The search for a gold dealer begins with an investor choosing what type of gold investment best suits his or her needs. The attributes of the best dealer for gold coins differs greatly from the attributes required of a dealer trading in gold bars, junk and scrap gold, or in gold stocks and certificates. There is an additional consideration for investors that seek to short gold by turning around purchases quickly. This type of activity requires a specialized gold dealer.
For gold coins — bullion or collector — an investor should look for a dealer that provides a variety of different coins with an array of weights and gold percentages. Coin dealers that operate brick-and-mortar shops often have a high level of overhead, which means that they pass along additional costs to the spot and strike prices they offer. With an online gold dealer, investors can find a bargain on these fees, but face the additional hurdle of currency exchange. Online gold dealers operate their businesses in places all over the world, but an investor may have to convert currency from their own country to that of the gold dealer abroad.
For gold bars, an online gold dealer offers similar savings to the investor on the spot price. Purchasing gold bullion bars, which are much heavier than one ounce gold coins, through an online gold dealer has one major drawback. The shipping costs of that gold can make such an investment prohibitively more expensive. For this reason alone, an investor considering the purchase of gold bars will likely find the best overall value through the services of a local dealer.
The reputation of the gold dealer is paramount when investing in gold. Checking on the reputation of a prospective gold dealer prior to any transaction is relatively easy to do, especially for online dealers. As with any online transaction, there are many reviews for hundreds of gold dealers. The more reputable dealers often have the highest level of customer satisfaction in prior transactions.
When it comes to in-person gold procurement, there will be a lengthy cyber-trail on most of the leading dealers. Brick-and-mortar dealers, however, present a couple of challenges to the gold investor beyond reputation. First, physical dealers know that their competitors within a geographic region are rather limited. This is especially true in suburban and rural areas. Second, brick-and- mortar dealers often have a limited variety of gold to offer to investors for purchase due to high overhead costs for storing different types of gold bullion.