I‘ve wanted to invest in gold or silver for some time. Not a big investment, but just enough to give my portfolio some more diversity. Plus I like collecting coins, and gold and silver are a perfect fit. The problem was finding the best place to buy precious metals. I ended up buying silver online, which I’ll tell you about in a minute. But first I want to tell you about Scott Thomas.
Scott is the President of APMEX (American Precious Metals Exchange), one of the largest gold and silver online dealers in the world. I had a chance to meet Scott at a conference in New York last year. They had an incredible display of gold and silver coins and bars and inn one case they had a 100 oz bar of gold that you could reach in and pick up. It felt like it weighed a ton.
Scott shared with me his view of investing in precious metals. He felt that any portfolio should have some exposure to gold or silver. He recognized that gold has been on a run lately, but of course who knows where the price will move going forward. He saw silver as having significant potential in the short run, but he made no attempt to predict future prices. We also talked about whether it was better to buy gold coins or bars. A lot depends on how much you want to buy and why you are buying. For me, I like to collect coins, so the choice is easy.
And then I asked him about buying online. Is it safe, and how do you deliver the gold and silver to your customers? It turns out that product is shipped by mail, is fully insured, and they rarely have a problem. While it seems odd to think of a company shipping gold and silver by mail, I decided to give it a try.
On my laptop at a Starbucks, I went to APMEX.com and purchased 20 American Eagle silver coins (1 oz). Including shipping, the total cost came to about $440 (quite a discount from where silver is today), and I paid by credit card. It was as simple as ordering something from Amazon. A few days later I received an e-mail notice that the order had shipped. And a few days after that the silver coins arrived in the mail. Because I ordered 20, they include a coin tube to hold the American Eagles. Here are a few pictures of the coins:
Having now placed and received my first order from APMEX, I see several advantages of buying gold or silver online. One advantage is a larger inventory. About a month before I made this purchase online, I looked into buying silver coins from a local dealer, and their selection was just terrible. APMEX’s inventory is impressive. A second advantage is that the minimum order for people in the U.S. is just $50 ($250 if you live in Canada). That means you can make small, incremental investments in precious metals. In fact, you can even invest in gold through APMEX in small amounts, even thought the price of gold today is well over $1,200/oz. For example, APMEX sells gold American Eagle coins in several different weights, ranging from 1/10th oz. to 1 oz. For the 1/10 coin, the cost is less than $150.
The buying process was much easier than I imagined. And I plan to buy some additional gold and silver coins overtime from APMEX. Until then, if you’ve ever purchases gold and silver coins or bars from APMEX, what did you think of its inventory, price, and service?
Published or updated September 22, 2011.