There are many ways to invest in precious metals – such as shares, certificates, exchange-traded funds, and more. However, many people prefer to own more tangible investments – and that’s where bullion comes in.
You can purchase bullion as either coins or bars. Most governments mint high-purity bullion coins and offer them to the public for purchase. Unlike bars, bullion coins tend to sell for more than the value of their precious metal content because of limited supply (most governments mint a fixed number of bullion coins per year) and demand (partially influenced by coin collectors). Bullion coins are available from most coin dealers – but you can also buy them directly from the mint.
Bullion bars are mostly produced by private companies and are available in different weights and purity levels. Unless you are buying directly from an official government minting facility, it’s important to do your due diligence when purchasing physical bullion.
First, you should check the seller’s references and make sure they are an authorized dealer. Second, make certain that the seller can give a written guarantee of the authenticity of their products. For example, the gold bars we sell here at MGS are sealed, certified, and labeled with a serial number and QR code for authentication purposes. Third, most bullion sellers are actually re-sellers – meaning that they do not manufacture the bullion themselves. Unfortunately, even legitimate bullion resellers can fall prey to counterfeiters, so you should ask about how they prevent fake bullion products from entering their inventories. Lastly, you should have the bullion assayed by a third-party before finalizing the purchase. All of these steps will limit your risk so you can invest in physical bullion with confidence.
Gold experienced a jump in value on April 6 after the United States launched a cruise missile strike on military targets in Syria. New York spot prices rallied to their highest point in almost five months - $1,270.87. Overall, gold's value has increased by 10% since the start of 2017.
Although the U.S. has mostly utilized military force against ISIS in Syria, this missile strike marks the first major move against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the region. Additionally, the strike was an executive order that was enacted without congressional approval. In other words, the time between decision, action, and announcement was swift - catching the markets by surprise.
With an unforeseen international conflict making the headlines, Gold's uptick in price can be attributed to a surge in demand for safe-haven assets. If you want to be alerted to price swings as these events develop, don’t forget that you can use our mobile app to receive alerts via email or push notifications on your phone.
Minting counterfeit coins is difficult to do in the US without attracting attention. In many cases, scammers will buy "replicas" from foreign factories that can produce coins to custom specifications – either to look more accurate or to pass common assaying methods. For example, a fake bullion coin with thick enough plating can easily pass a scratch test.
As counterfeiters become more skilled and savvy, it's more important than ever to ensure authenticity before purchasing collectible coins. Private collectors aren't the only ones who need to be careful - scammers are bold enough to try and sell knock-off coins to pawn shops that may not know how to find the minute differences.
Fortunately, there are many tools and tests you can use to help verify the authenticity of coins, which we've outlined in the infographic below. But perhaps the best advice is a saying we heard from a customer in our shop, "If you don't know coins, you better know your seller." Whether you are buying coins or any other type of collectible, a reputable dealer should guarantee what they sell you and stand behind it if there is a problem.