12.27.11 Weekly Recap

Gold prices have been affected by the ongoing European debt issues.  The precious metal is tied closely to the fate of both the dollar and the euro. Moves by the two currencies this week have been reflected in the price of Gold.  The recent trend for Gold has been to track the euro and move opposite the dollar.  Although there has been a correction in Gold prices over the past few months, most experts are unfazed and see the precious metal rising again in 2012. Jeffery Wright, a senior research analyst with Global Hunter Securities, said that Gold prices of $2,000 are likely if Washington lawmakers continue to be at odds on how to address fiscal problems in the U.S.  Wright also said, “Once we get back into those discussions, there will be further pressure on the U.S. dollar and a refocusing on Gold as a safe-haven asset.”

Leo Larkin, a metals and mining analyst with S&P Capital IQ, said, “Gold has been going up without interruption for 10 years.” Larkin said the current dip in prices is “totally normal” and stated that he expects this upward trend to continue in 2012. Over the past 10 years, Gold has experienced an average rise of 17% annually.  The demand for the metal continues to surge, and according to commodities strategist Sabine Schels, “The negative outlook for sovereign debt coupled with easy monetary conditions in the eurozone, the U.S. and Japan, meant Gold would retain its safe-haven status while still offering comparatively strong returns. Gold will also benefit from a continued need for central banks in emerging markets to diversify their holdings.”

The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was at the forefront of the news.  Il’s death only adds to the list of uncertainties affecting the world economy; there is concern about the effects his passing will have on North Korea’s economy and its relationship with South Korea.  Stock markets slipped over comments made by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi regarding the ECB not being able to step in to buy bonds based on the founding treaty of the eurozone. Other news causing concern was England’s refusal to participate in an increase of the IMF’s resources to help the debt crisis.  There are still plenty of hurdles and difficulties within the eurozone, including Finland’s resistance to how the European Stability Mechanism is run, which could cause issues as early as July 2012. Fitch Ratings stated that it is too late for a comprehensive solution to be reached in Europe’s debt crisis.

The business sentiment in Germany rose sharply in December, which went against expectations that such sentiment would decline. This was looked on as a good sign for the eurozone, as Germany is often considered the workhorse of the European economy. As the markets stabilized, investors wondered what would happen as events continued to unfold in North Korea. Regional tensions were on high alert, even as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. is ready to help the North Korean people create lasting peace and security on the Korean peninsula. Also, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on extending the payroll tax cut.  Although an agreement to extend the tax cut and unemployment benefits had previously passed in the Senate, congressional Republicans, unhappy that requested cuts to President Barack Obama’s health care law and changes to the unemployment insurance system were removed from the bill passed in the Senate, rejected the proposed two-month extension.

The European Central Bank (ECB) announced that its lending program would be giving eurozone banks a total of 489 billion euros to meet liquidity needs.  The announcement jump-started the markets, as the expectation was that those banks would use some of the loaned money to buy sovereign debt. However, Europe’s initial rush of excitement faded quickly after it was realized that would not be the case.  The eurozone news pulled all major indexes down, although by the end of the day Gold and Silver had climbed back near their Wednesday morning levels.  In the U.S., Republicans and Democrats reprised their roles in a drama similar to the debt ceiling issue earlier in the year, with both sides blaming each other for halting the extension of the payroll tax cut.  Also on Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors announced that existing home sales increased by 4% in November. However, those results were muddied after the association revised its calculations for 2010, saying the housing crash was, in fact, about 14% worse than previously thought.

Thursday began with both U.S. stock futures and the U.S. dollar rising in response to the release of the weekly jobless claims report. The report showed that 4,000 fewer people filed for unemployment benefits the week before. Third quarter Gross Domestic Product numbers for the U.S. reflected a revision downward of 0.2%.  The numbers also indicated that consumer spending had been weaker than originally reported. Fitch Ratings placed the U.S. on warning again  regarding its AAA credit rating, though it said a decision likely wouldn’t come until 2013. Also on Thursday, Republican and Democrat lawmakers in Congress continued their fight over the payroll tax cut extension.

The debt issues in Europe continued to hobble efforts for economic recovery, and there were talks of a ‘Quantitative Easing’-like effort within the European Union. Such a program, which would involve the European Central Bank (ECB) stepping up and buying debt, goes against the principle set forth for the ECB and is a touchy subject with ECB President Mario Draghi, who has indicated that he feels instilling trust in Europe should be the priority. Draghi said in an interview, “We won’t achieve that (trust) by destroying the credibility of the ECB.” The International Monetary Fund showed no signs of stepping in with any sort of financing plan for European debt, either. Former ECB board member Juergen Stark said, “Practically, I don’t see any countries other than eurozone states that want access to the money. It is an attempt to circumvent the ban on direct monetary financing in Europe.”  The domestic economic news on Friday was that U.S. manufactured goods rose quite a bit in November, based on aircraft demand. However, business spending decreased in an indication that investing might be starting to wane.  In other U.S. news, after a week of fighting between Republicans and Democrats, Congress finally passed a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.

Each year around this time, we begin to see stock and Gold price predictions for the coming year. Last year, most of the predictions for stocks were bullish, and Gold predictions were more modest. But there was no way to predict the Arab Spring, the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, the continued lack of jobs or the severity of the European debt crisis. In the end, it has been a poor year for stocks and another robust year for Gold, despite the recent price decline. It makes one wonder what the unexpected (Black Swan) events might be in 2012. According to an article by Patti Domm, CNBC news editor, there are five geopolitical risks we need to watch for in 2012:

  • The conflict with Iran. Tensions already are escalating as Western countries seek to push sanctions on Iran for its nuclear weapons program.
  • North Korea. Who is this new 28-year-old leader? There is very little known about Kim Jong Un, who leads a secretive and closed country that possesses nuclear weapons.
  • Iraq’s civil war. The exit of U.S. forces leaves behind an unstable situation that creates even more uncertainty amid the world’s major oil supplies.
  • Deteriorating Pakistani-U.S. relationship. The U.S. relies on Pakistan to assist in the ongoing war on terrorism. However, the U.S. also needs India as an ally, which creates quite a balancing act.
  • Russian elections. There could be a shift of power in Russia, and this brings added uncertainty. Russia still carries economic clout and remains the world’s largest oil producer.

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold: Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,596.30. The high was on Wednesday, Dec. 21st at $1643.70, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, Dec. 19th at $1,585.50. Gold ended the week up $13.40 at $1,609.70. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver: Spot Silver prices opened this week at $28.85. Silver reached a high of $30.21 on Wednesday, Dec. 21st, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, Dec. 20th at $28.70. Silver ended the week up $0.32 at $29.17. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum: Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,411.10 and ended the week up $21.10 at $1432.20. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium: Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $617.10 and ended the week up $43.40 at $6660.50. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

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Dollar Cost Averaging

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A strategy for making the most out of fluctuating Gold prices

When investing in Gold, it’s only natural to think in terms of cost per ounce.  Many people see the price of Gold and decide to jump in. They make a one-time investment, and wait for Gold prices to go up.  While Gold has indeed trended up throughout 2011, there is a natural fluctuation in pricing.  It goes up and then down and then up again.

There’s a way of using the fluctuating price of Gold to your advantage and it’s called Dollar Cost Averaging. Instead of making a single investment, you invest a fixed amount on a fixed schedule.

Here’s how an illustration of how it might work. Say an investor has $12,000 to invest, so using dollar cost averaging they decide to invest $1000 per month in Stock ABC. The first month Stock ABC sells for $50 per share, so the investor purchases 20 shares. The second month Stock ABC is $25 per share, so the $1000 can purchase 40 shares. The third month, stock ABC is up to $40, so they can purchase 25 shares. All together, they now own 85 shares of Stock ABC at the average per share price of $35.29.

If this investor had spent the entire $12,000 up front they would have paid $50 per share, but by dollar cost averaging after three months, they only paid $35.29 per share. If investments only went up, this would not be an advisable way to invest, but in a market environment where there has been a great deal of volatility like we have seen in 2011, Dollar Cost Averaging will help reduce risk.

Dollar Cost Averaging is an especially prudent investment strategy for gold and silver. Make a commitment to how much you can spend on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis and then simply follow through. We have all heard the adage that you cannot time the markets. Dollar Cost Averaging accepts this as truth and gives an investor a simple plan to follow.

Diversify Your Portfolio with Gold today at APMEX.com!

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12 Days of Christmas: Day 5 – Australian Gold Kangaroos

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Now available from APMEX, the 2012 1 oz. Australian Gold Kangaroo is only $44.99 per coin over spot. At .9999 fine, this is one of the purest Gold bullion coins minted annually by the Perth Mint. And with a design that changes each year, the Gold Australian Kangaroo is sought after by collectors and investors alike. Order yours today, while supplies last.

Bullion Pricing + Collectability = Exceptional Value

The Perth Mint is one of the most popular mints in the world and its Gold Kangaroos are bullion coins valued by investors and collectors worldwide. The 2012 1 oz. Gold Australian Kangaroos are:

  • Dated 2012 with a face value of $100.
  • Specially priced, it is the lowest-priced 1 oz. Gold coin we sell.
  • IRA-approved, high-quality products for investors building retirement wealth.

The back of the coin features an adult kangaroo standing tall in a field with a windmill in the background. It also displays the date, weight and fineness of the coin. On the front is a profile of Queen Elizabeth II, along with the words “Elizabeth II,” “Australia” and “100 Dollars.”

An Amazing Value in One of the Purest Gold Coins

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Buy any quantity of 2012 1 oz. Australian Gold Kangaroo coins at the special price of just $44.99 per coin over spot, while supplies last.

Shop Our Full Line of Australian Gold Kangaroos

APMEX stocks Australian Gold Kangaroos from 2012 and prior in a variety of sizes and designs. Choose from sets or individual coins, including some individually packaged in assay cards.

 

Looking for a special silver Gift Idea? How about Australian Silver Kangaroos?

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Minted by the Royal Australian Mint, Australian Silver Kangaroos come in a wide variety of gorgeous designs. You’ll be amazed by the attractive packaging and affordable pricing that make these coins ideal gifts!

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12.2.11 Weekly Recap

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Merry Christmas from everyone at APMEX!

 

Gold continued to shine in analysts’ eyes this week as eurozone leaders scrambled to find a solution to Europe’s ongoing debt crisis.  Adrian Day, president of investment firm Adrian Day Asset Management, reflected this week on reasons why people have been buying Gold the past two years, citing “concern and distress of fiat currency paper money.”  Day said, “Gold is a solid asset which is going up.”  Central banks around the world came up with an agreement to aid financial markets, while China made the unusual move to cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for commercial lenders.

Earlier in the week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) denied that it was in talks to provide monetary aid to Italy; many analysts still expect that the IMF will have little choice but to act if the European economic crisis comes to a boiling point.  There was speculation that Germany might float additional bonds together with the eurozone’s five other triple-A rated nations and then use the proceeds to help Italy and Spain, but Germany quickly denied this speculation.  Finance ministers from the eurozone gathered this week at the headquarters of the European Union in an effort to rescue the euro and thereby protect the rest of the world’s economy from a debt-related financial collapse.  Also, global central banks reached an agreement to lower dollar-swap ratios to “ease strains in financial markets and thereby mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses and so help foster economic activity.”  Alan Valdes, director of floor operations and vice president of trading at DME Securities, said, “The markets rallied with the news.  But if you stop and think about it, you have to realize what kind of danger the world is in for all the central banks to get together and save Europe.”Some warned that this agreement could backfire and pose a risk to U.S. economic expansion.

Last week’s Black Friday deals brought record retail sales in the U.S., resulting in a strong start for the stock market this week. Concurrently, a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicated that the global economy is slowing, the eurozone is in a mild recession, and the U.S. may soon follow.  Although the economic news in the U.S. was somewhat rosier than the news from Europe this week, the opinion of many is that the European debt crisis is echoed in the U.S. by the inability of American leaders to conquer this country’s own debt crisis.  The congressional Super Committee might return to attempt another deficit cut; the House Minority Whip said that he would like a 90-day extension for the Super Committee to reach an agreement.  The jobs report showed 120,000 jobs were created in November, and that the jobless rate fell to 8.6%.

Credit ratings were predominant in the news this week as reports came out that France could lose its AAA credit rating as the result of a downgrade by Standard & Poor’s (S&P).  Fifteen major banking institutions (including six in the U.S.) had their credit ratings downgraded by S&P this week.  S&P also upgraded two Chinese banks, based on the view that banks in North America and Europe find themselves in greater danger of turmoil in the financial market, while Asia-Pacific banks have experienced relative stability.  Ritesh Maheshwari, S&P’s lead analytical manager of financial services ratings across the Asia-Pacific region, explained, “Money is flowing into emerging markets, so the health of their financial systems is continuously improving, whereas in the West, banks are battling with so many issues.”

For the first time in almost three years, China’s central bank cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for its commercial lenders to ease credit strains and strengthen an economy that is showing signs of weakness. China’s manufacturing sector shrink in November, which helped to clearly define that country’s decision to encourage commercial lending to boost the economy.  Stephen Green, the China economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Hong Kong, said, “This is a big move — this is easing; it’s a clear signal that China is on a loosening mode.  The next move will be another RRR cut in January.”

At least two analysts expressed the view this week that Gold could reach a price of $2,000 as investors consider an exit from riskier investments.  During the week, Oliver Purshce, co-portfolio manager of the GMG Defensive Beta Fund, stated, “What will drive prices higher are fears of inflation … if you see the ECB print money, the Federal Reserve (ease), China change monetary policy — that would all be supportive of $2,000 Gold prices.”  In addition, Bank of Montreal strategy adviser Don Coxe said that instead of equities tied to the economy, investors should consider buying Gold-mining stocks or the metal itself.  Coxe said Gold would surpass $2,000 an ounce in the event of “a full-blown crash of the banking system in Europe.”

 

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,714.00. The high was on Friday, Dec. 2nd at $1,767.10, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, Nov. 28th at $1,686.70. Gold ended the week up $33.10 at $1,747.10. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $32.27. Silver reached a high of $33.74 on Friday, Dec. 2nd, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Wednesday, Nov. 30th at $31.12. Silver ended the week up $0.41 at $32.68. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,545.30 and ended the week up $5.90 at $1,551.20. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $583.30 and ended the week up $61.00 at $644.30. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

 

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2011 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bar

Pamp Suisse Gold Bars have been produced in Switzerland since 1979 and are the most highly sought-after Gold investments in the world. Pamp Suisse, the world’s leading independent refiner of precious metals, controls more than half of the world market for Gold bullion ingots weighing less than 50 grams from its headquarters in Castel San Pietro, Switzerland. Each .9999 Fine Gold ingot is encased in tamper-evident “Signed Certicard” packaging with an assay card that guarantees the quality, weight and assayed precious metal content of each bar.

Most Pamp Suisse Gold bars are die-struck and bear the company’s famous “Lady Fortuna” design on the bar’s front. The design, widely regarded as one of the most attractive designs in the marketplace, is based on the Roman goddess of fortune accompanied by her traditional attributes: the rudder of fate and the cornucopia of plenty. The back of each bar is hallmarked with its purity, weight and serial number.

APMEX provides many opportunities to add this beautiful, world-class Gold investment to your precious metals portfolio. The bar selection ranges from 1 gram to 10 ounces. Best of all, APMEX customers now have a super opportunity to buy Pamp Suisse 1 oz. Gold bars at a great discounted price during the “12 Days of Christmas” promotion! Buy Gold Pamp Suisse bars for ONLY $39.99 over spot while supplies last. And there are no limits!

Don’t miss this low Gold price! Purchase Pamp Suisse Gold that is affordable, beautiful and secure. – order Gold online now!

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11.18.11 Weekly Recap

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The U.S. debt passed the $15 trillion mark this week.  What does a trillion dollars look like?  A trillion is 1 million multiplied by 1 million. 1,000 billion dollar bills in your pocket amounts to $1 trillion which is understandably inconceivable to most people. Americans should be alarmed about this $15 trillion debt when we learn that the ratio of U.S. debt to its GDP is now 102% and rising.  When the debt-to-GDP ratio of a country hits 90%, it begins to become a drag on future economic growth.  If this ratio climbs to 100% or higher, the economic growth becomes nearly impossible.

It appears that until Europe is fixed, its headlines will continue to drive the markets for the foreseeable future Robert Pavlik, Banyan Partners chief market strategist, expressed,“We’re capped, at least until we can knock Europe off the front page.” Gold fell more than $50/oz on Thursday as concerns of expanded contagion from the euro zone crisis caused large selloff in almost every market. There is a lot of fear, warranted or not, over the exposure of U.S. banks to the debt crisis in Europe.  The concern is not over any of the countries we’ve worried about over the past few months; the concern is the exposure of U.S. banks to French and British debt.  The exposure to Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain totaled a relatively manageable $50 billion as of Sept. 30th; however, the exposure to French debt is approximately $188 billion and exposure to British debt is approximately $225 billion.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Europe could be facing its toughest hour since WWII.  Greece and Italy both have new leaders but this does little to nothing in itself to solve the problem.  Both new leaders are rushing to form new administrations and coalitions to stave off the damage of escalating debt problems.  “Europe is in one of its toughest, perhaps the toughest, hour since World War II,” Merkel told her conservative party in Leipzig.  “If the euro fails, then Europe fails, and we want to prevent, and we will prevent, this.  This is what we are working for, because it is such a huge historical project,” Merkel said.  Investors continue to look for decisive action from euro zone leaders.

This time of year, hedge funds and other investment firms are required to make regulatory filings with the SEC to report their holdings.  These reports can give an indication as to the outlook of some of the world’s savviest investors.  It appears that many are cautiously optimistic but are still avoiding risk, mainly due to fears of a contagion from Europe’s financial woes.  Ryan Detrick, senior analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research, said, “We still think it makes sense to be cautiously bullish here.  Don’t go overboard, obviously, because those Europe concerns are clearly still relevant.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Christopher Waller, research director for the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, warned that economic recovery in the U.S. is likely to be a process that will take several years and that the Federal Reserve can do little to shorten it.  “Something’s happened in U.S. labor markets that we can’t overcome,” he said, adding, “No matter what we do, recovery is going to be slow.” Bullard has said the Fed shouldn’t engage in any additional easing of monetary policy unless the U.S. economy derails from its current modest growth, stating, “There’s no point in trying to say, ‘Cure cancer with monetary policy.’ It’s just not possible.”

Meanwhile, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans is pushing for a commitment from the Fed to do more to decrease the nation’s high unemployment rate.  Evans, who has been pushing for more aggressive action from the Fed for some time, said, “I just think this is the time to stretch the boundaries a little bit more and take a few chances.”  He is pushing for a plan that involves asset purchases (some form of quantitative easing (QE) as well as very low interest rates until the unemployment rate drops below 7% or until inflation rises above 3%.  At the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, Evans was the lone dissenter on the panel who favored more aggressive action, including a third round of QE.  Now, two more Fed presidents have released statements supporting Evans’ ideas.  But if Evans gets his way, how will the stimulus be paid for?

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,778.40. The high was on Monday, Nov. 14th at $1,797.60, while the low for the week occurred on Thursday, Nov. 17th at $1,711.00. Gold ended the week down $50.40 at $1,728.00. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $34.10. Silver reached a high of $34.92 on Monday, Nov. 14th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Friday, Nov. 18th at $30.93. Silver ended the week down $1.64 at $32.46. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,646.40 and ended the week down $48.50 at $1,597.90. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $664.30 and ended the week down $57.80 at $606.50. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

100 Corona Gold Coins & Gold 50 Pesos

For decades, these Gold coins have remained a world favorite for people interested in Gold investments because the premiums charged for these coins are normally lower than for most other Gold bullion coins. The 100 Corona coin contains 0.9802 oz. of 21.6-karat Gold. The Corona coins were originally issued from 1908-14, bearing the date of mintage; after the death of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, the coins were imprinted with the commemorative date of 1915. The Austro-Hungarian 100 Corona coin is no longer minted. The 50 Pesos coins were minted in Mexico City. The Peso coin contains 1.2057 oz. of 90% Gold and 10% copper that strengthens the coin to endure the wear of circulation.

Increase your Gold portfolio in thrifty fashion by adding Mexican Gold 50 Pesos bullion coins and Austro-Hungarian Gold 100 Corona coins to your holdings. While supplies last, buy Gold 50 Pesos and 100 Corona coins at only $24.99 per ounce over the Gold spot price at APMEX.com.

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