Coins & bullion since 1973


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How to buy gold coins and bullion
A step-by-step approach to help you start right

Updated Q3-2017

Getting started with your gold purchase

Some complicate buying gold, but in reality it is a relatively simple process. The following guideline is the result of our experience helping thousands of investors make their initial gold purchase. If you have questions at any point along the way, we welcome your telephone call. We think you will find our low-key, no-hassle approach conducive to your making good decisions about gold and silver ownership.

1. Develop a good sense of the role you would like gold to play in your overall portfolio. For beginners, our Q&A section, What you need to know before you buy your first ounce of gold, provides a quick and helpful introduction to gold ownership. This page is well worth your time. It will help you avoid some of the costly mistakes often made by first time investors.

If you would like to gain a more comprehensive introduction to buying gold coins and bullion, we offer the widely-read book, The ABCs of Gold Investing: How to Protect and Build Your Wealth With Gold. This well-received ownership guideline is also available online through, Barnes & Noble and at most bookstores.

2. Decide how much of your overall portfolio should be committed to gold and silver coins and bullion. Investopedia, the well-known investor website, says: "An investor who fears that the U.S.' trillions of dollars in debt and penchant for economic bubbles* point to a long-term downward trend for stocks and the U.S. dollar may devote 25% or more of his or her portfolio to metals and mining**. However, most traditional investors with more optimistic outlooks keep their exposure to this sector at less than 10%." Similarly, we suggest a diversification between 10% and 30% depending upon your level of concern about the economy.


* LINK: Two former central bank leaders speak out on gold's portfolio role in the modern economy.

** Gold stocks should not be viewed as a substitute for real gold ownership in the form of coins and bars. Instead, stocks should be viewed as an addition to the portfolio after one has truly diversified with gold coins and bullion.

3. Match your portfolio choices to your objectives. Our two most popular portfolio inclusions at this time are contemporary gold bullion coins and historical gold coins (the low-premium, bullion-like variety that track the gold price). In fact USAGOLD's overall volume is split roughly 50%-50% between the two groupings. Each plays a particular role in the portfolio. The reading material suggested in step one offers details in this regard, or we invite you to contact our trading desk to be referred to one of our experienced consultants for details.

4. Choose the right gold firm. You can probably imagine the horror stories we have heard over the years. It is surprising though how so many of these bad experiences could have been avoided with a simple background check at Better Business Bureau reviews or by spending a little time with the right reading material like the suggestions made above

Check not only its rating but the number of complaints lodged against a gold dealer and how those complaints were handled. A consistent record of complaints can be a warning sign even if the company has managed to keep an A+ rating.

Ultimately, your choice of a gold firm can mean the difference between success and failure as a gold owner.

(Please see the bonus advisory immediately below - How to choose a gold firm.)

(Note: USAGOLD has been awarded the Better Business Bureau's Gold Star Certificate, its highest accolade. In addition, the firm has been rated A+ by the BBB with zero consumer complaints. The firm has been accredited since 1991.)

5. Make an informed decision. This website offers a significant amount of information on gold ownership to help first-time investors. It also offers news, opinion and constantly updated market information to keep you posted after you become an owner. We invite you to browse and get to know us.

Placing your first order with USAGOLD

1. Prepare a list of questions you would like to have answered by one of the firm's expert gold ownership consultants.

2. Contact our trading desk for current pricing and to have your questions answered.

3. Lock-in your order over the phone. It will be followed by an e-mail confirmation invoice for your records.

4. Remit payment by wire or personal check.

5. Sit back and relax while we fulfill your order. In our over 40 years as a gold firm assisting thousands of clients, we have never failed to honor an agreed-upon price or to deliver metal as ordered in a timely manner.

– Bonus Advisory –
How to choose a gold firm
Right turns and wrong turns on the road to gold ownership

Some might consider the precautionary checklist offered below a matter of common sense, but in our experience it is surprising how many prospective gold owners simply dive-in without much in the way of a consumer inquiry. Your choice of a gold firm can mean the difference between success and failure as a gold owner.

Choose the right firm and it will help stay the course on protecting your assets from economic uncertainties. Choose the wrong firm and you can be easily diverted from true gold ownership through a maze of related but speculative and/or derivative investments.

High-end numismatics, leveraged precious metals accounts, graded (slabbed) contemporary bullion coins, off brand bullion bars and jewelry items, gold stocks, precious metals futures contracts or options, and exchange traded funds (to name a few of the wrong turns often taken by first-time investors) – all have a gold component as part of their profile, but are no substitute for physical coins and bullion which you own outright.

Only gold coins and bullion meet the four basic criteria for safe-haven status – liquidity, portability, tradeability, and "appreciability" in direct correlation to the international spot gold price. Inherently there is nothing wrong with owning any of the other investment vehicles just listed as along as you are mentally and financially prepared to shoulder the risks. If you are interested in owning the precious metals for asset preservation purposes, it follows you would be best served by a firm specializing in coins and bullion for delivery.

Key criteria for choosing the right gold firm

Apply the tests listed below to your choice of a gold firm and we are confident you will get off to a strong start. We are confident too that USAGOLD will grade at or near the top of your list.

1. Choose a gold firm that has a solid track record. Ten years in business is good; fifteen years or more is even better. As gold continues its secular bull market, opportunists are sure to enter the market, resulting in numerous start-up gold firms that often close their doors as quickly as they were opened. Firms fifteen years old or more have seen both good times and bad in the gold market. As such, they have demonstrated a commitment to the industry that carries a great deal of value to you as an investor. Such longevity shows not only a commitment to the principles of gold ownership itself, but is also indicative of the sustainability of a particular organization - an important indicator when it comes to the ethics of an organization's sales practices, the accuracy of its advice, and it's ability to honor its commitments.



Coins & bullion since 1973

2. Choose a firm with a commitment to keeping you informed – one that offers information-based services suitable for our information-based age. During your time as a gold owner, much is likely to change in the economic and political landscape. You will want to stay informed, and the mainstream press does not always report prominently on the trends likely to affect your portfolio, or emphasize the articles of interest to you as a gold owner.

The website
online since 1997

Our commitment to information services is almost as old as the firm itself. Starting decades ago with our monthly hard-copy newsletter, News & Views, and continuing today with our widely acclaimed website, we have dedicated ourselves to providing first-class information services designed to meet our clients' needs. The USAGOLD website today hosts almost 1.5 million visits per month – a guiding light and practical resource to its users.

3. Choose a firm willing to spend time with you and answer your questions. The firm that is abrupt at the outset is likely to give you short shrift if you have a question or concern that needs to be addressed in the future. Be wary of companies that use aggressive sales tactics. Seek out and develop a relationship with firms that handle your inquiry in a friendly, professional manner.

Choose a firm with a large and satisfied client base. You will benefit from the experience it has gained working with a variety of situations. A firm that knows its business can help you choose the right portfolio mix to address your specific goals, circumstances and concerns. Understand the difference between the "client-oriented" and "customer-oriented" gold firms. The latter generally compete on the basis of price with little or no attention paid to your particular portfolio needs.

A boutique firm with a large clientele

USAGOLD is unique among national gold firms in one important respect. By design, we are a boutique firm with a small but highly regarded staff of experienced and knowledgeable client advisors. We have little interest in expensive national media campaigns, a large and unwieldy overhead and the aggressive sales tactics which usually accompany that business model. Instead, we have gone about the business of building our clientele, which now numbers in the thousands, through the USAGOLD website and by referral from our existing clientele. Our commitment to the gold business spans nearly 40 years and, during that time, we have built and maintained a reputation for friendly, client-oriented service and consistent, level-headed guidance -- qualities that will benefit you as a gold owner now and in the future.

4. Choose a firm with a high degree of professionalism and commitment to the gold business. The level of expertise in the gold market varies from firm to firm as does their general interest in the economy and financial markets. Although there are many outlets for gold, there are relatively few companies with staffs capable of providing reliable direction to the first-time investor. Not every gold firm, for example, has asset preservation as its top priority. Some tout leveraged accounts or high-end numismatics neither of which blend well with the safe-haven aspirations of most gold owners. Then there is always the firm that totally disregards the individualized needs of the inquiring client and concentrates instead on its own agenda.

Before you even contact a gold firm, it would serve your best interest to ascertain the real nature of its business. You can learn much by browsing a company's website -- something even the smallest firms offer these days. If its product line, services (and, most importantly, its focus) seem a good match, a follow-up call is in order. If not, keep searching. The initial spade work will end up saving you considerable time, effort and money over the long run.

Safe haven for the asset preservation investor

USAGOLD carries the range of precious metals bullion coins and bars and bullion-related historic gold coins that track the gold bullion price. Our unambiguous purpose is to accommodate investors wishing to own precious metals for asset preservation and/or safe haven purposes.

5. Choose a firm with strong credentials and a solid history. A firm that has proven itself to be trustworthy can help you avoid some of the problems, pitfalls and wrong turns often encountered on the road to gold ownership. One reliable source for investigating a business' standing is a Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile -- something any reputable gold firm should have. (If they are not members, that is a red flag in itself.) There you will find basic information -- the company's BBB rating along with a record of complaints and how they were handled. A history of dissatisfaction, particularly if there has been a large number of complaints, can be a warning sign even if the complaints were settled satisfactorily.

An admirable track record for over forty years

USAGOLD enjoys an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and has been granted the right to display the Reliability Program logo. It has not had a single complaint lodged against it for over over a decade, and has consistently been awarded the annual Gold Star certificate which goes to firms that have no complaints over a three-year period. In addition, the firm is a member of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets since 1985. Michael J. Kosares, the firm's owners is a life member of the American Numismatic Association, having joined the organization in 1975.

How to choose a gold firm
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Gold coins & bullion since 1973
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Website in continuous operation since 1997

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mkMichael J. Kosares, the author of these articles, has more than 40 years experience in the gold business. He is the founder and executive director of USAGOLD (both the website and gold brokerage service), the author of three books on the gold market, and the editor of "News & Views, Forecasts, Commentary & Analysis on the Economy and Precious Metals," the firm's client letter. He has written numerous magazine and internet essays and is well-known for his ongoing commentary on the gold market and its economic, political and financial underpinnings.


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