Where to Buy Old Gold Coins October 08 2014
With the economy on the rise and gold dropping to a five-year low, more and more people are looking to old gold coins as an investment opportunity and a collectible pursuit. But for those with little coin collecting knowledge, how do you avoid getting ripped off? In this short article, I'm going to go over some of the best platforms for buying gold coins, as well as some tips to guide you towards a smart purchase.
eBay is far and away the largest platform for buying and selling coins of all types. The eBay categories you'll want to be focusing on are U.S. Gold Coins, Bullion, and World Gold Coins. The U.S. Gold category is made up of coins that were struck by the U.S. Mint for general circulation, as opposed to coins sold directly to collectors. American gold coins were produced in many different denominations ($1, $2.50, $3, $5, $10, $20) from the 1790's up until 1933, when FDR took the nation off the gold standard. The coins in this category have greater collectible value than those in the other two categories because of strong collector interest in U.S. coins, which means you'll have to pay a premium over bullion value. If you're looking to buy an old American coin that was actually used and handled by people, and has some real history to it, then this is where you'll want to look.
If, on the other hand, you're more interested in the precious metal than the coin itself, the Bullion and World Gold categories might be more up your alley. The Bullion category is primarily comprised of bullion coins produced by various national mints - American Eagles, Canadian Maples, South African Krugerrands, etc., though you can also find a small selection of gold and silver coins and bars struck by private mints. If you're looking to get gold for the cheapest price, and don't care about collectible value, this is the category you want. World Gold similarly has many cheap gold coins—because there is considerably less demand for foreign coins than for U.S., it's possible to buy a 19th or early-20th century gold coin for only a small premium over spot. And if you're a history buff like me, World Gold is a great place to shop in. You might be surprised at how affordable 19th century coins from, say, the Prussian Empire or Napoleonic France can be. No matter which category you shop in, our article on how to win eBay auctions provides some great tips on how to snag a good coin at a good price.
Online Coin Dealers
Outside of eBay, there are a few national dealers that are a good place for buying gold. My personal favorite is APMEX - they have a solid reputation for fair and honest dealings (unlike a few other of the large megadealers...) and my transactions with them have been positive on the whole. They offer a great selection of both old and modern, world and U.S. gold. Another good option for modern gold coins is to cut out the middleman and buy directly from the Mint. The U.S. Mint offers all of its new releases directly to the public on USMint.gov, and most of the national mints of other countries do as well. On the Mint's website, you can buy any of the bullion coins in the gold American Eagle lineup (1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, or 1 oz .9167 fine gold), the gold American Buffalo (1 oz, .9999 fine gold), as well as whatever gold commemorative coins they're currently offering. As of October 2014, that includes the $10 coins from the First Ladies series, as well as the 50th anniversary gold Kennedy half dollar.
Brick & Mortar Coin Shops
Don't feel like buying online? Look to your local coin store; every decent-sized city should have at least one. I like to take a quick glance at the Yelp reviews before checking a new coin store out—it gives me a good idea of whether the owner is an honest dealer or just out to make a quick buck at the expense of the customer. Any halfway-decent coin shop should have a selection of both gold bullion and collectible coins, pegged to the current price of gold. Hybrid coin-jewelry stores and most pawn shops will also have bullion, but tend to have worse prices than dedicated coin stores.