In this week’s interview, gold dealer Tom
Cloud of National Numismatic Associates explains why different one-ounce gold
coins sometimes trade at very different prices, and how buyers can take
advantage of these fluctuations.
DollarCollapse: Hi again, Tom. Let’s start with your take on the action in the
gold market. Looks like we’re seeing a bit of a correction.
Tom Cloud: Our technical indicators have been pointing to a
pullback before gold goes on to break $1,800. I don’t think it’ll
take it out on the first try but it will soon. Then the next 50 or 70 dollars
will come quickly.
DC: That implies another couple of dollars for silver, which would also
be nice. In the meantime, let’s cover something that baffles a lot of
small precious metals investors: Gold is gold, but when we shop for one-ounce
coins we’re confronted with a range of prices for Gold Eagles, Krugerrands, Maple Leafs and the others. Since they all
contain the same amount of gold, and none are rare collectibles, common sense
would say that they should trade at the same price. But frequently they
don’t. Why is that?
TC: It’s true that all the major one-ounce coins contain an ounce
of gold. Some, like the Canadian Maple Leaf, Australian Kangaroo, and the
Austrian Philharmonic are pure 24 carat gold. Gold Eagles and Krugerrands have alloys mixed in to make them more
durable, so they’re 22 carat gold rather than 24, and they’re
slightly bigger — the Krugerrand’s a
little thicker and the Eagle is a little wider. But they all contain one
ounce of gold.
The differences in market price come from the way
they’re sold. Countries make coins and sell them to wholesalers, who then
sell to dealers. Both mark up the coins, and this combination of premiums and
commissions is added to the spot price of the metal.
Now, every coin has a different market, no different
than anything else, based on supply and demand. Market makers might deal in
four or five different types of coins, and if they’re getting more
orders for one than another, they’ll have different bid/ask spreads.
There was a major, major order recently on Gold Eagles, millions of dollars,
and the wholesalers started raising their bids to buy Gold Eagles, which
caused the price to go up relative to the other coins.
On a smaller scale this happens all the time. I get
wholesaler price sheets faxed to me every two or three days. Sometimes
they’ll drop their bid on a certain coin by $5 or $8 because they have
too many and don’t want any more. Then you look at the next guy and he
may be $5 or $8 higher because he needs it.
DC: Does it make sense for a buyer to ask their dealer to play this
TC: That’s what a lot of my clients do. They’ll call and ask
if I have anything below its normal markup, and usually I do have something.
Right now, for instance, Krugerrands, Kangaroos,
Philharmonics and Maple Leafs are exactly the same price, while the Gold
Eagle is about $20 more because other countries have dropped their premiums
to match Canada’s. So if you’re looking for the most gold for
your money, you’d buy one of the others and not Gold Eagles right now.
Another interesting example is the Austrian 100
Corona, a one-ounce coin that only has .9802 of gold in it, so its price is
based on that weight. It was only made in Austria from 1908 to 1915, seven
years. You go to Europe today and there are firms that sell the Corona as a
semi-rare coin and you can see people waiting in line to buy those coins for
8, 10, 15 percent over the amount of gold in them because they figure with
them being over 100 years old and in limited supply, they’ll have two
values, the bullion value and the collector value. But I buy those coins
directly from a major outlet in Europe and have about $160,000 of them left
that I can sell to clients at 2.75% over spot.
DC: Does it work the same way when a coin owner wants to sell?
Generally yes. You’ll sell to a wholesaler on
the bid side of the spread. But if you’re dealing with me I can go back
to the wholesaler and let’s say he’s charging 3% but is willing
to pay 2% [over spot]. I’ll give my client all the
premium I can get for them over spot [without charging a sales commission].
So in the event, if a client paid 5.5% over spot for an Eagle and can sell it
back for 2% he’d only need gold to rise by 3.5% to break even.
For more information or to place an order, call
800-247-2812 or email Tom Cloud at firstname.lastname@example.org.
for free shipping and insurance.