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How to Buy Gold and Silver Safely Online

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The tale of counterfeiting gold and silver is probably as old as the metals themselves. Paint over a nickel and hey presto, you've got yourself a sovereign! (In low light, at least.)

In the case of counterfeit paper money, lol, what's the difference? Paper is paper, anyways. A decade from now, that piece of government-issued paper could be worth exactly the same as its counterfeit version. Possibly less, if there's a collector into counterfeit bills. They make good bookmarks (though goldbacks make much better bookmarks).

Gold and silver are totally different. Their value isn’t derived from a handful of magic words sprinkled over them. You not only want to buy gold, but you need it to have exactly the weight and purity as advertised. That's what will guarantee its value decades down the line.

Buying gold and silver safely in a time of moral turpitude

These days, counterfeit gold coins are not only cheap, but also alarmingly convincing. A numismatist probably won't be fooled by a $3 “American eagle” that you can buy by the crate on AliExpress. We call these low-quality fakes yellow chickens in the warehouse.


These "coins," for example, are not in fact good deals.

 

So what’s the market all these yellow chickens? Who’s buying them?

Sure, some of the customer are doubtlessly parents who want to fill a wooden box with “pirate treasure” for their eight-year-old’s birthday. (Which, pro tip, that kid will remember for the rest of his life.) But others certainly don’t have the joy of children in mind.

I guesstimate a significant number of these fake gold and silver coins get purchased by small-time hustlers who are convinced they can trick that guy at the pawn shop into believing this one is the real thing – and walking away a few hundred (or thousand) dollars ahead.

Surely you’ve worried about this. Anyone who wants to buy gold and silver coins has to consider what happens if a single fake somehow makes it into the supply chain. Maybe you’re considering a tube of 10 gold coins. One real deal in the front and one in the back, funny business in the middle. Not too hard to overlook, right? So you call the merchant, and they accuse you of substituting a cheap fake for a real coin, and of trying to pull the wool over their eyes…

What a headache. Best case scenario, it’s a massive hassle – worst case? You’re out thousands of dollars.

That's why knowing how to buy gold and silver safely online is absolutely crucial. Save yourself a lot of potential hassles and headaches. Don’t worry, I’ll talk you through it.

Here’s how to buy gold and silver safely online, step by step

For as much as is said about this, the tips are simple to understand and follow. Great coins and deals can occasionally be found on the secondary market, but, I have to ask, why risk it? Both gold and silver are highly liquid, globally-traded commodities. What are the odds that that sweet little old lady is really willing to take less than spot price for her dearly departed husband’s gold coin collection?

The primary consideration when buying gold and silver online?

Only do business with people who have more to lose than you do.

A dedicated precious metals retailer takes great pains to ensure we don't sell fakes even by accident. It's not just bad but disastrous for our reputation and our business. When you buy gold online, you’re extending your trust. We meet you there.

Just to give you an idea of the steps we take to prevent ever shipping a product that’s not authentic:

  1. The vast majority of our inventory comes straight from the mint or refiner. The shorter the chain of custody between the source and our vault, the better.
  2. 2.When we buy gold and silver from customers, we extensively test every item before offering it for sale. (“Extensively test” includes using water displacement measurement to determine exact density, measuring electrical conductivity for purity, and X-ray fluorescence – all totally non-destructive.)
  3. 3.If there’s ever any shadow of a doubt about the authenticity or provenance of a product, we just don’t accept it.

With all that in mind, reviews and the overall profile of the store you are buying gold and silver from are your best guidelines. How long have they been in business? How many positive reviews?

We recommend working with folks like BullionMax who specialize in precious metals. A retailer that deals in other things, however, is a lot more prone to oversights. Even if they get some bad rep for selling fake gold coins by accident, it won't necessarily harm their business that much. If the same happens to a bullion shop, well…

Packaging is another big thing to address. It's hugely important on one end and not that important on another. Gold and silver are just as valuable outside of the packaging so long as they're undamaged, but the product isn't. That's why buying gold coins and bars in their original mint packaging is always preferable: it helps ensure authenticity along with the condition of the coin. An assay might be able to confirm the authenticity of your coin easily, but it's not going to bring its market value back to the same coin featured in its original packaging.

And then there's the price. Large and reputable businesses can sometimes, once-in-a-blue-moon, occasionally sell gold and silver around spot price. These kinds of promotions are usually limited to a single coin. (The premium over spot is just part of the deal.) Authentic gold and silver coins and bars generally sell for spot price + 5-25%. If you’re considering buying a that’s priced lower than that, walk away.

If it’s priced below spot, RUN AWAY.

Alternatively, you can simply opt to shop from us (or, honestly, any precious metals dealer with equivalent time in the industry and a solid track record of delighting customers). BullionMax aspires to be your one-stop shop to buying gold and silver safely online!

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1 oz American Eagle Gold Coin (Random Year)
Guaranteed by the U.S. government for its weight, content and purity, this is the 1 oz. American eagle gold coin in 22kt crown gold alloy. Type 1 design, random year from 1985-2021. Great prices on highly collectible coins and free shipping from BullionMax!
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