Gold is one of the few commodities that can be physically stored to have its value preserved or increased over time, so one way to invest in gold is to actually buy it. You can purchase gold coins or bars and store them in a safe location as an investment.
To purchase physical gold, or even gold certificates, you need to go through a gold dealer such as Kitco.
Before doing business with any gold dealer, find out as much information about the business and its history as possible. You can check out different gold dealers by going through the Better Business Bureau.
Gold coins as investments
One of the easier ways to invest in physical gold is by buying gold coins. Here are the most popular types of gold coins:
Gold Eagle: Issued by the United States government, the 22 karat Gold Eagle comes in various sizes including 1 ounce, ½ ounce, ¼ ounce, and 1/10 ounce.
Gold Maple Leaf: Issued by the Royal Canadian Mint, this 24 karat coin is the purest gold coin on the market.
Gold Krugerrand: Issued by the South African government, this is one of the oldest gold coins issued in the world and has a fineness of 0.916. (Fineness is the ratio of the primary metal to any additives or impurities.)
Investing in gold bars
Gold bars have an undeniable allure. While gold coins are more suited for smaller purchases, gold bars are ideal if you’re interested in purchasing larger quantities of gold. Gold bars come in all shapes and sizes. They can be as small as 1 gram or as large as 400 troy ounces. Most gold bars are high quality with a fineness of 0.999 and above (24 karats). For a comprehensive listing of gold bars, peruse The Industry Catalogue of Gold Bars Worldwide.
The term gold bullion simply refers to large gold bars.
Putting your dollars into gold certificates
Gold certificates enable you to own physical gold without actually taking possession of it. Gold certificates certify that you own a certain amount of gold, which is usually stored in a safe location by the authority that issues the gold certificates.
The gold standard of gold certificates is the Perth Mint Certificate Program (PMCP). Administered by The Perth Mint, Australia’s oldest and most important mint, the PMCP issues you a certificate and stores your gold in a secure government vault. You may retrieve or sell your gold at any point.
For information on the Perth Mint Certificate Program, check out The Perth Mint’s Web site.