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Unraveling the Mysteries

Have we thoroughly confused you? You should be, unless you've had some previous experience in the widely- diversified Bullion precious metals markets! While R.C.G. does trade in a confusing variety of specific types and sizes of the Precious Metals, we'll be happy to explain the differences between the many products, sizes, forms, and pricing to help to make your decisions easy. To try to simplify this lengthy list, following are some details about the various offerings shown above to help familiarize you with the "types" of choices you have to best fit your specific needs and budget.


Let's look at the GOLD Products as a starting point.... While you may have a preferred type of Gold coin or bar that has been recommended to you or that you have purchased in the past, it may not be readily available in the marketplace. We will try to find you whatever products you prefer, but our recommendations are to choose the most-frequently traded coins and bars available throughout the world. Why? LIQUIDITY. If a coin or bar is well- known and traded throughout the world, you will have no problem establishing its value or reselling the items at a future date. And, while "fashionable" products of today may not be as desired in ten or twenty years, name-brand products will always be readily accepted by buyers in the future, just as they are today. Again, we can get you virtually anything you prefer, but we recommend that you choose the name-brand items that are the most widely traded and most liquid should you need to sell quickly and without any problems.


Among the Gold Products, the most widely-traded and popular items being traded today are the "Big Three" Gold Coins: the American Eagles, the Canadian Maple Leafs, and the South African Krugerrands. Theres are available in fractional sizes, as well, and are denominated in exact-weight sizes of 1-oz., 1/2oz., 1/4oz., and 1/10th-oz. (Troy Ounces), although demand in recent years has far outstripped production, so many of the fractional Gold issues carry high premiums and are difficult to locate in quantity! In other words, there are sizes to fit everyone's needs and budgets, whether you're seeking one coin or a thousand! If your preference runs to Gold Bars, which for years were the only readily-available form of "bullion" gold, we recommend your buying name brand bars, such as the Engelhard, Johnson Matthey, Pamp, or Credit Suisse products. Like the major gold coins, all of these are well-known throughout the world and widely traded.


The Mexican, Australian, Austrian, and Chinese gold issues are also popular, but not as widely-traded, often not as readily available, and few of these issues stuck in exact-weight sizes or denominations as are the "Big Three" issues. Swiss and French issues consist primarily of the smaller 20-Franc gold coins, slightly smaller in weight and gold content than the long-respected British Sovereigns. All of these issues circulate in the marketplace and can be found in many coin shops and brokerages, but typically share a common fault of having wider "spreads" between the Buy and Sell prices than any of the more popular issues. That is, ounce-for-ounce, you will usually pay more for these issues when Buying and receive less-per-ounce when Selling because most brokers do not want to buy them for their own inventories for resale, so they discount them slightly on repurchase. Many of these coins have, quite likely, gone to the "melting pots" to be refined and reborn in recent years, perhaps, as a new American Eagle, Maple Leaf, or Krugerrand issue. . . .


While not considered actual "Bullion" gold coins, the original-issue early U.S. Gold coins offer yet another alternative for those wishing to own Gold in a popular and easily-traded form. These consist of the early legal tender coins minted from 1849 through 1932, the primary form of currency used in this country until the massive issuances of paper money began to replace the gold coins in the late 1920's. A Presidential "recall", that is, a confiscation of Gold coins in 1933 resulted in the seizure and melting of countless old U.S. Gold issues and very likely the relative rarity of many of the surving coins now openly-traded in the coin markets. Ranging from the very small $1.00 Gold issues up through the $2 1/2, $5., $10, and $20. Gold coins, virtually all of these surviving issues carry hefty numismatic or "collectible" values above their intrinsic Gold content values. 
Perhaps most popular of the series are the $20. Liberty and Saint Gaudens gold issues, the largest circulating coins of the 1800's and early 1900's. While space does not allow for a full discussion of the pros and cons of trading in the earlier U.S. Gold issues, we do make active two-way markets buying and selling these coins daily and will be happy to discuss these offering with you should you have an interest in acquiring or selling any original-issue U. S. Gold coins. Feel free to call us with any questions you may have and we'll try to provide you the information you need to make your decisions carefully before you buy or sell in this more specialized market. We have been trading in the Rare Coin markets for over 45 years steadily and can provide you with information that may well save you from making costly mistakes as well as pointing you in the right direction for good potential profits in Rare Coins in the years ahead. With worldwide popularity and recognition, the early U.S. Gold coins can be an excellent way to both hold gold and profit from any increase in numismatic value as well.


The buying and selling of SILVER Products is not quite as confusing as with the Gold issues. While most buyers prefer the name-brand Silver Bars in the larger sizes, the 1-oz. "generic" Silver Rounds and bars are widely traded in a variety of regional and nationally-known brands, such as the A-Mark rounds, the Continental Coin issues, the World Trade Unit strikings, as well as Johnson-Matthey and Engelhard issues. We do recommend the two major name-brand Silver Bars when you choose the larger (100-oz.) sizes,Engelhard and Johnson-Matthey, and, also acceptable are the Sunshine Mining bars produced in the nearby Idaho silver country. Again, all of these are widely-traded and recognized by brokers throughout the world so are easily priced and resold without any risk of an assay being required by the buyer when you're ready to sell.


The "premium" Silver units are the American Silver Eagles and Canadian Silver Maple Leaf 1-oz. Silver issues, both of which are actually denominated with legal tender values and could legally be redeemed for this "face value" amount, although obvously worth more, for their intrinsic Silver value. The American Silver Eagles have been issued since 1986, carry a legal tender value of $1.00, and have grown strongly in popularity in recent years. As a product of the U.S. Mint, however, they do sell at a considerably higher premium than their "generic" Silver Rounds counterparts. Likewise the Canadian Silver Maple Leafs are growing in popularity, carry a $5.00 face value (Canadian), and are considered a legal-tender issue in Canada. Other "premium" Silver rounds, such as the Australian Kookabura issues and the Austrian Philharmonikers, are available in the marketplace, too, but not as easily secured nor as easily sold as the more popular issues. Again, we strongly recommend the most widely-traded and popular issues for ease in buying or selling.


The pre-1965 U.S. Silver Coins, commonly called "junk silver coins", are equally well-known, easily identifiable, and very widely-traded in full "Bags" of $1,000. face value or amounts as small as one silver dime. We offer any quantity you wish to buy, without any "minimum" purchase requirements for the 90% Silver Coins which circulated as our currency until the end of 1964. Now, these same coins are valued for their Silver content (90% pure Silver), and trade at relatively small premiums above their actual Silver "melt" value. The normal estimated weight of a full "bag" of $1,000. face value 90% Silver Coins is approximately 53-54 pounds, and the coins contain approximately 715-oz. of pure silver if refined-down from their existing forms. A full "bag" of these Silver Coins ($1,000. face value) normally is offered in one denomination, that is, all Dimes, or all Quarters, or all Half Dollars. If your preference is for a "mix" of differing amounts of each denomination, we can supply this as well, although there is generally a small surcharge for "mixed denomination" bags.


The half dollar issues of 1965 through 1970 also are an option for buyers of Silver Coins. These "clad" John F. Kennedy Half Dollar issues contain 40% Silver 'shells' over a copper-nickel center core. The actual "pure Silver" content of a full bag of 40% Clad Halves is approximately 290-oz. of Silver (versus 720-oz. in a bag of the 90% Silver coins). As with their counterpart 90% Silver Coin bags, the rolls and bags of 40% Clad Halves trade at a small premium over their Silver content value, and, of course, maintain a legal-tender trade value of $1,000. as well. These coins were the last U.S. coinage issued for general circulation still containing a percentage of Silver, although much less than the issues prior to 1965. While not as popular as they once were, the 40% Clad Halves are still frequently traded in the precious metals marketplaces and easily bought and sold.


Another popular choice among buyers of silver coins is the original issue U.S. Silver Dollars, the big 'cartwheels' produced by a number of mint facilities from 1878 through 1904 and 1921 through 1935. These coins, however, are consider semi-numismatic and numismatic items and prized (and priced!) for their collectible value well above their Silver content value. That is to say, even the heavily-circulated and common-date issues of Silver Dollars are trading at multiples of their actual Silver 'melt' value, with choice uncirculated coins and scarce-date issues prized for their collectable value. The 'average circulated' offering of Silver Dollars are generally coins that are of larger mintages or "common dates" and are sold in "good and better" grade or condition. We normally have several thousand of these in inventory for immediate delivery.


Nice rolls of twenty coins in Uncirculated condition are popular with buyers who are seeking a way to hold Silver as well as the potential for future profits from the collectible value of the coins themselves. These 'BU" (Brilliant Uncirculated) rolls of Silver Dollars are normally traded in "solid date" rolls, that is, all the coins in the roll with be of the same date and mint mark as issued by a specific mint. As active dealers in many rare and collectible coins, we make two-way markets in BU rolls of Silver Dollars (and single coins as well), and can provide our customers with quality coins at very competitive prices. Call us at any time to check availability and pricing if your interest is in the original Silver Dollars.


The PLATINUM group of metals, primarily Platinum and Palladium, have seen increasing consumer and investor interest in especially the past five years as the relative scarcity of both of these metals has become more widely known. In just the past several years, we have seen quite volatile fluctuations in the pricing of both Platinum and especially the "little brother" metal, Palladium, as world supplies and availability in the marketplaces have risen or contracted. With Russia as virtually the main supplier of Palladium (which has grown dramatically in popularity for use in automotive catalytic converters) controlling the dwindling supply of this metal, Palladium prices have literally quadrupled in recent years actually moving higher than the price of Platinum itself for a short while in 1998! As rarer precious metals, neither Platinum nor Palladium are manufactured in as many forms as coins or bars as are Gold and Silver, but the buyer does have a number of choices.


In 1997, the U.S. Mint began striking Platinum legal-tender coins as another form of the "American Eagle" series employing, however, the Statue of Liberty head design for the obverse image on the Platinum Eagles, As with the gold issues, the Platinum Eagles are available in 1-oz., 1/2-oz., 1/4-oz. and 1/10th-oz. sizes, so availability of any of the "fractional" coins is quite limited and premium charges above their 'melt values' quite high, too.


For a number of years, the Isle of Man has produced the Platinum Noble, another well-known and widely traded Platinum issue. While some fractional issues of this coin have been produced, they are not readily available contrasted to the 1-oz. sized coins of this type. As well, the Royal Canadian Mint produces the Platinum Maple Leaf which, like the Platinum American Eagle issues, is a legal tender coin in Canada and relatively available in the marketplace in the same fractional and 1-oz. sizes as the Platinum Eagles. A number of issues known as Ballerinas have also been produced by the Russian Mint in 1/2-oz. and 1-oz. sizes and are frequently available as another type of Platinum coin issue. Lastly, the Royal Australian Mint has struck Platinum Koala coins since 1989, changing the obverse Koala image design with each succesive year's issues. These are a popular product and relatively available in the 1-oz. size but less so in the fractional issues.


While both Platinum and Palladium coins have been produced by a number of World mints in recent years, most of the other available coins are less frequently traded and/or carry higher price values as low-mintage or collectible issues.


PALLADIUM coins are relatively scarce and seldom offered in the Bullion Markets among dealers and suppliers. Rather, 1-oz. and 10-oz. name-brand Bars of Palladium seem to be the normal method of trading in this particular metal. Likewise, Platinum is available in bar form, too, and is easily bought and sold when manufactured by one of the major world refiners such as Engelhard, Johnson-Matthey, and Credit Suisse. As both of these metals become more popular, we expect to see additional coin and bar-form issues produced by other refiners and mints to take their places among the existing products in the marketplace.


First Page: Starting in Bullion Third Page: How To Place a Buy or Sell Order

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