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How to Buy Gold and Silver

Investing in gold and silver has been a cornerstone of wealth preservation for centuries, offering a tangible asset that can hedge against inflation and economic uncertainty. Understanding how to buy gold and how to buy silver, however, can be complex for new and seasoned investors. With many purchasing options available, from online dealers like APMEX to local coin shops and bullion banks, understanding the nuances of each avenue is essential. 

Understanding the Silver and Gold Markets 

Before moving into the purchasing process, grasping the basics of the precious metals market is essential. Precious metals, including gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, are coveted for their aesthetic appeal and economic value. Prices for these metals are influenced by factors such as supply and demand dynamics, geopolitical stability, currency values, and economic indicators. Investors turn to precious metals as a safe haven, diversifying portfolios to protect against market volatility. 

Why Buy Gold and Silver? 

Investing in gold or silver offers a range of benefits that appeal to investors. Here are several reasons why individuals choose to buy gold or silver: 

Hedge Against Inflation 

Gold and silver have historically served as effective hedges against inflation. As the purchasing power of fiat currencies declines over time due to inflationary pressures, the value of precious metals tends to rise, preserving wealth and purchasing power. 

Safe Haven Asset 

During times of economic uncertainty, geopolitical instability, or market volatility, investors seek refuge in safe-haven assets like gold and silver. These precious metals are perceived as stores of value and are less susceptible to the fluctuations and risks associated with traditional financial markets. 

Portfolio Diversification 

Gold and silver offer diversification benefits to investment portfolios. Their low correlation with other asset classes, such as stocks and bonds, helps reduce overall portfolio volatility and enhances risk-adjusted returns. Diversification can help mitigate losses during market downturns and improve long-term portfolio performance. 

Wealth Preservation 

Gold and silver have maintained their value over centuries, transcending geopolitical boundaries and economic cycles. Investing in these precious metals provides a means of preserving wealth and safeguarding assets against currency devaluation, political instability, and systemic risks inherent in the financial system. 

Tangible Asset Ownership 

Unlike stocks, bonds, or other financial instruments, gold and silver are tangible assets that you can physically own and hold. This tangible nature provides a sense of security and reassurance, as investors have direct control over their precious metal holdings and do not rely on third-party intermediaries

Portfolio Insurance 

Gold and silver act as insurance policies within investment portfolios, protecting against tail risks and black swan events. In times of crisis or systemic shocks, the value of precious metals tends to rise, offsetting losses incurred in other asset classes and preserving overall portfolio value. 

Potential for Capital Appreciation 

In addition to their role as wealth preservers, gold and silver offer the potential for capital appreciation over the long term. While prices can be volatile in the short term, the scarcity of these metals and growing global demand, particularly from emerging markets, can drive prices higher over time. 

Monetary System Diversification 

Investing in gold and silver allows individuals to diversify away from traditional fiat currencies and financial assets. As central banks and governments engage in monetary stimulus measures and fiscal policies that erode the value of paper currencies, holding physical precious metals provides a form of monetary system diversification. 

Generational Wealth Transfer 

Gold and silver have been passed down as stores of value from one generation to the next for millennia. Investing in these precious metals enables individuals to preserve wealth and pass down assets to future generations, ensuring financial security and stability for their families. 

Cultural Significance and Aesthetic Appeal 

Beyond their investment attributes, gold and silver hold cultural significance and aesthetic appeal for many individuals. These metals are used in jewelry, art, and ceremonial objects, reflecting their timeless beauty and intrinsic value beyond their monetary worth. 

The Buying Process 

Each purchasing avenue boasts distinct advantages and drawbacks, catering to diverse investor preferences and risk profiles. While online dealers like APMEX offer convenience, variety, and reliability, local coin shops provide personalized service and tangible interaction. Bullion banks cater to institutional clients with large-scale transactions, while ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) and mining stocks offer liquidity and diversification. Peer-to-peer transactions foster community engagement but entail heightened risks. You must weigh these factors against your investment objectives and risk tolerance to make informed decisions. 

Buying Options for Gold and Silver 

Investors have multiple avenues for purchasing precious metals, each with its benefits and drawbacks: 

Online Dealers 

  • Advantages: Wide selection, transparent pricing, convenience, security. 
  • Disadvantages: Shipping costs, potential delays, reliance on online transactions. 

Local Coin Shops 

  • Advantages: Personalized service, immediate gratification, tangible inspection. 
  • Disadvantages: Limited inventory, higher premiums, geographic constraints. 

Bullion Banks 

  • Advantages: Competitive pricing, global reach, liquidity for large transactions. 
  • Cons: Institutional focus, complex procedures, minimum purchase requirements. 

ETFs and Mining Stocks 

  • Advantages: Diversification, liquidity, ease of trading. 
  • Disadvantages: Counterparty risk, market volatility, indirect exposure. 


  • Advantages: Community engagement, potential bargains, flexibility. 
  • Disadvantages: Authenticity concerns, pricing disparities, lack of regulatory oversight. 

When choosing a precious metals seller, investors should consider factors such as authenticity, selection, pricing, customer service, and security. Ensuring that the dealer is reputable and offers authentic, high-quality products is important. 

The Pros and Cons of Investing in Gold and Silver 

When considering which metal to buy or how much to buy of each, it is wise to consider the pros and cons of the two. With this information, you can consider the best scenario for you. 

 Silver Gold 
Affordability Silver is more affordable per ounce, making it accessible to a wider range of investors. Gold is more expensive per ounce, but it is historically considered a safe haven asset. 
Industrial Demand Silver has extensive industrial applications, driving demand beyond investment purposes. Gold also has industrial uses, but its demand primarily stems from its role as a store of value. 
Volatility Silver tends to exhibit higher volatility, offering potential for higher returns during market fluctuations. Gold is less volatile than silver, providing stability during economic uncertainty. 
Portfolio Diversification Silver’s lower price point allows for easier diversification of investment portfolios. Gold serves as a reliable hedge against inflation and economic instability, diversifying portfolios effectively. 
Potential Gains Silver has the potential for significant price appreciation during periods of high demand or market speculation. Gold’s steady appreciation over time can provide long-term wealth preservation benefits. 
Storage Needs Silver’s lower price means larger quantities are required for significant investments, requiring more storage space. Gold’s higher value per ounce means smaller quantities are needed, reducing storage needs. 
Liquidity Silver may face liquidity issues for large transactions due to its lower value per unit compared to gold. Gold’s high liquidity makes it easier to buy and sell, particularly in larger quantities. 
Industrial Dependency Silver’s price can be influenced by fluctuations in industrial demand, making it more susceptible to market dynamics. Gold’s value is primarily driven by investment demand and macroeconomic factors, reducing dependency on industrial use. 
Price Correlation Silver’s price often correlates with industrial cycles, leading to greater price volatility. Gold’s price is more influenced by macroeconomic trends and geopolitical events, offering greater stability. 
Market Perception Silver is sometimes viewed as a speculative asset due to its higher volatility and industrial usage. Gold is universally recognized as a store of value, enjoying widespread acceptance among investors and central banks. 
Chart comparing the pros and cons of buying silver and gold.

How to Buy Silver for the Best Price 

Remember, the “best” price is subjective and depends on your specific circumstances, goals, and risk tolerance. Always conduct thorough research and consider seeking advice from financial experts before making significant investments in precious metals. 

  • Research Current Prices: Stay updated on the current spot price of silver. Websites like Kitco, Bloomberg, or CNBC provide real-time prices. This gives you a baseline to compare prices from different sellers. 
  • Choose the Right Seller: Look for reputable dealers who offer competitive prices. Compare prices among local coin shops, online dealers, and auction sites. Ensure the seller has a good track record of delivering authentic products. 
  • Consider Bulk Purchases: Buying larger quantities of silver typically comes with volume discounts. However, make sure you have the financial capacity to make bulk purchases and enough storage space for the silver. 
  • Avoid High Premiums: Be cautious of high premiums over the spot price. Premiums include dealer markups, minting costs, and other fees. Aim to minimize these costs while ensuring the silver’s authenticity and quality. 
  • Timing Matters: Keep an eye on market trends and potential fluctuations in the price of silver. Buying during dips or periods of low demand may offer better prices. 
  • Negotiate if Possible: Some sellers, especially local coin shops, may be open to negotiation, especially for larger purchases. Polite negotiation can sometimes lead to discounts or waived fees. 
  • Consider Secondary Market Products: Secondary market silver products, such as bars or coins sold by individual sellers or through auctions, may have lower premiums compared to brand new items. 
  • Factor in Shipping and Taxes: If buying online, consider shipping costs and any applicable taxes. Sometimes, purchasing from a local dealer can be more cost-effective after factoring in these additional expenses. 
  • Verify Authenticity: Ensure that the silver you purchase is authentic and of the stated purity. Reputable dealers provide certificates of authenticity or hallmarks on their products. 
  • Dollar-Cost Averaging: If you are unsure about market timing, consider dollar-cost averaging. This involves buying a fixed dollar amount of silver at regular intervals, regardless of price fluctuations, which can help average out your purchase price over time. 

How to Buy Gold for the Best Price 

Conduct thorough research and carefully consider your investment objectives before buying gold. Additionally, remember that gold prices may be volatile, so it is essential to approach gold investment with a long-term perspective. 

  • Research Current Prices: Stay informed about the current spot price of gold. Utilize financial news websites, market data platforms, or apps to track real-time prices. 
  • Choose a Reputable Seller: Select trustworthy dealers with a proven track record. Look for dealers who are accredited by industry organizations and have positive customer reviews. 
  • Compare Prices: Compare prices from various sources, including local coin shops, online dealers, and auction sites. Ensure that the quoted prices include all fees and premiums. 
  • Consider Bulk Purchases: Like with silver, buying gold in larger quantities may result in volume discounts. However, make sure you have the financial means and secure storage for larger gold purchases. If you’re buying gold in smaller quantities and don’t want to deal with purchasing additional storage products, consider a smaller gold bar in TEP.
  • Watch for High Premiums: Be cautious of excessive premiums over the spot price. High premiums can significantly impact your overall cost. Aim to minimize premiums while ensuring the authenticity and quality of the gold. It’s worth noting that generic gold bars & rounds tend to have lower premiums than coins.
  • Time Your Purchase: Monitor market trends and consider buying during periods of low demand or price dips. However, timing the market perfectly can be challenging, so dollar-cost averaging can be a prudent strategy. 
  • Negotiate if Possible: Some sellers may be open to negotiation, particularly for larger purchases. Polite negotiation could potentially lead to discounts or waived fees. 
  • Consider Secondary Market Products: Like silver, secondary market gold products may have lower premiums compared to brand new items. However, ensure that the gold’s authenticity is verified. 
  • Factor in Additional Costs: Account for shipping fees, insurance, and any applicable taxes when purchasing gold, especially if buying online or from out-of-state dealers. 
  • Verify Authenticity: Only buy gold from reputable sellers who provide certificates of authenticity or hallmarks on their products. Ensure that the gold meets the stated purity standards. 
  • Consult Financial Advisors: If you are unsure about investing in gold, consider seeking advice from financial advisors or experts who can provide personalized guidance based on your financial goals and risk tolerance. 

Should I Buy Silver or Gold? 

Whether you should buy silver or gold depends on various factors, including your investment goals, risk tolerance, and financial situation. Here are some points to consider when making this decision: 

  • Investment Goals: Determine your investment objectives. Are you looking for a safe haven asset to preserve wealth during times of economic uncertainty? Or are you seeking potential capital appreciation over the long term? Gold is often considered a store of value and a hedge against inflation, while silver can offer both investment and industrial demand characteristics. 
  • Risk Tolerance: Consider your risk tolerance. Gold typically exhibits lower price volatility compared to silver, making it a more conservative option for investors seeking stability. Silver, on the other hand, can experience more significant price fluctuations due to its dual role as both a precious metal and an industrial commodity. 
  • Portfolio Diversification: Both gold and silver can serve as diversification assets in an investment portfolio. Adding precious metals to your portfolio can help reduce overall risk by providing a hedge against market downturns and currency devaluation. Consider the optimal allocation based on your portfolio’s risk profile and investment strategy. 
  • Market Conditions: Evaluate current market conditions and price trends for both gold and silver. Conduct thorough research on factors influencing supply and demand dynamics, geopolitical events, monetary policy decisions, and macroeconomic indicators. This analysis can help inform your decision based on short-term and long-term market outlooks. 
  • Cost Considerations: Assess the costs associated with purchasing and holding gold or silver. Gold typically commands a higher price per ounce compared to silver due to its higher value density. Consider factors such as premiums over spot price, storage fees, transaction costs, and potential taxes when weighing the affordability of each metal. 
  • Historical Performance: Review historical price performance and correlations between gold and silver. While both metals have historically served as stores of value, their price movements may diverge under certain market conditions. Analyze historical data to gauge how gold and silver have behaved during different economic environments and market cycles. 
  • Personal Preference: Your decision to buy silver or gold may also be influenced by personal preferences, beliefs, and convictions about the intrinsic value of each metal. Consider factors such as aesthetic appeal, industrial applications, and cultural significance that resonate with you as an investor. 

Why Should I Consider Buying Gold and Silver from APMEX? 

One of the first reasons is our mobile app. With the app you can easily keep track of your holdings and check spot prices. You can also purchase through the app when prices are optimal. We also offer app-only deals. 

  • Strong Reputation: Trusted since 2000 for reliability and customer service. 
  • Wide Selection: We offer diverse products catering to investors and collectors. 
  • Quality Assurance: Guarantees authenticity and purity of all items sold. 
  • Competitive Pricing: Provides transparent pricing with live spot prices and competitive premiums. 
  • Secure Transactions: Ensures secure payment processing and discreet, insured shipping. 
  • Educational Resources: Offers valuable market insights and educational materials via our Knowledge Center
  • Excellent Customer Service: Known for exceptional customer support and assistance. 

Consider APMEX alongside other dealers, depending on your specific needs and preferences. Also consider consulting with a financial advisor before making large investment decisions.  

Quick Guides to Investing

Step 1:

Why Buy Physical Gold and Silver?

If you are concerned about the volatility of the stock market, you’re not alone. The extreme highs and lows of the stock market often lead investors towards safe-haven assets, like bullion. Historically, the Precious Metals market has an inverse relationship with the stock market, meaning that when stocks are up, bullion is down and vice versa.

Step 2:

How Much Gold and Silver Should You Have?

This question is one of the most important for investors to answer. After all, experts suggest limits on how much of any types of investments should go into a portfolio. After deciding to purchase and own Precious Metals and considering how much money to allocate, one can then think about how much and what to buy at any point in time.

Step 3:

Which Precious Metals Should I Buy?

With the frequent changes in the market and countless Precious Metal products available, choosing investments can be difficult. Some want Gold or Silver coins, rounds or bars while others want products that are valuable because of their design, mintage or other collectible qualities. Also, collectors may shop for unique sets and individual pieces for their collections.

Step 4:

When to Buy Gold & Silver

After considering why, how much, and what Precious Metals products to buy, an investor’s next step is when to buy them. This decision requires an understanding of market trends and the impact of economic factors on precious metal prices.

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