Gold Bars or Gold Coins
Which are easier to sell?
It appears a better deal to buy large gold bars, such as one kilo bars, because they are available at a low premium over gold, but when it comes to selling, they are slightly harder to sell, and gold coins such as sovereigns and Krugerrands are easier to sell, and command a better price.
Premiums & Discounts
On many of the pages of our site, we quote our typical percentage premiums over gold for many of our gold coins and bars. This makes it easy to compare value, and work out which coins represent the best buy. We are often asked what our dealing "spread" is, the difference between our buying and selling prices. Although in 1971 we were the first bullion coin dealer to start quoting a buy-sell spread, we stopped doing this after VAT was introduced on gold coins, and have not re-introduced because of various changes in the market. An intelligent investor will still wish to know how easy it will be to sell his investment, and at what prices. We will attempt to answer both parts of this question.
How Easy is it to Sell Gold?
Any of the investment gold products we sell are easy to sell, either in the UK or almost anywhere in the world. Gold coins such as Krugerrands and sovereigns are always very easy to sell, gold bars are slightly more difficult. This is partly because more people recognise coins than bars. We reckon that a simple test would be to take a sovereign, a Krugerrand and a gold bar into a jeweller's, and ask if they would buy them. We think most would look at the gold bar and ask what it was. When you told them, they would follow up by asking whether it was real. Strangely enough in countries such as India, the bar would probably score well, with a high recognition factor, because jewellers in many less developed and eastern countries are used to working with pure gold and high carat golds, in the UK, and other developed countries, most jewellers are merely shopkeepers, and as such are not as well acquainted with the raw materials of their trade.
Comparative Premiums or Discounts
So how much will you get for your investment when you come to sell it?
This question is slightly harder to answer, as it depends on many market factors, each of which is highly changeable. The recent movement in gold prices has an effect. for example if gold shot up $10 or $20 overnight, we would be less enthusiastic buyers for a few days, because otherwise we end up with a lot of expensive stock if the price drops back after a few days. Nowadays it is more difficult for us to shift our surplus stock than it used to be in the 1960's and 1970's, because in those days there were two main bullion banks in London with whom we could deal quickly and easily. Now there are no London bullion banks, at least not any dealing in less than about 1 ton at a time.
Others factors include demand during the past few days, and our stock or book position on each type of coin or bar, and the current demand level. We are usually quite happy to carry 100 to 200 surplus Krugerrands or 500 to 1,000 surplus sovereigns, but we never like to have a surplus of 1-kilo gold bars. If we have to buy gold bars, we would always prefer a larger number of smaller bars, but as these are normally dearer to buy, and therefore will carry a larger spread.
As a rough guide our buying prices for sovereign vary from about a 2% discount to a 2% premium. During the last quarter 1999, we were paying about 10% premium thoughout the whole period. It is worth bearing this in mind when compared with the rates on other forms of gold.
Our buying prices on Krugerrands vary from about 2% discount to 1% premium, although in the last quarter of 1999, we were paying 4% premium.
Our buying prices on gold bars bought from us tend to be between 2% and 1% discount. We very rarely buy them at a premium.
An important figure to consider is the difference in premiums between different forms of investment gold. Normally when selling, you should expect to recoup any differential in premium between sovereigns, Krugerrands, and gold bars, even when selling in bulk to a dealer or broker. In addition, sovereigns are very collectable and often sell for between 50% and 100% over gold. If supplies of sovereigns dry up, then we believe premiums will increase again to more substantial levels.
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