I am new to gold/silver investing. I can see there is a dollar crisis looming, and wanted to roll a large portion of my IRA into a self-directed IRA and buy physical gold. So I researched precious metals dealers online, and found Goldco was very highly rated. (These ratings are paid-for and/or vetted, I would come to find later.) Goldco rep David Taylor was extremely helpful and responsive, answered all my questions, assured me that Goldco markups were some of the lowest in the industry (7-21%), and sent me the paperwork to set up an account with a trustee/custodian to handle the SDIRA rollover. We agreed that silver coins made the most sense for me, and I placed an order for American Eagle proof coins from the Perth mint. THEN I GOT THE ORDER CONFIRMATION:
Silver American Bald Eagle - 1oz Qty 667 $74.90
What the heck did I just buy? The spot for silver that day was ~$26.50; this price was nearly triple! I was shocked. Further research confirmed that these are just 1 ounce silver proof coins, worth about $48 retail. They are collectible, premium coins, such as you might buy as a graduation gift. But if you took this same coin to a gold/silver coin dealer, you'd be lucky to get $40. (As of this writing.) But Goldco insists they're worth $75! Nonsense. This is robbery!
Do your homework. Call some dealers. A good place to start might be https://apmddealers.org. You will find that many of these coin dealers are routinely confronted by disillusioned Goldco's (and other, similar predatory dealers') customers whom have spent their retirement money buying expensive collectible coins, only to be informed by honest dealers that their "premium" coins are worth 50% what they paid for them. To keep novice investors in the dark, Goldco appears to have "exclusive" deals with the Perth Mint on whatever flavor-of-the-month coin design they are peddling. This prevents Joe Consumer from comparison shopping. Because there are no direct price comps, Goldco is able to claim their coins are premium, limited edition, super high value. Even up to $75/oz. They are not. But it's tough to disprove when no other dealer has the exact same coin because of Goldco's "exclusive." I believe Goldco's markup on these coins they sold me was in the ballpark of 100%. This is robbery. For example, the coins I purchased were "1 oz silver American Bald Eagle 2020 reverse proof" coins from the Perth Mint, with a bald eagle on one side and Queen Elizabeth II (?) on the other. Just try to find that exact coin anywhere else but Goldco. Go ahead, I'll wait...
If you want to invest in gold/silver, it's probably because you understand that there is intrinsic value in the metal itself. What you need is bullion or bulk, investment grade coins, and you want to pay as little over spot price as possible. Collectible proof coins are for birthday and graduation gifts, in fancy packaging with certificates of authenticity. Buying hundreds or thousands of these at retail (or worse) price is NOT a wise investment strategy. Silver/gold prices would have to double or triple before you break even.
So, in summary:
PROS: Stellar customer service. Ranked the #1 or #2 coin dealer by multiple "independent" ranking websites Responsive and helpful. Website is helpful and well done! Ordering process was easy! Provided all the paperwork to set up custodian and depository. Answered all my newbie questions.
Five Star reviews on all the 'rating' sites
Sold me the wrong product, at HUGE markup. My retirement savings would have taken a $25,000 loss the instant the sale closed.
"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"
I was lucky. Before the transaction cleared my IRA custodian account, I was able to intercept and remove Goldco as an authorized dealer, which probably saved me from the consequences of my $25,000 mistake. On a related note, as I write this, Goldco is actively trying to get the Better Business Bureau of San Jose to remove my review from the BBB website because "the review is not from a customer of the business." I have my order confirmation showing that yes, indeed, I ordered $50,000 in coins from Goldco. They are not an ethical company, fibbing to the BBB to scrub legitimate negative reviews. Keep that in mind as you read all the glowing, five-star reviews on those "independent" review websites.