Gold has been a valuable commodity throughout recorded history. Investing in gold bars and coins will add diversity to your portfolio and can provide valuable protection against market fluctuations and inflation. After purchasing gold bars and coins, you should be sure to store them properly to protect their value and prevent damage or theft. Here is everything you need to know about properly storing gold.
How To Store Gold at Home
Many people prefer to keep their gold in their homes where it is instantly accessible. If you decide to store your gold bars and coins at home, follow these tips to prevent damage or theft:
- Make sure that your gold storage area has a consistent temperature and humidity to prevent damage to your gold.
- If you own a mix of gold items, including bars, coins and jewelry, separate them for storage. Small items such as jewelry and coins can become scratched or dented if stored among heavy gold bars.
- Separate your small gold items using archival-quality tissue paper or by storing each item in a cloth bag.
Where To Store Gold at Home
Resist the urge to bury your gold in your backyard. Natural disasters, nosy neighbors, moisture, insects and memory loss can result in a treasure lost. A safe is the best way to store gold in your home. Some guidelines for choosing a safe include:
- Look for a safe that has a combination code and a key. This two-step protection prevents would-be thieves from getting lucky with a combination.
- A safe that is heavy or bulky is much harder to steal than a small, lightweight safe. You can also bolt large safes to the floor for extra security.
- Your safe should be fireproof and waterproof.
- Place a reusable desiccant in your safe to absorb moisture that could damage your gold.
If you are using a small safe, spend some time thinking about where you will position the safe in your home.
- Your safe should be in an area that maintains a fairly consistent temperature and humidity.
- Your safe should be easy for you or your family to find but difficult for thieves to stumble upon.
- If possible, keep your valuables three layers deep. A floor safe covered by floorboards, a rug and a sofa is much harder to find than one sitting in your closet.
Special Considerations for Storing Coins Compared to Bars
Because of their smaller size, gold coins are much more susceptible to damage than gold bars. Use the following tips to store your gold coins properly:
- Make sure your coin storage location can carry the weight and volume of gold coins. Gold coins require additional storage space and packaging to remain scratch and dent free.
- Never store tarnished coins with untarnished coins.
- Never store loose coins in your safe. Loosely stored coins are easily scratched and dented, lowering their value. Gold coins should be stacked in piles, placed inside sleeves made of mylar or separated by a non-reactive material such as cardboard.
- Use PVC-free plastic or acid-free cardboard sleeves to store gold coins.
- Don’t vigorously clean gold coins. This is especially true of rare, highly graded or collectible coins . Gold coin buyers and collectors are much more likely to buy a well-preserved, tarnished coin.
- Be careful when handling gold coins to prevent damage or tarnishing . If you must touch your gold coins, make sure your hands are clean and oil-free. Never wear latex gloves when handling coins because many gloves contain gold-damaging lubricants.
Storing Purchased Gold Outside of the Home
If you prefer to store your purchased gold off-site, you have a few options. For peace of mind and reliable security, consider storing your gold at a precious metals depository or a bank.
Precious Metals Depositories
Precious metals depositories are facilities dedicated to protecting your precious metal investments, and they are great storage options if you have a substantial amount of gold. Depositories can handle large collections of gold, and they are climate controlled, well-guarded and often have 24-hour surveillance. Routine inventory checks prevent theft or loss of your precious investment. Depositories are also insured to provide compensation should any of your gold be stolen or lost.
Depositories offer two kinds of storage:
- Segregated storage: Your gold is physically isolated from the gold of others in a reserved, private storage compartment within the depository. Segregated is the option most investors prefer.
- Allocated storage: Your gold deposits are under your name but stored with the assets of others. Assets held in allocated storage often take longer to withdraw, and you run the risk of your assets being lost or misplaced.
Banks protect your investment from theft by providing constant security and surveillance recordings. Storage areas protect your investment by maintaining a consistent temperature and humidity. When storing your gold in a bank, you have two options:
- Safety deposit boxes: A safety deposit box is a safe, inexpensive option for storing your valuables. Boxes are available in a wide range of sizes to suit your gold collection, and they are reserved in your name and for your use only. Multi-layered security measures ensure that your safety deposit box cannot be accessed by anyone unspecified by you.
- Bank vault: If your gold investment is sizable, consider storing it in your bank’s vault. Like with a safety deposit box, you must pay annual fees for bank vault storage.
If you decide to use a bank for your gold storage, keep in mind that you will only have access to your investment during bank hours. Safety deposit boxes and bank vaults are not accessible during evenings, weekends or federal holidays.
How Gold Storage Varies From the Storage of Other Precious Metals
Gold is chemically less reactive than other metals, meaning it is much less likely to tarnish or oxidize than silver and copper. Gold is a soft metal, though, and bouillons can be scratched or dented if dropped, causing a loss of value, so you may need to be more careful when you store gold compared to other precious metals. Gold also takes up much less space by value than silver, allowing you to store a larger investment in a smaller space.
Properly storing your gold will help it maintain its value for years to come. Whether you store your gold at home or in an off-site location, following these simple tips will ensure that your investment remains safe and secure.
1. Federal Trade Commission. ‘Investing in Collectible Coins,’ https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0136-investing-collectible-coins. Accessed September 21, 2020.
2. United States Mint. ‘Collecting Basics,’ https://www.usmint.gov/learn/collecting-basics. Accessed September 21, 2020.