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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

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.