How (and where) to sell gold for the most cash

How and where to sell gold

In this guide, I’m going to show you exactly how (and where) to sell your gold for the most cash.

(Step-by-step)

You see, gold is the ultimate shiny object.

Coveted by kings and common men alike since the earliest times of civilization, it’s the most universal currency in the world. Gold jewelry, coins, or truly any gold items have always been desired, and still are.

That means you can convert gold into cash in as little as five minutes if you want. If you’ve lost your job, you’re going through a divorce, or you’ve been hammered by illness and a ton of expensive medical bills, you can use your gold as an immediate safety net to buy you time and some peace of mind.

Of course, you can also sell your cars, boats, snowmobiles, collectibles and other things of value but those transactions tend to take time when you’re looking for a fair price for your gold.

However, gold and jewelry are a bit different. It is a highly liquid asset.  Legions of people are active 24/7 buying and selling precious metals and gemstones.

Just like any other transaction though, you won’t necessarily get the best price for your gold, unless you educate yourself first.

That’s why I’m going to help you understand how gold buyers work, what their process is, what you can expect to get from selling your gold, and the best places to sell your gold for the best price.

Spoiler Alert: If you just want to know where to sell your gold for top dollar, I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty details and cut to the chase. Cash for Gold USA is the best place to sell your gold.

I’ll get into a bit more about why they’re the best further below, but for now, if you need cash quickly or already know everything you want to know about selling (or buying) gold, then visit their website to get started.

Otherwise, read on to learn everything you need to know about selling your gold.

How to Convert Gold into Cash

Convert Gold into Cash

The process is fairly simple, but to get the best price for your gold, you need to take some specific steps to protect your interests.

If you’re a complete newbie to the process, you may want to visit the end of this article first. We’ve put together a Glossary of Gold Terms that we’ll be referring to throughout this article and you might find it helpful to know exactly what I’m talking about if you’re not sure.

First, you need to decide when you want to sell your gold. You may be financially strapped after a divorce, or the divorce itself may be forcing you to sell as part of the agreed-upon settlement.

You may also simply want to redistribute and allocate your investments, pay for college tuition, buy a car, or a house, or if the gold market appears to have topped out, perhaps you’ll shift your funds to trading in other types of metals.

If you can afford to wait so that you can find the right time, that may be your smartest move. You’ll want to start following the spot price for gold which changes daily. Listen to gold market and futures experts on where gold is going to go and be prudent in your timing.

You also need to know what kind of gold you have. Be sure you know the fineness and whether or not you simply have bullion, scrap gold, or pieces with numismatic value.

Next, you’ll need to find a trusted place to sell your gold. A local pawn shop or coin dealer will give you the opportunity to talk to someone in person and walk away with money in your hand that same day.

Just be aware that you’re more likely to be lowballed because you’re more likely to engage in a spur-of-the moment sale of your gold. Physical retail locations also tend to have higher overhead costs, so they won’t be as flexible or generous.

You might also consider selling your gold online. Many dealers have made the process simple and streamlined. It may take a few days to get a check, and you will need to mail your gold to the dealer unless they are local.

But some dealers, such as APMEX, offer a 1-day guarantee, meaning you’ll be paid within 24 hours from the time your products are validated (if it’s a business day).

An online search will produce several results, and from there, you should check for client testimonials, their specific process, what they typically offer compared to other online entities, and similar types of information.

Your dealer should also offer a “lock-in” price that guarantees the price of your gold once you agree to sell your gold to them. You’ll have a day to ship your gold which will be verified at the dealer, and you will be sent payment immediately after this. Some pay by check, others through Venmo, PayPal or direct wire to your bank account.

Should I Sell to Gold Buyers Near Me?

If you want to trade for the quickest way possible to get cash in hand versus getting the highest possible price, then yes, go ahead.

You may find a buyer near you that will give you a reasonable price, but if you just stop at the first handwritten sign reading “Cash for Gold” place you see after googling ‘who buys gold near me’, you are doing yourself a disservice.

Realistically, you could walk into a local gold buyer’s shop or office and have cash in hand in 15 minutes. But the speed at which online buyers operate, and the potential to get a much better price means that you should give yourself the opportunity that casting your seller’s net far and wide can provide to you.

What’s the Best Way to Sell My Gold?

Best Way to Sell My Gold

You certainly are lacking for options when it comes to selling your gold. Pawnshops, local gold dealers and exchanges, jewelers, and a multitude of online gold and jewelry buying sites offer you a dizzying array of choices.

Taking all things into account, the best way to sell your gold is through a reputable and established online gold buyer that provides many advantages.

  • The turnaround time has been flattened to just a few days instead of a week or longer which was the case not so long ago.
  • Because online businesses are national or international, they have dealt with a lot more customers and in the age of the Internet, that means you can probably access more reviews and customer comments than ever before.
  • Don’t underestimate the convenience factor either. You can sell your gold from your home, instead of running around to local brokers who may or may not pan out for you.
  • An online business will also have clear instructions and procedures, and automate much of the selling process, saving you even more time, and giving you the flexibility of selling 24/7.
  • If you’re worried about price fluctuations, know that many online brokers will lock in a price ahead of time for you. The mystery of how much you’ll receive will be removed.

With all of these advantages in mind, there is one online buyer we’ve found that stands above all the others.

Best Online Gold Buyer: Cash for Gold USA

In a highly competitive online gold buying world, Cash for Gold USA is the best online broker for several reasons:

You get paid fast. Within 24 hours after an appraisal and accepting the offer sent to you, Cash for Gold USA will send you a check, or pay you by bank wire or PayPal.

Not only can you request shipping free of charge for your gold items, but they are also insured every step of the way via USPS or FedEx. Standard coverage is $5,000 for FedEx, but additional insurance is available for items valued at up to $100,000.

Cash for Gold USA is established and highly reputable. In fact, their parent company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. The site has served more than 250,000 customers and paid out more than $53 million since 2005.

There’s also a price match guarantee that will match any competitor!

Your transaction is risk-free, meaning you can back out at any time if you don’t like the price you’re offered. If you make that decision after you ship your gold, your gold items will be sent back to you at no charge.

The site will buy kinds of gold, silver and platinum items, including broken jewelry and dental scrap. The material is based on weight and purity, not the condition. In addition, the site also buys diamonds and silver.

Cash for Gold’s “Price for Gold” Calculator

If you know some of the details of the gold you have to sell, you can get a fairly accurate idea of how much you might get paid by Cash for Gold USA.

The front page of the website has a gold calculator (you can also use it for silver and diamonds) so that you can get an estimate based on today’s price of gold on the spot market. It’s about 2/3rds of the way down on the right side. See it outlined in red below:

Gold Calculator

If you know the weight and karats of your gold, you can get an instant price (there’s no obligation). Of course, the price is not binding and does not reflect the actual payout. You’ll have to submit your gold for an actual appraisal before a dollar amount can be locked in.

Are There Other Online Gold Buyers Worth Considering?

Yes. There are certain niche buyers in the marketplace who may be a better fit for your gold selling needs.

We’ve mentioned rare gold coins and antique jewelry. Some of those can be quite valuable, way above the melt price you’d receive from a gold buyer only interested in weight and karats.

There are literally thousands of specialists who know the market for rare gold coins, antiques, heirloom and estate pieces. They have the connections and can offer you top dollar, or they can assist you in a competitive auction situation if warranted.

To truly know the value of what you are selling, it’s advisable to get an appraisal by a member of the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers or the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers.

Appraisals should be done on a flat fee (never a percentage of value) and should range from $100 to $400, depending on how long the appraisal takes. Simple rings may take no more than an hour but larger pieces with elaborate settings and multiple gems could take three or four hours to appraise.

Just because you have an appraised price, that doesn’t mean it’s the price you’ll get if you try to sell it.

Appraisals, often conducted for insurance purposes, determine the retail replacement cost of your jewelry, not the resale price.

If you’re getting an appraisal with the idea of reselling, then ask the appraiser if he or she can also give you a resale price estimate.

Is Now a Good Time to Sell Gold? Should I Sell My Gold?

Good Time to Sell Gold Should I Sell My Gold

Only you know these answers for sure.

Prices are relatively high right now, so if you need an infusion of cash, selling gold could provide you with that cushion.

You may have also inherited gold recently, or you simply don’t want to store your gold any longer. Both of these are also valid reasons to consider selling your gold.

Keep in mind that gold prices can be volatile, so holding gold after it peaks could actually cost you money. It does not have any real value, except as a financial insurance policy, until you cash it out and use the proceeds elsewhere. If you choose the right time to sell your gold, you may be able to max out your gold profits and turn the proceeds into a different investment that will yield an even higher potential return.

If you have other resources you can tap, holding on to your gold assets is a good move as well. Gold is a stable investment that will always have value. It is universally accepted and the market to buy and sell and buy gold is huge.

The best answer to these questions is that if you have a plan for the cash amount that selling your gold will provide you, then you should seriously consider taking this action.

How to Sell Gold Coins, Gold Bullion, and Gold Bars

You might be wondering if there’s any difference between selling scrap gold, gold plated jewelry, or other forms of gold, as opposed to selling gold coins, bullion, or bars.

The short answer is “no.”

Buyers are more concerned with the qualities of the gold you’re selling (karat, etc.) than what form you’re selling. To them, it all comes down to melt weight and purity.

Of course, the exception here is if you’re selling forms of gold that have numismatic value, such as rare coins, antique gold jewelry, and so forth.

But for the vast majority of gold, your best bet is to start with Cash for Gold USA.

As it is with any transaction, if you have questions, be sure to ask until you’re satisfied with the answers you get.

Tax Implications of Selling Gold

Tax Implications

You may incur some tax liabilities when you sell some forms of gold. There are no tax reporting requirements when you buy.

Bullion dealers are required to file IRS reports when certain thresholds are met. An IRS 1099-B form must be filed in the following instances:

Screen Shot 2020 07 28 at 12.22.22 PM

The reason these items must be reported is that all of them currently trade or used to be traded on commodity exchanges.

IRS regulations require brokers to report all proceeds from stack and commodity transactions. Reporting also only applies if you sell at least the minimum quantity that is equal to the quantity of a commodity contract for the object.

Form 1099-B reporting requirements do not apply to any other coins such as American Gold Eagles, American Buffalo, Austrian, Australian (Perth Mint Coins), Chinese or any fractional bullion gold coins.

FAQs About Selling Gold

Selling Gold

Should I have an appraisal done before trying to sell my gold?

Yes. The more due diligence you can undertake, the more likely it is that you will get as much as possible when you actually sell your gold.

Although no paperwork is required when selling your gold, if you have had an appraisal done, be sure to bring it with you to support your ability to negotiate with a dealer.

What is the difference between gold and paper gold?

Gold prices are set by buying contracts for gold, and most of the time, these contracts are not backed by the physical metal. This “paper gold” is a promise to deliver gold or the equivalent in cash. For example, when you buy a gold Exchange Traded Fund, you’re not actually buying gold, you’re buying a proxy vehicle for gold.

At times, due to market conditions, real gold and paper gold can differ in their prices. Paper gold can influence the value of real gold quite a bit at times. When markets are out of whack, the values of the gold proxies they trade can shift dramatically (some would say irrationally) with no justifiable or real linkage to gold demand or production.

What is the minimum price you should get for your gold?

At a bare minimum, you should receive a high percentage of the “melt price” for any gold coins you are selling. In many cases, you should receive a lot more than the intrinsic value for rare coins.

Beware of newspaper full-page gold buyers who come into your town and set up shop in a high-end hotel for the weekend. They have been known to be predatory, often offering pennies on the dollar for what your gold is actually worth.

Be sure to visit multiple dealers to confirm the value of your gold, especially if it is in a form that collectors will prize.

Are Premier Gold Parties a good way to sell my gold?

Organized like Tupperware parties, these gatherings are typically arranged by friends or neighbors who meet to socialize and sell gold in a home setting. While they’re convenient, you may not get a very good deal if you sell your gold at one of these.

There’s a couple of reasons why. First, there are extra middlemen who need to get a cut. The company who organized the party and the host will both take their share. The other problem is that at parties like these, gold is often weighed together.

There is no consideration given to karat value, and payment is usually made at the lowest karat value rate. If you must go this way, separate your gold jewelry by karat in advance and don’t accept the mixed bag terms.

How can you tell if gold is real?

This actually applies to gold you already have, as well as gold you’re considering as a purchase.

There are several possible ways to test gold to see if it is real. Because of gold’s unique properties, it is difficult to produce fake gold but that doesn’t mean people don’t try.

Gold is one of the densest metals on earth, meaning that any metal used to attempt to replicate gold will be much less compact. If you have gold bullion and coins of a purported certain weight, you can simply weigh and check the size of your bullion which is made to a set of specifications that make a reference point comparison relatively easy to do.

Another simple test is to use a magnet. Unlike most metals, gold is not magnetic, so a real gold bullion coin, bar, or piece of gold jewelry will not stick to a magnet. You will need to know if your pieces have other types of metals or not.

Also be aware that gold is not the only non-metallic metal so a fake coin could pass this test, which is why it should always be used in conjunction with other tests as well.

Gold also has a distinctive “ping” sound when it is struck. Precious metals will have a high-pitched ringing sound when struck, as opposed to base metals that will have a much shorter and duller sound.

You can also drag your gold over an unglazed ceramic plate applying slight pressure. If you see a gold mark on the ceramic once you’ve done this, then the gold is real. But if the mark is black then it is fake.

Nitric acid is also used as a way to test gold. The drawback with this is that you risk doing permanent damage to your gold if you use a solution that is too strong. Gold is resistant to oxidation and corrosion and so pure gold will not be affected by the acid.

Different strengths of acid are available to test different carats, so gold that doesn’t react to the acid is at least as pure as the carat rating suggested, if not higher.

Overall though, perhaps the best way to guard against fake gold is to buy from a reputable dealer with a good track record. For gold bullion, look for LBA-approved refiners as the source manufacturer.

Do I need to worry about scale accuracy?

In some cases, yes. The accuracy of scales used by jewelers and pawn shops is verified periodically by government agencies. But this may not be the case for at-home parties or sellers who set up shop in a hotel for the weekend.

Also, some buyers pay by the gram, while others use a pennyweight valuation. A pennyweight is equal to 1.555 grams. When you’re paid by the pennyweight, that allows the buyer to get more gold for less money.

Are gold buyers regulated?

If a gold buyer is legitimate, he or she will be licensed by the state to buy gold. A legitimate buyer will also ask you for some form of government-issued identification as a way of preventing money laundering and the sale of stolen property.

Is it gold scrap, or something more?

Before you sell your gold for a melt-down price, be sure it’s not worth more in it’s present form. In some cases, people will unknowingly take gold in to be sold, unaware that they may also be in possession of a valuable artifact or antique that could fetch a lot more elsewhere. When in doubt, have your gold pieces appraised and the provenance established

How much is gold worth per ounce?

This sounds like a simple question, but it does not come with a simple answer.

Three factors primarily drive the answer. They are:

1. When do you want to cash in your gold?

The price of gold is constantly changing. Market forces, supply and demand, and global economic conditions all influence the price of gold. That creates short and long-term trends in the price of gold. In times of turmoil, gold can bounce up and down quite a bit.

You can get a sense of how gold moves from several places. One of the best is the AMPEX website. For example, you can see that gold cratered on March 19, 2020, at $1,481.90 per ounce. But as of July 23, 2020, gold had trended upward to $1,877.60 per ounce.

If you’ve got 500 ounces of gold to sell, that’s a $20,000 swing in your favor if you sell at the right time.

2. What form of gold do you have to sell?

If you’ve got scrap gold, that’s one thing, but if you have gold coins that will bring a premium, or have numismatic value, that’s quite another. You may also have an antique that could also fetch a big dollar amount and you may not even know it.

Pay attention to exactly what kind of gold you have to sell. Learn what drives various types of gold that will price them above a melt-down price.

3. Where do you want to sell your gold?

The smart answer is where you can get the best price. However, you’ve got to know where that is so you can make the most of your selling opportunity.

Not all gold buyers are created equal. They are business people who are in it to make a profit. The vast majority are ethical, but there are some unscrupulous horse traders out there, too. This is why you’ve got to do your homework.

What is the gold spot price?

The spot gold price is the price that gold will sell for today on the spot. This price changes daily and is the standard used by dealers to set their prices to buy from consumers.

It is expressed at the current price that one troy ounce of gold can be bought or sold based on an unfabricated form of gold. Unfabricated means the gold is in a raw form before it is struck as a coin or poured into a bar.

Many factors influence the spot price of gold. Market speculation, current events, supply and demand and other things will impact the rise and fall of spot gold prices. Keep in mind that gold is constantly being bought and sold around the world, not just in the United States.

This 24-hour a day action includes gold being sold on exchanges in New York, Sydney, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Zurich. As prices rise and fall in each of these markets, it impacts prices throughout the world.

If you are actively engaged in seeking to sell gold, or will be doing so over a period of time, you’re smart to keep up with the spot price of gold to help you get the most money when you sell, and get the best price if you intend to buy.

What are gold futures?

A futures contract is a deal to trade gold in an amount and price that is decided now, but with a settlement day that happens at some point in the future.

This means you don’t have to pay in full now and the seller doesn’t need to deliver any gold now either. It is similar to a trading stock on a stock exchange.

The price of gold futures is determined by attempting to predict changes in supply and demand, and the estimated cost of transporting and storing gold.

U.S. investors can buy or sell gold futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) in contracts of 100 troy ounces. Typically, NYMEX contract months include February, April, June, August, October, and December, with trading closing on the third to last business day of the delivery month.

Gold futures can also be traded on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, where the contract size is 1 kilogram per contract, which is approximately 32.15 troy ounces.

Gold Buyer FAQs

Gold Buyer

How much do gold buyers pay?

Just like everyone else, gold buyers are in business to turn a profit. That means the less they have to pay someone who walks in the door and wants to sell some gold, the greater potential there is for them to turn a profit.

Gold dealers are very risk-averse about the precious metals market, so they rarely speculate on the future spot price of gold.

You will need to shop around to find the best deal when you want to sell. Recognize that a dealer has overhead and they will need to buy your gold at some kind of a discount before they can process what they buy and resell it to others in the gold marketplace.

How do gold buyers make money?

Gold buyers are often gold dealers who can make money in a couple of different ways. They can buy gold from consumers at a discounted price and then sell that gold to wholesalers and refiners in their supply chain.

Other gold buyers stock an inventory of gold that they have pre-purchased in bulk at a discount. They will sell individual and smaller amounts of gold to consumers, taking a mark-up in the process. Other dealers are brokers who are strictly middlemen who take orders from one entity and drop-ship orders from larger wholesalers.

Gold Bullion FAQ

Gold Bullion

How is gold bullion different from other forms of gold?

In general terms, “bullion” can be used to describe other precious metals like platinum or silver. Bullion can come in bars, ingots, and coins. It is never traded in a futures market. Bullion is always traded for actual amounts of physical quantities.

Gold bullion is a recognized weight and fineness that you can buy for the current price of gold, plus some added charges for refining, fabricating and shipping the bullion to you.

The bullion content of a gold object is usually measured by multiplying the weight of the object in troy ounces by the purity of the gold in that object. For example, a 1-ounce gold bar with a .9999 purity rating would contain one troy ounce of 99.99 percent pure gold bullion.

Most of the world’s bullion is owned by governments and central banks and stored in 400-ounce troy bars. Smaller quantities are also available for purchase by individual investors. The problem with buying or selling gold bullion as an asset is that it can be costly to liquidate after you remove it from storage.

There may be assay, refining or handling fees involved if you are dealing with larger quantities. It’s much easier to sell gold bullion in smaller, more convenient and tradable sizes.

How much is gold bullion worth?

It depends on the fineness of the gold piece and the current market price of gold. The purer the piece, the higher the gold content, resulting in a higher price.

Compared to numismatic coins, gold bullion bars or bullion gold coins can typically be purchased and traded at lower price premiums over the fluctuating spot price. They hold no historical significance as opposed to collectible coins.

Where is the best place to sell gold bullion?

There are many places you can sell gold bullion. The trick is finding a gold buyer that will give you the best price for your gold. People often sell gold bullion on eBay. If you go this route, don’t expect to get the same prices you would see from an authorized dealer.

Authorized dealers are probably the safest route for sellers. You can either find a dealer locally or go online and expand your search. Again, we recommend Cash for Gold USA as your best option.

How Much Can You Get for Selling Silver?

Much like gold, silver is at or near all-time highs. Silver is also a highly sought-after commodity, both for investors and for practical uses in products like electronics (due to its conductivity), and in pharmaceuticals (it has natural properties as an antibiotic).

Silver prices also can fluctuate quite a bit based on market demands as both an industrial commodity and as an investment. Prices can change dramatically from day to day, or week to week as short-term demand rises or declines.

To determine the value of the silver you want to sell, you’ll need to determine the weight and the purity, just like selling gold.

Online silver buyers make it convenient to price out your silver jewelry, flatware, coins, bullion, and scrap silver.

If you’re looking for a reputable place to sell silver, consider starting with Cash for Silver USA, the sister site of CashforGoldUSA. It pays within 24 hours after appraisal and guarantees the highest price or your item will be returned, free of charge. If you happen to have silver, gold and diamonds to sell, you can sell all of these on CashforGoldUSA.

Glossary of Gold Terms

You may already know a fair amount about gold, but to fill in any holes you might have, here’s a glossary of terms you should get familiar with when looking to sell your gold.

Ask and Bid Prices. The “ask price” is the price a precious metals dealer has set for a bar or coin, also known as the selling price. The “bid price” is how much a dealer is willing to pay to purchase or buy back a coin or bar.

Assay. A test to determine the fineness and weight of a precious metal.

Avoirdupois. The weighting system used for commodities, except precious metals, stones, gunpowder, and drugs. For example, corn, wheat, meat and other common items use the “16 ounces equals one pound” unit of measurement. One avoirdupois ounce equals 28.35 grams or 437.50 grains.

Metals stones, gunpowder and drugs are weighted according to a Troy ounce. It is heavier than an avoirdupois ounce. One troy ounce equals 1.09714286 avoirdupois ounces. One troy ounce equals 31.1035 grams

Comex. Located in New York City, Comex is a division of the New York Mercantile Exchange and one of the world’s major commodities futures exchanges where gold and silver are traded.

Fineness. The purity of a precious metal. It is measured in 1,000 parts of an alloy. For example, a gold bar of .995 fineness contains 995 parts gold and 5 parts of another metal, or 99.5% fine. By comparison, the American Gold Eagle is .9167 fine, which means it is 91.67% gold. A Canadian Maple Leaf has a fineness of .999, meaning that it is 99.9% pure.

Fine weight. The precious metallic weight of a coin, ingot, or bar, as opposed to the item’s gross weight. The gross weight also includes other alloys. For example, a 1-oz Gold Eagle has a fine weight of one troy ounce but a gross weight of 1.0909 troy ounces. The .0909 troy ounces are composed of other alloys.

Gold bullion. This is gold that is typically purchased for the spot price of gold, plus a small percent of the cost incurred to refine and fabricate the gold into bars, ingots, wafers, rounds, or coins. It is essentially a refined and stamped weight of pure gold (99.5%).

Gold-filled. This is jewelry that is layered to create a finished product. The core metal is jewelers’ brass (90% copper and 10% zinc). Single-clad gold-filled jewelry puts all the gold on one side only. Double-clad puts gold on both sides of a piece of jewelry. The gold alloy is bonded to the core by heat and pressure. Gold-filled jewelry is legally required to be 5% by weight. Products are identified by a stamp that reads 12/20 or 14/20 meaning that 12-karat or 14-carat gold was used to fill 1/20th of the jewelry which is equal to 5%.

Gold Vermeil. Pronounced “ver-may,” this is sterling silver that has been gold-plated. To be considered vermeil, a jewelry piece must meet all of the following:

  • The base material must be sterling silver, an alloy made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other materials.
  • It must be plated in gold that is at least 10k, meaning the gold is at least 41.7% gold content.
  • The gold plating must be at least 2.5 microns thick. A micron is 1/1000th of a millimeter.

Gold plated. This is a more budget-friendly form of gold jewelry. Plating involves affixing a thin layer of gold onto the surface of another metal copper or silver, by a chemical or electrochemical plating process. Gold-plated jewelry doesn’t require any minimum karat weight or thickness.

Gold Standard. A monetary system based on the ability to convert paper money interchangeably with gold. The United States was on the Gold Standard until the Depression of the 1930s, but this is no longer the case. It has been replaced by fiat money, which means that due to a government order, the paper currency must be accepted as a means of payment.

Graded coin. A third-party service will evaluate a coin to determine its condition. The condition is then graded, usually on a scale of 1-70. Highly graded coins can have more value for collectors.

The two most popular grading services are NGC and PCGS who grade modern and vintage coins and encase them in hard plastic with a unique serial number to catalog the coin after it has been graded.

Grades range from Poor (P-1) to Perfect Mint State (MS-70) and are graded based on:

  • Luster
  • Strike
  • Attractiveness
  • Color
  • Preservation

Grain. This is the earliest known weighting system for a unit of gold. One troy ounce contains 480 grains.

Hallmark. A stamp or mark on a bullion item that identifies the producer.

ICTA. The Industry Council for Tangible Assets, an industry watchdog for the coins, currency, and precious-metals bullion communities.

Ingot. A mass of metal cast into a convenient and uniform shape. It is interchangeable with a bar in the precious metals industry.

Karat. A measure of the purity of a precious metal. Pure gold is 24 karat. Real gold items will have a purity marking that will indicate the karat number, such as 18K or 12K.

Here is how some of the more common numbers translate:

  • 999 = 24 karat, 99.9% gold
  • 916 = 22 karat, 91.6% gold
  • 750 = 18 karat, 75% gold
  • 585 = 14 karat, 58.5% gold
  • 375 = 9 carat, 37.5% gold

Liquidity. The ease that a precious metal coin or bar can be bought and sold. Among collectors, the 1 oz. American Silver Eagle has high liquidity because there are a large number of active buyers and sellers.

London fixes. There are two daily bidding sessions in London that fix or set the price of gold.

London Bullion Market Association. It runs the electronic auction system called the LBMA Gold Price which is globally recognized as the accepted market price for gold.

NGC. The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America, one of two major coin grading services in the United States.

Numismatic coins. Coins that are valued more for their rarity, condition, dates, and mint marks than on their gold or silver content.

PCGS. Professional Coin Grading Service, one of two major coin grading services in the United States.

Premium. A dollar amount or percentage a coin sells over its intrinsic value due to more perceived value by a buyer. For example, the American Eagle sells at a premium of 5% to 8%.

Troy ounce. Dating back to Roman times, this is a unit of weight in the precious metals industry that equals 31.1035 grams. 1 troy ounce equals 1.09714286 avoirdupois ounces.

Troy pound. Equal to 12 troy ounces but it is rarely used in the precious metals industry.

White gold. This is typically an alloy that contains about 75% gold and 25% nickel, silver palladium, or zinc, giving it a silver, or white metal look. The resulting alloy is harder than pure gold.

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