Answer. Futures contracts are generally considered one of the most speculative arenas in the investment marketplace. The investor's exposure to the market is leveraged and the moves both up and down are greatly exaggerated. Something like 9 out of 10 investors who enter the futures market come away losers. For someone looking to hedge his or her portfolio against economic and financial risk, this is a poor substitute for owning the metal itself.
While it is next to impossible to buy Silver at spot, reputable retailers such as APMEX make it easy to get the best price available at a competitive premium over spot. The term spot refers to the current market price for a 1 oz unit of Gold, a rate that continually fluctuates during the day. Investors want to pay as close to the current spot price as possible with small premiums giving the best chance at a good margin when selling later. There are, however, other factors that make a higher premium worth paying, such as a history of appreciation, availability, or reputation of quality from the mint of origin. While all Precious Metals including Gold are sold at a premium, this small additional cost is what pays for expenses such as mining, refining, production, and collectible market value.
Find a source that sells gold bullion. Often dealers, brokerage houses and banks will sell both coins and bars. When assessing a dealer, see how long they've been in business, whether they're certified with an industry or government body and in what investment activities they specialize. In the United States the national mint provides a list of authorized sellers that you can check. [2]
As far as pricing, gold bars are a cheaper alternative to gold coins which will carry higher premiums depending on the country of their origin. Manufacturers can come from a variety of countries with the most popular being Switzerland, United States, Canada & Australia. Normally gold bars are at least .999 fine and most reputable producers of gold bars will encase them in a certificate card with a matching serial number on the bar as well as the card. These certificates will contain not only the serial number but the weight and purity.

The biggest initial risks after a mine is up and running are that the gold isn't as plentiful as hoped or that it's harder to extract than expected. While mining is in progress, there are all sorts of operational issues to deal with, from labor relations to the risk of disasters like a mine collapse or deadly gas leaks. And once all of the gold that can be economically extracted has been, miners generally have to close the mine and return the site back to its pre-mined state.
Gold was used in commerce (beside other precious metals) in the Ancient Near East since the Bronze Age, but coins proper originated much later, during the 6th century BC, in Anatolia. The name of king Croesus of Lydia remains associated with the invention (although the Parian Chronicle mentions Pheidon of Argos as a contender). In 546 BC, Croesus was captured by the Persians, who adopted gold as the main metal for their coins. The most valuable of all Persian minted coinage still remains the gold drahms, minted in 1 AD as a gift by the Persian King Vonones Hebrew Bible new testament (Matthew 2.1–23).[1][2] Ancient Greek coinage contained a number of gold coins issued by the various city states.
During the Middle Ages gold coins continued to be struck, and these are scarce, too. With the discovery of the New World this all changed. The amount of gold flowing out of the mines was enormous, and the Spanish who controlled much of it, used it to strike one of the most fabled coins of all times: The Gold Doubloon. Pirates killed for it, hurricanes sunk them by the chest full, and captain Ahab nailed one to the mast of the Pequod, to be claimed by the first sailor who spotted Moby Dick.
Answer. Since, for one reason or another, it is difficult to take delivery from any of the ETFs, they are generally viewed as a price bet and not actual ownership of the metal. Most gold investors want possession of their gold because they are buying as a hedge against an economic, financial or political disaster. When disaster strikes, it does not do you much good to have your gold stored in some distant facility by a third party. For this reason, over the past couple of years the trend even with hedge fund operators has been away from the ETFs. In 2011, ETF sales plummeted while purchases of physical coins and bullion for delivery skyrocketed.
Even those investors focused primarily on growth rather than steady income can benefit from choosing gold stocks that demonstrate historically strong dividend performance. Stocks that pay dividends tend to show higher gains when the sector is rising and fare better – on average, nearly twice as well – than non-dividend-paying stocks when the overall sector is in a downturn.
While gold rounds may closely resemble coins, they have no currency value.  On the other hand, they are generally priced closer to the spot price than an actual coin in the same size. A gold round comes in sizes that range from 0.05 troy ounces to 1 troy ounce. In most instances, no additional metals are added to rounds. Often, these rounds are not as collectible as actual gold coins.

These popular Gold coins intertwine with history and present a historical narrative that is equally important and inspiring. Every country that produces Gold coins has a unique history and story. There is an impressive selection of world coins that were born out of necessity, commemorate important events or people or produced with designs that show national pride. Buying Gold coins from around the world will help you grow your investment and collection. Buyers who have a cursory view of numismatics can enjoy the selection at APMEX. There is a popular Gold coin for everyone here.
The price of gold fluctuates constantly in the markets. This can make pricing gold bars somewhat challenging for many dealers. But we’ve created a system that updates the prices of our products in real time in accordance with the spot price of gold at the time of purchase. We also have a price match guarantee to match the advertised price of any of our products on the sites of our top competitors.
Some coins stay in families for generations. Even over decades of time, each recipient realizes the value of their inheritance. Gold coins often serve as collectible investments because of their design, scarcity and demand. With each passing year, new coins are minted in different variations which may never be produced again. APMEX only sells Gold coins minted by the most trusted mints in the world. These mints include the United States Mint, Royal Canadian Mint, Perth Mint, Austrian Mint and more.
That’s why Mladjenovic prefers gold bullion coins. The price of the 1-ounce, 24-karat Maple Leaf approximately matches gold’s spot price and enjoyed a meteoric rise between 2005 and 2011, when the price of gold more than quadrupled. But what goes up sometimes comes down: The price of gold coins has tracked the recent decline in the price of gold, as well.
So if you’re socking away funds for retirement, why save in dollars? The US dollar is consistently losing purchasing power. Plus, in today’s banking environment it can actually cost money to keep your savings in a bank account. Gold is one of the best ways to ensure the 100 dollars you have today will hold its purchasing power decades into the future.
Fees for actively managed funds, meanwhile, can be materially higher than those of index-based products. You'll want to read a fund's prospectus to get a better handle on how it invests (its approach and whether it is actively managed or a passive index fund) and its cost structure. Note that costs can vary greatly between funds. For instance, Vanguard Precious Metals Fund has an expense ratio of 0.43%, while Fidelity Select Gold Portfolio's expense ratio is 0.84%. Costs can range quite a bit, and these are two relatively low-cost fund sponsors. 
First minted in 1967, the Krugerrand is a South African coin. The South African Mint produced it to help market gold from South Africa. It was also used as a form of legal tender and as gold bullion. By 1980, it accounted for 90 percent of the gold coin market around the world. Paul Kruger, the President of the South African Republic from 1883 to 1900, is featured on the obverse. The South African unit of currency, or “rand,” is shown on the reverse of the coin.
Gold coins are also flat, disk-shaped 0.999+ pure gold pieces. However, most gold coins, unlike gold rounds, carry an official face value (legal tender value) in the country of issue. These investment instruments carry one of the highest premiums over the spot price of gold due to collector demand and official recognition from sovereign governments.  
Rather than being miners, they are more like specialty finance companies that get paid in precious metals. The low prices they pay help to lock in wide margins regardless of the price of gold, and their investment approaches all result in wider mine diversification than you would likely get from owning a single miner. And all three of these companies have reliably paid dividends for years, which can help investors to stick around through the entire commodity cycle to achieve the full diversification benefit gold can offer. Streaming companies are probably the best all-around option if you are looking to buy gold, providing diversification, direct exposure to gold, and upside potential from the gold projects they back.   
Gold bars and ingots are the most popular way to invest in gold and generally the form of gold bullion that most people think about. A gold bar can come in a variety of sizes from 1 gram to 1 kilo. Actually, a gold bar can be as big as someone’s imagination. Currently, the largest gold bar in history was produced by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation. The bar weighed 551 pounds and would be worth over $11 million with a spot price of $1275.
The idea that gold preserves wealth is even more important in an economic environment where investors are faced with a declining U.S. dollar and rising inflation. Historically, gold has served as a hedge against both of these scenarios. With rising inflation, gold typically appreciates. When investors realize that their money is losing value, they will start positioning their investments in a hard asset that has traditionally maintained its value. The 1970s present a prime example of rising gold prices in the midst of rising inflation.
The most obvious answer is to run out and buy some gold coins, bars, or jewelry. This isn't the best option for investors. For example, there's a huge markup on jewelry, which makes it a very bad investment choice. But there's also likely to be a markup on coins and bars that gets put into the price quoted from dealers. After all, they have to make a living and be compensated for acting as the intermediary between buyers and sellers.
A. The same vetting rules outlined earlier apply. Check them out. Too often investors make the mistake of believing that the gold firm that sponsors their favorite political commentator is also the best place to make their gold purchases. National media campaigns are expensive and those costs are usually covered in the prices paid by investors for their gold coins. In some instances that mark-up can be twice the gold value. Take care that you are not paying too much for your gold and that you are buying the gold items best suited to meeting your goals.
For example, gold can be a volatile investment, so you shouldn't put 100% of your assets into a gold investment. The real benefit, for new and experienced investors alike, comes from the diversification that gold can offer; investors often buy gold when stock prices are falling in an attempt to protect their assets. Adding a small amount of gold to your portfolio can materially increase diversification. Although that percentage is up to you, going above 10% would probably be too much exposure unless you have a very strong conviction about the market's future direction.

The primary benefits to gold bullion bars for gold buyers are diversity and affordability. Gold bullion bars have lower premiums over the spot price of gold when compared to gold bullion coins, and the variety of options is far more diverse. Gold bullion bars are available not only in the aforementioned weights, but also styles including cast, hand-poured, and minted ingots. Gold bullion bars are struck continuously to meet the demand for gold, with the following refineries and mints representing some of the greatest refiners of gold bars:

Bird of Paradise: the 2018 Australian Gold Bird of Paradise coin is a beautiful release that features the image of what the Yidinji people call the duwuduwu, a bird known to Australians of European descent as Victoria’s riflebird. The latter name was given to the birds in honor of Queen Victoria I and based upon their coloring, which is similar to the uniforms of the Queen’s Riflemen of the 19th