Premiums

gold_percentageWhen you buy physical precious metals from a dealer you pay more than spot price. When you sell back your metals you usually receive less local currency than spot price. These variations from spot price are called the ask and bid premiums. (Taxes are a different matter).

The tables below show a range of premiums for buying (ask) and selling (bid) physical precious metals. They are based on a survey from early 2013 and for payment by cash or equivalent. If you pay by credit card dealers will probably have you pay the card merchant fee. Early 2013 was a normal period of demand and supply and the survey results closely matched our expectations.

Premiums vary enormously from dealer to dealer and from country to country so it always pays to shop around. Unless there is some sort of buying/selling mania going on you should not have to pay outside the ranges shown below. However, don’t get too hung up on trying to minimize the premiums you pay. The particular type of coin or bar, its weight and size, and legal tender status are important considerations as well. See our section on What to buy? for more information.

For more detailed explanation of bid/ask premiums see here. For a discussion on where to find the lowest premiums see here. For information about premiums at bailment companies see here.


Coins from dealers – Legal tender and non-legal tender items with face value. Cash payment or equivalent. See here for examples.

[Last updated November 2013]

If viewing this on a small screen you must scroll to the right to see the full table.

Country Gold Silver Notes
BUY/ASK PREMIUMS SELL/BID PREMIUMS BUY/ASK PREMIUMS SELL/BID PREMIUMS
United States (US)  2.5 – 6% LOW  8 – 12% LOW Non-USA gold coins can occasionally be bought with very low ask premiums of 1-2%. Silver coins must be bought in quantity to get low ask premiums. With shipping costs and premiums, buying one 1oz silver coin may mean effectively paying twice spot price. Many dealers will require minimum 20-50oz for silver coin orders.
United Kingdom (UK)  2 – 10% HIGH  14 – 57% HIGH There is a wide range of ask premiums for gold coins with averages towards the higher end of the range (i.e. closer to 10% than 2%). UK residents should consider absorbing the higher premiums for CGT exempt coins. Dealers sometimes ask for extraordinarily high premiums for silver coins and this is before the outrageous 20% VAT is added on.
Canada  2 – 5% MED  10 – 15% MED Canada = consistency. 1oz gold Maple Leaf coins can normally be picked up for around a 3% premium across Canada and this has been consistent for a number of years. Coins with less than 99.5% purity will attract GST on top of the price plus premium.
Germany  5 – 7% MED  9 – 14% MED EU residents can benefit from low-ish silver coin ask premiums by buying online and shipping from Germany. Quantity discounts are not popular with German dealers.
Hong Kong  0.2 – 6% LOW  5 – 19% LOW Hong Kong is a major trading hub for gold coins and ask premiums can be rock bottom (<1%). Timing is everything however.  And don’t buy around Chinese New Year. Be extremely cautious buying anything in Tael weights, there is some inconsistency with conversion to metric grams.
Australia  2 – 6% MED  14 – 38% MED Be careful buying gold coins with less than 99.5% purity such as the 1oz Krugerrand (99.9% for silver coins). These items often have very low ask premiums in Australia but will attract GST on top of the price plus premium. Australian dealers offer good discounts for buying silver in bulk (e.g. 1000 x 10oz bars).

 

Bullion from dealers – Bars, wafers and rounds.  Cash payment or equivalent. E.g. 1,000oz silver bar or 1kg gold bar.

[Last updated November 2013]

If viewing this on a small screen you must scroll to the right to see the full table.

Country Gold Silver Notes
BUY/ASK PREMIUMS SELL/BID PREMIUMS BUY/ASK PREMIUMS SELL/BID PREMIUMS
United States (US) 1 – 4% LOW 2 – 7% LOW Dealer ask premiums in US can be as low as 2.5% for large silver bars (1000oz), and 1% for large gold bars (1kg). Fabrication times may take up to 10 weeks however.
United Kingdom (UK) 2 – 7% MED 2 – 10% HIGH Bullion ask premiums can be high in UK.  Averaging 4-5% for large silver bars (1000oz), and 2% for large gold bars.
Canada 1 – 2% MED 2 – 6% MED Gold and silver bars can be purchased for relatively low ask premiums in Canada. Canadian dealers will offer discount on ask premium for smaller bars bought in quantity (e.g. 100 x 10oz silver bars).
Germany 1 – 6% LOW 3 – 7% MED High-ish ask premiums for silver bars. Don’t expect much discount on ask premiums for bulk purchases.
Hong Kong 1 – 6% LOW 1 – 5% MED Tael weight unit used for gold bars in Hong Kong. Be sure to confirm the metric equivalency before buying.
Australia 1 – 3% MED 1 – 5% MED Gold and silver bars can be purchased for low ask premiums in Australia. Indeed, we suspect that Australian dealers probably ask the worlds lowest average retail premiums. This is especially true for larger bars such as 10oz gold bars and 1kg silver bars.


Comments or questions are most welcome