Precious metals have value that is relative to but separate from global currencies based on their historical usage in human society as a store of value that is generally recognized by every notable culture and society in the world. Gold and silver often make an appearance in any diversified portfolio, with most financial advisers recommending a minimum of 10% of any investor’s net worth be held in this asset class. Gold tends to act as a “fear trade,” meaning when stocks, bond and real estate prices are down, the prices for precious metals tend to go up. In recent years, gold and silver have hit record-breaking high prices, so knowing which companies offer the best gold buying experience is important. Gold dealers may offer a variety of services including purchase, storage and brokerage, depending on their specific focus and customer needs.

For additional information visit our How to Buy Gold resource.

Top 10 Most Reviewed Gold Dealers

Lear Capital is an online market that buys and sells coins made from precious metals. The company visits clients in their homes or businesses to assess the values of, and potentially purchase, large coin collections.
Top-rated by leading consumer groups, Goldco helps protect your retirement savings by rolling over existing IRA, 401(k) or other qualified accounts to a Gold IRA. You can protect your wealth and secure your retirement—call today.
Working with some of the largest firms in the US, Patriot Gold offers pricing for gold, silver and platinum for retail investors & individual clients. They offer Investor Direct Pricing and 30 years of experience and knowledge. .
Cash4Gold allows consumers to sell their old, unwanted or broken gold, silver, diamond or platinum jewelry without leaving their home. Consumers send away for a free packet, ship their jewelry and receive cash within a few days.
Monex is a precious metal dealer that has been in business for over 40 years. Services offered by the company include live precious metal prices and investor education. The website offers a wide range of coins for sale.
In addition to selling precious metal products, AMPEX purchases gold, silver, platinum and palladium sent to them through the mail. The company ships orders within one business day when clients pay with credit cards.
Northwest Territorial is a mint that also sells precious metals and numismatic coins. The company has six minting facilities, corporate offices and sales offices located throughout Canada and the United States.
JM Bullion is a precious metals dealer that helps protect investments by offering free, fully insured shipping options and a website with 256-bit SSL encryption.
Provident Metals has a large catalog of precious metal bullion and numismatic coins from around the world. The company's Elemental Vault service lets its customers trade bullion and store it in a secure location.
BitGold is a precious metal investment company that lets members purchase small and large amounts of gold expected to grow in value. The company accepts diverse funding options, including credit cards and bank transfers.

Following his two-year term as an investment banking analyst for Houlihan Lokey at their Los Angeles headquarters, Andrew Polacek had a seven year private equity career culminating in a role as a Vice President, first as an Associate at Mainsail Partners and later at Crimson Investment where developing relationships with business owners and investment banks was his primary focus. Andrew is also a knowledgeable and passionate investor in gold and silver bullion who has been investing in the space for over 10 years.

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What features matter most?

Price transparency

The spot price of gold changes daily, depending on market fluctuations. Some companies publicly post their precious metal prices online, while others sell complex packages or only disclose the price on the contract for sale.

  • Mint and Weight: Gold Dealers provide bars, coins and other forms of gold storage that is refined by a specific Mint. Some Mints are considered more established and of higher quality than others and so come with a higher premium. The weight of gold coin or bar (such as one ounce, ¼ and ounce, etc.) is also a contributing factor to is costs. Generally speaking, the higher the weight, the lower the premium a consumer pays over the spot price to the dealer.
  • Additional fees: In addition to the basic cost of the precious metals, companies charge a range of fees including transaction fees (typically referred to as “premiums to spot”), shipping fees and wire transfer fees. One additional consideration is taxes. Some states force gold dealers to charge customers taxes on bullion purchases through existing sales tax laws. It is advisable to avoid purchasing bullion if you are charged taxes on the purchase as it reduces your potential return and raises your overall acquisition cost.
  • Posted prices: Some companies do not post the price per ounce for gold or silver. To get the price, customers must call in or visit them at their brick-and-mortar location. This is not always a bad thing as these companies can offer a better long term value to certain consumers concerned with legitimacy and trust in bullion investing.
  • Management fees: After making the initial purchase of precious metals, some companies charge an ongoing management fee, similar to the fees charged at any brokerage for investment portfolios. This fee is typically related to storage and security of the underlying bullion.

Buying and selling

Precious metals act as a hedge for storing wealth in times of economic and/or political uncertainty. Liquidity of gold and silver is important, and gold dealers play an important role in ensuring the matching of buyers and sellers. Some companies charge a transaction fee that should be considered when buying or selling, while others do not handle direct gold transactions. Gold is typically held physically in bars or rounds ranging from as small as 1/10 an ounce to a kilo.

  • Quality: The standard quality of gold (and silver) in fineness is .999. Gold and silver in its truest form are too soft to handle, so an alloy with a small amount of metal is added to keep the form of the gold bar or round intact.
  • Transaction fees: Charging customers a fee to sell their gold is fairly standard in the industry, so if price is your major consideration, looking for gold dealers with the lowest possible fee is a good strategy.
  • Selling precious metals: Companies that do not offer quick and transparent bid and ask prices can cause delays that are not in favor of the customer. Gold prices fluctuate rapidly, so a delay in selling can result in a different price than expected for a purchase or a sale.
  • Direct sales: When selling gold, there are several options. A seller can typically sell their gold back to the dealer that they originally purchased from, but the dealer will often offer a lower price than the spot price and/or transaction fees. Online markets like eBay allow gold owners to sell directly to other consumers, which often ends up being a better option for seeing profits from gold investing.
  • Shipping fees: Consumers should understand what shipping costs are charged by a gold dealer and what minimums are required by bullion dealers to ship free where applicable and consider this when purchasing gold bullion. Shipping fees can make the cost of purchasing physical bullion prohibitively expensive for consumers.

Storing precious metals

Storing precious metals is a concern most gold investors have. Misplacement or theft are real concerns, especially given the easily convertible to cash nature of gold. Unless consumers have a vault and proper security at home, working with a broker or bank to store their precious metals is general advisable. It is wise to not share with too many people that you are a gold bullion investor.

  • Storage fees: Some gold dealers charge for storage, typically at different rates based on need of the consumer. Some gold dealers charge by weight, and others offer a simple monthly fee for smaller amounts.
  • Storing at home: If consumers choose to store precious metals at home, they may want to consider purchasing additional insurance. Most homeowner’s insurance policies require an additional rider for valuables such as precious metals and jewelry. Some gold dealers may offer insurance during shipping and for at-home storage.
  • Storing certificates: Some gold dealers offer an alternative to storing bullion at home. These dealers offer gold certificates, in lieu of physical gold, which record the investment. Allocated certificates are directly tied to specifically numbered bars of gold and are eligible for an equal exchange of metal on demand.

Insurance

Insurance provides a way to protect the value of owned gold bullion from loss or theft. Just like cash and other physical valuables, consumers can purchase insurance to protect owned gold bullion in the event of loss.

  • Valuation: Before you can find insurance, you need to have a current valuation for your collection of precious metals done. This can usually be done simply by multiplying the amount of gold in ounce (or fractions of ounces) by the current spot price of gold. You can start shopping for policies that cover your gold investment with that valuation in hand. Insurance on physical gold can be very expensive, to the degree of not making economic sense if the risk of loss or theft is considered to be low.
  • Numismatic value: Since much gold and silver is minted into coinage, some precious metal coins have a value that is higher than the value of the metal. Find an insurance company that issues a policy based on the numismatic value of the coins, not the metal weight.
  • Dealer storage: Consumers who store their gold with their dealers may already have insurance. Dealers commonly carry insurance up to the value of their total vault, which includes anything they are storing for customers.

Financial options

There are alternatives to investing in physical bullion. The ultimate goal is to see the value of the metals increase over time and take a net profit from your investment. Gold and silver can be included as an option for retirement planning. If you're interested in IRA options for investing in gold and/or silver, visit the ConsumerAffairs Gold IRA Guide.

  • IRA options: Some companies offer IRA savings plans that use precious metals as the major investment. While these accounts are less diversified, they are not typically offered through managed accounts, so they make good additions to existing retirement plans.
  • Full financial services: Gold dealers that are part of a larger financial system may be able to offer extensive services and advice about multiple investment options that include securities (stocks and bonds), mutual funds, precious metals and real estate.
  • Price tracking and notifications: Online real-time market data updates allow gold investors to receive notifications on price movements that gold buyers and sellers can act on based on their view of the future movements of the price of gold.

Reputation

Reputation is critical with gold dealers. While rare, fraud is not unheard of, typically occurring when gold bars and coins are only coated and the underlying metal is not actually gold. Ensuring you are working with a reputable gold dealer significantly reduces the chance for fraud.

  • Transaction history: One of the ways to determine whether or not you can trust a specific dealer is by looking at their transactions and customer reviews. Companies that have moved billions worth of metals have built up trust and reputation, but they can often charge larger premiums on the spot price.
  • Risk disclosures: When buying any investment, there are risks. A good gold dealer will be upfront about the potential risks and realities of investing in precious metals, so look for a disclosure that gives you the facts.

What are different types of gold dealers?

Gold bullion dealer

Bullion is physical precious metal that only has value based on the weight and purity of the bullion in question. Many gold bullion dealers also offer other forms of precious metals like silver, platinum and palladium. Some offer jewels as well.

Numismatic dealer

Coins often carry additional value based on their rarity, condition and history. A dealer that specializes in numismatic value will often offer higher prices than the gold weight value for certain coins.

Jewelry buyer

These dealers typically offer the lowest payout of any gold dealer. Standard payments might be as little as 10 percent of the value of the gold and gems by weight. The “Cash 4 Gold” signs you see are best avoided if a consumer is looking to maximize their payout from selling gold.

Gold broker

Gold brokers may act solely as a broker, bringing together two private parties who are looking to buy and sell precious metals. They charge a transaction fee for brokering the deal.

Financial services company

A gold dealer that offers retirement services and other financial planning can be considered a financial services company, similar to a stock brokerage or investment bank that only serves a niche market. Private client services that cater to high net worth individuals can often assist in large purchases of gold bullion.

Who's it for?

Retirees

Savings and investments become a significant consideration for individuals approaching retirement. When income is in question and holding value is paramount, gold bullion investing acts as a hedge for unknown risks.

Savers

Younger consumers often start planning for retirement several decades in advance to help offset some of the restrictions imposed by a fixed income. Most financial advisers recommend investors keep at least 10% of their net worth in gold and silver bullion.

Speculators

Investors and speculators put their money into markets on the belief that those markets will show a healthy return over time. Precious metals have traditionally been considered a very safe investment, helping to offset a riskier investment portfolio in periods of economic or politically instability.

Companies and governments

Although no country is run on the gold standard today, many countries still hold large reserves of precious metals to help show financial solvency and create legitimacy for central banks. Some states, such as Texas and Utah, have moved forward on securing gold reserves for their state and in confirming that gold and silver are indeed legal tender. Companies can do the same thing, or they can choose to invest in precious metals when the stock markets are too volatile. One example of this is Overstock, who has taken $10 million in gold bullion to cover expenses, fearing the rising debt of the U.S. Government and having doubts about the long term sustainability of the U.S. dollar.

Company reviews

  • Lear Capital

    Founded in 1997, Lear Capital is one of the leading dealers in precious metals in America. During its 17-year history, this company has transacted more than 2 billion dollars’ worth of precious metals.

    • Spot price: Regularly updated trading values of gold, silver and platinum are displayed on the right hand side of the company home page, making the information easy find.
    • Posted pricing: See exactly what is for sale and the price for each gold or silver coin with transparent pricing.
    • IRA rollover: Get information on when and how to rollover an existing IRA to allow for precious metal investment.
    • Price protection: If the price of gold in an IRA drops in the first 30 days, Lear Capital will adjust the amount of gold to meet the current value.
    • Signup bonus: New account holders may be eligible to receive a $500 bonus when they meet the conditions for the new account promotion.
    • Best for This gold and precious metal investment company is best for retirees, savers and speculators.
  • Goldco Precious Metals

    Goldco Precious Metals help individuals looking to diversify their retirement investments and ensure future financial security. The company specializes in precious metals investments and aiding customers in opening Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) that include gold, silver and other metals. Goldco Precious Metals provides each customer access to experts who can help them make informed decisions regarding opening precious metals IRAs or adding metals to a current IRA.

    • Hedge against government money problems: Goldco Precious Metals focuses on investments that help provide a secure financial future, even in the face of problems like the rapid expansion of money supply via The Federal Reserve.
    • Customer service assistance: Customers of Goldco Precious Metals are assigned two experts who can provide help and advice regarding their precious metals IRAs.
    • Reduce fees and taxes: This company helps individuals cut investment fees and taxes as they transfer from stocks and bonds to precious metals investments.
    • Free guide: Goldco Precious Metals provides free information about using precious metals to secure financial health, including a free Gold IRA Guide, a free Silver IRA Guide and detailed website overviews of various gold and silver coins.
    • Hands-on help: When a Goldco Precious Metals customer decides to roll over an existing retirement account to a precious metals IRA, the company works with the existing retirement account company to ensure a smooth transaction without any added taxes or penalties.
    • Best for Goldco is best for anyone looking to diversify investments, retirees and savers.
  • Patriot Gold

    The Patriot Gold Group sells gold, silver, platinum and palladium for cash purchase and for IRA investment. They offer investor direct pricing to manage the costs for consumers.

    • Free newsletter: All interested consumers can sign up to receive Patriot Gold Group’s free newsletters, which include market news and economic forecasts. To request a newsletter, consumers should fill out the Contact Us form on Patriot’s website.
    • Investor direct pricing: Customers buying from Patriot directly deal with senior partners. This more direct sales approach helps customers save money, giving them more investing power.
    • Self-directed IRA: Individuals with IRAs, 401ks and some other retirement accounts can roll their existing account into a self-directed, precious metals IRA through Patriot.
    • Social media: The Patriot Gold Group is active on Facebook and Twitter. Interested consumers can follow the company on those sites to learn about investing in precious medals.
    • Informational reports: The Forecasts & Projections section of Patriot’s website includes over a dozen information reports that educate consumers about the economics of precious medals.
    • Best for Patriot Gold Group is best for retirees, savers, speculators and anyone interested in precious metal investment.
  • APMEX

    APMEX recently celebrated its 15th anniversary and is now one of the top Internet retailers in North America. It has a catalog of more than 10,000 products for investors interested in both precious metal weight and numismatic value to choose from.

    • Buy and sell: On APMEX, consumers can see the sell price as well as the buy price.
    • No minimum transaction: It has coins priced well below $20 and bullion that comes with price tags in the six figures for larger gold bars.
    • Free shipping: Customers get free shipping on domestic orders of $99 or more.
    • 60-second price updates: APMEX posts the most recent spot price for precious metals every minute of the day.
    • Easy product sorting: Given its extensive catalog of products, APMEX has created easy sorting that allows customers to look by bars versus coins, weight, manufacturer and other important criteria.
    • Best for This gold and precious metal investment company is best for retirees, savers and speculators.
  • Northwest Territorial Mint

    Founded in 1984, Northwest Territorial Mint is one of only 20 full-service mints in the U.S. It is the largest full-service mint in operation and the preferred provider for custom military coining vendors.

    • Straightforward sales: The Northwest Territorial Mint website has a range of products, but they mostly fall under bullion. Price differences are based on weight, not numismatic value.
    • Sizing variety: Although this company only sells bullion, customers do not have to buy in large quantities. It sells bars and rounds ranging in size from 5 grams up to 100 ounces.
    • Numismatic coins: Although the focus is on bullion pricing, there are some numismatic coins listed for those interested in the historical value. All pricing is readily available on the website.
    • Bulk discounts available: Buy in larger quantities and get the lowest advertised price on the site with discounts of more than 10 percent on volume purchases.
    • One of the smallest premiums: This gold dealer prides itself on having one of the lowest spot premiums in the market place today.
    • Best for This mint and precious metal investment company is best for retirees, savers, speculators and companies and governments.
  • JM Bullion

    Located in Dallas, JM Bullion is primarily an online gold and precious metals dealer offering customer service online, via telephone and with walk-in meetings.

    • Transparent pricing: Bullion prices are clearly labeled and available for comparison on the homepage.
    • IRA help: Learn how to add precious metals to your retirement planning with a self-directed IRA invested in precious metals.
    • Storage services: Working in partnership with TDS Vaults, JM Bullion can offer both secure storage and insurance options to its customers.
    • Copper sales: Most gold dealers also offer silver, platinum and palladium, but JM Bullion also has copper coinage available.
    • Best for This precious metal investment company is best for retirees, savers and speculators.
  • Provident Metals

    Also known as "The People's Bullion Dealer," Provident Metals has been supplying bullion since 2009. As members of the ANA, ICTA, CCE and NGC, among other professional membership organizations, this relatively new entrant into precious metal dealing has quickly earned a reputation for excellence.

    • Telephone customer service: Call anytime between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on a weekday to speak to a company representative.
    • Visit the booth: Put a face to the company by visiting one of numerous trade shows it attends around the country.
    • Buy and sell: See both the buy and sell price for virtually any coin. If a specific coin is not listed, a quick call can usually deliver an estimate of what they are willing to pay.
    • Free shipping: Get precious metals delivered to the front door free with any order of $99 or more. Shipping on smaller orders is just $5.95.
    • Store, organize and learn: Shop for a variety of resources in addition to bullion including storage books, coin holders, safes, and books and videos about coins.
    • Best for This precious metal investment company is best for retirees, savers and speculators.
  • Bitgold

    Founded in 2014, BitGold is reimagining currency and precious metal investing by bringing it to the masses. Since its opening, BitGold has developed more than 323,000 user accounts and operates in 166 markets.

    • Back to the gold standard: Using BitGold, consumers can transfer their currency to gold. Every dollar in their bank account can be invested in gold and used with participating merchants.
    • Solid pricing: Gold redemption is available within one percent of the official price of gold, well below most other companies’ premium over spot price.
    • Online tax tools: As gold goes up and down in price, users may see gains and losses that are legally required to be reported to the IRS on tax returns. Its easy online tax calculator makes finding out the gain or loss quick and easy.
    • Secure digital payments: Using the BitGold platform, users buy and sell gold for products and services. Every dollar is allocated to a specific amount of gold and secured using Brinks, a world leader in security.
    • Insured: BitGold takes care of insurance and storage as a part of its service, eliminating the cost of holding physical gold.
    • Best for This new take on gold dealing is ideal for savers, speculators, companies and governments.
  • Goldline International

    Known as Goldline International since 1992, this well-established gold dealership has been rapidly expanding its operations.

    • Price guarantee program: Goldline International's seven-day price guarantee ensures that it will re-price an order at the lower rate when asked.
    • Real-time market prices: Keep up to date with what the markets are doing using the charts provided at Goldline International. Spot prices may vary though, so call in to get the most accurate information.
    • Low cost liquidations: Goldline charges only one percent with a $25 minimum to liquidate holdings at the posted buyback bid price.
    • IRA investments: Learn about which coins and bullion options are eligible for IRA investments and how to get started under the IRA tab on the Goldline website.
    • TrueCost Pricing: The TrueCost pricing program shows not only the asking price from the seller but also the buyback price and how much the metal needs to appreciate to break even.
    • Best for This precious metal investment company is best for savers, retirees and speculators.
  • Monex Gold

    While officially founded in 1987, Monex and its founder Louis Carabini have been in the industry for more than 40 years. To date, Monex has handled client transactions totaling more than $40 billion, making it one of the most popular gold dealers in America.

    • Track trends: See a lot more than just the current spot price with the constantly updating and long-term charts available on the Monex homepage.
    • Free market outlook reports: See what the experts are saying about the market and how politics and economic outcomes might affect precious metal prices.
    • Video library: See the experts at work as they discuss the market and factors that may affect the price of precious metals.
    • Early morning hours: With offices opening at 5:30 a.m., Monex has someone available by phone to fit virtually any schedule.
    • Bullion only: At Monex, there are no numismatic coins offered, only precious metals priced on weight alone.
    • Best for This precious metal investment company is best for retirees, savers and speculators.
  • U.S. Gold Bureau

    Founded in 2003, U.S. Gold Bureau is currently headquartered in Austin, TX. It is an authorized purchaser of bulk coins and bullion from the U.S. Mint.

    • Go diamond: In addition to precious metals, U.S. Gold Bureau also handles sales of precious stones like diamonds.
    • Free IRA rollover kit: With this kit, consumers can quickly and easily transfer an IRA into precious metals.
    • Reasonable shipping rates: All packages shipped out from U.S. Gold Bureau are typically priced at $15, which includes insurance and signature confirmation of delivery.
    • Transparent pricing: The only fee that might be added on to any transaction is the shipping cost. All other fees are included in the displayed price.
    • Negotiable bulk pricing: While not well advertised, bulk pricing is available for large value items or large quantity of a single item. Customers will need to call to discuss volume discounts.
    • Best for This precious metal investment company is best for retirees, savers and speculators.
  • Kitco

    With the launch of the Kitco website in 1995, Bart Kitner took his original $700 investment and turned it into one of the most trusted information sources for the precious metals market. The website currently draws more than one million visitors every day.

    • News and reports: Kitco goes beyond the simple spot report with news aggregation from all over the Web that might affect the precious metals market.
    • Base metal reports: Get the price of gold and silver along with the price of aluminum, nickel, copper and more.
    • Visual data: Seeing the numbers isn't always helpful, so Kitco uses charts and diagrams to make data clear at a glance.
    • Buy into a pool: Much like buying an interest in a development property, at Kitco customers can buy into a pool of precious metals, which helps share the cost over several buyers who all own a percentage.
    • Easy sales: Kitco will sell any coin or bar on its site, and transactions under $20,000 don't need collateral.
    • Best for This precious metal investment company is best for retirees, savers and speculators.
  • Global Gold and Silver

    Global Gold and Silver is a company that specialize in buying jewelry, precious metals and diamonds. With over 60 years of service in the jewelry trade industry, they can assist nearly any jewelry seller. They have three stores, which are located in Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey.

    • Precious metal buyers: They buy a variety of jewelry and metals such as gold watches, gold jewelry, gold coins, diamond jewelry, loose diamonds, silver jewelry, silver coins and silver sets.
    • Fair prices: They do their research to determine if the item is worth more than its raw materials, ensuring they are offering fair prices.
    • Certified gemologists: There is a certified gemologist at each location, ensuring that items are expertly evaluated.
    • Free shipping service: Sellers can send their tracked jewelry items to the company for evaluation, through a trusted courier service, free of charge.
    • No appointment: They offer a walk-in service in which customers can request an evaluation anytime during business hours, although if the collection is considerable an appointment is usually recommended.
    • Free estimates: After testing the item, they will answer any questions and give a free estimate.
    • Best for Anyone looking to sell jewelry, gold or silver, as well as anyone looking to sell diamonds or precious gems.
  • Fisher Precious Metals

    Fisher Precious Metals helps clients buy and sell gold, silver, diamonds, other sought-after metals, rare coins and various investment products. Additionally, the firm provides storage services for these physical investments. Within this industry, Fisher Precious Metals offers one-on-one counsel and advice to its customers, ensuring they get the best possible return on their investment. The lack of government oversight in this investment sector does add an element of privacy, and Fisher Precious Metals is there to help investors successfully navigate through an industry where regulations aren't always clear and dealers aren't always straightforward.

    • Fast shipping times: Fisher Precious Metals carries a varied inventory and is able to drop ship any item within just 24 hours.
    • Authenticity confirmation: Fisher Precious Metals uses the best metal purity testing technology available to authenticate all its gold and silver products.
    • Fair buying: Fisher Precious Metals buys unwanted jewelry at a fair market price, with cost of conversion ranging between 2 percent and 6 percent.
    • Trustworthy advice: Fisher Precious Metals prides itself on being a consultative dealer and makes every effort to help each buyer find the right product.
    • Fair returns: Fisher Precious Metals buys back items at the current market rate.
    • Best for This company is best for anyone that is looking to buy or sell gold, silver or other sought after investment products.

11 – 15 Most Reviewed Gold Dealers

Goldline has been buying and selling precious metal products, including numismatic coins, for over half a century. In addition to government-minted currency, Goldline sells uncirculated coins that commemorate historic events.
Founded in 2003, U.S. Gold Bureau is a precious metals and diamond seller that has grown quickly. The company offers investment packages, valued at $3,500 to $30,000, that include a wide range of bullion and numismatic coins.
Kitco is a company that offers precious metal refining services, as well as precious metal products. Its Kcast mobile app provides streaming market information about exchange rates, gold prices and precious metal trends.
Global Gold and Silver is a company that buys diamonds, precious metals and jewelry. Their staff is comprised of jewelry experts, including gemologists. They offer free estimates, a free shipping service and fair prices.
Fisher Precious Metals is an investment firm offering buyers a range of gold and silver products, including gold and silver IRAs. The company provides individualized consultation for each buyer during the investment process.