A. Positively. Most of the strong demand globally since the beginning of 2016, has been driven by the low-to-negative-rate environment. At a time when fixed-yield investments pay little to nothing, gold and silver at least provide some upside potential. In addition, these metals protect against the downside risks implied by the low to non-existent rates of return. Those two very persuasive arguments have translated to strong institutional and fund demand at the ETFs as well as demand among individual investors for physical coins and bullion. A mid-2016 Bankrate survey of investors is telling in this regard. One in six chose gold as the best place to park money they would not need for the next ten years, the same number that chose stocks.
In order to fully understand the purpose of gold, one must look back to the start of the gold market. While gold's history began in 3000 B.C, when the ancient Egyptians started forming jewelry, it wasn't until 560 B.C. that gold started to act as a currency. At that time, merchants wanted to create a standardized and easily transferable form of money that would simplify trade. The creation of a gold coin stamped with a seal seemed to be the answer, as gold jewelry was already widely accepted and recognized throughout various corners of the earth.

Investors looking for bullion coins and gold eagles look at factors like scarcity. Those that are harder to find are the ones that collectors want. They also look at the overall size of the coin and its face value. While a dime may have a face value of 10 cents, it could be sought after more by investors. Collectors may put less importance on a coin with a higher silver content. Gold bars should contain a stamp that tells you its total gold content.
(Reader note: The Better Business Bureau began its Gold Star Certificate program in 2003 and USAGOLD was a recipient of the award every year it has been issued – fifteen straight years without a complaint. The firm has been a member of the Bureau since 1986 and accredited every year since 1991 (the year it began its accreditation program) with an A+ rating. To see USAGOLD's full BBB report, please visit this link. Be sure to read our reviews.)
Foreign governments also mint coins, but they may not be produced to the same standards as U.S. coins and they aren't guaranteed by the U.S. government. The value of foreign bullion coins depends primarily upon the coin's melt value – the basic intrinsic bullion value of a coin if it were melted and sold. A bullion coin's condition – its "grade" – isn't the most relevant factor in determining its price.

(Reader note: The Better Business Bureau began its Gold Star Certificate program in 2003 and USAGOLD was a recipient of the award every year it has been issued – fifteen straight years without a complaint. The firm has been a member of the Bureau since 1986 and accredited every year since 1991 (the year it began its accreditation program) with an A+ rating. To see USAGOLD's full BBB report, please visit this link. Be sure to read our reviews.)


Once you have collected a number of silver and gold coins, it is important to know how to store them properly. Generally speaking, silver and gold pieces need to be handled with gloves to protect the surface from oils on your skin. Slabbing gold and silver coins in hard, non-PVC plastics is the safest way to preserve rare pieces of your collection. As an added layer of protection, store your most valuable Liberty pieces in a lock box to prevent damage and theft. This can be a safe, a locking storage area, or even a safety deposit box.
Thus, even though some bars, coins, and rounds usually command lower premiums over spot, silver coins may warrant a much higher premium because of their collectible value. Also, another reason why coins command a higher premium is – they hold the prestige of being the only government-minted precious metals instruments and thus, enjoy a strong demand in the precious metals market.
This is why some investors like to buy gold in a more indirect fashion, via mining stocks. The prices of mining stocks tend to follow the prices of the commodities on which they focus, so there's a logic to this approach. However, because miners are running businesses that can expand over time, investors can benefit from increasing gold production. This can provide upside that owning gold coins never will.
Step back from those statistics, and it's clear that roughly 90% of gold demand is based on its intrinsic value. This is something of a historical issue, since the world basically chose gold as a currency thousands of years ago. In fact, at one point, most paper money was backed by a country's holdings of physical gold. That time has passed, of course, with fiat currencies now backed by the promise of a government to make good on its obligations.
But if you don't actually make use of them, these bars can be costly to liquidate once removed from storage. You may encounter assay, refining, or just handling fees in trying to liquidate that size gold bullion bar. It's much more difficult and time-consuming to liquidate gold bullion in a single chunk that is worth over $100,000 than it is to sell the same amount of gold bullion in more convenient and tradable sizes.
The banking systems are slowly returning to their former strengths after the 2008 Financial Crisis, but one of the big changes was their insurance policies; countries and banks are now holding a lot more gold bullion in reserve as a safe-haven; guaranteeing their capital in the event that problems arise in the future. It's okay to want to invest in things other than gold, but it's sensible to spread your investment and build a portfolio of many different assets.
Thus, some rounds, coins, and gold bars of similar weights can have substantially lower prices compared to their more popular counterparts. However, gold coins usually enjoy a higher premium than other gold investment options due to official recognition from a sovereign government. Even though the face value given to the coin is nominal in nature, it inspires confidence among buyers.

The United States Mint, like other world mints, does not sell its bullion coins directly to the public. Instead, we distribute our coins through a network of official distributors called “authorized purchasers” who, in turn, create a two-way market buying and selling to precious metals wholesalers, private investors, and local bullion coin dealers.
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