Gold and silver often make an appearance in any diversified portfolio, with most financial advisers recommending a minimum of 10 percent of any investors net worth be held in this asset class.

In recent years, gold and silver have hit record-breaking high prices, so knowing which companies offer the best gold bullion or coin 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.

Gold and silver metal and IRA options with a 30-day price guarantee and no minimum investment. A $160 annual fee includes storage, insurance, financial statements and 24/7 access online. Storage by Delaware Depository.Find out more

Full-service precious metals coin dealer and investment firm with annual fees waived up to 5 years on eligible IRAs. $5,000 minimum deposit. Free storage on gold and silver up to three years through Brinks or Delaware Depository.

Get up to $10,000 in free gold and silver with qualifying purchases. In-house IRA department focused on Precious Metal IRAs. $90 initial setup fee with first-year fees paid on transfers over $50,000.Find out more

Deals in all precious metal sales and IRAs with annual fees of $75 on IRA accounts under $100,000 and $125 on ones over it. Setup fee is $50. Storage is $100 annually for commingled and $140 for segregated.

Gold, silver and platinum specialists with no minimum contribution. Fees vary based on amount and type of metals in depository. In some cases, storage is free. No setup or transfer fees. Stored with Brinks and Delaware Depository.Find out more

Procures gold, silver, platinum and palladium with a 24-hour account turnaround and no fees for life on qualifying IRAs. IRAs requires $15,000 min. investment. Gold and silver available as bullions or coins with free shipping.Find out more

Secures gold, silver, platinum and palladium with a $2,000 minimum investment. Annual fees are $225 and include segregated storage, insurance and online access. International Depository Services provides storage and vault options.Find out more

Silver and gold IRA brokers of precious metals with a minimum purchase of $25,000. Annual fees are $175, or $225 for accounts over $100,000. Storage facilitated with an IRS-approved depository, and first years costs reimbursed.

Online bullion dealer with $100 minimum investment required. Annual fees of $75 for accounts under $100,000, and $125 for those over. Setup fee of $50. Storage preferred through A-M Global Logistics. Fees vary by amount and type.

RRS brokers retirement options in physical gold, silver & other precious metals. Storage fees vary by state and range from $125$300 at certified depositories. Min. purchase of $1,500 to open or rollover an account; no max limit.

Take our two minute quiz to find the right Gold Dealers for you.

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.

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 is also a contributing factor to the cost. Generally speaking, the higher the weight, the lower the premium youll pay over the spot price to the dealer.

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.

Some states force gold dealers to charge customers taxes on bullion purchases through existing sales tax laws. Experts advise against purchasing bullion if you are charged taxes on the purchase as it reduces your potential return and raises your overall acquisition cost.

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.

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.

Precious metals act as a hedge for storing wealth in times of economic and/or political uncertainty. The 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 gold, 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. When it comes to understandinghow to buy gold, here are some things to keep in mind:

The standard quality of gold (and silver) in fineness is .999. Gold and silver in their truest forms 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.

Charging customers a fee to sell their gold is fairly standard in the industry, so if price is your major consideration, look for gold dealers with the lowest possible fee.

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 you expected for a purchase or a sale.

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 buyers, which often ends up being a better option for seeing profits from gold investing.

Shipping fees can make the cost of purchasing physical bullion prohibitively expensive. Find out what the shipping costs are for your gold dealer, along with the minimum requirement to qualify for free shipping, before placing an order.

Misplacement or theft of your precious metals are real concerns, especially given the easily convertible- to-cash nature of gold. Unless you have a vault and proper security at home, you should consider working with a broker or bank to store your precious metals.

Some gold dealers charge for storage, typically at different rates based on the needs of the investor. Some gold dealers charge by weight, and others offer a simple monthly fee for smaller amounts.

If you choose to store precious metals at home, consider purchasing additional insurance. Most homeowners 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.

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

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 ounces (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.

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.

Investors 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.

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 youre interested in IRA options for investing in gold and/or silver, visitour Gold IRA Buyers Guide.

Some companies offer IRA savings plans that use precious metals as a major investment. While these accounts are less diversified, they are not typically offered through managed accounts, so they can make good additions to existing retirement plans

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.

Online real-time market data updates allow gold investors to receive notifications on price movements that help gold buyers and sellers act based on their view of the future movements of the price of gold.

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.

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.

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.

Get up to $2,500 in free gold coins with new IRA account

Bullion is a 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.

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.

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 youre  looking to maximize your payout from selling gold.

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.

A gold dealer that offers retirement and other financial planning services 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.

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.

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

Investors and speculators put their money into markets based 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.

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.

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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.

: 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.

: See exactly what is for sale and the price for each gold or silver coin with transparent pricing.

: Get information on when and how to rollover an existing IRA to allow for precious metal investment.

: 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.

: New account holders may be eligible to receive a $500 bonus when they meet the conditions for the new account promotion.

This gold and precious metal investment company is best for retirees, savers and speculators.

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.

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.

: All interested consumers can sign up to receive Patriot Gold Groups free newsletters, which include market news and economic forecasts. To request a newsletter, consumers should fill out the Contact Us form on Patriots website.

: Customers buying from Patriot directly deal with senior partners. This more direct sales approach helps customers save money, giving them more investing power.

: Individuals with IRAs, 401ks and some other retirement accounts can roll their existing account into a self-directed, precious metals IRA through Patriot.

: 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.

: The Forecasts & Projections section of Patriots website includes over a dozen information reports that educate consumers about the economics of precious medals.

Patriot Gold Group is best for retirees, savers, speculators and anyone interested in precious metal investment.

Headquartered in the Salt Lake Valley in Utah, PM Capital is a gold and silver purveyor. PM Capital offers gold and silver rounds, bars and both circulated and uncirculated coins. The company recently opened a sales office in Los Angeles, California.

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.

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.

Also known as The Peoples 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.

: Call anytime between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on a weekday to speak to a company representative.

: Put a face to the company by visiting one of numerous trade shows it attends around the country.

: 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.

: Get precious metals delivered to the front door free with any order of $99 or more. Shipping on smaller orders is just $5.95.

: Shop for a variety of resources in addition to bullion including storage books, coin holders, safes, and books and videos about coins.

This precious metal investment company is best for retirees, savers and speculators.

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

: Goldline Internationals seven-day price guarantee ensures that it will re-price an order at the lower rate when asked.

: 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.

: Goldline charges only one percent with a $25 minimum to liquidate holdings at the posted buyback bid price.

: 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.

: 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.

This precious metal investment company is best for savers, retirees and speculators.

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.

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.

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.

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.

: 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.

: They do their research to determine if the item is worth more than its raw materials, ensuring they are offering fair prices.

: There is a certified gemologist at each location, ensuring that items are expertly evaluated.

: Sellers can send their tracked jewelry items to the company for evaluation, through a trusted courier service, free of charge.

: 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.

: After testing the item, they will answer any questions and give a free estimate.

Anyone looking to sell jewelry, gold or silver, as well as anyone looking to sell diamonds or precious gems.

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 arent always clear and dealers arent always straightforward.

: Fisher Precious Metals carries a varied inventory and is able to drop ship any item within just 24 hours.

: Fisher Precious Metals uses the best metal purity testing technology available to authenticate all its gold and silver products.

: Fisher Precious Metals buys unwanted jewelry at a fair market price, with cost of conversion ranging between 2 percent and 6 percent.

: Fisher Precious Metals prides itself on being a consultative dealer and makes every effort to help each buyer find the right product.

: Fisher Precious Metals buys back items at the current market rate.

This company is best for anyone that is looking to buy or sell gold, silver or other sought after investment products.

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Large-scale precious metal provider with more than 400 IRA-approved products, including collectibles. Minimum $2,000 investment required. Annual fees are $75. Setup fee is $50. Delaware Depository storage starts at $100 a year.

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.

Offers precious metal IRAs with gold and silver bullion in bars and coins and an 11-hour buy/sell market. Discounts are available through its Atlas account program. Affiliated custodians determine setup, storage and other fees.

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.

PM Capital is a Utah-based gold and silver purveyor. It offers coins, rounds and bars for collectors and investors, and provides investment education information to help people establish a precious metal portfolio.Find out more

Online precious metal retailer connecting investors with 10 gold IRA custodians. Discounts offered on investments over $100,000. Setup and other fees vary by custodian. Brinks Global Services handles storage for $150 annually.

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.

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.

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.

Provident Metals has a large catalog of precious metal bullion and numismatic coins from around the world. The companys Elemental Vault service lets its customers trade bullion and store it in a secure location.

Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax  makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.

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Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS is a former investment portfolio manager with decades of financial experience. Friedberg taught Finance and Investments at several universities. Her work has been featured in U.S. News & World Report, Investopedia, Yahoo!Finance and many more publications.

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