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.