Precious Metals Guide – How to Buy Gold & Silver
INVESTING IN PRECIOUS METAL PRODUCTS
We’ve created this Precious Metals guide to acquaint you with Precious Metal investing and introduce you to the ways APMEX helps you succeed. You’ll learn about our vast selection, our transparent and fair pricing, and our wide array of helpful tools and resources.
Some people who buy Precious Metals are investing in Gold or Silver. Some want products that are attractive. Others may be collectors, hoping to own unique pieces and sets. The world of Precious Metals is vast, with products for every need and budget. If you buy Gold, Silver, Platinum or Palladium for the Precious Metal content, you’re probably buying bullion. While the Troy ounce size is most common, investors can also find pieces from just 1 gram to as large as 1,000 ounces.
Composition of investment bullion
Every investment bullion product is marked with its content and purity.
Troy oz: The standard of measurement for Precious Metal bullion, 1 Troy oz equals 1.097 kitchen ounces.
Fine: refers to the purity of the Precious Metal. A coin or bar that's .999 Fine will be 99.9% Precious Metal. One that's .9999 Fine will be 99.99% Precious Metal.
The weight that's stamped on a product is the actual Precious Metal content. So, a 1 oz product may weigh slightly more than 1 oz, the extra weight being the other metals used in smelting and fabricating.
Pricing Investment Bullion
On most pages of the APMEX website, you'll find spot prices for the featured Precious Metal. Global markets, not APMEX or any other dealer, determine spot prices. You'll see two numbers here.
Bid: The price global markets will pay to buy 1 Troy ounce of Metal in its unfabricated form
Ask: The price for which global markets will sell 1 Troy ounce in its unfabricated form
Spot prices change many times in a day and APMEX updates them in real time. Nobody buys Precious Metals at the actual spot price. The actual purchase price includes the...
Premium: An additional cost above spot to cover manufacturing, distribution and marketing costs. Numismatic (collectible) coins may have an additional premium based on scarcity, quality, demand and intangible factors.
So when you're on the APMEX website and you see $3.49 per coin over spot, that means the coin is priced at the Ask price for the actual weight of the coin, plus a premium of $3.49.
Bullion Products: Sovereign Coins
Many sovereign nations produce bullion coins. Because these countries stand behind the content and purity of bullion coins, they're highly valued and easy to trade. Some of the more popular bullion coins include:
1 oz Gold American Eagle
Based on the 1913 Augustus Saint-Gaudens design, the Gold American Eagle is the most popular Gold bullion coin in America.
1 oz Gold Canadian Maple Leaf
The Gold coin of Canada, with a profile of Queen Elizabeth on the obverse (front) and iconic Maple leaf on the reverse (back).
1 oz Australian Gold Kangaroo
Prized by investors and collectors alike because mintage is limited and the Kangaroo image on the back changes every year.
1 oz Gold Kruggerand
The first Gold bullion coin of the modern era, millions have been sold since it was first minted in 1967.
1 oz Silver American Eagle
Based on the same 1913 design as the Gold American Eagle, it's the most popular Silver bullion coin in America.
1 oz Silver Canadian Maple Leaf
Has the distinction of being of one of the very few .9999 Fine Silver bullion coins you can buy.
1 oz Silver Britannia
The stunning British Silver coin, it was Sterling Silver (.925 Fine) until 2013 when Britain made switched to the .999 Fine.
1 oz Silver Philharmonic
Featuring the Great Organ o f the Golden Hall of Vienna's Musikverein Concert Hall, also popular in Gold.
Bullion Products: Bars & Rounds
Bars and rounds are a more affordable way to invest in Precious Metals. They usually match sovereign coins in content and purity, but because they're usually minted privately, they can cost less.
1 oz Cuisse Suisse Gold Bar
A unique serial number on the obverse (front) matches the number on the back of tamper-proof assay card to assure authenticity.
1 oz Pamp Suisse Gold Bar
With unique serial numbers on the bar and assay card, plus a beautiful image of the goddess Fortuna on the (obverse) front.
1 oz Pamp Suisse Platinum Bar
The Platinum version of the famous Pamp Suisse bar, also has unique serial numbers on the bar and assay card.
50x 1 gram Valcambi Gold CombiBar™
Sheet weighing 50 grams (1.6075 oz) can be broken into 50 individual 1 gram bars
1 oz APMEX 2014 Eagle Eye Silver Round
Winner of the APMEX 2014 Grand Design Challenge, created by APMEX fans and backed by APMEX.
10 oz APMEX Silver Bar
Large 10 oz size Silver bar lets you hold more silver in one item, at a lower premium than most 1 oz products.
100 oz Johnson Matthey Silver Bar
More a brick than a bar, this .999 Fine packs a lot of Silver in one easy-to-store piece.
Numismatic Coins: Modern
Modern coins become collectable when their exceptional conditions are certified by third-party grading services, or they're specially made in limited quantities.
Collectors value coins with PCGS and NGC certifications of their condition. Those labeled "First Strike" or "Early Release" arrived at the grading service within 30 days of issue by the mint, making them especially highly prized.
Proof coins are struck multiple times on specially prepared dies to give the backgrounds a shimmering mirror-like finish. Also, the raised devices appear slightly frosted, giving collectors a better sense of the design detail.
If your taste is for the unique, some countries produce beautiful, showcase coins, in strictly limited mintages.
Numismatic Coins: Historic
Historic coins get their value from a combination of rarity, condition and bullion content. Pre-1933 Gold coins sell for more than Morgan Silver Dollars (minted 1878-1904). But a rare 1795 Silver Dollar could cost more than the Gold.
$20 Gold Double Eagles
Considered by many the most beautiful coin of all time, each contains .9675 oz Gold, with premiums determined by age and condition. These coins generally become more valuable if the authenticity and condition are certified by independent agencies like NGC and PCGS.
Morgan Dollars (1878-1904)
America's most famous and highly collected U.S. coin, they're available in many conditions, from cull (off-quality, worn, etc.) to Certified Uncirculated.
The solid case for holding physical Gold and Silver
Since it again became legal for Americans to own Gold bullion in 1970, overall Gold returns have consistently been better than the S&P 500, except for one brief period from 1997 - 2004.
While every investor has unique situation and goals, many Financial advisors recommend allocating 5% - 10% or more of assets in Gold and other Precious Metals. Here's why:
A low-correlation asset
Precious Metals prices generally move independently of stocks and bonds. In a downturn, they could carry your portfolio.
Insurance for purchasing power
While governments determine money supplies, the supply of Gold is relativity finite. During inflationary times, the relative purchasing power of Gold has historically remained stable.
Currencies without borders
An ounce of Gold is the same ounce of Gold, with the same recognized intrinsic value, anywhere in the world.
Easily passed down from generation to generation.
Gifts of Gold and Silver can be given at any time during your life, or bequeathed as part of an estate.
Education image (screen shot of site on tablet)
Empowering our customers with knowledge
Whether you're a first time investor or an experienced professional, you'll appreciate the vast informational resources APMEX makes available to you.
First Time Buyers
Learn more about buying and investing in Precious Metals. Visit www.APMEX.com/FirstTimeBuyers.
Empowered Customer Reviews
APMEX customers aren't shy about sharing their opinions, positive and negative about our products. You can see honest reviews on our site and our Facebook page. And don't forget to write your own.
You'll find APMEX on every major social media site. Follow us to get the latest product and special offer information, and find out what other APMEX customers are saying.
Up to three times a day, you can find updates on the day's trading at www.APMEX.com/commentaries. A weekly recap, published Friday night, gives you a thoughtful look at the week that passed, so you're better prepared for the week ahead.
The official APMEX blog (blog.APMEX.com) is filled with helpful articles about Precious Metals investing, current market conditions and the special offers from APMEX.
Videos on our website and YouTube channel were created to help you understand Precious Metals products, markets and how APMEX supports your efforts to be a more successful investor.
Someone reacting to smartphone alert
Making every opportunity count
You'll never miss an opportunity if you let APMEX track the market for you. When a Precious Metal or product hits your price, we'll send you an email, text message or alert. We do the work. You get your price.
Are you waiting for the market to hit your price before you make your move? Sign up for APMEX Market Alerts. You'll get a ping as soon as the market hits your price.
Like Market Alerts, but for specific products. Sign up and as soon as your product's available at the price you want, we'll let you know.
Say you want a product, but it's out of stock. Click the "AlertMe™" icon next to the products picture. We'll let you know as soon as it comes in, so you can get it first.
APMEX Portfolio Tool
You can track the value of your APMEX holdings on the APMEX website. Just log into your account, click your name and choose the "Holdings" tab.
Every product page includes an "Add this product to you Wishlist" link. It helps you keep a running list of products that you like and may want to purchase at a later date.
Free Price Widgets
If you have a website, you can add real-time Precious Metals prices to attract visitors and provide a valuable service. Just download our free price widget.
Service image: Rep taking notes, etc.
Building trust one customer at a time.
Integrity. Trust. Customer Service —we live by these values 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And we're always looking for ways to give our customers a better experience.
The market-driven price you see on our website is the price you pay. There are no surprise fees or commissions at checkout. You just lock your price and complete your order.
Help Without Hype
No hard sell. Click the "chat" button on our website or call 800.375.9006. Our representatives will answer your questions and help you choose the best product for your needs.
In Your Hands Faster
Our industry-leading APMEX QuickShip™ process guarantees that any domestic order paid by credit card or bank wire will ship within 1 business day of your payment's clearing. (Some restrictions apply.)
Better Business Bureau A+ Rating
Since 2004, APMEX has enjoyed continuous accreditation by the Better Business Bureau in Central Oklahoma and have an A+ rating.
APMEX Club Image:
Earning rewards from day 1
With your first APMEX purchase, you became a lifetime member of the APMEX Club. Membership is free. The club rewards your loyalty with valuable, tangible benefits.
You control your APMEX Club benefits. Your membership level depends on your total spend or number of completed orders you make in the annual cycle (July 1 - June 30). You can upgrade at any time during the annual cycle with additional orders.
- Platinum Level: Place 25 or more orders or spend $25,000 in an annual cycle and you become a Platinum member. Maintain Platinum status for three years and you become a lifetime Platinum member.
- Gold Level: Place 10 - 24 orders or spend $5,000 - $25,000 in the annual cycle and you become a Gold member. Maintain Gold status or higher for three consecutive years and become a lifetime Gold member.
- Silver Level: With your first purchase, you became lifetime Silver member. Any purchase qualifies.
Benefits at a glance
|Timely notice of promotions and access to Market and Product Alerts|
|Monthly limit on credit card orders||$5,000||$10,000||$25,000|
|9.95 Flat Rate Shipping on Domestic orders under $5,000|
|Advance notice of promotions and new products|
|Same day shipping on orders paid by credit card or bank wire*|
|Discounted secure storage through Citadel Global Depository Services|
|Exclusive offers & promotions|
|Complimentary research, white papers and more|
* Domestic US Orders Only. Payment must be received by 4:00pm ET. Does not apply to: International shipments, orders with Pre-sale items, orders that include Pre-1933 Gold Coins or Jewelry, or orders shipped to our Citadel subsidiary. Excludes holidays and weekends.
Montage of IRA Approved Products:
Protecting your IRA with Precious Metals
As pensions are largely a thing of the past, your IRA may be your single most important investment. So APMEX dedicates a full team to helping you diversify your retirement savings into Precious Metals.
A Precious Metals IRA gives you the traditional IRA benefits of self-directed investing and tax-deferred growth, plus the unique benefits of investing in Gold and Silver.
A hedge for purchasing power
History shows that when inflation reduces the value of paper currency, the price of Gold and Silver generally goes up and their relative purchasing power remains intact.
Insuring your other investments
Financial experts call Precious Metals a "non-correlated asset." Their value generally moves independently of stocks, bonds and treasury bills. Gold and Silver could prove a hedge against unstable markets.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Dedicated IRA Support
The IRS has special rules for investing in a Precious Metals IRA, and APMEX has a full team of IRA specialists, dedicated to helping you every step of the way.
Establishing a Precious Metals IRA
APMEX IRA Specialists will walk you through the simple steps to open your Precious Metals IRA. They'll explain your options and answer any questions you may have.
Choosing products for your IRA
APMEX has thousands of products that meet IRS requirements for use in Precious Metals IRAs. We can help you choose the best products that meet your investment criteria.
CALL TO ACTION:
Find out how easy it is to include Gold, Silver and other Precious Metals in your IRA.
Speak to an APMEX IRA Specialist today at 800.418.0235
Visit our site at www.APMEX.com/irabenefits
Protecting your products against loss, damage and theft
Our wholly owned subsidiary, Citadel Global Depository Services, works with BRINK'S Global Services U.S.A. Inc. to store, protect and insure your products. And it costs a lot less than you may think.
More than a storage solution, Citadel provides an innovative, low-cost, and convenient way to manage your Precious Metals investments.
Here's how Citadel secures your Precious Metals and peace of mind:
- Secure vault protection against theft, physical damage and loss.
- Your holdings are fully segregated, never co-mingled with another customer's products.
- A personalized web page details your items in storage and lets you track their real time market value.
- Shipping to the high security storage facility is free and storage costs less than some ETF management fees.
- Your investment becomes more liquid; APMEX buys back your stored purchase at market price and there's no shipping charge.
Get the best in secure storage for Precious Metals
Call 888.518.7596 |Visit www.cgdsi.com
Caring for your purchase
True story: a man once found an old coin in an attic and decided to clean it before selling. In doing so, he reduced its value by thousands of dollars. Here's how to handle and care for coins and other Precious Metals.
Gold, Silver, Platinum & Palladium, in the pure states sold by APMEX, are softer than the Precious Metal alloys used in jewelry. So they tend to scratch and corrode more easily.
If your product comes in protective packaging, keep it there.
Certified coins are only certified if they never come out of their sealed slabs. Bullion products may be sold in tamper-resistant assay cards that attest to the product's weight and purity.
Tampering can reduce resale value and make the product harder to sell.
If your product doesn't come in sealed packaging, click the "Supplies" link on the APMEX home page. You'll find many ways to protect, organize and store your products.
If you must handle, handle with extreme care.
The natural oils on your skin can have a corrosive effect on Precious Metals. Fingerprints can be almost impossible to remove.
- Make sure your hands are clean before handling. Better yet, wear soft cotton gloves.
- Hold the coin by its edges between the thumb and forefinger; never let your fingers touch either surface.
- Hold coins over a towel or other soft surface. Even a short drop can cause permanent damage.
- Avoid talking over coins. Tiny, almost invisible droplets of saliva can land on a coin and show up later as spots.
- Avoid cleaning. Collectors tend to prefer coins that show the deep coloration of age over those whose surfaces have been stripped away by improper cleaning.
Selling Precious Metals made easy
If your investment is at a price where you want to sell, just call APMEX. We buy back what we sell and pay competitive prices on every transaction. Here's how it works.
Page 44 and 45:
A simple, transparent process
Whether you buy from us or sell to us, APMEX believes in transparency. You'll see real-time "Buy" prices for many products throughout our website. And our purchasing agents can give you prices for thousands more.
The simple steps for selling to APMEX
- Call 800.376.9006 and lock your price: We'll tell you the competitive price we when you call and lock the price as soon as you agree to sell to us.
- Send us your products: You'll receive simple instructions and labels with your sale confirmation email. Just follow them and send them off.
- Get paid: We'll inspect your shipment when it comes in and release payment right away. It's a fast hassle-free transaction every time.
Learn more at www.APMEX.com/SellToAPMEX.
Here are a few key terms Precious Metals purchasers need to know. You can see a full list of terms on our website at www.APMEX.com/glossary.
Page 47 - 49:
- Ask: The price at which a dealer offers to sell.
- Assay: A test to ascertain the fineness or purity of a Precious Metal.
- Bid: The price at which a dealer is willing to buy.
- Brilliant Uncirculated (BU): Describes a coin in new condition. BU coins have no wear, with very minimal handling marks or other imperfections.
- Bullion: Describes the following: 1. Gold, Silver, Platinum or Palladium coins which closely follow spot prices and have little or no numismatic (collectible) value. 2. The form in which metal is shaped such as bars, rounds, ingots, or wafers.
- Commemoratives: Legal tender coins or medallions, usually minted of Gold or Silver, struck to commemorate themes, events, places or people.
- Device: A design found on a coin. Frequently, it is the bust or profile of a person who symbolizes a particular country at a particular time in history, a country's coat of arms or insignia.
- Face Value: The monetary value of a coin, which does not necessarily correspond to its actual worth. For example, the face value of a 1 oz Gold American Eagle is $50, but its actual worth is much higher because it is tied to the value of its Gold content.
- Edge: The third "side" of a coin, not the obverse or the reverse. The edge of a coin may be reeded, lettered or plain.
- Field: The open area or background on a coin.
- Grading Service: An independent company that grades coins an adjective or number to represent the state of preservation.
- Gram: The basic unit of weight of the metric system (31.1035 grams = one troy ounce).
- Hedge: An offsetting transaction (e.g. the purchase or sale of a future contract or option) designed to lessen the impact of adverse movements in the value of assets.
- Luster: A frosty appearance on the surface of a coin, usually an uncirculated coin.
- Mint: The place where a coin, round or bar was manufactured.
- Mint Mark: A letter or symbol stamped on a coin to identify the minting facility where it was struck.
- NGC: Acronym for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, one of two major coin grading services in the United States.
- Numismatic Coins: Coins whose prices depend more on their rarity, condition, dates, and mint marks than on their Gold or Silver content, if any.
- Obverse: The front side of a coin.
- PCGS: Acronym for Professional Coin Grading Service, one of two major coin grading services in the United States.
- Premium: The additional cost of a coin?or bullion item over and above the spot price of the Precious Metal contained in the coin. The premium includes the costs of fabrication and distribution plus a minimal dealer fee.
- Proof: The manner in which a coin was minted, not its condition. Highly polished dies and special planchets produce coins with a mirrorlike finish.
- Reverse: The backside of a coin.
- Spot: The current "market" trading price of a commodity like Gold and other Precious Metals at a specific point in time.
- Spread: The difference between the buying price and the selling price of a product at the same time on the same day by the same person. If Gold is purchased at $1,680.00 per ounce, and sold at $1,700.00, the spread is $20.00.
- Troy Ounce: The standard measure of weight used in the Precious Metals industry. The troy ounce is different from the ounce which most Americans are familiar (the avoirdupois ounce). One Troy ounce is equivalent to 1.097 Avoirdupois ounces.
- Uncirculated: A coin in new or unused condition, never having been used for the intended purpose as money, but may have some handling marks or other moderate imperfections.