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Uplifting Experience at Mint Forum

The U.S. Mint’s Principal Deputy Director, Rhett Jeppson, invited me and over 50 public members to attend a Numismatic Forum on Oct. 13, 2016, at the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia. We later toured privately the U.S. Mint, the most visited tourist attraction in Philadelphia. The purpose of the meeting was, in their words, “to gather leaders and stakeholders of the numismatic community to explore ways to stimulate and revitalize the hobby.” With the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Mint approaching next April, Mr. Jeppson saw a unique opportunity to examine and discuss the Mint’s past, present and future.

At the forum, we heard from Associate Director Jon J. Cameron on bullion and coin studies, Robert I. Goler, PhD, on his role in being the U.S. Mint curator, and Ellen Feingold, curator of the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, discussing new and exciting exhibits and programs at the Smithsonian. If you are ever in Washington, D.C., I strongly encourage you to visit this illuminating exhibit, where I am honored as a major sponsor and proponent.

Along with four other numismatic associates, I was fortunate to have lunch with the director, including some valuable one-on-one time with him. Jeppson’s background in the U.S. Marine Corps is impressive, having served as a Platoon Commander, Executive Officer and Battalion Staff Officer in conflicts ranging from Operation Desert Storm in Iraq to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He later served as an Operations Officer responsible for exercises and operations in Southwest Asia and the Horn of Africa. After the attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001, Jeppson was recalled to service in the U.S. Marine Corps and was later assigned as Chief of Current Operations, […]

By |November 29th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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    A Trump Win Could Mean Much More than Chump Change in the Gold Market

A Trump Win Could Mean Much More than Chump Change in the Gold Market

Investors looking for a golden opportunity may just want to focus their sights on gold this fall. As Americans make their way into voting booths this November, gold has the potential to soar rapidly if Donald Trump wins the election.

Gold prices will likely rise steadily with a Hillary Clinton victory on November 8th as she would surely continue similar economic and fiscal policies pursued by the Obama administration. Effectively, it would be business as usual and Wall Street would be unlikely to flinch.

The latest polls show Hillary Clinton with a slight edge over Donald Trump. Most polls show her with a 2.5% lead amongst likely voters. However, her campaign has been struggling to maintain momentum and questions related to her record and background continue to weigh heavily in the minds of registered voters. It’s a heavy burden that has steadily eroded her lead over Trump in the past few months.

The presidential debates are going to go a long way towards solidifying voters’ image of both presidential candidates. Trump and Hillary are highly polarizing, and neither has the ability to energize the vast majority of independent voters who will determine the outcome of the election. If Republican “get out the vote” efforts pay off, it could lead to a November surprise simply based on the number of people they are able to get to the polls.

Unsurprisingly, recent polls have an inherent weakness. They generally ignore voters who tend to keep their opinions to themselves. In this election cycle, many voters are keeping their opinions and candidate choices close to their vests. Indeed, many are fearful of being branded as a “Reactionary Redneck” by the left, or as a “Progressive Pawn” by the right. That’s why pundits are […]

By |November 10th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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The running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, ended in July, but bulls in the precious metals market paid no attention to the calendar. Gold, silver and other precious metals had another strong month in July and kept climbing higher in the opening week of August.

Gold finished July at $1,350 an ounce – an increase of 27.4 percent since the beginning of the year, when the yellow metal was worth $1,060. Silver ended July at $20.34 an ounce – a stunning 47.2 percent higher than its year-opening value of $13.82. The upward trend continued unabated in the early days of August, as “dog days” turned into “bull days” for collectors and investors.

Bulls may wreak havoc in china shops, but bullishness works wonders in coin shops – especially those that handle bullion-related coins. The run-up in gold and silver has stimulated sales of all coins containing those metals – both bullion and numismatic – during 2016.

Gold coins struck at the Carson City Mint have been particularly active, with strong demand for those in grades of Extremely Fine and higher. These coins capture the essence of the Wild West and benefit, as well, from consistently low mintages.

As sales and prices of collectible gold coins – especially double eagles – have surged throughout the year, we have seen premiums over melt value shrink for common-date gold type coins in lower grades

Premiums over melt value also have narrowed for common circulated Morgan and Peace dollars and bags of “junk silver”. As of Aug. 1, with silver at roughly $20 an ounce, junk silver dimes, quarters and half dollars were bringing 15 times face value.

The United States. Mint’s offering of 10,000 proof 2016-W platinum American Eagle coins proved to […]

By |August 29th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Myth about Storing Precious Metals IRAs at Home

Gold is a solid investment that can create a strong financial foundation for your golden years. As national debts soar and currencies become less valuable, many individuals are adding gold to their IRA plans. While this is a sound investment strategy, there are many myths and rumors about incorporating gold and other precious bullion within your retirement strategy.

The internet is awash with opportunities for setting up these IRA plans. They are commonly marketed as “Self Storage” Gold IRAs, or “Home Delivery” Gold IRAs. The marketers of these plans often claim that current laws allow individuals to store at home bullion purchased as part of an IRA. It’s an enticing promise that far too many investors fall for.

In reality, the IRS code prohibits you from purchasing gold and silver bullion and holding it in trust at home. Of course, the IRS allows individuals to set up and manage their IRAs, however, your funds and assets must be held by a trustee, either a bank or qualified individual, who will hold the asset in a manner that is consistent with the requirements under Section 408(a)(2) of the IRS code.

The IRS doesn’t allow you to become the custodian or trustee of your private IRA accounts. In fact, individuals who store their precious metals IRAs at home may be subject to a penalty of 10 percent if they are under 59 1/2 years old. They may also be held liable for federal income tax on the assets. Thus, individuals who purchase “Self Storage” Gold IRAs, or “Home Delivery” IRAs can face a considerable shock if these assets come to light during an audit. That’s not even discussing the potential risk of theft or loss you can experience as […]

By |August 29th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How Wrong Were the Experts on Gold? Way Off!

At the beginning of the year, the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), which governs the twice-daily London gold price fix, invites investment and institutional analysts to enter its long-running forecasting competition for gold prices.

The majority of the experts predicted gold would plunge below $1,000 during the year. Even the winner of last year’s competition, Bernard Dahdah of French investment bank Natixis, predicted average numbers in the triple digits for gold in 2016. You couldn’t find a bull in the bunch.

Instead of drooping under the $1,000 threshold, gold has rallied to above $1,300 and many analysts are now confidently predicting $1,400 or even $1,500 for gold before the year ends.

How wrong were these “experts”!

The year’s barely half gone, but inflows to precious metals-backed exchange traded products (especially gold) are headed for a banner year if the pace so far holds up, says international bank Barclay’s.

In just the first seven months of 2016, inflows to ETPs have already topped the previous record for the amount of money flowing into the precious metals funds. According to Barclays research, combined inflows for all ETPs from January through July reached $50.8 billion, with nearly $8 billion added in just the last two months. That’s the strongest tally since the January-July stretch in 2009 in the safe-haven rally from the financial crisis.

“Precious metals, and gold in particular, have been the most favored commodity sector, attracting heavy inflows via ETPs, and so far 2016 is shaping up to be the best year ever for inflows to this type of product,” the bank said.

“Precious metals were still the driving force behind ETPs inflows, bringing in $4 billion, $5.5 billion and $1.6 billion for May, June and July, respectively,” Barclays said. “Gold ETPs […]

By |August 23rd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Records Fall at Fourth Pogue Auction

Part 4 of the D. Brent Pogue Collection Sale is in the books – including the record books.
Just 61 coins changed hands in the fourth Pogue auction, held May 24 in New York, but they brought a remarkable total of $16,722,600. That figures out to an average of nearly $275,000 per lot.
The total, and the average, would have been much higher if the two most celebrated coins in the entire sale – the finest known specimen of the 1804 silver dollar and the only 1822 half eagle in private hands – had been sold at the auction. Both, however, fell short of the lofty reserves set by the collection’s owner, Texas real estate magnate D. Brent Pogue.
Even so, the four Pogue sessions held so far have realized a total of more than $85.3 million – more than any previous coin auction sale. And several segments remain.
The highest-priced coin actually sold at the one-night Part 4 session was an 1833 Capped Bust Left half eagle, which realized $1,351,250, including the buyer’s fee. The coin was graded Proof-67 by PCGS, making it the finest pre-1835 U.S. gold coin known to exist.
Also breaking the million-dollar barrier was a 1795 Draped Bust silver dollar, which brought $1,057,000. Eleven of the 61 coins sold at the latest Pogue session will now rank among the Top 250 auction records.
The market for traditional U.S. commemorative coins, which has been relatively weak in recent years, still has some life in it – at least when it comes to superbly toned mint-state and proof examples.
A young dealer friend recently wanted to add a few attractively toned commemorative half dollars to his collection. He is trying to slowly build a high-quality 144-piece PCGS […]

2016 Gold Rush Picks Up Steam

There was great excitement and wide public interest recently when the U.S. Treasury Department announced plans to redesign all or part of three different paper money denominations – the $5, $10 and $20 bills – during the next decade-and-a-half.   

The changes will touch the lives of virtually every American, and could stir substantial new activity in the buying and selling of collectible U.S. currency.

But the currency changes won’t take effect for a while, since the Treasury needs time to prepare the new portraiture and fine-tune security features. (Noting that Alexander Hamilton will continue to appear on the $10 bill, while Andrew Jackson will be down-sized on the $20, The Wall Street Journal commented that Hamilton, who died in a dual “dodged the bullet” this time.)    

Another exciting story – one with much more immediate and greater potential implications for millions of Americans – is unfolding right now in the precious metals market.

In the first fourth months of 2016, gold rose from $1,060 an ounce to $1,293, finishing April at its highest point since Jan. 27, 2015, a span of over 15 months. That’s an increase of 22 percent. Meanwhile, silver surged during the same period from $13.82 an ounce to $17.87 – a jump of over 29 percent. By contrast, the major stock indexes were up only 1 to 2 percent in this year’s first four months.

Far from discouraging investors and collectors from purchasing gold and silver in bullion and collectible forms, this triggered a burst of new buying activity.

In the first four months of 2016, the Mint sold 351,000 ounces of gold American Eagle bullion coins – exactly twice the amount it sold during the same time frame last year. And […]

Counterfeit Gold And Silver Coin Fraud Is A Growing Problem

Our industry leaders met in Dallas in early March to discuss the growing number of complaints about gold coin scams and gold coin fraud using counterfeit coins and counterfeit coin packaging.

Then, one of the biggest fraud stories in the coin world last week was the discovery of a series of fake gold bars professionally packaged in an apparent exact knockoff of the packaging design of a leading Swiss precious metals dealer. These are believed to originate out of China, where fraudsters seem to be able to counterfeit anything these days. Not only was the “.9999 gold” a counterfeit, but so was the packaging.

In recent months, we’ve also heard complaints about counterfeit gold and silver American Eagle bullion coins and phony one-ounce silver rounds used in coin rip-offs.

In previous years, we have also seen tungsten bars painted over with gold leaf or gold bars with tungsten filling. In an interview with NBC News about these tungsten-filled “gold” bars, Mike Fuljenz said, “The people who get hit by gold coin and bullion rip-offs are not the bigger dealers,” since they have the knowledge and the tools to detect counterfeits, but smaller dealers are more often scammed.

Whenever the price of gold makes a positive move, as it has done in the first quarter of 2016, we see ads from coin dealers sprouting up like weeds. Publications have little or no way to check out advertisers. Their main criterion for reliability is whether the check they receive in payment for the ad clears the bank.

Don’t be tricked by an ad on the Internet or on late-night television. As many a parent has told a child, “Nothing good ever happens after midnight.” Always check the industry credentials on any […]