11 Precious Metals Investing Terms You Should be Familiar With


If you’ve ever spent time on APMEX’s website you may have come across a few terms that were deserving of a curious eyebrow raise.  Don’t worry; you don’t have to be a skilled numismatist to find out the meaning of all the hieroglyphic-like terms that your eyes are trying to decode. When you choose APMEX as your precious metals provider you’re not only picking the best bullion products available on the market, but you’re also investing in a skilled team of workers that can actually help answer your questions and lower your confused eyebrow. Check out this listing of some of the most commonly used terms. All terms have been taken directly from the APMEX Glossary.

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

Bid: The price at which a dealer is willing to buy.

BU: Brilliant uncirculated, is used to describe a coin in new condition. It is for a coin that has no wear, but it may have light handling marks or other imperfections.

Bullion: The term is used to describe: 1. Gold, silver, platinum or palladium coins which closely follow spot prices and have little or no numismatic value (such as restrikes) 2. The form in which metal is shaped such as bars, ingots or wafers. The most commonly traded gold bullion pieces among individual investors in the United States weigh 10 oz. or less.

Early Release: NGC designation for a coin received during its first month of release.

First Strike: These coins have been struck from a new set of dies within the first 30 days.

MS-60: The lowest grade of Mint State, or uncirculated, coins. Using the Sheldon Grading Scale, coins are grade from 1 to 70, with 70 representing a perfect coin. Coins grading MS60 or higher are uncirculated; coins grading below MS60, are circulated.

PCGS and NGC: Professional Coin Grading Service & Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, two major coin grading services in the United States.

Proof: Refers to the manner in which a coin was minted NOT to its condition. Highly polished dies and special planchet are used to produce coins with a mirror-like finish. A proof strike is very different from a business strike and proof coins are generally made for collectors not for normal use.

Spot: Term which describes one-time open market cash transaction price of a commodity, where it is purchased “on the spot” at current market rates. Spot transactions are in contrast to term sales, which specify a steady supply of product over a period of time. The price for the physical delivery of bullion bars, usually 100-oz bars of gold or platinum and 1,000-oz bars of silver.

Troy Ounce: One of the most common units of measure for precious metals. 480grains = 31.1035grams = 1.09711 avoirdupois ounces = 1 Troy Ounce.

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