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Monday, January 30, 2006

Which Gold to Buy

Which gold to buy can be an important question for the gold enthusiast.

There are so many types of gold one can buy. These can include gold investments such as stocks in mining companies or gold futures, gold accounts such as goldmoney.com or gold bullion such as gold bars or coins.

Firstly, gold investments, stocks and futures are very much a professional market and not for the hobbyist, more for the speculator in gold. For this one needs experience and a very good and trustworthy commodity broker. In addition there are some tax considerations to be aware of which may not apply with buying gold coins for collections.

Gold accounts can be held with banks in some countries but not all. This is an area banks are moving away from. However there are private companies that store actual gold in escrow for those who have accounts with them and this is one way one can own and store gold, usually purely for investment purposes.

Then we have gold bullion. This is in the form of gold bars and gold coins. When it comes to which gold to buy, this is probably the best way for most people. It is easy to obtain gold coins and small bars. They are not difficult to store and, best of all, they retain their value even in times of crisis or economic need.

However, sometimes it is a matter of personal choice which gold to buy. Either way there are some criteria to be aware of.

  • Learn as much as you can about the various type of gold you can buy.
  • Select your plan of which gold to buy and what your budget is.
  • Do an extensive browse on which gold you want to buy.

Which gold to buy is your choice, but which ever type you choose, ensure you have fun and enjoy your gold, whatever form it may take!



Saturday, January 28, 2006

Austrian Gold Coins

Perhaps not so well known, outside of numismatics and coin collectors, are the Austrian gold coins. Yet Austria is a country steeped in history well known for its music and culture.

The currencies of Austria have included the Florin, the Crown and the Ducat, although the Ducat was never legal tender. Nowadays, of course, the Euro is the currency of Austria. However, one can still get Austrian gold coins in the form of Ducats, Florins, Crowns or Corona.

The currently produced Austrian gold coins are the one troy ounce, and fractional coins of one half, one quarter and one tenth of a troy ounce. Usually the face value is in Schillings with the one ounce being 2000 Schillings, the half being 1000 Schillings and so on.

The 2002 gold coins known as the "Philharmoniker" bullion coins, however, were struck in euros with the one ounce face value of one hundred euros, the half fifty euros and so on.

All coins are struck in 99.99 percent pure gold.

Gold Ducats were first minted at the beginning of the 16th century and have continued to be minted more or less continuously. Ducats are not legal tender however and have only ever been used as gold coins for specimen, collectors or for display.

Gold Florins and Crowns were once legal tender and were quite popular during the late 1800s. You can still locate, with some research, gold coins of some ten or twenty gold florins.

Pictured is the 1908, 100 Corona (Crown). This design, often referred to as "The Lady in the Clouds", is considered one of the most attractive coin designs of the 20th century.

Only 16 thousand were struck and very few struck as proofs. Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the reign of Franz Joseph, the coins fetch anywhere from one thousands dollars to several thousand US depending on their condition.

As with all coin purchases ensure you select a reputable dealer. You can get Austrian gold coins from Austrian gold coins.

For the serious collector as well as the hobbyist, collecting Austrian gold coins can be a pleasurable and profitable pastime.



Friday, January 27, 2006

French Gold Coins

Collecting French gold coins can be a fascinating hobby. There is a lot of history attached to the various coins from the pre Bonaparte era right up to the present day.

Early French coins were know as the Livre. This word came from the Latin for pound or book, libra. The Ecu was another early French gold coin. The word ecu means, shield, and these coins would include a coat of arms.

In 1360 the first Franc gold coin was struck. The word franc, incidentally, meant free and showed King John in armour on horseback. It was known as a franc à cheval. The Franc coin was then dropped from use until the revolution era in 1795 when, what is perhaps the first, decimal currency was introduced.

The French, among with other countries, make what is called, Monnaie de Luxe. These are coins with a very superior finish. The term monnaie de luxe basically means coins of luxury. They were produced for display or as specimen coins, not for circulation. The quality of the French monnaies de luxe is so good it is better than many proof coins of other countries.

Many French gold coins were produced in the Napoleon Bonaparte era and of course these are extremely popular with collectors.

Most of these coins have a fineness of .900 with some variations. They were produced in 5, 10, 20, 40, 50 and 100 Franc denominations with the 100 Franc coins having a gold content of .9355 of a troy ounce.

It is important that, when you purchase any French coins, you purchase from a reputable dealer and ensure that each gold coin comes with a guarantee of authenticity. The Monnaie de Luxe particularly should come with a certificate of authenticity.

Examples of how much one can expect to pay for a good French gold coin, at time of writing, are: An 1857A Napoleon III Shield, with a grade of VF (very fine) should fetch about 450 dollars US. A 1907A Angel VF should fetch around the same price. A 1989 Monnaies de Luxe - "Droits de l'Homme" (pictured) uncirculated should fetch about 550 dollars US. Only 1000 of these were minted so they are quite rare.

Collecting French gold coins can be a rewarding experience not just for the beauty of the coins but also for the appreciating value they accumulate over the years.



Thursday, January 26, 2006

Spanish Gold Coins

Of all the Spanish gold coins the Doubloon always seems to bring echoes of the romance and adventures of pirates and buccaneers.

As with Spanish silver, Spanish gold coinage was popular around the world. The basic gold coin was the eight escudo piece, often called a Doubloon. In 1537 eight escudos was set at 27.4680 grams of .92 fine gold (22-carat gold). In 1728 the weight was reduced to 27.06429 grams, and then in 1772 the fineness was reduced to .90103. The Spanish escudo eventually became the standard by which other gold coins were measured.

Different to the silver escudos, the gold escudos were only used by the wealthy so tend not to be worn down as much. Therefore, the earlier escudos tend to command a high price, sometimes in the thousands, depending on the actual condition of the coin.

For example an 8 Escudos gold coin struck from the Popayan Mint with a weight of 27.0 grams can fetch up to 1400 dollars US or more. A 4 Escudos coin minted in Madrid and weighting 13.5 grams will fetch up to $795.00.

There are hundreds of different Spanish gold coins and many collectors specialize in collecting Spanish gold coins only, building up an impressive collection with a very high value.

When buying such coins one should seek a reputable dealer and insist upon a certificate of authenticity. This should apply to the newer coins as well as the ancient and especially for ‘shipwrecked’ coins. That is coins found in shipwrecks as salvage.

There are two types of certificates here. For shipwrecked coins there is the original certificate supplied by the original company who handle the salvage and distribution of such coins. The other is for normal coins, which is to say non shipwrecked coins.

What ever type of Spanish gold coins one collects one can be assured of an absorbing hobby that could even turn out to be quite profitable as well!



Chinese Gold Coins

There are two Chinese gold coins of note issued by the Chinese Government.

The Unicorn gold coin, issued in 1986, is legal tender in the People’s Republic of China. Struck by the People's Bank of China, the obverse (head) depicts a Chinese unicorn - the title of PRC in Chinese and the issuing year, and on the reverse (tail) the Western unicorn.

They are 99% pure gold and weigh one twentieth of a troy ounce. They have a face value of 5 Yuan but will sell for around 40 to 50 dollars US depending on the condition. The condition should always be brilliant uncirculated as far as serious coin collectors are concerned.

The other Chinese gold coin available is the very popular Panda. Probably due to the adorable and cute pandas, always a favorite animal around the world, featured on the obverse (head) of the coins.

The Panda was first produced in 1982 and comes in one tenth, one quarter, one half and a full troy ounce in weight coin. Although the design is that of a Panda on the obverse, each year, with the exception of 1992, a different panda design was struck. All are brilliant uncirculated.

From 1986 to 1995 proof sets were issued and these now command a very respectable price due to their increasing rarity.

Another gold coin, although it could hardly be called a coin as it looks more like a wafer or bar, is the China Year of the Monkey 2004 half troy ounce coin. This features, of course, a monkey on the obverse and is not round like most coins but fan shaped. These usually come brilliant uncirculated and in a presentation box. Only 6600 were made so these are quite rare. They will sell for between 400 and 500 dollars US each.

The Chinese Mint sometimes issues other Gold Commemorative Coins.

Some examples are:
1979 International Children's Year gold commemorative coin (First year gold coin)
Mintage: 13000
Denomination: 450 Yuan
Quality: Proof
Diameter: 27mm
Fineness: 90%
Weight: 1/2oz
Reverse shows two children planting a tree.
Can be purchased for about 325 to 350 dollars US.

1993 Peacock Gold Coin
Mintage: 1200
Denomination: 100 Yuan
Quality: Proof
Diameter: 32mm
Fineness: 99.9%
Weight: 1oz
Obverse: The Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Imperial Palace.
Reverse: "Peacock" painted by Lang Shining in Qing Dynasty.
Usually costs about 1000 dollars US

1994 Endangered Wildlife Gold commemorative coin (Panda)
Mintage: 5000
Denomination: 100 Yuan
Quality: Proof
Diameter: 23mm
Fineness: 91.6%
Weight: 8g
Available for around 340 – 350 dollars US

1995 Dinosaur gold commemorative coin
Mintage: 2000
Denomination: 50 Yuan
Quality: Proof
Diameter: 27mm Fineness: 99.9%
Weight: 1/2oz
Obverse: The Wooden Pagoda in Shanxi province.
Reverse: Dinosaur.
This coin will fetch over 400 dollars US

1998 Guilin Scenery gold commemorative coin set (4 rectangular shaped coins)
Mintage: 1600 sets (actually mintage only 904 sets)
Denomination: 50 Yuan x 4
Fineness: 99.9%
Weight: 1/2oz x 4 Diameter: (29mm x 19mm) x 4
Obverse: Four famous scenic pots ( the Elephant Trunk Hill, The Flowery Bridge, The Duxiu Peak and the Nanxi Hill).
Reverse: Guilin landscape.

This set regularly fetches over 2000 dollars US.
With such an impressive selection of popular and rare gold coins, a coin enthusiast can enjoy a fascinating and absorbing hobby collecting Chinese gold coins.



Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Russian Gold Coins

Early Russian gold coins consisted of gold Kopeks, Ducats, Poltinas, and Novodels. But in recent times the Rouble has become the currency of Russia and is now the Russian gold coin of choice.

It is very rare that one would encounter a gold Kopek, Ducat, Poltina, or Novodel. The most common Russian coins available today are the Imperial and later 5 Rouble and up to 150 Rouble gold coins.

These would be from the early 1800s through to the present day. The mintage, or number of coins issued, as well as the date and condition will affect the value of the coin. The coins most popular are those of the imperial age prior to the Revolution and such coins will contain the head of the then current Tsar, such as Nicholas the II, for example, on the obverse (head) of the coin. After the Russian Revolution, The R.S.F.S.R., the socialist state of Russia, came into being and they issued gold coins also. The only denomination of gold coin issued by the RSFSR was the 10 Roubles. These were known as Chervonetz.

There were three different issues of the Chervonetz. They are the original in 1923, a second issue under the USSR (CCCP) in 1925 (all but one are thought to have been melted) and a third issue from 1975 to 1982. Only coins of this third type can be commonly found. The average price for a coin of this type is around 110 -120 dollars US. If you ever find one of the original issues however, these would command an extremely high price.

Moving earlier, an 1898 10 Rouble gold coin featuring Nicholas II in very fine condition will fetch around 120 dollars US. The mintage was only 200,000 of that coin. A 10 Rouble coin will have a gold content of around .2489 of an ounce and be 90 percent fine gold. Alloys are added to maintain hardness and durability.

Some significant coins includes the 1980 Moscow Olympics coin sets. The Russian government issued a series of six gold 100 Rouble coins from 1977 to 1980 inclusive for this event. These were issued in proof and ordinary uncirculated versions. These value at around 270 to 300 dollars US each currently.

As with collecting any specialized gold coins, always seek out a reputable dealer with whom you can buy and sell.

Russian Gold coins offers a number of Russian coins available for collectors. These can be ordered online from their website.

Collecting Russian gold coins can be a fascinating and absorbing hobby for the coin enthusiast well as an excellent investment for the future!



Roman Gold Coins

Roman gold coins are worth their weight in gold! In fact, in many cases they are worth a lot more.

The Romans used gold, silver and copper coins in their monetary system. Gold coins were mainly used by administrators or wealthier merchants. The silver and a copper alloy were used by ordinary merchants and the people of Rome and the Roman Empire.

People would also often convert their earnings and life savings into gold coins and hide them.

The gold coin, or 'Aurei' as it was called then, was usually around 95 percent pure gold. A legionnaire would earn about 4 a week. One Aurei would buy 400 litres of cheap wine or 200 pounds of flour.

Roman gold coins usually had the head of the Emperor or Caesar at the time the coin was struck and most Roman gold coins were struck at the Constantinople Mint.

There are many many issues of coins depicting various Emperors. Most are rare and command a high value well over the value of the gold content.

Roman coins are usually weight by gram. They can be from a couple of grams upwards.

For example a Honorius, 22 January 393 - 15 August 423 A.D. Extra Fine weighting 4.449 grams with Honorius on both sides would fetch around 700-800 dollars US.

Because collecting Roman gold coins is very much a specialized activity, one needs to ensure that one is dealing with a reputable dealer who knows and understands Roman gold coins. In the field of coin collection or numismatics, Roman gold coin collection is somewhat more specialized.

Roman Gold coins is an excellent site to go to join a Roman gold coins collectors group or Forum. There is a wealth of information there and one can get thoroughly acquainted with this fascinating hobby of Roman gold coin collecting!



Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Buy Gold Bullion Online

It is real easy to buy gold bullion online. Gold bullion includes the wealth of gold coins available as well as gold bars, or biscuits, as they are sometimes called, and gold nuggets. All are available online from online dealers and auction houses.

There are many dealers selling gold coins and gold bars and it is really a matter of browsing to find the best dealer for you.

There are certain criteria you should take into account when buying any gold bullion online from a dealer.

Browse the internet for dealers. Also dealers who advertise on this site are worth looking at.

When you pick a dealer ensure you select a dealer who is established and reputable. Such a dealer will have been around for many years, will have full contact address and names displayed. Will have a professional and comprehensive site. Many will be authorized by a Mint. The US Mint, for example, does not sell gold coins or gold bars direct to the public but through authorized dealers. Some other Mints, such as the Australian Mint and the British Royal Mint will sell direct to the public however.

Do a comparison between dealers. Sometimes a dealer will offer a discount for a day or period of time. It pays to be patient and do plenty of searching.

The other method of buying gold bullion online is from auction houses. As well as eBay there are many gold coin auction houses. One needs to be a bit more circumspect when buying gold bullion online from auction houses. There are usually no guarantees and it requires some experience to ensure one is not buying fake coins or bars. A thorough study of the subject is advisable and a good understanding of the value of the various types of gold bullion is recommended.

However one buys gold bullion online it is safe to say it can be exciting and a very rewarding experience. It can, with a sensible approach and some study, turn out to be a very profitable experience!



Sell Gold Coins Online

So you would like to to sell gold coins online! Sometimes it can be necessary to sell some gold coins, either for economic or other reasons and this can easily be done online.

There are a few factors to keep in mind however, when selling gold coins online.

If you have been buying your coins from the same established dealer, then he would be the first place to go to sell them. He will have a record of the coins and know the current value and, as you are an established customer, he is more likely to give you a good price.

But you may have purchased your coins over time from here and there and not through one established dealer.

Then you basically have three choices. You can either sell to a dealer you can visit, sell to a dealer online or sell through an online auction.

Selling to a dealer you can visit is the easiest as you can take the coins with you and the dealer can give you a price on the spot. However it may not always be the price you want. With an online dealer you may have to send the coins in and wait for a price. Some dealers will offer a price unseen for popular established coins. But if you have coins that are rare or unusual the dealer will definitely want to see them before making you an offer.

Selling by auction requires a bit of thought and preparation if you wish to ensure the sale and to get the best possible price. As well as eBay there are also a number of coin auctions available online and it only requires registration and some study of the process in order to get started selling your coins.

If you like the excitement of auctions and are prepared to take a bit of a risk in terms of how much you will get for your coins, auctions are the way to go. People have been known to get fabulous prices by selling at online auctions. But if you do not want any fuss and simply want to offload the coins as quickly as possible then the dealer is the way to go.

Which ever way you go, browse around using google.com and look at what options you have available to you.

Gold coins are very easy to sell and to sell gold coins online can be a fun as well as a very profitable experience!



Monday, January 23, 2006

Mexican Gold Coins

Mexican gold coins are not as well known as the Eagles and Maple Leafs etc. But they nevertheless have a history and beauty all their own.

Gold is steeped in Mexican history. The Aztec Empire are very well known for their fascination with gold and it represented the sun in their culture which of course is the same color. However the Aztecs did not use coins as they used goods to trade with.

It was later with the coming of the Spanish that coins were introduced into the cultures of Mexico at that time. These were gold Escudos and they were issues in half, 1, 2, 4 and 8 escudos. This remained until 1964 when decimal currency based on the peso was introduced.

And then we come to the Mexican coins of today.

The current Mexican gold coin is the Libertad. This is available in one twentieth, one tenth, a quarter, a half and one full troy ounce size. These coins also contain some alloy to strengthen the coins.

More commonly the peso gold coin is minted by the Mexican Government and this comes in ranges from 1 peso, about a fortieth of an ounce, up to 100 pesos.

There are a great variety of other Mexican gold coins available and for the enthusiast, it can mean many happy hours browsing the vast quantity of Mexican gold coins available.

As with any gold coins, there are some points to consider when buying mexican gold coins.

Ensure you deal with a reputable dealer. There are many fake coins out there and they are so well created that one might not even realize until the time comes to sell them.

Look out for deals and discounts. Try to build up a collection of a specific coin, perhaps acquire all the dates of issue. A collection such as this is invariably worth more than the value of each coin individually.

Do lots of browsing. You will be surprised what you will find online while looking for Mexican coins.

Last but not least, have fun!. Collecting Mexican gold coins can be a real pleasure for the coin enthusiast!



Panda Gold Coins

Panda gold coins, as the name implies, feature a very adorable Panda on the obverse (head) side of the coin.

China first issued its gold coins in 1982 in one tenth, one quarter, one half and one full troy ounce sized coins. In 1983 the mint added a further size, one twentieth of an ounce.

In later years larger sized coins were added, 5 troy ounce and 10 troy ounce coins. These are among the few gold coins issued in such sizes around the world.

Each issue features a panda the design of which has varied over the years, making these coins ideal for collectors. However, the 2002 Panda is identical to the 2001 as the Chinese Government imposed a freeze on the design. This was eventually lifted in 2003 due, in part, to the requests of collectors.

All these coins were proof-like rather than actual proof coins and were simply Brilliant Uncirculated. In 1986 to 1995 proof sets were issued, so these now command a higher price due to the limited issue and increasing rarity.

The mintage of these coins, compared to American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leaf, Krugerrands and other well gold coins, is very small so these coins tend to price a lot higher.

For example in 1982 there was less than 16,000 1 troy ounce coins produced, in 1983 only 22447 and in 1984 only 23330. The most 1 troy ounce coins minted by the Chinese Mint in any one year was 150,000 but that is mostly only in recent years.

The price of early Pandas is quite high therefore. A 1982 1 half ounce gold panda with a purity of .999 fine, grade proof-like brilliant uncirculated will fetch over 800 USD on the open market. The gold value is closer to 250-270 USD at today’s gold price.

A full collection of half ounce gold pandas featuring coins from 1982 to 2005 will be worth well over 9000 USD. A very tidy sum for a collector who may have patiently collected the coins each year at their original price.

Panda gold coins are an excellent investment for the future not only for the gold value but for the rarity and beauty, but any collector would be pleased to have just one panda gold coin in his collection.



Sunday, January 22, 2006

Buying Gold Coins

Buying gold coins can be a fascinating and rewarding hobby provided one follows a few simple guidelines.

First one should consider how much gold you want at today’s price. Of course this should be within one’s budget either on a right now basis or spread over time with regular purchases.

One should also decide on the type of gold you would like to own. Gold coins, bars or nuggets. Nuggets are hard to come by and it requires an experienced eye to know which are the best and which are not. However, their natural untouched beauty can make them an appealing option for gold collecting. Gold bars are a good buy but somewhat bland for some people's taste. Gold coins, however, have a magic all their own.

There are many different types of gold coins but by far the best are those which are guaranteed to contain 1 troy ounce of gold.

Such coins as:
  • Australian Kangaroo
  • Austrian Philharmonic
  • Canadian Maple Leaf
  • South African Krugerrand
  • United States Eagle
  • British Sovereigns
Are typical examples of the coins one can buy.

It is important when buying gold coins to get the best deal possible. This might mean paying cash and watching out for special discounts or special offers. Shopping around is always a good idea. There are many reputable dealers out there jostling for your dollar!

So you need to select a trusted, reputable firm that is a Mint Recommended Dealer and can also demonstrate being a member of the American Numismatic Association, if in the US, or the equivalent in other countries.

It is important to work with a trusted dealer to ensure the coins you are purchasing are not counterfeit. In addition you may wish to sell back coins you have purchased and this is much easier with a dealer you have a track record with.

One can have a lot of fun building up a collection of gold coins and there are some great deals available, when buying gold, for the watchful eye!



British Gold Sovereigns


British Gold Sovereigns have proven to be an excellent investment for the enthusiastic coin collector.

The very first gold sovereign came into existence in 1489 under King Henry VII.

This new coin weighed in at 240 grains which is equal to 0.5 troy ounces or 15.55 grams, and was made using the standard gold coinage alloy of 23 carat, equal to 95.83% fine.

The obverse or head, shows the king seated on a throne. This is from where the coin gained its name. The reverse shows a shield bearing the royal arms, on a large double Tudor Rose.

One of the principle reasons this coin was issues at the time was to compete with similar large coins being produced and used in Europe and to ensure that Europe was impressed with the Tudor dynasty.

Large double and treble sovereigns were issued for Henry the VII also.

Sovereigns have been produced on a regular basis since then right up to those currently being produced by the British Royal Mint.

The British Gold Sovereign, distinct from the English sovereigns, was minted from 1911 to 1935 and was designed by Benetto Pestrucci. No longer minted, they are becoming rarer each year. They weight in at 7.9881 grams and are composed of .917 troy ounces of gold and .083 troy ounces of copper. The copper is added to give strength and durability. The gold content is therefore 0.2354 troy ounces. They are 22mm in diameter with a reeded edge.

Often called "kings", the British Gold Sovereign has been considered one of the world’s most popular coins and were often included in the survival kits of American Pilots during the second world war. Soldiers in Iraq have been known to carry them also.

The demand for brilliant Uncirculated "Kings" means that the value of the coins is generally higher than the gold value they contain.

The British Royal Mint continues to strike sovereigns and offers proof sets of sovereigns of varying types.

Whether you are looking to collect the early English Sovereigns or the very popular British Gold Sovereigns, it is for sure that you will have a fascinating time and many hours of pleasure with your British Gold Sovereigns.



Buy Gold in Britain

You can buy gold in Britain just as easily as in Australia, Canada, the US or any other country.

In fact you can buy gold from the British Royal Mint. The Royal Mint produces some striking coins on a regular basis which an avid collector can add to his collection.

Proof Gold Sovereigns are an example of the type of coins the mint sells. These are usually a limited issue so once that issue is sold there are no more available.

This gives them a future rarity to add to the already excellent value of the sets.

In addition there are many past issues of Britannias and Sovereigns available from dealers around the world and online. Even auctions such as eBay features British gold coins and sometimes, if you are watchful, patient and a bit smart, you can get some real bargains.

With proof sets of course there is a heavier mark up as they are normally presented in a case and specially sealed in moisture and tamper proof packs. Add on shipping and insurance. All this costs money and of course the purchaser pays.

Never the less, in the long term, these coins are good value for money and will give many hours of enjoyment to collectors as well as increase their value over the years.

Of course one does not have to be in the UK to buy gold in Britain! All these coins are available online, even from the Royal Mint, as well as from dealers around the world.

All the British coins are available and, with some experience and patient study, one can select out some very valuable coins to collect and hold for the future.

For the coin enthusiast, to buy gold in Britain can be a rewarding experience just as buying British coins from wherever you are located, can be!



Proof Gold Coins

Proof Gold Coins are coins that have been specially struck for collectors and special occasions. They are not meant for circulation. Proof is not a grade but a designation for coins that have been struck, usually as preproduction samples.

The blanks from which the coins are made are usually specially prepared and are polished before being struck by the die. The dies themselves are specially prepared and polished also prior to the strike. This give the coin a special finish as proof coins are expected to be perfect. Strictly speaking any coin which is absolutely perfect is referred to as being in F.D.C. condition, an abbreviation of fleur de coin. The literal translation of fleur de coin is ‘flower of corner’ but is more taken to mean the flower of coins, i.e. the best possible, perfect.

There are different types of proof coins. Some are produced with a matt finish. Some have a reverse proof finish. The background is matt and the raised design is polished.. But most proof coins, and the ones that the majority of collectors look for, is the traditional matt design on a highly polished background.

With proof coins there is a stringent quality control with each coin being inspected for flaws. If one flaw or blemish is found the entire batch is usually checked and rechecked.

Proof coins are usually packed into capsules and a high quality display packaging along with information about the coins. Gold coins are soft and proofs, especially, should not be removed from the packaging which has been designed to protect the coin from nicks, scratches and any other blemish.

Proof gold coins are produced in limited amounts and runs, so are more rare than the uncirculated. This can only improve their value as time marches on. In times of economic need they are an excellent source of funds as they can always be sold.

From 1999 to today, the price of gold bullion has risen from 330 to over 500 dollars an ounce, while the value of a one ounce "Proof" American Gold Eagle went from $525 to over 700 dollars.

If you want to collect only the best of the best in gold coins, you could not do better than collect proof gold coins.



Saturday, January 21, 2006

Buy Gold in South Africa

To buy gold in South Africa is just as easy as anywhere else if not easier.

Actually the Gold Krugerrand was the first gold bullion coin to be produced in an exact 1 troy ounce and sold for the spot price of gold (spot price is the actual value of gold for that day as traded around the world) plus a small mark up to cover the cost of manufacture and shipping.

Actually 1 troy ounce krugerrand contains exactly 1 troy ounce of gold plus a small amount of alloy to increase it’s hardness. The total weight then comes to 1.0909 ounces or 33.9303 grams.

Nowadays, of course one can purchase Krugerrands in smaller values down to one tenth of an ounce.

Krugerrands have been produced since 1967 so there are currently alot of Krugerrands around.

At the time it was introduced, US citizens were not allowed to own gold but were allowed to own foreign coins, so the introduction of the Krugerrand enabled US citizens to own gold after all. Some analysts consider this was the prime reason for introducing Krugerrands onto the market.

Many collectors will feature some Krugerrands in their collection and they are also highly saleable in times of economic need.

If one is in South Africa the purchase of gold Krugerrands is simplicity itself, any coin dealer will have stocks and be able to sell you any quantity you require. The South African Mint does not deal directly with the public but has a number of local and international authorized dealers and one can select the dealers closest to you for your purchase.

If you live outside of South Africa you can still purchase Krugerrands from authorized and reputable dealers in your city or online. And if purchasing online always ensure that the dealer is experienced, has all mediums of contact and a fixed address. Preferably has been in business for many years and, even more preferably, is an authorized dealer from the South African Mint.

Of course, economically it is better to buy 1 ounce coins than the smaller ones due to mark up and shipping costs. But either way, to buy gold in South Africa, or out of it for that matter, is a wonderful pastime whether for investment or just as a hobby.



Friday, January 20, 2006

Can You Buy Gold Bullion

You can you buy gold bullion? is the short answer to the question often asked by new collectors.

But there are some factors to consider when buying gold bullion. Firstly gold bullion is basically gold coins and gold bars.

Gold coins are usually 1 troy ounce of fine gold but there can be smaller and sometimes larger coins.

Examples of such coins are America Gold Eagles, Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, South African Krugerrands and Australian Gold Kookaburras. There are many others but someone new to collecting would be advised to stick to those to start with until they have some more experience under their belt. All are obtainable from reputable dealers and mints (except for the US mint who do not deal with the public. US Gold coins should be obtained from an authorized dealer).

Bars, or biscuits or wafers, as they are sometimes called, are another option. These can range from the 1 gram wafer up to full bars of 400 troy ounces. Most collectors go for the 1 ounce and up to 10 ounce bars.

When you buy gold coins always check the weight. Usually this is measured in troy ounces or part of an ounce but grams have also become a popular weight measurement recently as well. The fineness should be a 999% fine and this is the amount of gold compared to other metals, such as silver which may be added to give it strength.

Gold bars are usually measured as 999 parts per 1000 and most gold coins are usually 917 parts per 1000. Other metal is added as an alloy to strengthen them. Gold is a soft metal and adding an alloy such as silver or copper also makes them easier to mint.

How much you would be expected to pay for the gold coin or gold bar advertised depends on the above factors as well as sometimes the rarity and aesthetic appeal of the item, particularly if it is a gold coin. The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, for example, is considered by some to be particularly beautiful. Also it would include any margin added by the seller and any tax that might be applicable. For this reason it is better to purchase 1 ounce coins rather than 1/10th ounce coins and 1 ounce bars rather than 1 gram bars.

But whether you are collecting as an investment for the future, or just as a hobby because you like the idea of owning gold or simply appreciate the aesthetic appeal of it, I am sure that buying gold bullion will give you many happy hours of enjoyment in the future!



Thursday, January 19, 2006

Buy Gold in India

To buy gold in India is a very big thing. One's personal wealth is traditionally determined by how much gold one has and India is, by far, one of the biggest gold consumers of all the nations.

Gold is woven into the very fabric of Indian life, from Indian brides with a dowry of gold, often in the form of gold jewelry or gold coins, which can easily accumulate to a kilo of gold, to the rural Indian who prefers gold to cash to the point where he will even convert his earnings to gold when he receives them.

So, as you would imagine, to buy gold in India is a very common occurrence. Although some of the poorer Indians may purchase gold jewelry, most Indians purchase gold coins. Usually the American Eagles, Krugerrands, Canadian Maple and so forth.

Buying Indian gold coins is a bit more tricky since they are old and somewhat rare, as many have been melted down to make jewelry, and it takes an experienced coin dealer to be able to establish the authenticity and value of an Indian gold coin.

In 1995 India's gold consumption was 447 tonnes. Now it is likely to have more than doubled. Gold is very big business in India and there is a proliferation of gold dealers so it is not difficult to buy gold in India.

Simply follow the basic rules.
  • Decide what you want to buy and how much you can spend before you start.
  • Study what is available so you ‘know before you go’.
  • Buy from a reputable dealer.
  • Ensure the gold you buy is authenticated.
  • Stick to buying traditional gold coins or small bars (also called biscuits).
  • Steer clear of the Indian gold coins unless you are an experienced dealer and know what to look for.
To buy gold in India is very much the same as buying gold elsewhere. A lot of fun and a great investment in the future. Gold always keeps its value in the end and, in times of economic uncertainty, invariably improves.

So, go ahead, make your day! Buy gold in India!



Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Buy Gold in Canada

To buy gold in Canada is just as easy as it is to buy gold in Australia, the UK or the US.

If you want to buy gold in Canada, the Canadian Royal Mint produces a number of gold, as well as silver and other precious metal coins including the beautiful and famous Canadian Gold Maple Leaf.

However, when you buy gold in Canada you don't have to buy gold from a Canadian Gold Dealer. Some of the major US Gold Dealers who offer some of the best gold coin prices in the world, will post your gold coins and bars to Canada for reasonable postage costs.

Buy Gold Bullion Online in Canada
Many Canadian gold investors who are interested in buying gold bullion online in Canada use goldmoney.com. GoldMoney who in 2008 held over $300 million US dollars worth of gold for its clients, provides a safe, convenient and cost effective method of buying gold bullion in Canada. Your gold bullion is fully insured and stored securely for you in specialized bullion vaults in London and Zurich.

One of the main advantages when you buy gold via goldmoney compared to say a Gold ETF or a Gold Pool Account is that your gold is owned directly by you and there is no counterparty risk! To learn more visit goldmoney.com

Canadian Gold Maple Leaf
The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is the official gold bullion coin of Canada. It is the purest gold coin in the world. With the advent of the Canadian Gold Maple Leafs, the concept of pure gold coins without alloy was pioneered, just a disc of 99.9 percent pure gold that did not require the strength of an alloy since the coin was not intended to circulate or be handled.

Created by Walter Ott in 1979, with a gold content of .9999 fine gold (24k), it contains gold mined totally and only from Canada's own gold mines.

The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Coin is particularly popular in India and the Far East where pure gold is the most accepted and familiar form of gold bullion, even in small weights. You can find the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin bought and sold by gold dealers around the world.

The coin is available now in one twentieth, one tenth, a quarter and one half troy ounces as well as the original and traditional one ounce coins. All gold coins have legal tender status in Canada but the face value is far below the value of the gold content and are largely symbolic.

In addition other forms of gold are available from the Canadian Royal Mint who also refine and produce gold kilo bars, trade bars as well as one, five and ten-ounce gold wafers, all to the same quality standard. All are struck with their weight, gold purity level and the Royal Canadian Mint hallmark.

The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is often considered one of the most beautiful of the gold bullion coins and is often collected for its magnificence and beautiful designs. However mostly it is collected due to it being made of pure gold. It is recognised and has a has a resale value around the world, and as the value of gold increases, so will the value of Canadian gold.

One Million Dollar Gold Coin
The Royal Canadian Mint recently unveiled a million Dollar coin. On may 3rd 2007 the first one million dollar face value Gold Maple Leaf coin with a gold content of 100 kilograms and a purity of 99.999 percent was announced to the world. Designed by the artist, Stanley Witten, the coin was produced to increase the exposure of the mint to the world. However since then, interest has been sparked for the coin with several buyers lining up and 5 confirmed orders for the 2 million dollar value coin.

Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) , (French: Monnaie royale canadienne), manufactures all of Canada's coins for circulation and also coins for other nations. They produce collector coins as well as gold bullion, silver bullion, platinum bullion and even palladium bullion at times.

As with many other mints, the RCM also now manufacture other products made with precious metals such as watches, medallion coins, jewelry and many other products.

The RCM is what is called a Crown corporation operating under the legislation of the Royal Canadian Mint Act. Therefore all money in Canada is technically issued with the authority of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elisabeth. In practice, however, all operations are administered by the President and CEO, also known as the Master of the Mint, and who is the senior executive officer of the RCM, reporting to a Board of Directors.

The RCM is known for the high quality of its products not the least of which is the famous Canadian Gold Maple Leaf.

Canadian Gold Coins
The RCM makes an extensive range of other gold coins and bars as well as other precious metals and these can be seen at www.mint.ca.

Canadian gold coins are popular because of the high quality and pure gold content of the coins.

To buy gold in Canada is just as easy and exciting as buying gold elsewhere and buying Canadian gold, for many Canadian gold investors, is the most exciting of all!



Buy Gold Wholesale

To buy gold wholesale usually means buying gold jewelry, such as gold necklaces or bracelets, in bulk.

Buying gold bullion in the form of coins or bars is usually done on a one for one basis. of course one could buy a quantity of gold coins or bars for resale. That woudl qualify as a whole transaction in gold bullion.

realistically however, the only way one could consider the purchase of gold on a wholesale basis would be if one purchased a London Gold bar of 400 troy ounces. Of course at the current price of 550 US dollars per ounce this is usually beyond the abilities of most people. There are, in addition, difficulties such as transport and storage to consider. Mostly companies are the main purchasers of London Gold Bars and they are usually retained within bank vaults.

Basically it comes down to how much you have to spend.

That will dictate the range or quantity you can acquire. Then it is a matter of selecting the type of gold of your choice. Gold coins, bars, nuggets or investment by way of shares or Exchange Traded Funds.

Coins tend to be the better choice if you are considering a purchase as an investment as they can be easily stored and transported around and, more importantly, are easy to sell in any country if and when the situation warrants it!

However there are dealers who will buy your gold wholesale. In all honesty however, you would be better off selling your gold piece by piece. You will get a much better price for it. The exception would be a specific gold coin collection, such as the Perth Collection of Australian Sovereigns, for example, where the value of the collection would surpass the value of each individual coin.

So there is really no such thing as buying gold wholesale but don’t let that stop you buying gold, as it is always a worth while investment and will give you hours of satisfactory enjoyment!



Australian Gold Sovereign

The Australian Gold Sovereign is perhaps one of the rarest gold Australian coins, much sought after by collectors and numismatists.

There were only ever 190 different sovereigns struck from 1852 to 1931 and so their rarity increases their value yearly.

There are three prime reasons for collecting any gold coin and this applies very much to collecting Australian gold sovereigns.
  1. Rarity. The Australian Gold Sovereign qualifies since there have been no more struck since 1931.
  2. Quality. The quality of the Australian gold sovereign and half sovereign is very important. Do not purchase coins that have been worn or damaged. This will reduce the value. Record prices are only paid for coins in top quality condition.
  3. Demand. The more demand there is for a particular coin, the higher the investment value. Australian Gold Sovereigns are in high demand because of their rarity.
But for many collectors and numismatists the greatest appeal of the Australian Gold Sovereign is its beauty and history as well as its investment value. Many collectors have made a substantial profit from building up a collection of Australian Gold Sovereigns over time. It is a coin that is very sought after by collectors and consequently very easy to sell.

Profiting from a sovereign collection can be easy provided you study the sovereigns and collect those that will return the best investment.

Complete collections usually return the best investment. The Perth Mint Collection, for example, is a collection containing 33 coins minted from 1899 to 1931, and is a good investment. While most of the coins would cost between 150 to 200 Australian dollars each, there are several key dates that make the collection particularly valuable. These would be 1899 and 1924 to 1928 inclusive and they are likely to cost considerably more. To get a complete collection of the Australian gold sovereign is likely to set one back a great deal.

But which ever Australian Gold Sovereigns you collect and how many, you can be sure you will get great enjoyment from your collection and from the knowledge that you have a terrific investment for the future.



Monday, January 16, 2006

Investing in Gold Bullion

Should you be investing in gold bullion?

With the current rising trend in the value of gold it is a prudent idea to invest some assets in gold at least for the long term, if not for the short.

So what gold should one invest in?

One can invest in shares in gold companies, in ETF (gold exchange traded funds), gold in online gold accounts such as goldmoney.com or in gold coins and gold bullion or bars.

Whereas, in a fickle market subject to pressures not related to the value of gold, shares or exchange traded funds might go down, solid gold has traditionally held its own in the market place.

An ounce of solid gold will still buy the same value now as it did 100 years ago. Shares will not. Probably the best choice by far is to buy actual gold. This can be in the form of gold coins or gold bars. They are easy to obtain from reputable dealers and mints online and also have an appealing aesthetic quality admired by most collectors. In addition the gold content is usually clearly labeled and guaranteed.

Gold coins such as the American Gold Eagle, The Australian Kookaburra, Canadian Maple Leaf, the South African Krugerrand and others are very popular with collectors and enthusiasts.

Also the basic gold bars or biscuits, as they are often called, from one gram up to many troy ounces, can be easily purchased and stored for the future. Perhaps not as popular as gold coins and a little harder to sell, nevertheless they are still a valid form of bullion for many collectors.

In times of economic downturn or uncertainty, wise people tend to invest in gold coins which can be easily sold in just about any country on the planet. Gold coins are easy to hide from burglars, easy to store and transport and are generally tax free.

So when it comes to investing in gold bullion, gold coins are considered one of the best investments one can make for the future.



Sunday, January 15, 2006

Buy Gold in USA

You can buy gold in the USA very easily. There are probably more dealers and auctions selling gold coins and gold bars in the USA than anywhere else in the world.

Examples of types of gold one can buy in the USA include:
  • Rare US Gold. This would require an experienced collector. Early gold US Eagles are an example.
  • Gold Bullion and gold bars, all sizes from 1 gram up to 20 troy ounces from around the world are popular with collectors. Also Gold Nuggets including Australian Nuggets are an excellent buy.
  • Gold Coins from around the world to suit any taste, can be purchased in the USA. Examples are:
  • U.S. Eagle
  • Canadian Maple Leaf
  • S.A. Krugerrand
  • Australian Kangaroo
  • Austrian Philharmonic
  • Austrian Corona
  • Mexican 50 Peso
All are an excellent investment. Ensure you pick a reputable dealer or a mint if possible. Purchasing at Auctions would not be encouraged unless one is an experienced collector.

Examples of some US coins that are popular and a good investment are:
  • $20 Double Eagles
  • $10 Eagles
  • $5 Half Eagles
  • Liberty Half Eagle (1839-1908)
  • Indian Head Half Eagle (1908-1929)
  • $2.50 Quarter Eagles
  • Liberty Head Quarter Eagle (1840-1907)
  • Indian Head Quarter Eagle (1908-1929)
Gold is on the rise and now is an excellent time to buy gold in the USA.

"When people become worried about the future, they'll seize upon gold as an anchor." said Brien Lundin, an analyst and editor of the Jefferson, a Louisiana based Gold Newsletter. And this is so true.

Buying gold in the USA is really dead simple. You can by gold in the USA either from your dealer in the shopping centre or conveniently online, as well as from overseas dealers and mints.

Note you cannot purchase directly from the US Mint. US coins can only be purchased from dealers.

Buying gold in the USA is a great hobby for the enthusiast as well as an excellent way of providing for the future.



Friday, January 13, 2006

Buy Gold in Australia

To buy gold in Australia is very easy. Australia is fortunate enought to have two mints. the Perth Mint and the Australian Mint. Probably the first place one would look to is the Perth Mint who sell a very extensive range of gold products. Also there are a number of reputable Australian Gold Dealers one can buy gold from in Australia.

Australian gold products include:
  • Australian gold coins
  • Australian gold bars and bullion
  • Australian Nuggets
  • Early Australian Gold Jewellery
The Australian Gold Sovereign is popular with collectors, having an investment potential as well as beauty and rarity. The Sovereign has been struck at the Australian Mint and Perth Mint over a period of years and while the recently minted ones are excellent in their own right, the earlier and rarer ones are also sort after by enthusiasts building a collection.

The Australian Gold Bar is another fine gold product popular with collectors. These are obtainable from the Perth Mint as well as dealers around Australia.

There is a lot of romance and mystery surrounding the Australian Nuggets. These are quite rare as are only found on the surface while prospecting and never found underground. Australian Nuggets are an excellent investment due to their rarity and popularity with collectors. Each nugget is individual with no two being alike. They range from fractions of an ounce to over 10 ounces in very rare cases.

Early Australian Gold Jewellery is almost a separate subject itself and it requires some considerable experience and expertise to know what to collect and what to pass by. Available mostly from dealers and auction houses, the value of Australian Gold Jewellery depends largely on the rarity, genuineness and historical interest of the piece. Early Australian Gold Jewellery is not something the novice gold collector would collect.

Australian Gold usually has a history that provides a bonus to the serious side of gold collecting. To buy gold in Australia can indeed be a satisfying and rewarding pastime.



Thursday, January 12, 2006

Gold Eagle

The Gold Eagle is an American gold bullion coin known as THE AMERICAN GOLD EAGLE.

Details of the coin are:
Fineness: .916
Actual Gold Content: 1 troy ounce
Diameter: 32.7 mm
Minted face value: $50
Each coin shows the official weight and denomination on the reverse. American Gold Eagles are authorized by the United States Congress and are backed by the U.S. Mint for weight and content. Although the face value is only $50US the coins are worth much more due to the gold content. On the obverse side is the Liberty design by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and on the reverse is the ‘Family of Eagles” which gives the coin its name.

These coins were first struck in 1986 and are produced by the United States Government Mint in both proof as well as uncirculated condition.

The coins actually come in 4 different sizes.
1/10th oz with aminted face value $5. - 16.5mm in
1/4th oz with a minted face value $10 - 22mm in diameter
1/2 ounce with a minted face value $25 - 27mm in diameter
1 ounce with a minted face value $50 - 32.7mm in diameter
You cannot buy these coins direct from the United States Government Mint. You will need to go to an Authorized Dealer.

You can buy both proof and uncirculated coins. The proof coins are considered more valuable as they are produced to a much higher standard than uncirculated coins which are simply coins that have not yet been in circulation. Uncirculated coins can still have scuff marks, edge knocks and other imperfections, whereas proof coins are produced to a higher quality standard and are issued mint. These come pre-packaged and should never be removed from their packaging. Originally proofs were simply minted as pre-production samples but have, over time, been made available to collectors and have become very popular as a result.

Which ever you prefer, Gold Eagles are wonderful coins to collect and can give many happy hours of enjoyment.



Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Scrap Gold Price

The supply of recycled gold, or scrap gold, is an important part of the dynamics of the gold market and depends largely on economic circumstances and on the behavior of the gold price. It has been noted that the gold scrap supply typically rises in times of economic distress or following a price rise.

What is the Scrap Gold Price?

The scrap gold price varies from day to day. As the price of gold climbs, the value of scrap gold climb also.

To sell your scrap gold you need a scrap gold price and someone to buy it.

The first thing to find out is, what is the current price for spot gold?. This can be found in the charts at the top of the page.

Second you need to find a dealer who buys scrap gold. There are many of these around and most of them will pay you about 10 to 20 percent less than the current market value of gold. There is a penalty for selling your gold at scrap price. The dealer has to process the gold you sell him and wants to make some money on the deal as well.

Keep in mind that alloyed gold (less than 24 karat) will fetch proportionately less. In other words you will not be able to sell a 9 karat gold necklace for the same price as a 24 karat gold necklace. The closer to pure gold you are selling the better price you will get of course. Apart from the fact that for a lower carat item there is less gold, there is also an extraction process to pay for.

However, to off set that there is often other precious metals which may be extracted. Silver, platinum, rhodium. If you suspect that other precious metals are present with the gold then you would be looking to get a price on those also. For example, with gold fillings often you will find platinum and palladium. Get a price for these are platinum, for example, has a higher price per ounce than gold.

How to Sell Gold Scrap
It is quite possible to get a very good scrap gold price for all your old and unwanted gold. Gold is virtually indestructible so unless it has been lost, all the gold ever mined still exists. With the right equipment, it is very easy to recover gold from even the most complex mixes. from most of the uses it has had since it is capable of being melted down, re-refined and recycled.

The type of scrap gold one can sell includes the various karat densities as found in jewellery, such as rings, chains, bracelets and earrings for example, from 8, through to 22 and 24 karat gold. Also the 16K dental fillings, gold teeth, bridges, crowns, etc. Other gold such as gold nuggets, pure gold coins and bars are also welcome at gold scrap dealers. In fact just about anything that has gold in it will be accepted.

Remember also, the scrap gold price will change from day to day and when you decide to sell, you should make an agreement with the dealer to accept a specific price otherwise some dealers will only pay upon receipt of the gold and if it has dropped you would lose out.

Of course, on the other hand, it may rise. In any event, you can easily find a scrap gold price for your old unwanted gold and recoup some value from it.

If you have a dealer willing to buy close to home it is simply a matter of taking the gold and getting a price for it. If there is no one suitable you will have to send the gold away for a quote. There are many reputable dealers who will do this and mostly they will, when requested, send you a special envelope to put the gold in. this envelope should be registered and require a signature when you return it and , of course, should be insured.

After the gold scrap dealer has assessed the gold you sent, you will get a phone call or email to contact their representative who will then discuss the price they will pay for your gold. If you are satisfied with it, they will simply send you a check. If you are not they will return the gold.

How to Buy Gold Scrap
Of course it is possible you may want to buy gold scrap.

In this case you would probably be interested in pure gold, unless you have the facilities to extract gold.

However most jewelry, for example, comes with the gold mixed with other metals, such as silver, copper, even platinum and palladium and rhodium (in the case of white gold). The gold purity is expressed as follows:
24 karat is 999.99 fine
22 karat is 916.6 fine
18 karat is 750 fine
14 karat is 585 fine
9 karat is 375 fine
24 carat is pure gold with nothing added. This is the purest gold available. Also has a fineness of 1000 but this is expressed as 999 being 999 parts per 1000. This is because it is very difficult to get real pure gold with absolutely no impurities and possible is for legal reasons also. This applies to gold coins a lot. Canadian maples, for example are listed as 99.999% purse gold.

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

18 carat gold is more popular for gold jewelery 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 jewelery 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 jewelery.

When it comes to the gold scrap price, whether you buy or sell gold scrap, it is important to know how much gold there is in the piece.



Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Gold ETF

What is a gold exchange traded fund (Gold ETF)?

A Gold EFT is an exchange traded fund with gold being the principle and only commodity being traded. When you "buy gold" via a GOLD ETF it is very different to the general practice to buy and sell gold which most people are familiar with. To understand what gold ETFs are we need first to have some idea of what an exchange traded fund (ETF) is.

Exchange Traded Funds
Exchange traded funds (ETFs)were first introduced on the Toronto, Canada, Stock Exchange around the early '90s. They were then introduced in to the US and other markets during the 90s.

A simplified definition would be: An exchange traded fund has funds and stocks in one product and trade is made on the particular fund. Prior to ETFs, stocks and funds, were traditionally kept separate to reflect liquidity issues.

The purpose of an ETF is to be able to invest in the growth of an industry or even commodity that was not easily available to the market prior to ETFs.

Some benefits of an EFT include:
No stamp duty to pay (duty already paid on the underlying investments)
Flexibility in the timing of purchases and sales
Availability online.
Some disadvantages include:
No control over the activities or the content of the ETF.
Different costs associated with trading ETFs as distinct to ordinary shares
Tax implications
Hidden annual management costs ( the costs are built into the fund pricing)
No guarantee that you actually own gold.
The investor cannot redeem the gold or take delivery of the gold, only cash.
Gold Exchange Traded Funds
Gold ETF or gold exchange traded funds, are similar to trades, then, of other commodities and resources except that the shares "reflect" the price of gold, usually gold is stored by the Gold ETF in the form of ‘400 oz’ London Good Delivery bars.

The institutions administering the fund, such as StreetTracks for example, the biggest gold EFT in the USA, hold gold bars in bank vaults "backing" the holdings of their clients. This is taken to mean that, instead of having to own and cart around gold bars to buy and sell, the EFT fund holds gold bars in trust and you buy a proportion of that gold holding when you open an account with the custodian which is reflected in your account statement.

A closer look, however, shows some disparities in this as discovered by James Turk, the editor of Freemarket Gold & Money Report and the founder of GoldMoney.com

StreetTracks, the Biggest of the Lot
On the gold ETF fund (GLD)website of StreetTracks it states, " The objective of the Trust is for the Shares to reflect the performance of the price of gold bullion, less the Trust's expenses." This is quite different to stating that, "We act as a custodian and hold gold for our clients ." Their statement does not indicate one is trading in actual gold but that when you buy into a StreetTrack Gold EFT you are buying into a trust that is designed to "reflect" the share price of gold. And although one has 'shares' these shares do not come under the normal safeguards provided to shareholders of ordinary companies as is stated in their prospectus.

James Turk, in an article about StreetTrack, points out, "Its objective is not to provide investors with the opportunity to own gold bullion by investing in the shares of an Gold ETF. Rather, GLD is designed to track the price of gold. That objective is no different than what is accomplished by a gold futures contract or any of the dozens of numerous gold derivatives available these days. More to the point, futures and derivatives are sold even if the seller does not own the underlying gold bullion needed to deliver on its obligation. They are in practice fractional reserve systems, which allow liabilities for gold to far exceed the quantity of gold owned by the seller of that liability."

He also added, "Without strict controls over the assets of the fund, almost anything is possible. What if, for example, GLD were double-counting the same bar of gold? Impossible, you say, but James Turk goes on to say…

"Well, the GATA army has done it again, and thanks go to Stephen Marney. He analyzed the gold bar list reported to investors that shows the gold supposedly owned by GLD.

Last week Stephen brought to my attention that of the 6,981 gold bars reported on the list, there are 78 duplicate bar numbers. This result is staggering. It means that the genuineness of 156 bars, or 2.2% of the total assets of GLD, is called into question."


So questions investors should be asking themselves before they commit their fund is, does this mean that StreetTrack does not actually have as much gold as was first thought? In addition, it states quite clearly on the web site that a member of the public cannot actually take possession of the gold, 'they own'. Does this mean that there are some situations where an investor could potentially lose their funds?

What does all this mean? Well basically it means that an investor has to do some due diligence and really understand what a Gold ETF really is and what it isn't. Clearly an investor is not buying actual physical gold and they would be if they buy gold coins or bars from a gold dealer.

An investor has to ask themselves the question, then, "Do I want to actually own gold, or simply shares in it?

When you own actual physical gold, either in your hand or in a bank vault, properly audited and your account shows ownership of actual physical gold, there is no disputing the fact.

So, despite the hype and push to sell the Gold ETF by excited brokers, I will still be keeping my value in real gold coins and bars that you can hold in your hand!



Gold Biscuits

What are gold biscuits? Gold bars come in two types. Cast gold made by pouribng gold into moulds and stamped. The stamped bars are thinner and flatter than the cast type and are often called gold biscuits as a result.

But most dealers make no distinction between the two types and simply refer to them all as gold bars.

One of the major dealers of gold bars dealing in both cast and biscuit are austincoins. They have been around since 1989 and are considered one of the major dealers in the industry.

Here are some important points to consider when you are buying gold bars.
Whether you are buying the cast or ‘gold biscuits’ variety of bars take into account how much gold you want to store your assets in.

Decide on what type of gold you would like to own based on the price and your personal taste.

Decide on what type of gold you'd like to own. There are some distinct advantages to owning different types of gold coins or gold bars.

Try to get private, non-reportable gold. This might involve overseas purchase of course depending on where you live.

If you pay by check in the same country, you will generally pay less.

Watch for discounts and special offers.

Always select a trusted gold dealer. Ensure you buy from a trusted dealer who has specialized in precious metals for some time. Working with a trusted dealer is important otherwise you can never be sure you are not purchasing counterfeit gold. You also want a dealer you can sell back to in later years perhaps.
Whatever types of gold bars you collect you can have fun! Collecting gold bars is step to a secure future and it can give you a very satisfactory feeling to know that you have some gold biscuits in the cookie jar for a rainy day!



Monday, January 09, 2006

Buy Gold Nuggets

When it comes to buying gold nuggets, "There’s gold in them thar hills!", is the exciting cry and indeed, in Victoria Australia, there is still gold in the depths of the country (or bush as it is known locally).

Gold nuggets are quite rare as they are only found above ground, not in mines, which is where most gold these days is extracted from. So most nuggets are usually only those found by prospectors fossicking* around in streams and outlying areas around the hill in many areas of Australia.

Gold nuggets are an excellent buy and usually increase in value, not just because of the gold but because of the history and romance attached to them.

The most famous gold nugget is the largest ever found. The Great Welcome Nugget. Found at Ballarat Victoria in Australia in the 1800s, it weighed in at 68.956 grams and contained an estimated 68.272 grams of pure gold. That, at today’s prices, would be well over 1088 US Dollars.

Despite this, gold nuggets are still obtainable from gold dealers, and Mints such as the Perth Mint in sizes ranging from 1 gram up to about 10 ounces or more. But it is rare, although possible, to find any gold nuggets over 14 ounces. Most are in the 1 ounce or smaller variety.

With gold nuggets there is almost always a presentation case or it is sealed in a plastic bubble. Although this is an additional cost it also comes with a certificate detailing its authenticity and this cannot be removed from the plastic without damaging it.

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

Gold nuggets have a magic all their own. Each gold nugget usually has a story all it's own. How the nugget was formed, discovered and who the original prospector was, forms part of the history of each gold nugget.

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

*fossicking: Australian. To search for gold, especially by reworking washings or waste piles.



Sunday, January 08, 2006

How to Buy Gold Bullion

How to buy gold bullion is very important to know these days as it is perhaps the best gold you can buy.

Once upon a time the only gold one could buy were the large 400 ounce gold bars or gold coins such as Krugerrand. Time change and nowadays there is a tremendous variety of gold bullion in the form of solid gold coins and bars from many mints and countries.

You can now buy gold bullion bars as small as 1 gram or a 20th of a troy ounce. Of course buying gold in such small quantities is not very practical as the cost is so high. The mark up on tiny gold bars includes expensive packaging, certificates and the profit margin of the mint or dealer you are buying from.

What is Gold Bullion
Gold bullion is either gold coins and bars of various types, sizes and weights.

The bars come in a variety of sizes and weights from as small as one gram worth a few dollars to the one ounce, ten ounce, one hundred ounce and one thousand kilogram bars as well as the traditional 400 ounce bars or ingots used by large companies and institutions.

All gold, when bought comes at a price and a premium over the spot price (market price), and this changes day by day. The smaller the bar or coin, the larger the premium. There is a specific cost to fabricating gold and that does not change very much. Of course the fabrication costs for gold cons is much higher than bars as they are struck to a much better finish. They are therefore much more expensive to purchase and not really ideal for a gold investor.

What is the best Gold Bullion to Buy
When buying gold bullion it is better to buy the largest size bars you can afford. The larger the gold bars you buy are, the closer to the actual value of gold you are likely to get for your money, with a proportionately less margin to pay. There will always be some margin to pay but this can be reduced down to virtually 1 or 2 percent with the larger bars. Of course you do have a rising scale of storage and security to attend to so there is a balance to be drawn.

If you can afford the 400 ounce bars then it is likely you can afford the transport and storage fees associated with such a large value of gold. Most bars of such size are generally kept in bank vaults. If you purchase a 1 gram bar then you will likely pay twice the value of the actual gold. However your security or storage problems will be minor. It will fit in your pocket or could be hidden in your house and virtually impossible to find.

How to Buy Gold Bullion
Basically it starts with, how much are you going to spend? Then you can check out the various dealers and mints to see what is on offer. Some things to keep in mind are:

Pick an established dealer or mint. It is not recommended you purchase off eBay unless you know the dealer is established and has an excellent feedback record a mile long. The Perth Mint is an excellent place to purchase Australian gold bullion.

Get the current value of gold per ounce or gram in USD. This is the standard used. Compare this to the price of the bullion bars on offer.

Pick that bar or those bars that more closely match your spending budget and offer the lowest margins.

Ask yourself, "do you really need a certificate?" This is valuable if you later need or want to resell the bar. But, with the smaller bars, unless you are prepared to hold onto it for some considerable time, you are unlikely to get your money back due to the margin you have to pay unless the value of gold rises remarkably.

Once you have chosen what you want, you simply pay for the bar and await its delivery. Most people collect gold bullion as a way if preserving or increasing their asset base. Some collect it just as a rewarding hobby. Whatever your reason, if you are thinking you would like to buy gold then the above information will assist you to understand how to buy gold bullion..



Friday, January 06, 2006

Gold Coins, Real and Fake

How can you tell if gold coins are real or fake? You have bought a gold coin you wanted or seen one you like. How do you know it’s real?

This is very important when you are purchasing gold coins, particularly online. If you buy a coin and it turns out to be a fake there is virtually no chance of returning it and getting a refund. Especially if your ability to tell the difference is poor or minimal and this only comes to light when you try to sell it later.

Here are some important points to keep in mind when you purchase gold coins. These will assist you to reduce the chances of purchasing fake coins and help you to identify those that may be fake, especially when buying online.
  • Buy from reputable dealers. Avoid sellers you do not know or do not provide all the information you seek. Ensure they also have a proper address and contact phone numbers. A ‘hotmail’ email address is insufficient.
  • Do not buy from sellers who have a no-return policy, especially sellers claiming to sell from an ‘estate’. The ‘Caveat Emptor’ (Buyer Beware) policy applies very much in this field. Know your seller, in other words.
  • Don’t buy antique or rare coins until and unless you are a specialist. Although modern coins can be faked most of the fakes are usually antique or rare coins.
Fake gold coins sold on eBay can be a problem. One has only pictures of the coins for sale and, unless one is an expert, it is well nigh impossible to establish the authenticity of the coin being sold. There are some guiding principles here one can follow to reduce the chances of buying a fake gold coin on ebay.
  • Buy only from a power seller.
  • Check the feedback of the seller.
  • Check to ensure the seller does not change the category of the item the day before the sale ends. (This is a favorite trick to stymie coin dealers who can tell if the coin is fake. Also prevents eBay from acting upon complaints)
  • Ensure the seller is contactable and you can and should ask a question to see if they respond and what their response is.
  • Is there a return policy?
  • Any guarantee of authenticity?
  • Check the online coin discussion groups. Usually there are warnings or discussion regarding the coins for sale and which are fake and which are not.
These are very important points and it would be wise not to ignore them.

Also at Counterfeit coin detection one can find a complete guide to testing for fake coins.

Some people actually collect fake and counterfeit coins. Some counterfeit coins have a particular history or educational value. These are usually called ‘black cabinet’ or 'black museum' collections. Again, these coins are for the specialist.

Despite the above, the incidence of fake or counterfeit gold coins is not large. Provided one takes sensible precautions one can usually safely purchase one's favorite gold coins from a reputable dealer either online or from the shop in the high street.



Thursday, January 05, 2006

Buying Gold

Buying gold can be done in a variety of different ways. Each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Listing them we have:
  • Gold Coins
  • Gold Bars or Bullion
  • Gold in Escrow (also known as Digital Gold)
  • Investing in Gold Producers such as mineral companies(miners), mints and even gold futures.
Gold coins and gold bars are perhaps the most popular for gold enthusiasts. Gold in escrow, such as GoldMoney.com for example, are relatively unknown. People who invest in mining shares do so not so much for the product that a company produces but more for the financial progress and performance of the company in the market place.

Investing in gold coins and bullion bars has the advantage that you always have your gold. You can store and/or hide it and the gold value tends to remain stable if not increase over time. The disadvantage is that it is not always easy to transport if you have a large quantity. Gold is heavy and can be difficult getting through customs and security in some countries. That said, you can buy gold in most countries quite easily, even from overseas and have it shipped to you. It is also relatively easy to sell.

Investing in gold companies, such as miners, mints and so forth is subject to the vagaries of the stock market and the performance of the company. The company may have an excellent or poor performance in the mining of gold and also may enter into other activities that influence their share price. This is not for the gold enthusiast particularly and certainly not for the faint hearted. It requires much study of the companies and corporations involved and there are fee and tax considerations to take into account, that would not apply with the simple purchase of gold coins.

Gold in escrow has some advantages in that the gold never moves from it’s storage facility. Companies such as GoldMoney.com store gold in bank vaults in the traditional 400 troy ounce bars and one can simply purchase an amount or portion of that gold. One’s holding is represented by an account online which details the transactions of buying and selling the gold or even just plain 'spending' it to other account holders for goods and services which they provide. In this way it is used more as a transactional medium than an investment. The advantage with this system is that it can be accessed from anywhere in the world. There are no storage or security issues to attend to. The value of the gold is retained and moves with the daily value of gold everywhere. And the transaction and storage fees are relatively low. The disadvantage, for the gold enthusiast who collects more for a hobby than investment, is simply that one cannot hold the gold in one’s hand. It is all accessed through accounts, rather like a bank account but usually much more securely and with little depreciation, unlike paper money.

Each of these methods of ownership of gold is different therefore, but each has the same common theme, ownership of gold!

So, whatever takes your fancy, buying gold in whatever form of gold is available for every enthusiast from shares in mines to gold held in trust to holding gold bars and gold coins in your hot little hand!



Tuesday, January 03, 2006

How do you buy gold

How you buy gold is very simple. There are basically four ways of buying gold and each depend basically on what sort of gold you would like and why. These are:
  • Gold Coins
  • Gold bars to take home
  • Gold bullion or bars held in escrow
  • Gold in the form of Exchange Traded Funds
  • Gold coins and gold bullion or bars one can purchase from dealers, auction houses or even from other collectors.
With gold coins one should look for:
  • Type of coin. Eagle, sovereign etc.
  • Size of coin. These can vary also. Sometimes measured in value and sometimes in weight.
  • Face value. 1 rand or 10 rands (South African) for example.
  • Weight. Usually measured in troy ounces or part of an ounce but grams have also become a popular weight measurement recently.
  • Fineness. (999% fine) Amount of gold compared to other metals, such as silver, Gold bars are usually measured as 999 parts per 1000. Most gold coins are usually 917 parts per 1000. Other metal is added to make them easier to mint and give them extra strength.
  • Gold Content in Grams. The weight of the gold contained within a gold coin measured in grams.
  • Gold Content in troy ounces. The weight of the gold contained within a gold coin measured in ounces.
  • Price. How much you would be expected to pay for the gold coin advertised, usually called 'percentage above spot'. This includes any margin added by the seller and any tax that might be applicable.
For bullion, unless one is prepared to invest in the larger bars, one should be looking at the ten gram up to one hundred or more gram bars available from current dealers. These would be at current gold prices plus a premium to cover the gold dealer's or manufacturer's costs.

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

Probably a ten ounce up to one kilo bar (about 32 ounces) would be the best buy as the premium is a lot less.

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

Gold bullion or bars held in escrow is a little different in that you do not actually possess the gold although you own the rights to it as expressed in an account holding.

GoldMoney.com is an example of this. One opens an account and can fund that account with any amount of gold from a few hundred up to no limit. The actual bars are held in banks around the world and you would own a portion of one or more bars depending on the size of your holding. The advantage with this system is that you do not have to concern yourself with storage and security issues, particularly if your holding is in the thousands. One can easily buy and sell gold by this method. The only disadvantage, if one can call it that, is that you cannot hold the gold bars or coins in your hand if you want to.

Exchange Traded Funds, or EFTs is a relatively new method of holding gold. Similar in some respects to having gold held in escrow you simply purchase certificates each of which represent an amount of gold held in a bank. The bank generally issues the certificates and you buy at whatever the market price is. There is a brokers fee but you generally buy and sell at the spot (market) price for the gold on that day. Some investors prefer that as there is no handling of gold, storage or security issues to be concerned with. However it is purely an investment so there can be tax considerations one would need to discuss with one’s financial advisors if embarking on a buy/sell activity with EFTs.

So when deciding which type of gold you would like to hold, there are many options to choose from.