Looking to invest in Gold and other Precious Metals, but not sure how to get started? That's what this APMEX First Time Buyer Page is all about. The information provided here is a great first step in your journey with Precious Metals. Simply click on an individual tab below that interests you, or read through each for a broader understanding of how to invest in Precious Metals.
Owning Gold and Other Precious Metals
How To Care For Your Precious Metals
Gold, Silver, Platinum and Palladium in the products sold by APMEX are generally soft, pliable metals. You should take great care in handling and caring for your Precious Metals to preserve their value. Protective casings preserve your product's value.
Many bullion products from refiners and other mints often come in tamper-evident assay cards that authenticate their weight and purity; tampering with these assay cards can reduce a product's resale value and make it harder to sell. Many of the products sold by APMEX are sold in a protective container or tube. For those products not purchased in a container, APMEX sells capsules, boxes, albums and more to help you protect, store and organize your Precious Metals products.
Some of the Precious Metals products are collectible coins in a condition or state of preservation of uncirculated or perhaps were specially made for collectors in proof condition. If you purchase collectible coins because of their beauty and additional value (above the melt content), then consider these guidelines to follow when handling your collectible Precious Metals coins:
- Hold the coin by its edges between the thumb and forefinger, so your fingers never touch the obverse or reverse surface. Fingerprints can be difficult to remove and the natural oils on your skin can be corrosive.
- Hold coins over a soft towel or other soft surface in case you drop them. Even a short drop can cause permanent damage.
- Avoid talking directly over your coins. Tiny, almost invisible droplets of saliva can drop onto the coin and show up later as spots.
While it may be tempting to clean Precious Metals products and make them look shiny and new, proceed with caution. Cleaning can severely reduce your coin's value! Collectors tend to prefer coins that show the deep coloration of age over those whose surfaces have been stripped away by improper cleaning. . Even the mildest touch can scratch the delicate surface, reducing the coin's luster and value.
Storing Your Precious Metals
You have two options of where to store your Precious Metals, at home or off site. Many of our customers want to keep their purchases close by, while others prefer to store their metals at another location. While there are pros and cons to both, whatever you choose, APMEX has a solution for you.
The main benefit of self-storage is that your metals are close by in case you ever need them. Whether on display or hidden away in a home vault or safe, you know what you own and where it is. Just remember that metals are heavy and can be difficult to handle in large quantities. If not cared for properly, they can become damaged and lose their value. If you choose to go with self-storage, you may choose to protect your holdings and APMEX has capsules, boxes, albums and more to help you protect, store and organize your products.
But what if you don't want to worry about storing your metals yourself? There are many options for offsite storage, including bank safe deposit boxes and third party secure storage. When you buy Precious Metals products from APMEX, you can choose to have them delivered directly to a high-security, private storage facility, managed by one of the world's leading security companies, through Citadel Global Depository Services. Citadel is a wholly owned subsidiary of APMEX that provides maximum security for your Precious Metals. Learn more about Citadel here.
How to Sell Your Precious Metals
We've given you plenty of information about purchasing Precious Metals, but what about selling? As an investor, you want the same confidence when selling as you do when purchasing. You may already know that APMEX is one of the nation's largest online Precious Metals dealers, but you may not know that we also are one of the largest BUYERS of Precious Metal coins and bars in the nation.
When the time comes, you can expect one of the most competitive prices for your Precious Metals, and you can rely on us for a safe, fast and easy transaction. Learn more about selling to APMEX here.
Know the Lingo
Assay Card - A type of tamper-evident packaging typically used for bullion bars. This packaging includes a card that authenticates the weight and purity of the product it holds.
Uncirculated - A state of preservation describing coins that never circulated in commerce. An uncirculated coin will have no wear handling and no damage from mistreatment.
Proof - A method of manufacture whereby the coin is struck by highly polished dies multiple times, resulting in a lustrous, mirror-like finish on the background surface, or field, of the coin. This background provides contrast for the design, or device, to help it stand out.
Luster - The gentle sheen or soft reflective glow of an uncirculated or pristine coin. As a coin is circulated, its luster will fade.
See the Glossary for a complete list of key Precious Metals terms.
Precious Metals' Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the different Precious Metals products?
Precious Metals are traded in three forms: bars, coins and rounds.
- Bars are produced by private mints, can be easily stored and are an easy way to accumulate more metal for your dollar. Common weights range from 1 oz to 100 oz, though smaller and larger may be minted.
- Coins come from sovereign mints and carry a face value. They offer a collectability factor that bars and rounds do not. Common weights range from 1/20 oz to 1 oz, though they may be produced up to 1 kilogram (32.15 oz).
- Rounds appear similar to coins, though they have no face value, and can be minted by government or private mints. Common weights range from 1/2 oz up to 5 oz, though smaller and larger may occasionally be minted.
- Why is Gold, despite being more abundant than Silver (current estimates place aboveground Gold at around 5 billion ounces and aboveground Silver at around 450 million ounces), so much more expensive?
The commonly accepted reasons include:
- Gold being used widely in jewelry
- Gold being seen as more of an "alternative currency"
- Gold being in higher demand, both by central banks and individuals
- How is the price of Precious Metals determined?
There are two aspects of a Precious Metals price that you should know: Spot and Premium
- Spot is the current market price of the metal, which is always changing (just like a normal stock changing minute-by-minute throughout the day).
- Premium is the additional cost of a Precious Metals item above the spot price. This includes costs for fabrication, distribution and a minimal dealer fee. Rare coins carry a high premium due to collectible value, while rounds and bars carry the lowest premium since they tend to lack collectability.
- Why should I invest in Precious Metals?
The value of the dollar (and investments attached to the dollar, like stocks and bonds) has been on the decline. Meanwhile, the value of Precious Metals is not dependent on the dollar, and, in fact, generally increases when the value of the dollar decreases. Similarly, Precious Metals can never completely lose their value.