As Gold Price Rises, Experts Issue Consumer Caution Advisory

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With gold prices climbing past the $700 an ounce mark, a nonprofit group of experts cautions: "If you don't know your bullion coins, you'd better know your bullion coin dealer to help you make responsible decisions."

Investors are urged to become knowledgeable before purchasing gold bullion coins as a financial investment. The consumer education and protection advice is from the Professional Numismatists Guild (, a nonprofit organization composed of the country's top rare dealers and experts.

"If you don't know your bullion coins, you'd better know your bullion coin dealer to help you make responsible decisions," advises Gary Adkins of Edina, Minnesota, PNG President. "To make an informed purchase about gold, silver or platinum, investors need to be aware of three crucial marketplace factors: The actual cost per ounce of precious metals; bullion value versus collector value; and timely delivery of merchandise."

Price: Buyers will pay a higher percentage over "melt" value for fractional gold pieces (1/10th, 1/4th, and 1/2 ounce) than they will for one ounce items. Premiums may fluctuate dramatically depending on bullion prices as well as supply and demand for bullion coins. You should determine if the percentage you are asked to pay is reasonable or excessive.

American Eagle and Canadian Maple Leaf coins generally have slightly higher retail prices than comparable South African Krugerrand gold bullion coins.

Bullion vs. Collector Coins: Investors should distinguish between bullion coins whose values generally fluctuate according to the current price of gold or silver, and "rare coins" that carry a significant collector premium based on historical supply and demand.

Some older U.S. gold and silver coins may be readily available in circulated condition for a modest premium over their bullion content, but those same coins in superb condition may have significantly higher value, perhaps thousands of dollars above their bullion content. The market for accurately graded, high-quality rare coins is quite strong now.

Delivery: If immediate delivery of your purchase is not possible, prior to executing your order, obtain from the seller in writing specific confirmation about the delivery date. If there is sudden, increased nationwide or worldwide demand for gold bullion coins, retail buyers may encounter delays of several weeks or more before receiving merchandise from some retail sources.

Professional Numismatist Guild members must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and demonstrate knowledge, responsibility and integrity in their business dealings. They also must agree to binding arbitration to settle unresolved disagreements over numismatic property. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1955. A complete list of PNG member-dealers can be found online at

For a copy of the informative pamphlet, "What You Should Know Before You Buy Rare Coins," or a printed directory of PNG member-dealers, send $1 to cover postage costs to: Robert Brueggeman, PNG Executive Director, 3950 Concordia Lane, Fallbrook, CA 92028. Phone: 760-728-1300. E-mail: or visit the web site at


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