as an excellent collection since there are many types, sizes and weights of gold bar available.

Firstly bars of gold come in a number of weights which are mostly the result of various regional preferences around the world.

Grammes - International
Ounces - Mainly English-speaking countries: USA, UK and Australia
Tolas - Mainly India, Pakistan, Middle East, Singapore
Taels - Mainly Chinese-speaking countries: Hong Kong, Taiwan, China
Bahts - Thailand
Chi - Vietnam
Dons - Korea

Here are some typical examples types of bars of gold

'400' oz ('12.5' kg) bar
'Tezabi' Bars
Tael Bars
Baht Bars
Tola Bars
Chi Bars
Decorative Bars
'Hologram' Bars
'Rainbow' Bars
'Yin-Yang' Bars
'Koban' Bars
'Twin-Coin' Bar
'Gold Leaf' Bars
Fine Gold Cards
'Bone' Bar
'Gold Fillet' Bars
'Pendant' Bars
'Double Pendant' Bars
'Bank' Bars
'Commemorative' Bars
'Heart' Bars
'Bullion Watch' Bars
'Fine Art' Bars
'Bas-Relief' Bar
'Full-Colour' Bars
'Cartoon' Bars
Minted 'Brick' Bars
'Model' Bars
The world’s largest - and smallest - bars
Historical Rothschild Bars
Oldest Stamp
Oldest Assay Mark
Bullion Coins
Gold Nuggets
Gold-Bearing Ore
'Dore' Bars
'Garimpo' Dore

Bars of gold are made in two different ways. Cast and minted. Cast bars are made by pouring liquid gold into a mould. These are generally known as ingots and usually weigh around 400 ounces so they are very heavy, large and of course expensive to own and carry around. These are generally held in bank vaults and many companies keep reserves that way as a hedge against inflation and difficult economic times.

By contrast minted bars are made by pressing sheets of gold into various sizes and forms and can be anywhere from one gram upwards. This makes it easier for people buy, own, store and move around their gold. It also comes in handy if one wants to sell a bar or a few bars.

Of course how much you pay for the smaller bars depends on the size. The smaller the bar the higher the mark up or premium one pays and this is the trade off for the convenience and cheapness of purchase. It means also that you have to hold on to the bar longer to recoup your purchase price.

This applies when selling the bars of course. One cannot simply slice off one ounce from a ten ounce bar as you would cheese. If you sell a bar it has to be the entire bar regardless of size.

In addition less people buy and sell bars as they do coins so it is just that bit harder to find a buyer when the time comes to sell.

So selling the smaller bars is easier than the larger ones although the cost of them is proportionately higher.

When buying bars of gold then, all these factors need to be taken into consideration and it depends largely on the purpose for which you are buying bars of gold.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Price of Gold Today

The price of gold fluctuates on a daily basis. The spot price is the price determined on the open market and a procedure, originally started in London in 1919, gives a twice a day benchmark price to the gold industry.

Among its many uses and values, gold was once used to back currency in most of the western countries. This is no longer the case as banks and governments found it difficult to manipulate the currency when it was so stable. Switzerland is one of the few countries that actually backs its currency with gold these days. Interestingly enough the Swiss franc is one of the most stable of currencies.

However, as the value of most currencies are not backed by anything substantial except perhaps faith, it tends to fluctuate and in times when there is a downturn, people then look for a more safer way to protect their assets, with gold being one of the most popular.

Gold is measured both by troy ounces and by grams. The measurement of gold is by karat with 24 karat being pure gold and lesser karat figures indicating that the gold have been alloyed with other metals of varying amounts.

Gold can be purchased in bullion form and this is usually as bars of gold or gold coins. Gold coins have become very popular over recent years due to the ease with which they can be purchased and the great variety now produced by the mints of the world. It is additionally, not just an asset or investment activity, but can be an interesting hobby as well.

Probably the most asked question is, when should one buy gold? When there is a drop in the currency market gold tends to swing in the opposite direction and people, having more faith in a sold metal rather than a piece of paper, tend to buy up gold. Of course this is when the price is moving upward, so they then pay a higher price for their concern.

In fact the best time to buy gold is right now, whatever the price. If one is buying for the long term and intends to keep some assets in gold then the daily price is immaterial. Over the long term gold has show to increase in value, especially against the dollar and, whereas inflation means you need more dollars to purchase the same as you did 10 or 20 years ago, one ounce of solid gold will purchase exactly the same now as it did all that long ago.

The price of gold may change depending on the value of the currency used to purchase the gold. But the value of gold does not change. Gold is Gold is Gold and the price of gold today is only the price of the day, not the value of the gold.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Buy Gold Bars Online

It is quite possible to buy gold bars online and get some good deals in the process.

The important thing is to do plenty of research and check out the various dealers and auctions.

Points to keep in mind include:

Know your dealer. Find out all you can about them. How long have they been in business? Are they contactable? Do they have a phone number, snail mail address and someone to talk to?

Does the dealer have a returns policy? That means, if you are not satisfied that the gold bar you have purchased is not what you ordered can you return it AND get your money back?

Do a comparison of the price between dealers. Don't forget to include the shipping and possible insurance costs. These can vary wildly.

With auctions online you need to do even more due diligence. How long has the seller been selling? Do they have a history (in eBay of course this is the feedback system and other auctions have similar systems also) you can check on?

What sort of returns policy do they have? Are they contactable if there is a problem. Also does the auction company have a policy about returns and dissatisfied customers? Ebay does and it is very extensive and eBay are sensitive to customers needs?

Does the gold bar come with a certificate that describes it accurately? Also is it sealed in its own container? If not, be suspicious and check all over it to ensure it has not been tampered with. Unless it is sealed in the original transparent packaging as supplied by the mint it is better to return it.

Keep an eye on the price of gold daily. For the smaller bars you can expect a substantial mark up and as the bars get larger the mark up will decrease proportionately. So if you are in a position to buy a ten ounce bar it is far better than buying ten one ounce bars.

Provided you keep the above points in mind you should have no trouble when you come to buy gold bars online and will enjoy the satisfaction of enjoying your gold bars at home!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Uruguay 5 peso gold coin

The Uruguay 5 peso gold coin, also known as the Uruguay 1930 Constitution Centennial 5 Peso NGC MS-62 Gold Coin is a much sort after collectors coin.

During the Great Depression The Uruguay government decided to produce a quantity of 5 peso gold coins ostensibly to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the republic but more likely to aid in boosting the economy at that time since the effects of the depression was being felt world wide including, of course, Uruguay.

The coin itself has an effigy of José Gervasio Artigas 1764-1850). He was a national hero of Uruguay and is sometimes called "the father of Uruguayan independence", and is much revered as Uruguay's greatest national hero. In his youth Artigas was a gaucho in what is now Uruguay. Allied with the Buenos Aires junta, he fought for independence from Spain and won a brilliant victory at Las Piedras.

His insistence on federalism against the efforts of Buenos Aires to assert control over the entire region led to civil war. He ruled over a portion of what is now Uruguay and central Argentina until a Portuguese invasion forced him into exile in 1820 in Paraguay. Uruguay achieved independence in 1828. The constitution was approved officially on July 18, 1830,

Each 5 peso coin contains a quarter ounce of pure gold, slightly more than a US 5 dollar gold coin.

These are obtainable from many dealers online including Uruguay 5 peso gold coin who have a fair sized collection of these coins.

As with any gold coin purchase online always do due diligence and ensure the dealer you are working with has a returns policy and can be easily contacted online, by phone and has a fixed postal address.

The coins should come sealed in their own protective wrapper. Of course the coins are not mint or proof coins but should still be in good condition or at least match the description given of the coins so you know what you are buying.

The Uruguay 5 peso gold coin makes a great collectors coin with its unique colorful history and its pure gold content and would be a pleasure to have for any coin collector.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gold Coins and Bars Series - Part 3

Part 3 of a 3 part series

Gold can be bought and accumulated in coin, bar and ingot form as well as Exchange Traded Funds where one holds a certificate or a piece of paper that represents ones holdings in gold stored in a bank or mint.

Gold is measured in carats. Carat or karat, both spellings are used, is a measure of the purity of gold. In the United States and Canada, the spelling karat is usually used for the measure of purity, while carat refers to the measure of mass (see Carat). As a measure of purity, one carat is one twenty-fourth purity by weight:

X = 24 \frac{M_g}{M_m}


X is the carat rating of the material,
Mg is the mass of pure gold in the material, and
Mm is the total mass of the material.

Therefore 24-carat gold is pure gold (actually 99.99 percent as one cannot guarantee an absolute purity), 12-carat gold is 50% purity, 18-carat gold is 75% purity etc. The balance is made up of other metals such as copper, silver, platinum, zinc etc to increase the hardness of the overall alloy and sometimes to change the color of the gold, Platinum, for example, is added to produce white gold.

The carat system is increasingly being complemented or superseded by the millesimal fineness system in which the purity of precious metals is denoted by parts per thousand of pure metal in the alloy.

The most common carats used for gold in bullion, jewellery making and goldsmithing are:

24 carat (millesimal fineness 999)
22 carat (millesimal fineness 916)
20 carat (millesimal fineness 833)
18 carat (millesimal fineness 750)
16 carat (millesimal fineness 625)
14 carat (millesimal fineness 585)
10 carat (millesimal fineness 417)
9 carat (millesimal fineness 375)

Gold coins and bars, however, should be 24 carat but sometimes will be found to be less. In all cases the carat or fineness of the gold should be clearly marked or indicated.

With a gold coin, not only the gold content, but many other factors may determine the value of the coin, such as its rarity, age, condition and the number originally minted.

In July 2002, a very rare $20 1933 Double Eagle gold coin sold for a record $7,590,020 at Sotheby's, making it by far the most valuable coin ever sold to date. In early 1933, more than 445,000 Double Eagle coins had been struck by the U.S. Mint, but most of these were surrendered and melted down following Executive Order 6102. Only a few coins managed to survive. This has given them a rarity and an increase in value well above the gold content of the coins themselves.

It is important when looking to buy gold coins and bars to understand as much about gold as possible. Not just about coins and bars but about the metal itself. Get a feel or an affinity for the metal and you will be able to buy gold coins and bars satisfactorily. Real study, due diligence and perhaps a bit of common sense will go along way to improving your ability to accumulate gold coins and bars satisfactorily and profitably.

Final part of a 3 part series - Gold Coins and Bars

Gold Coins and Bars Series - Part 2

Part 2 of a 3 part series.

Before 1968 gold traded at a fixed price of 35 US dollars an ounce under the then gold standard. Following the decision of the USA government or more likely the Federal Reserve, to close the "gold window" and abandon the gold standard in 1970, gold began to rise over the next 20 years peaking at $850 in 1980. Gold then fell and 20 years later, by 2000 it was down to $279 an ounce. In recent years gold has been steadily rising and by September 2006 the price stood at around $600 an ounce.

These days the price of gold is established on a daily basis twice a day from a meeting of representatives from five bullion-trading firms. This is known as the London Gold Fixing. In addition there are active gold trades daily based on the intra-day spot price, derived from gold-trading markets around the world as they open and close throughout the day. This is known as the Spot Price of gold and this can be seen in the charts at the top of this web site.

One troy ounce is equal to 31.1034768 grams. Thus if gold was at $600 U.S. an ounce, for example, a gram would be worth $19.29.

Note also that where gold is measured in ounces, these are troy ounces, not the much more common avoirdupois ounce which is used for measuring weights in food etc. An avoirdupois ounce is lighter than a troy ounce. One avoirdupois ounce = 28.349523125 grams and there are 16 avoirdupois ounces in a pound.

One kilogram = 1000 grams = 32.15074656 troy ounces
One tonne = 1000 kilograms = 32,150.746 troy ounces
One tael = 50 grams

The current value of gold places a price of approximately $241,000 on a 12.5 kg (400 troy ounces) London Good Delivery bar of gold although of course this varies on a daily basis.

Gold bars are classified into two different types. Cast and minted. Cast bars are made by pouring molten gold into an ingot mold to help the gold to take a form. Minted bars are made from gold blanks that have been hand cut to the required dimensions from a flat piece of gold. In both cases, markings are almost always applied by presses.

Gold exchange-traded funds (or GETFs) are special types of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tracking the price of gold. Gold exchange-traded funds are traded on the major stock exchanges including London, Paris and New York.

End of Part 2 of a 3 part series - Gold Coins and Bars

Gold Coins and Bars Series - Part 1

Part 1 of a 3 part series.

Gold has 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 always been regarded as a precious metal and the first recorded use of it is in Varna, Bulgaria around 5000 BC. Gold has been in use as a form of money, in one form or another from at least 560 BC until the end of the Bretton Woods system in 1971. It has also been used as a store of value both by individuals and countries for much of that period right up to the present day.

With a melting point of 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. various gold colors are created by alloying other metals that impart their color characteristics to the gold.

Gold, and some other precious metals such as silver, platinum and palladium for example, are assets that are both tangible and liquid (i.e. easily traded), unlike real estate which is tangible but not liquid, or company shares and bonds which are liquid but not tangible.

Considering its high density and high value per unit mass, storing and transporting gold is very easy. Gold does not corrode and, in small amounts, is not particularly heavy. Historically, it has also been very easy to verify that an offered coin had the density of gold through the use of Archimedes' principle. Today, however, some metals are denser than gold yet cheaper.

Some of the reasons people buy and accumulate gold in coin and bar form include, as a hedge against financial and economic instability or to hide money or assets from, family, governments or others. Also as a hobby (usually confined to coin collecting but there are some who collect gold bars also)

Some people buy gold through a gold exchange-traded fund, or in the form of a gold certificate. In this case it is more like an investment and these people are more prone to trade or buy and sell the gold representations. In this case the gold is deposited in a bank and the owner has a certificate or account to represent their holding.

It is not difficult to see why gold is such a favorite choice of currency over the years. It does not tarnish or rust. It keeps its value relative to the value of other goods and services. With the advent of the internet the transfer of funds by the use of gold has become big business. These days, millions of dollars are moved around the planet literally at the speed of light.

End of part 1 of a 3 part series on Gold Coins and Bars.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Gold Coin Secrets

Probably one of the best kept gold coin secrets is that collectors can make money in rare coins by searching for rare coins which are undervalued and buying these during a time when the market is quiet.

Even when the gold price is rising it is still possible to seek out and find rare gold coins being sold at the gold value.

Rare coins, of course will tend to have a value in excess of the current gold price due to their rarity. Being able to buy at the gold price then will ensure a good return.

There are some important points to keep in mind however. One of these is the fact that rare gold coins are limited, By virtue of being rare there is a limited number available so the value increases due to rarity each year. this means they are harder to find and so more work is needed to seek them out.

Known what sort of coins you want to collect and focus on them. There are thousands of gold coins, rare and recently issued. Very few people are likely to be able to keep a track of each one so most people tend to specialize in a particular coin or group of coins. It might be a good idea to focus on a particular type of coin then, such as might interest you most. Such as the American eagle for example or the Canadian Maple Leaf.

There are also different grades of coins even in the rare variety so it is a good idea to get as much information and education on the types of rare gold coins there are and what the current value of each is.

Forming a good relationship with a Numismatic or coin collectors association is a good idea as one can glean information from them and get into communication with their members and exchange information, ideas and so forth.

The 1933 double eagle currently holds the record for highest price brought at auction for a single U.S. coin when it was purchased for US$7.59 million. 445,500 specimens of this Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle were minted in 1933, the last year of production for the Double Eagle, but no specimens ever officially circulated and nearly all were melted down, due to the discontinuance of the domestic gold standard in 1933. So although it is rare, it is possible to find rare gold coins.

As always, there is no substitute for patient due diligence and study. And probably that is one of the best gold coin secrets of all.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Spot Gold Price

What is the spot gold price? The spot gold price is that price which the market is buying and selling spot gold.

Spot gold price is the twice a day setting of the value of gold against the British Pound as a commodity by the five members of the London gold pool. This rate, then translated into US dollars and Euros, is used as a benchmark for the pricing of gold, gold products and derivatives world wide.

It is set twice a day based on an apparent supply and demand basis. Once set the rest of the world uses these prices to determine the price of gold bullion and gold related products.

This then affects what you pay at the mint or dealer for your gold coins or gold bars.

It is the figure you see in the charts at the top of this website.

The spot price moves daily. You can watch and check trends and this may be useful for people who like to buy and sell gold on a regular basis such as with Exchange Traded Funds.

However when purchasing gold bullion such as coins or bars then the spot gold price is not as important as these are usually purchased more for the long term or as a hobby rather than a way of protecting one's assets although this can be important as well.

Some people worry that if the spot gold price drops then their coins or bars will be worth less and to stop buying. In fact that is usually a better time to buy. When the spot gold price drops then the price of gold coins and bars drop also so you get them for less. Provided you do not sell your coins and bars when the price drops you do not make a loss. If you want to see a profit then you wait until the spot gold price rises again, before selling them, and your coins or bars are worth more.

Buying gold coins and bars on a regular basis is a good idea. Here you are not particularly worried about the spot gold price as any fluctuations are evened out over the long term when you buy, say a few coins a month.

The spot gold price really only affects the short term buyer seller who is interested in making a profit over a few days or perhaps even hours.

For the majority of us, Collecting gold coins and bars and keeping them is a lot more fun that frantically watching the spot gold price by the hour!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Antique Gold Coins

Antique gold coins can make a good buy but there are a number of points to keep in mind when buying antique gold coins.

Firstly, if you are unfamiliar with antique gold coins, get some familiarity and education before you buy. You really need to know what you are buying and how much such coins are worth.

Browsing on the net can help there. Check out the dealers and what they have for sale. Check out the various auctions also. Sometimes there might be auctions in your home town or city which you can check for in the newspapers. Go along and watch and make notes of any coins or coin collections that come up.

Checking the various coin associations and clubs is also a good idea to find out more and to find out when coin auctions are coming up.

Some people like to collect a certain type of antique gold cons such as gold eagles for example. They collect the various years and the different mints that issue them. A collection of this nature can be worth more collectively than each coin individually. It takes time and patience to build up such a collection but that is part of the joy of doing it seems.

When the time comes that you feel confident in purchasing a or some antique gold coins, sort through the dealers available and pick a reputable dealer. How long have they been trading? Do they have a returns policy? Are they easy to contact by phone or letter as well as an email address? Are they a member of a coin collecting association, such as the American Numismatic Association in the US for example?

Sometimes it is a good idea to join such an association oneself to get more experience and knowledge and also to get in contact with others of the same interest. Many collectors swap coins among themselves and go to coin exhibitions and shows and get together that way also.

There are many way one can find out more about collecting antique gold coins and the above is just a small sample to get you going.

It is an exciting hobby and has many fascinating rewards, not the least of which is having for your very own, some antique gold coins.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Gold Biscuit Bars

Gold biscuit bars or wafers, as they are sometimes called, are bars of gold which have been stamped out from a sheet rather than being cast like such as ingots. The gold biscuits are thinner and smaller than traditional bars and very convenient to buy sell and transport.

They are usually made by a refinery or mint and such places as the Credit Suisse, Johnson & Matthey, the Perth Mint, to name but a few, all produce a high quality gold 'biscuit' bar.

Most of the gold bars you buy, unless you are buying the very large bars, will be wafers or biscuits so there are just a few points to keep in mind when you are on the look out for such bars.

Many dealers do not make any distinction between the types of bars so it pays to first find out what type of bar is being offered for sale.

You need to know the full details or characteristics of the bar, weight, gold content, is the bar numbered and who manufactured the bar. Also is there a certificate that comes with the bar and is it sealed in it's original packaging?

You need to establish how much of your assets you want to store in gold. There can be advantages in owning various types of gold, Coins, small bars, perhaps the odd larger bar. Old antique coins.

If you can, get private, non-reportable gold. This will likely require overseas purchase of course depending on where you live so you will need to practice some due diligence when it comes to the purchase. Is it a bona file dealer? Can you purchase direct from the Foundry or Mint? This is always more secure of course.

Watch for discounts and special offers.

If you are purchasing from a dealer, always select who is trustworthy. One who has been dealing on gold bars for some time. You need to be sure you are not buying counterfeit gold. I can assure you, it is out there!.

You also want to deal with someone with whom you can later sell back perhaps. Keep this provision in mind when seeking a good dealer.

Above all, buying gold biscuit bars should be a fun activity. Enjoy the game of seeking out just those right bars and remember, These are biscuits you store safely away and don't keep in the cookie jar!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

How to Buy Gold Coins

The very first gold coins were struck in Lydia by King Croesus around 560 to 547 BC. Gold coins have been a favorite for exchange and legal tender since that time.

As well as legal tender gold coins are a great way for coin collectors and investors to accumulate gold in small gradual amounts. Gold coins are generally not subject to tax, being legal tender.

American Eagle Gold Bullion coins, for example, are an excellent investment and they are perfect for first-time gold buyers. Canadian Gold Maples as well as Krugerrands and many other gold coins also come in the same category.

The Krugerrand was the first bullion coin, in fact, to be marketed as an investment product and the first gold coin Americans were allowed to own, not because it was gold but because it was a legal tender coin which US citizens were allowed to own at the time of its introduction. Indeed it has been said that the origin of Krugerrands was prompted by this very fact. Of course US citizens are allowed to own gold these days and it is unlikely this will change in the future.

Today, however, investors can choose from a wide range of bullion and commemorative or numismatic coins issued by various governments throughout the world. All these coins, mint, proof and uncirculated included, are legal tender in their country of issue, although this would be for their face value rather than for their gold content. The face value is usually much less than the gold content but does conform to the legal requirement of being legal tender.

Gold bullion coins invariably range in size from 1/20 ounce through to the 1000 gram. The most common weights in troy ounces usually are 1/20, 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 ounce. The value of gold coins is determined by the value of their fine gold content as well as the condition and rarity of the coins, particularly the older coins. The dealers that sell the coins have their mark up or premium of course and this should be added to any value plus a premium or mark-up that varies between coins and dealers and this will be higher for the smaller denominations of course.

So whether you are buying for investment or just because you like collecting gold coins, buying gold coins are a lot of fun and can give great enjoyment for any coin enthusiast.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Gold Coins First Strike

Gold coins first strike refers to the very first issue of any gold coins by a mint. They are usually proof coins or uncirculated mint and cost more than the usual for the coins. If they are proof they have been specially stamped and minted and the quality is far superior to the 'coins ordinaire' you might find in coin shops.

The term strike refers to the method of making the coin. The strike of a coin is the process of stamping a design onto a planchet or in other words a blank piece of the metal, in this case gold. A coin can have either a strong or a weak strike. Much of this depends on a coin's design. A coin can also be strike several times. This is how proof coins are made.

Proof coins are supplied in special packaging from which they should never be removed otherwise their proof 'status' will diminish.

First strike gold coins are a great buy and good for a coin collector to beef up his collection.

Their value is usually well known and if they are proof or uncirculated or mint condition and remain that way then, in all likelihood, their value will only increase over time.

The First Strike designation by PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) first appeared in 2005, and is strictly limited to the first coins minted in each series.

First strike gold coins are available in plentiful supply through the Internet at reputable dealers as well as at auction or from your local coin dealer.

A few points to watch.

The coin or coins should be in their original untampered with sealed packaging.

There should be a certificate that comes with each coin or collection of coins.

It should indicate if the coins are first strike or a later edition. This can make a difference to the price and it should be clearly marked on the certificate

Provided one is sensible and does some due diligence there is no reason why one cannot be the proud possessor of some first rate high quality gold coins First Strike!

Gold Coin Grading

For serious gold coin collectors gold coin grading is very important as it helps to establish the value of your collection.

Probably one of the most famous and reliable independent coin grading services is the PGCS.

The PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service), based in Long Beach, California undertakes the grading of coin collections from the most famous down to the itty bitty little collection a mild enthusiast might have.

It is not just a case of dealing with rare coins or rare coin dealers dealing with other rare coin dealers. The rare coin market is now far to large for individual dealer transactions.

Grading coins is not a matter of a coin being "fine" or "good" or "poor" any longer. More exact definitions to specify the quality of a coin are needed. Especially when disagreements over what constitutes each grading could occur.

As it says on the pcgs website:

"When the rare coin market was limited to a small number of numismatists trading with each other, three broad definitions were enough to determine grade: "Good" -- a coin with most of the detail intact; "Fine" -- a coin with clear detail and some luster on its surfaces; and "Uncirculated" -- a coin which had never been in general circulation and therefore retained its Mint State condition.

"Soon terms such as "very fine" and "extra fine" began to emerge, as collectors sought to further define the condition of their coins -- and increase their value. In 1948, Dr. William Sheldon, a renowned numismatist, developed the Sheldon Scale, assigning grades from "one" through "70" to coins on the theory that a "70" would be worth seventy times as much as a "one"."

It took some time to establish a standard with which all coin dealers could agree to but this did eventuate and market participants started to become aware of the major fundamental factors determining coin quality. i.e. the physical condition of the coin. The site goes on to say:

"Market participants soon became aware that one of the fundamental factors in determining rare coin values is the physical condition, or grade, of the coin. They learned that a coin graded Mint State 65, for example, may have market value many times greater than the same coin graded Mint State 64 -- although the difference in an MS65 coin and an MS64 coin may be virtually undetectable to the untrained eye. A coin sold by one dealer as an MS65 may be sold by another dealer as an MS64 (or less). In some cases a coin buyer could be victimized by product misrepresentation. In other cases, he was caught in the middle of a dilemma of wide ranging definitions due to the absence of a true standard. In other situations, they were simply caught in the middle of divergent definitions, due to the absence of a universal standard."

"Industry leaders were deeply concerned that without standardized grading the rare coin industry could face major problems."

So the PCGS now provides a standardized system of grading coins to everyone's agreement. This means that anyone can offer up their collection for grading and this grading will be accepted by others, A very important point when the time comes for a resell.

It also means that when you are looking at acquiring, not just one coin perhaps but an entire collection, then you would be justifiably entitled to ask for the official coin grading as provided by the PCGS.

You will then have and know the value of the collection you are thinking of buying. This applies very much to coin auctions and exhibitions as well.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Gold Bars to Buy

There are so many gold bars available in the gold market place one wonders what would be the best gold bars to buy?

A lot depends on your budget of course but the bigger gold bar you can possibly buy is the best to start with. Obviously you get more gold but also the margin or premium (how much you pay over and above the spot price or value of gold) is a lot less when you purchase the larger bars.

For example the margin on a one gram gold bar, or biscuit as they are often called, would be almost twice the value of the gold. But on a 1 kilo gold bar the margin is only a percentage of the value of the bar.

Gold bars are different to ingots. To make an ingot the gold is poured into a mould and tends to be rough. A good bar or biscuit is pressed or stamped out, rather like a gold coin, and usually has a much better finish.

Buy your gold bars from reputable dealers or mint or foundries. You want to ensure that you are buying the real thing and not something that is dubious. Buying gold bars on eBay may seem like a good idea but it takes more experience than to simply buy from a proper mint or dealer.

Gold bars should come as 99.99 percent pure gold and should come with a certificate of authenticity. The bars should also be numbered and the number correspond to the certificate. The bars should also be sealed in plastic and the seal should not be broken.

Gold bars can be transported easily and are easy to sell. They make for good asset management and, in the face of inflation, are an ideal method of keeping your assets intact. Besides, gold has been steadily rising and is quite possibly likely to so continue.

The above gives you some ideas of the gold bars to buy and keeping these points in mind will assist to ensure that you have excellent genuine quality gold bars.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What is a gold bar

What is a gold bar? A gold bar can come in many forms, sizes and weights.

A gold bar is actually defined as any gold product made by a recognized bar manufacturer, regardless of shape. On the bar is recorded the name of the manufacturer, the exact weight and purity. A gold bar is sold with a premium above the value of the gold at the time of sale. The amount of this premium is dependent on the size of the gold bar. The larger the bar the less the premium in proportion.

The weight of a gold bar is measured in troy ounces and purity is measured as karats (not to be confused with the carats of diamonds).

One can buy gold bars from as small as one gram up to one kilo and for commercial purposes, 400 ounces.

There are just 55 refineries in the world today who manufacture 400 ounce gold bars acceptable internationally and these are known as 'London Good Delivery'. Some leeway is given in the weight of a 400 ounce gold bar which can actually weight between 350 and 430 ounces. The purity must be 99.5 percent or more. It is estimated that about 150,000 of these bars are made each year although it is likely to be more than that. Most banks that store gold do so in this form and are believed to hold somewhere around 2.5 million of them. That is a lot of gold!

The kilobar, which is to say 1000 grams in weight, is the bar that is more manageable and is used extensively for trading and investment. The premium on these bars when traded is very low over the spot value of the gold making it ideal for small, transfers between banks and traders. Most of the kilobars are flat although you will also find some investors in Europe will prefer the brick shape.

The smaller one ounce, ten ounce, one kilo and even ten kilo bars are favored by the small investor as easier to buy even though the premium on the bars are higher.

Gold bars make a great way to store assets with the value of gold steadily increasing in the long term.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Gold Teeth

Gold teeth have become a popular fashion item in the hip hop culture in the US.

Also known as Grillz, named after the rap single "Grillz" released by Nelly in 2005, they are gold teeth that are usually removable although permanent fixtures are also available.

In fact not just gold but silver and platinum with diamond overlays are also worn.

Grills are also known as Fronts, Golds, Plates, Gold Grills, Shines, Caps, Slugs, Pullouts, initially rose to popularity with rappers in the 1990s using them as a symbol of their wealth and success. They have also been worn by various rock artists such as Korn, Marilyn Manson, and Kyo from Dir en grey for example.

With gold teeth or Grillz one usually makes a mold or dental impression of one’s teeth. This is to ensure a good fit. This mold is then sent to the jeweler of your choice who manufactures the gold teeth to match the mold. Removable Grillz is more advisable than permanent fixtures not because they are cheaper but simply because the are removable and so one can clean then and ones teeth adequately to prevent disease. Permanent fixtures can have an adverse affect on the teeth and gums resulting in the teeth braking off and rotting and the gums receding and bleeding.

The teeth and Grillz should be cleaned each day thoroughly. The gold teeth in warm soapy water and rinsed really well then completely dried before reinserting them again.

Selecting the Grillz or gold teeth is a matter of personal choice of fashion and budget and it is a good idea to take one's time and really pick out, or even design yourself, a set of gold teeth which will make the fashion statement you want.

Keeping the above in mind about your Gold teeth or grillz will ensure that you buy the right gold grillz for you, that they will last and your teeth are protected.

Monday, May 29, 2006

What Gold to Buy

What gold to buy is a question often asked. There is such a wide choice of gold available in today's market place it can be difficult to decide which to buy.

Gold bullion in the form of gold coins and gold bars, ingots, Exchange Traded Funds, gold nuggets (those found in river beads and directly on the ground), gold jewelry and others.

What gold to buy will depend very much on your reasons for buying gold as well as your budget.

If you are buying gold purely for decorative purposes or because you like specific gold jewelry or gold coins then of course that would be the way to go. Investment is not an issue in this case so only your budget will dictate how much gold to get in the form of jewelry or coins. One is buying for beauty and aesthetic reasons in this case.

There are many beautiful gold coins to collect and it can be rather fun to collect a specific set of gold coins over a period of time. Proof coins are often the best coins to collect and by slowly building up a collection one can have something impressive to show off to friends.

If you are buying gold more for investment purposes then the price you are paying for the gold becomes important. Small coins are bars are generally not worthwhile as the mark up of premium you pay will be as much as, if not more than, the value of the gold. A minimum of one ounce up to one kilo of gold is better as the amount you pay over the spot value of gold will be much less and you will recoup your investment much quicker as a result.

This is why Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are so popular. You generally only pay a small amount over the spot price (the brokers fee basically) and you then hold a certificate representing the amount of gold held for you in a bank vault. One of the issues with ETFs is the tax payable on the gains made. ETFs are considered more of an investment than coins or jewelry and so taxable.

For those who are keen to actually hold the gold in their hands then gold bullion in the form of bars is probably more appropriate.

What gold to buy is important and whatever form of gold you prefer and for whatever reason, you are likely to be happy to increase your assets and put your value in something more substantial than paper money.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

How to Buy Gold

If you do not buy gold or gold jewelery very often it is important that you know how to buy gold to ensure you get exactly what you want and at a good price as well.

So it is important that you understand the key factors when it comes to buying gold and gold jewelry.

When buying gold jewelry these key factors are:

  • Karatage, or how much gold is there in a gold piece?
  • Gram weight. Simply how much does the piece weigh?
  • Design. Is it the right design for you?
  • Craftsmanship. Is it well constructed and tastefully made?
  • Price and purchase. How much is it and is it good value for the price?
Karatage, sometimes called karats is the amount of gold contained within a gold piece. This is how it is measured. Gold is very often mixed with other metals, such as silver, nickel, zinc etc, to help it last longer and be more durable. Gold is a very soft metal and pure gold can be distorted and wear away quickly especially if it is used a lot.

10k gold is only 41.7 percent gold. 18k is 75 percent gold and 24k gold is considered pure gold although it is measured as 99.99 percent gold since it is considered impossible to obtain pure gold.

All gold pieces should have the Karatage stamped on it somewhere.

Gram weight is the next important key item. How much does the gold item weigh? The higher the gram weight the more gold it contains, keeping in mind the Karatage, and the more expensive it will be. The more value it will have as well. This can be easily noticed with gold bracelets.

You might see two gold bracelets with the same Karatage. Say 18k. but one is chunky and the other is wafer thin. The gram weight of the chunky is going to be much more than the wafer thin bracelet although the proportion of gold to other metal remains the same, there will simply be more of it.

The design is next in line when considering buying gold in jewelry form. An antique design piece of gold jewelery is likely to be worth more than a new piece as it has an additional value of age, uniqueness and possibly rarity. Decorative gold tends to cost more as there has been more work put into it.

The Craftsmanship and quality of the gold is very important. Most of today’s gold jewelery is manufactured on machines but hand made pieces are still available and will cost proportionally more as a result. The quality of manufacture will show in how the gold is fabricated, including any fastenings and setting for gems etc. A quality gold piece will last for years with good and careful handling.

Price plays an important part and understanding the above will help you to be able to work out a good price for a gold jewelery piece. Many discounts are offered by dealers and jewelers so it pays to be wary and really find out what is being offered. Remember that the dealer is still making a profit on discounted items so how much are they really worth?

It is probably a good idea to have in mind what you want before you start looking. Get a good clear picture in your mind of the karat, weight, design and craftsmanship and design you want within your budget and then go seeking that.

The golden rule of course is to do your due diligence and know what you want and you will then really know 'how to buy gold'!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Gold Ingots

Gold ingots are basically gold bars that are cast from a mould rather than stamped like a gold coin.

They tend to be rougher and thicker than stamped bars, often called biscuits, but still come in all weights from one gram up to a "London Good Delivery Bar" which is 12.5 kilograms or 400 ounces troy weight.

The London Good delivery bars are really only used for major international markets and are purchased by banks, large companies and business that wish to store assets this way.

They are usually stored in Bank Vaults around the world and not moved around much although the ownership of them may be. As they are now worth around 200,000 to 300,000 US dollars, depending on the price of gold, they are not used very much by small investors who generally will buy and sell smaller bars within their price range.

The cost of manufacturing the smaller 1,2.5, 5 and 10 gram bars does not make them very good investments as a premium has to be paid and it would take some time, even with the current increases in gold value, to appreciate any profit from their purchase.

Probably the half kilo and one kilo bars or ingots are the easiest to buy for investors. The premium is much less than for the smaller bars but they are within the price range of most investors. Running from around 10,000USD for the half kilo and 20,000 USD for the one kilo at the time of writing.

Even one, five and 10 ounce bars make quite good investments.

Probably one of the best investments are gold coins, not just for the gold but also for the coin collection value which, in rare coins, can equal if not surpass the value of the gold in the coin.

Either way, buying gold ingots or bars or coins is a worthwhile activity that, over time, can quite likely result in a satisfactory investment as well as being a fun activity!

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Gold has been consistently rising in value for the past year or so now and there seems little likelihood that this trend will diminish.

A number of reasons have been put forward for this sudden and dramatic rise. War, economic uncertainty, China and even India have all be assigned responsibility at one time or another. Even inflation and national debt, both which currently run extraordinarily high in the western countries, have had the finger pointed at them.

Regardless of the possible reasons for the steady rise in value of gold, it can be said with some certainty that gold is considered a good investment and a safe haven for one’s assets.

What gold should one buy and keep?

There are many types of gold one can buy.

One can invest in Gold Exchange Traded Funds (EFTs). EFTs are simply a certificate that represents a portion of gold held in a bank vault. One purchases a specific amount of gold and receives a certificate to establish one’s holding. As the price of the gold in the vault changes, the value of one’s holding changes correspondingly. The advantages of this system are that one can buy gold at virtually spot price. The disadvantage is that it is considered an investment and there are tax considerations such as profit taking and capital gains to consider.

One can buy Gold Stocks. Investing in the shares of a gold mining company can be profitable but the value of the shares depends on many factors, not just the value of gold. A mining company is projecting to produce a certain amount of gold over the life of the mine and this is what give it its value. If the mine falls short then the share value can fall short. Even an adverse movement in the currency exchange rate of the country in which the mine is situate can cause a drop in the value of the gold bring produced by the mine.

Gold Futures is another method of buying gold. Usually this is the arena of the trader rather than the investor, it is still a possibility but one fraught with danger as it is very easy to lose a lot of money trading in gold futures. This area is best left to the experts.

Buying Gold Bullion, such as gold coins or gold bars, has some advantages in that coins generally are legal tender and not taxed. They are easy to carry and store and also easy to dispose of or sell. Gold bars also have some advantages. Easy to carry, store and sell also. Sometimes there may be tax considerations with gold bars depending on the purpose declared for their purchase. When buying gold bullion also consider that there is an increase in price, above the spot gold price, as the dealer or supplier needs to pay for their expenses etc. However with the steady increase in value this may not be such a problem.

Gold has traditionally always been a good buy in any market and better in an uncertain market.

Probably a regular purchase of gold on a consistent basis might be a wise move, then the price one pays will tend to level out and with the current trend you will surely do well with your gold.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Swiss Gold Bars

Swiss gold bars are a very popular way of accumulating gold, particularly with the rising trend of the gold price.

Gold Bullion Bars
There are two types of gold bars, The cast and the minted. The Cast is manufactured by pouring liquid gold into a mould to provide the finished form. These types of bars are called ingots. Most of the larger bars traded between banks and institutions use ingots. They are usually around 400 ounces each and so quite heavy.

The United States Bullion Depository or Fort Knox, as it is called in exciting adventure movies, is an example of a fortified vault building used to store a large portion of United States gold reserves, in the form of gold ingots.

Minted gold bars are made by cutting gold blanks from flat sheets of solid gold.

A newer form of gold, called ChipGold consists of a small ingot (1-20 grams) in a sealed and certified package the size of a credit card.

Which brings us to the two basic Swiss gold bars. The Credit Suisse one ounce bar and the "Gold Dream" PAMP produced by the Produits Artistiques de Métaux Précieux gold refinery in Switzerland.

Credit Suisse
The Credit Suisse one once bar is one of the most popular and are easy to carry and store during travel and are easy to convert into cash almost anywhere in the world. They are fully back by the Credit Suisse Bank of Switzerland. Each gold bar is of 24 karat gold purity and has the exact purity and weight stamped on each gold bar, then sealed for your safety and security.

"Gold Dream" PAMP
The distinctive “Gold Dream" PAMP Suisse trademark is manufactured by the Produits Artistiques de Métaux Précieux a gold refinery based at Castel Saint Pietro, in Switzerland. Originally established in 1977, today it is one of the world’s premier gold refiners and a brand recognized worldwide as a guarantee of excellence and sound provenance.

The "Gold Dream" PAMP is Accredited by the Swiss Federal Bureau and PAMP Swiss gold bars begin at the assay facilities supervised by sworn assayers accredited by the Swiss Federal Bureau for the control of precious metals.

All "Gold Dream" PAMP bars are well accepted by dealers and traders around the world and these are also fully backed by the Swiss National Bank and the London Bullion Market Association.

Swiss Gold Bars
Each of the Credit Suisse and the "Gold Dream" PAMP bars are Sealed, Registered and Numbered in a protective holder along with their official "Assay Certificate" guaranteeing the fineness of 99.99% pure gold and the one troy ounce content.

The bars do not have a high premium and can be afforded by most collectors and investors. They are easy to transport and store and, in times of need, easy to sell anywhere in the world.

Buying Swiss gold bars is an excellent way to provide for the future and it is not difficult to accumulate a respectable amount of gold this way over time.

Anyone who bought one or more Swiss gold bars a year or so ago will be extremely happy now since the price of gold has risen considerably and looks like to continue its rise into the distant future.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Gold Plated Coins

There are many gold plated coins available to collect, some from Mints such as the Perth Mint and Royal Australian Mint, the British Royal Mint and other lesser known mints.

To a purist collector of gold coins, gold plated coins might seem a cheaper alternative but in fact some of the gold plated coins are very nice and do attract much interest around the world.

Gold Plated coins can be expensive still as the same care and attention is given to their manufacture as sold gold. Gold plated coins are usually struck in silver and have a 24 carat plating although other cheaper metals may be used. The mints generally, though, produce excellent quality coins with precious metals as the base.

A good example is the Gold-Plated Silver Coin Pendant produced by the Perth Mint, Australia. This is 24 carat gold plated 99.9 percent pure silver. As you can see by the picture there are three free moving garnet stones also captured in a recess in the center of the coin. The obverse bears the Raphael Maklouf effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. There are 12 of these, each representing a different sign of the Zodiac

This is almost like gold jewelry but is actually classified as a coin and is issued as legal tender under the authority of the Government of the Cook Islands.

When buying gold plated coins always ensure that you purchase from a mint or reputable dealer. Check the construction of the coin. What is the base metal used? What carat is the gold plating? If the base metal is silver, how much and what quality is it?

The coin should really be proof, as it is not a coin meant for circulation, and come sealed in it’s own transparent container. The coin should never ever be taken out of its sealed container either. Handling the coin can cause irreparable damage to the surface, even with the most delicate of touches. There should be a certificate of authenticity that describes the coin and has a number on it to indicate which coin of the series or mintage it is.

Gold plated coins can be fun to collect and can even improve in value over the years.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Gold and Silver Coin Prices

Gold and silver coin prices will gradually increase as the value of gold and silver increases. This has been noted already over the past few months and, provided the increases continue, then the value of gold and silver coin collections will increase in value also.

Gold and Silver Coin Sets are a good way to increase your gold and silver coin prices. Coins that form sets tend to be worth more than individual coins. If you have one Chinese panda coin it has a specific value. But if you have a set of Chinese Panda coins such as China 2005 Panda 5-coin gold Premier Set, for example, then each coin would be worth proportionately more by virtue of being in a set.

The China 2005 Panda 5-coin gold Premier Set is issued in five denominations from one twentieth of an ounce through to one ounce and there were only 2000 sets of these coins issued.

Other sets of gold and silver coins have been issued in the US, UK and Canada among other countries and these, although the price tends to be high, are an excellent value for coin collectors.

Collecting the same coin but different issues each year is another way of improving one's coin collection.

Canadian Maples and the Australian Lunar Series come to mind as typical examples. A new coin is issued each year and some collectors studiously collect each coin and add it to their collection. This provides a steady improvement in the value of the entire set and, with the steady increase in the value of gold and silver, the value of the set takes on a new meaning.

With the time, effort and expense of building up such a set some collectors rarely sell their coin sets and this tends to add to the value also. many collectors have several sets of different coins.

As it looks quite likely that gold and silver coin prices are going to continue their gradual rise in value, it would probably pay to hang on to any sets of coins one has and perhaps even enhance their value with additional coins where one can!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

How Much is Gold

How much is gold theses days?

In fact the value of gold actually does not change much. What does change is the amount of money needed to buy gold.

Apart from some isolated peaks, gold’s purchasing power has not essentially changed very much over the past 200 years.

What has changed however, is the value of the dollar. This has steadily decreased over the years and with an accelerated inflation since the US government ceased using gold to back the currency and just started printing money to handle shortfalls and boost the economy.

In fact if they were to return to a gold backed currency then it would take over 52 thousand dollars to buy one ounce of gold, since the printed paper we call the dollar has decreased in value so much.

So the question is not so much, how much is gold, but more, what is the value of gold these days?

An ounce of pure gold will purchase pretty much what it purchased twenty years ago, or one hundred years ago or even two hundred years ago. In times of economic crisis or inflation and depression (sorry, now called recession) gold always stands out as a stable value so that, even when you might need wheel barrows of dollars to buy a loaf of bread, a tiny gold coin would be enough for you to buy a wheel barrow full of bread.

So when you ask how much is gold you are really asking what can I buy for this gold and the answer is, just as much as you ever could.

Monday, April 10, 2006

How Much are Gold Coins

How much are gold coins is a question that is asked everyday as the value of gold moves fluctuates.

When you buy gold coins you also pay for the dealers mark up or premium as well as shipping and sometimes insurance costs. Because of this additional cost it can take a while before you recoup the value of what you have spent.

But gold has been rising and has jumped from around 250 US dollars per ounce five years ago to over 600 USD an ounce. If you bought a one ounce gold coin 2 years ago you would have paid the value of one ounce of gold plus some extra to the dealer, maybe an additional 20 percent as well as shipping, another 5-10 dollars maybe. However, since gold has risen so dramatically, you will have doubled the value of your gold coin to cover the dealer's profit and the shipping and made a profit yourself, if you were to sell of course.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, "Of the 193,000 metric tons of gold discovered to date, 62% is found in just four countries on earth. All the gold discovered thus far would fit in a cube 22 meters on a side." 20 to 30 percent of this is held in bank vaults and the balance, 70 to 80 percent, is mostly held privately in the form of jewelry, coins and bullion.

Gold coins are a significant part of the total gold in the world.

It is quite likely that gold will continue to rise and that, even though buying gold coins now while gold seems 'high' may not look like a good idea, gold is something that has traditionally held its purchasing value for over 200 years. It seems it is fiat currency (the dollar) that is losing its purchasing value. It makes sense therefore to keep and even add to one's own gold ‘reserves’ in the long term.

'How much are gold coins?' becomes not such an important question then as 'How much gold can I own?'

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Gold vs. Silver

Sometimes, when it comes to what to buy, it is a case of gold vs. silver. Both are equally a good investment but which one could you call the best?

There are two prime factors that will influence whether to buy gold or silver. They are affordability and taste.

For some people it is gold all the way. Even if they cannot afford the one ounce gold coins or gold bars there are smaller coins such as the one tenth gold coins, which are more affordable. Unfortunately they also command a higher price in proportion as the mint's or dealer's mark up has to be added, plus expenses, shipping etc. Usually, the smaller the coin, the higher the additional costs are in relation to it.

The cost of the gold if you are buying 5 ounces or a kilo of gold coins or bars is much less than if you buy a one tenth ounce gold bullion bar.

Economically for some people, silver is the way to go. An ounce of silver is affordable for just about anyone. Silver is currently running at around 12 USD per ounce. A big difference to gold at 550 to 600 USD an ounce. It is possible to buy one kilo silver coins as well as one or two ounce coins. If you are buying silver purely for the silver sake and not interested in it from a coin collector's point of view, then junk silver or bags of old silver coins may be the way to go. Keep in mind that there is usually a higher margin above spot price for buying silver from a mint than for buying gold.

The other option is to strike a balance and buy both gold and silver. Perhaps buy some gold coins to keep for the long term maybe more infrequently and, on a more regular basis, buy silver coins. This can be a happy medium. If the need ever comes to sell but you do not want to sell your gold you can always sell small amounts of silver to tide you over and still retain your most valuable asset.

So when it comes to gold vs. silver, there really is no contest. Each have their place and each have their advantages.

Sell Gold Bullion

Sometimes it can be necessary to sell some gold bullion.

This might be in a financial situation perhaps where funds are quickly needed, or to recoup an investment where the value of the gold bullion has increased sufficiently enough to warrant the sale.

Gold bullion can be in coins or bars. Coins would usually be gold coins such as South African Gold Krugerrands or Canadian Gold Maples or even US Gold Eagles, for example. Bars would be one ounce pure gold bars or perhaps smaller such as half ounce, or one tenth ounce. This sort of bullion is easy to buy, easy to store and transport and quite easy to sell.

How to sell Gold Bullion

All one needs to do is locate a gold or coin dealer in the country in which you are situated and sell the bullion.

You do need to ensure that you get a respectful price for the gold.

Firstly you need to find out the current price of gold (spot gold price) on the open market. You can see charts at the top of this web site that show the current value of gold in US dollars and Euros, the most common ways of displaying the value of gold. These are updated every few minutes so you can get the current price of gold bullion at any time.

You also need to find a reputable dealer who will give you close to the full value of gold. It is unlikely that any dealer will give you the full current market value of gold as they also wish to make something on the deal. They have their expenses and have to resell the gold bullion themselves.

Sometimes you can sell gold bullion online at auction such as eBay for example. This is fine provided you are prepared to take the risk of actually getting less than a satisfactory price for your gold if few people bid for it. It is likely, however, that many will bid as gold always seems to be much in demand. You can always place a reserve on the item to ensure that it does not sell for less than it should.

Selling your gold bullion is probably easier than buying it. If you do not need to sell it I would recommend you keep it. But if the situation warrants it then, yes, sell gold bullion and take your money!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Where To Buy Gold Coins

Where to buy gold coins is a very important question.

There are literally thousands of dealers, auctions, private sellers, coin clubs and others all keen to sell you their gold coins. Most of them are genuine and bona fide.

Most people buy from dealers, mints or from auctions, eBay being easily the most popular.

When buying gold coins it is wise to keep the following in mind.

Ensure you buy from a reputable dealer. Ask questions such as 'How long has the dealer been in business?', 'What is their fixed address?', 'Do they take credit card?', 'Will they accept a return if the coin is not as described?' and 'What are their terms and conditions?'. Questions like that.

If buying from an auction you need to ensure the auction seller is bona fide. On eBay you can establish this by checking the feedback of the seller. Is the seller a power seller or at least someone who has a history of selling? If so, they are likely to be keen on repeat business and so will offer good service. Check their feedback rating including the percentage of positive to negative and read what other buyers had to say about their service. Anyone with a feedback percentage of 90% or less one should be wary of.

Other auctions may have similar systems to ensure that the seller is bona fide, such as seller registration requiring sellers to show some credentials to demonstrate who they are. If you are a serious buyer of rare gold coins then auction houses such as Sotherbys is a good start. One can get the nearest from the yellow pages and ring to see if there are any auctions pending with gold coins being offered.

Sometimes you might buy from a private individual. Here it is a matter of faith and trust. Do you know the person? Often friends and relations can be good because, at least, you know who they are. Perhaps you might like to work through an escrow company? Here the escrow company accepts the funds from you the buyer and the goods from the seller or some variation of that and ensures that all parties are satisfied before completing the exchange. They usually charge a fee for this service. Don't pick an escrow company the seller suggests. It might be their own!

Mostly, when you are buying gold coins it is a matter of due diligence and common sense to ensure that you know your buyer and even, for the buyer, to know the seller.

Where to buy gold coins then becomes a matter of being able to select the best price for the coins you want.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Gold Price

The gold price continues to be in the news a lot due to the steady rise of the value of gold as measured against the dollar.

But what does the gold price mean?

The value of gold actually does not change much. What does change is the amount of paper or electronic money needed to purchase an amount of gold, most universally measured as US Dollars (USD) per Ounce.

The gold price is also measured in 'price per kilogram' and 'price per gram'. For example the jewelry industry usually is concerned with the price of gold in grams whereas investors usually watch the price per ounce.

For over one hundred years from 1800 through to 1970, the cost of gold remained fairly stable with a very gradual rise from 19 US dollars an ounce to 38 US dollars an ounce.

Then in 1975 there is recorded a jump to 175 US dollars per ounce! This is a massive jump in just a few years. Not only that but in 1980 there was an even more massive jump to 641 US dollars an ounce.

In 1985, however, it plummeted by almost half and was steady in the 270 to 425 range until recently when it started it's march upward again.

However, whereas in the 1980s there was a dramatic rise, this time, so far, it appears more steady.

What does the rise in the gold price mean? Does this mean that there is less faith in the US dollar? Or is it just that people prefer to own something more solid than paper currency?

It was pointed out recently that if the US reverted back to a gold backed currency then, with the vast quantity of paper money (dollars) currently printed and in circulation, then it would take $52,000 USD to purchase one ounce of gold.

That gives new meaning to the word inflation!

It seems evident that the gold price demonstrates people's confidence in gold much more than in the dollar and, for gold owners, that can only be a good thing.

It is likely that in these economic and troubling times people will seek something that remains stable. And gold has a tradition of being stable come what may and, what ever the gold price, people will certainly be willing to pay it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

New Gold Coins

As well as existing gold coins there are also the regular issues of new gold coins. Various mints such as the US Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint, The British Mint and many others issue BU (Brilliant Uncirculated), proof and commemorative coins yearly.

Canadian Maple Leaf gold coins from Canada, Britannia gold coins from the UK, US Gold eagles, South African Krugerrands. Pandas from China and Kangaroos from Australia. All are produced on a regular basis.

One can buy single coins but, if you can afford it, it is better to buy about 5 ounces at a time in gold coins as the mark up, handling and shipping charges by the dealer is going to be a lot less. Sets and presentations of gold coins are a good buy also.

If possible find coins that have a limited mintage as these will increase in value over the years since there are only a limited number made.

When buying gold coins always ensure that you deal with a reputable dealer and ensure the coins are what were described, when you receive them, especially when it comes to the condition. If you buy proof coins they should be proof and not BU. If you buy BU they should be BU and not simply uncirculated.

Check that the coins are properly sealed and have not been opened and resealed again. They should be sealed in a plastic transparent container especially for proof coins. Proof coins usually come in a presentation case or box. That presentation case should be the original, not a later made up one. You can check this by going to the mint and checking how the coin was originally sold.

Some mints will sell coins direct to the public and this is a good guarantee that you are getting what you asked for.

Buying new gold coins can be fun as well as a good investment for the future so it pays to ensure that you are getting what you paid for.

Old Gold Coins

Long before the Krugerrand was issued there were not very many old gold coins with real pure gold.

A typical example of those that were is the Austrian 100 Coronas. This was a large gold coin produced between 1908 and 1914 and later reissued in 1916 as commemorative coins.

The obverse features the head of Emperor Franz Joseph I and the reverse The arms of Austria superimposed upon a crowned double-headed Imperial eagle.

Technical Specifications include:

Diameter 35 mms
Weight 33.8753 Grams
Fineness .900/1.000
Gold Content 30.4878 Grams
Gold Content. 9803 Troy Ounces

These coins can usually be obtained for around 330 to 340 US dollars each, at time of writing, so they are actually quite a bargain. You need to check the price at the time of purchase as it may fluctuate with the price of gold.

There is also an Austrian 20 Corona gold coin which basically contains only 6.0976 grams of gold but is still a good collectors item never the less. This has the same obverse and reverse and were also restruck as commemorative pieces. The price for these run at anywhere from 90 to 125 dollars US depending on issue, number ordered and condition.

There are many other Austrian gold coins such as the franc and florins and it is a good idea, if you are interested in collecting these, to scout around and see what can be found.

Most of these coins had a limited mintage also so they are collectors items and it is quite likely that the value of old gold coins will increase in time for their collection value and not just for the gold content.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Gold Future

What will be in the gold future we are often asked.

Of course no one knows the future and there are many factors that affect the value or price of gold. But if one judges by the current activity of gold over this past year or so, it looks like the value of gold is going to just continue to rise.

How does that affect the gold coin collector?

Basically it is good news. It means that the gold coins that the collector studiously accumulates only improve in value over the years. Actually it is probably not so much the value of gold increasing as the value of the dollar declining against the value of gold.

A recent article pointed out that there have been so many dollars printed up that for the US to return to the gold standard would mean that every ounce of gold would cost over 52 thousand printed dollars. This means that whereas 100 years ago it only took 20 dollars to buy an ounce of gold. A few years ago 280 dollar bought an ounce, these days it will take 550 to 590 currently to buy an ounce of gold and, if the gold standard was reintroduced, then it would take 52 thousand dollars to buy an ounce of gold. Gold has certainly not changed. But the dollar has!

This demonstrates that the dollar has seriously deteriorated since the gold standard was dropped but that the value of gold continues to remain high.

It is most likely, in my opinion, that gold will continue to improve in value against the dollar provided that more dollars are printed than are needed just to manipulate the economy, and that those people who collect and hold real gold will have a distinct advantage over those who hold dollars only.

This applies to gold coins, gold bars, biscuits, jewellery and any other form of real gold one has.

Even if one paid top dollar for a proof gold coin 2 or 3 years ago the value of that coin will now be over the total cost of purchase and there is no sign that this will decrease.

What about collecting coins and bars in the future? Well with the likelihood of a continual rise in gold (more properly expressed by, "it takes more dollars to buy an ounce than it did before", then the sooner one buys gold the better off one will be.

So the gold future looks bright and there is good sense in continuing to buy as much gold as one can get one's hands on!

Gold Value

We can see that the gold value continues to rise against the dollar but what does that really mean?

An interesting article by Martin Presler shows the true value of gold pointing out that, at the best, if the US reverted to a gold backed dollar then it would be $52,237.96 dollars for a gold backed dollar.

How did he arrive at that extraordinary conclusion you might wonder? Well it is simple enough.

The term for all money in the US is M3. This would include all the currency in circulation, held in various bank accounts, funds, money market funds, deposits, Eurodollar deposits held at all banks and any other loose change. All would make up the M3. However this does leave out the millions of dollars held by foreign banks and euros, or other currencies, held by non US Residents and so forth.

The total of all this money, as at the week ending Feb 13th 2006, adds up to the princely sum of 10,236.3 billion dollars. As he says,

"10,236.3 Billion dollars rolls right off the tongue but it really is... $10,236,300,000,000!"

Now the US government hold a substantial amount of gold in it's vaults. The government claims it is 800 tonnes. Martin Presler claims it is probably closer to 400 tonnes but says lets split the difference and call it 600 tonnes.

He then divides 6000 tonnes of gold by the amount of money, giving 1,706,050,000 dollars per tonne.

With 2240 pounds in a tonne that amounts to 761,629,46 dollars per pound and as there are 14.58 troy ounces of gold in each pound that makes 52,237.96 dollars per ounce of gold!

So, just look at that. If the dollar was 100 percent backed by gold, then gold would have to be 52,237.96 dollars per ounce.

Just how much paper money is out there?

You can look at this two ways. Either gold is worth a lot more than we ever imagined or the paper money we use is worth less than a matchstick on a hot day.

Which ever way you look at it, the value of gold looks set to continue it's rise and it seems fairly safe to buy gold bullion in pretty much any form.

Friday, March 31, 2006

All About Gold

What is gold?

Gold is a rare yellow metal with the designated symbol AU, which is short for the Latin word 'Aurum' and which means literally, "Glowing Dawn". The word gold, however, comes from the Indo-European root word and means simply, yellow.

Gold has a number of properties useful to man apart from it’s beauty and strange attractiveness for jewellery and coinage. It is an excellent conductor of electricity and is resistant to corrosion, not reacting to oxygen or water. It does not tarnish and does not cause reactions on skin for the vast majority of people. It has a melting point of 1064 degrees, a boiling point of 2808 centigrade and is a soft metal and very malleable compared to most metals.

Karat Gold
Gold is measured in karats. These karats are rather different to the ones Bugs Bunny enjoys. A Karat is a unit of weight which was based on the carob seed or bean used by merchants in the middle east hundreds of years ago. The Carob seed is from the carob Tree and the Karat was used as a measure of the purity of gold. Gold is also measured in terms of fineness which is to say, parts per thousand. 24 Karat gold is considered to be 999.999 parts per thousand on the basis that there can never be a total and absolute purity of gold. 18 Karat is 18/24th or 750 parts per thousand, the other 250 parts being made up, usually, of copper, silver, zinc or bronze.

How much gold is there in the world?
Well, at the end of 2001, it is estimated that all the gold ever mined amounts to about 145,000 tonnes. Of course that would have increased by now but even so it is a lot of gold.

Perhaps that is not all there is to know about gold but it is a few interesting facts about the metal that we all cherish so dearly.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Unusual Gold Coins

There are some unusual gold coins out there in the market place. These include the Augustus Humbert $50 gold slugs. These were octagonal (eight sided) in shape and a recent example sold for nearly $290,000 US dollars. Well over the few ounces of gold contained therein.

Also known as ‘slugs' these types of coins are also known as facsimiles and are one of the most expensive and elusive coins for collectors. They represented very large gold coins struck in California.

They were meant to be used by miners and the pioneers of the day during the gold rush. A very rough and ready coin as it were. They were originally termed 'ingots' due to their large weight and face value of 50 US dollars but because of their size become known as slugs.

The government withdrew the 50 dollar slugs from circulation around 1954 and they are now quite rare with only around 40 known to exist.

They can cost anywhere from 10,000 dollars up to over 250,000 each depending on which mint, condition and age.

For example the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition 50 dollar commemorative
Gold coin was minted in two versions, the octagonal as mentioned above and the traditional round.

They are among the most unusual coins available albeit for their remarkable history and rarity.

There are many other unusual gold coins available and half the fun is discovering them and the unique history that usually surrounds them.

If you are fortunate enough to ever come across one of these unusual gold coins and can afford the price, they would make a phenomenal addition to your collection not to mention the prestige and you would surely be a very happy individual.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

All About Gold Carats

Gold is used extensively in coinage of course, as well as industrial, decorative, dental and gold jewellery.

How it is used will usually determine the carat or amount of gold in proportion to other metals. The higher the carat the purer the gold. Gold is usually alloyed with other metals to increase its hardness and durability. The amount of hardness required is determined by the use for the gold. Jewelry, for example, gets a lot more handling than coins or bars and so is alloyed with harder metals such as silver, copper and sometimes nickel.

The composition of alloys used in jewelry in most countries is denoted in the 'carat system' (spelt Karat in the USA and on the Continent). Also for hallmarking purposes gold is expressed in parts per thousand. Hence 999 and 990 parts per thousand (the other parts being another metal such as silver or copper for example).
Here is a list of the carats and proportions of gold to alloys:

24 carat is pure gold with nothing added. This is the purest gold available. Also has a fineness of 1000. Sometimes this is expressed as 999 being 999 parts per 1000. This is because it is very difficult to get pure gold with absolutely no impurities and possibly is for legal reasons also. This applies to gold coins a lot. Canadian Maples, for example, are listed as 99.999% pure gold.

22 carat is 916.6 fine
18 carat is 750 fine
14 carat is 585 fine
9 carat is 375 fine

There are other hallmark standards available as well as the above but these are the most common. This tells you how much gold there is in a gold piece. 14 carat, for example, is 585 parts gold to 415 parts other metal.

The alloys used vary with the purpose to which the gold is put. For jewellery and dental work usually the combination is gold, silver and copper. Sometimes with the addition of zinc or nickel. For dental alloys, palladium and platinum are usually added as they are particularly stronger and hard wearing.

18 carat gold is more popular for gold jewelry with a 75 percent gold and 25 percent other metals ratio, usually silver or copper or a mixture of both.

The 14 carat standard is used more extensively in industry and for such things as pen nibs, circuit boards etc. It is also used in such jewelry as bracelets where more durability is required, due to more use.

There is also a 10 carat, containing 41.7 percent gold and known therefore as 417. this is really just a cheaper version of the 14 carat and used for cheaper jewelry. One should check the carat of the piece one is buying as it may actually be 10 carat or even 9 carat and not 14.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Guernsey Fine Gold Coins

Guernsey fine gold coins are very pretty and have a unique aspect in that there is no head of state on the coins as is traditional with most country's coins.

Guernsey is a small island off the French Coast but part of Britain. It is a British protectorate with it's own mint which produces some very fine coins.

A good example is the Guernsey fine gold One Double coins. These are available in two weights: 1/10 and 1/4 troy ounce pure 999 fine gold. The One Double was legal tender and was first minted in 1830; it was released periodically until 1966 together with the Two, Four and Eight Doubles.

One tenth troy ounce
Purity 999 fine gold –
Diameter 19mm –
Weight 3.11 grams.
One quarter troy ounce
Purity 999 fine gold –
Diameter 19mm –
Weight 7.78 grams.

The Guernsey double design features on the obverse side the royal seal of King Edward I, given to the island of Guernsey in 1279; the reverse features the coins denomination, the year of minting and the purity mark.

The Guernsey Mint, Guernsey fine gold coins produces many fine coins which any collector would be proud to own and the Guernesey fine gold coin One Double would be no exception.