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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Give Thanks with Great Gifts. Thanksgiving Silver Rounds and Bars

Thanksgiving SilverIn 1863, during the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving. It seems contrary that during the most troubling time in United States history, our 16th and greatest president saw much to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving is a time of harvest, feasting, celebration and contemplation on the things we have all been given. The spirit of this holiday is wonderfully captured on these fine Silver products. The special harvest and fall leaf designs on these coins and bars are embellished with holograms and colorful enamel.

Each Thanksgiving Silver product has a purity of .999 fine or higher, and many are packaged within a protective plastic capsule with accompanying gift box. These unique Silver products are ideal for commemorating your Thanksgiving feast or can be given to a loved one you are thankful for.

If you are looking for special commemorative Silver products for Thanksgiving or other holidays and special occasions, APMEX is your source. APMEX makes it easy to buy Silver by offering competitive Silver prices on all Silver products.


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Buying Gold? Top 4 Things to Keep in Mind

American Gold Eagle

American Gold Eagle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether you are worried about the economy or saving for the future you may want to consider putting a little bit of your savings into Precious Metals like Gold or Silver. But don’t rush into this investment without considering the following 4 points.

  1. Learn the terms: Confused by what spot, bid, ask, and troy ounce is. Learn about these terms by visiting our glossary or by visiting our new investors page.
  2. Research the product you would like the purchase: Some Gold products are more expensive than others. Call one of our representatives who can help you figure out the best product for your needs. We have over 7,000 products in stock so we have no doubt you will find something that is best suited to meet your financial goals!
  3. Research the precious metals dealer: Buy from a reputable company. Check customer ratings on the company website, ensure that they are BBB accredited and visit the company’s social channels on Facebook, and Twitter. Look for a company that offers transparent pricing and secure shipping. There are a lot of players out there and you want to make sure that you buy from the company that is best suited to your needs.
  4. Think about storage: If you make a large investment in Precious Metals, you will want to consider storage options. APMEX customers can store their purchases at a wholly owned subsidiary called Citadel. Learn more here.

Visit APMEX.com or call (800) 375-9006 to find out more about buying Precious Metals. You’ll see that APMEX has all four of these important characteristics you should look for in a Precious Metals dealer.


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Special Report: Fiscal Cliff is Only 1 of “4 Horsemen of the Economic Apocalypse” for 2013

English: Flag of the United States Federal Res...

English: Flag of the United States Federal Reserve Bank (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The “Fiscal Cliff” is approaching on December 31, 2012, and by many reports, the issues may stretch into 2013 for months. However, according to an article published online by MarketWatch.com, a part of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, the Fiscal Cliff is only 1 of the 4 Horsemen of the Economic Apocalypse facing the United States in 2013 and beyond. (Click here to read article.)

As you may know, the Fiscal Cliff is comprised of about $600 Billion in automatic spending cuts, a tax increase, including higher payroll taxes and other economic policy issues that all come to expire on December 31, 2012. (Click here to read white paper with more detail on the Fiscal Cliff.)

Although the MarketWatch.com article describes in reasonable detail the 4 Horsemen, what follows is a perspective from the view of an investor in Precious Metals. In order, here are the 4 Horsemen as described in the article:

1. Europe

2. Inflation

3. Export Weakness

4. Fiscal Cliff

After you review the article and these comments on the precious metals markets, it may be time for you to decide how you want to position your portfolio for the events described.

Here is a brief review of each of the 4 Horsemen and how the particular economic affect may impact investments in Gold and Silver and other Precious Metals.

1. Europe – Since Central Bankers will keep interest rates low in their respective countries so that interest payments do not kill their local economies, this environment provides an opportunity for increasing demand for low holding cost investments like Precious Metals, since income bearing investments will have very low yields. Even more interesting is how the Central Bankers themselves are positioning their own foreign exchange investment by buying Gold in 12 of the last 13 calendar quarters, increasing holdings of Gold by more than $40 Billion during this period, with over $27 Billion of this total in just the last 4 quarters. Although these are indicators of demand growth for Precious Metals, weaker Euro rates relative to the Dollar may offset the gains if the U.S. economy is judged to be better than the European economies.

2. Inflation– The same Central Banks that keep interest rates low in the United States and Europe are using their currency to flood markets in order to keep the borrowing rates low. Although price inflation of goods and services has not seen high inflation rates since the monetary easing has begun, prices of investments have been on the rise suggesting that some of the excess cash is flowing into investment capital. However, with China continuing to grow as a consuming nation and bidding for more resources and food and coupled with the significant increases in money supply in both the United States and Europe, a global bidding war for key assets like energy, food and building materials may intensify causing price inflation in these areas. These price increases could also fuel increased investor demand for inflation hedge assets like Gold, Silver and Precious Metals. However, it is possible that the excess cash in the market can be controlled by the United States Federal Reserve Bank by paying interest on reserve deposits and in so doing, capture any excess cash in the market that may have been used to bid on these key assets, keeping the monetary flows more under control.

3. Export Weakness –There is a balance between countries and the prices of goods in one country relative to another based on currency values. If the Euro is down relative to the Dollar, European goods look less expensive than U.S. goods since the U.S. goods are priced in Dollars and the Dollars have gone up in value. The opposite is also true: if the Euro is up relative to the Dollar, then U.S. goods appear to be lower in cost. If Europe has more problems with their economies than the U.S., then the Euro could fall relative to the U.S. Dollar making U.S. goods appear more expensive, causing weakness in U.S. exports. This, in turn, would cause U.S. businesses to slow down since sales are reduced given the lower exports. The cure for the slower U.S. economy would be more stimulus and increased money supply, driving the Dollar lower relative to the Euro and making U.S. exports more attractive. However, this strategy, given the current and excessive U.S. debt levels would foster even more danger of permanent fiscal damage. The result of all of these factors may cause an increase in demand for Gold, Silver and Precious Metals since these assets have historically held value when the Dollar weakens and U.S. debt increases. On the other hand, if Europe has continued economic problems and the Euro weakens, and if the U.S. could hold export activity at the same levels without resorting to stimulus, then the higher Dollar would most likely result in lower Gold and Precious Metals prices.

4. The Fiscal Cliff – The Fiscal Cliff is uniquely an American issue as no other country has this same set of circumstances of sudden and sharp tax increases matched with significant and immediate reductions in federal spending. Many economists have predicted that this combination of events could cause the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to shrink by 2% or more. If such predictions are true, and with a U.S. GDP growth currently estimated of 1.5% – 2% for 2013, the entire growth of GDP could be wiped out and the net U.S. GDP change could potentially become negative and move the U.S. back into a recession. Unlike the situation as the U.S. entered the Great Recession in 2008, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank has very few options to substantially increase money supply nor does the U.S. Congress have the political freedom to vote for significant stimulus given the U.S. debt, now at 100% or more of U.S. GDP. In this current situation with a self-inflicted recession from the Fiscal Cliff, should there be efforts by either the Federal Reserve Bank or Congress to stimulate the economy, the results could prove to be an even more rapid deterioration of U.S. debt and cause the U.S. Dollar to plunge, raising the value of global assets like Gold, Silver and Precious Metals. However, if other countries are experiencing their own economic issues and sovereign debt crises, then relative to the other countries, the recession in the U.S. would not appear as significant and asset prices like Gold could stabilize.

Regardless of the outcome of the issues related to the 4 Horsemen, the U.S. and the major world governments seem mired in a long term economic challenge with very few “quick fix” options available. As a savvy investor, your portfolio may need some form of economic hedge or counterbalance to the effects these governments will experience in their respective economies. Perhaps now is the time to consider an increase in your portfolio allocation to Gold, Silver and other precious metals.

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Special Pricing on 2012 1 oz Silver American Eagles. Any quantity only $2.99 per coin over spot!

2012 1 oz Silver American EagleAny quantity only $2.99 per coin over spot! Each 2012 Silver Eagle contains .999 fine Silver and comes in Brilliant Uncirculated condition. The Silver American Eagle is the most popular bullion coin in the United States, and this is the most recent issue in a series that began in 1986. Adolph A. Weinman’s beautiful design showing Lady Liberty, draped in an American flag, walking gracefully as the sun rises over a ridge, appears on the obverse, while a heraldic eagle and 13 small stars appear on the reverse.

Orders in multiples of 20 coins will come packaged in mint tubes, and 500 or more are packaged in “Monster Boxes.” Otherwise, coins will be in protective plastic flips.

Because Silver American Eagles are eligible for Precious Metals IRAs, Silver American Eagle coins are a great way to diversify one’s wealth.


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