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What is Premium Over Spot?

Gold and silver coins in front of a chart for an article titled "What is Premium Over Spot?"

Learn the Difference Between Spot and Premium Prices 

The spot price represents the market value of precious metals, subject to constant fluctuations like any other commodity traded on the market. On the other hand, the premium is the additional cost of a precious metal above its spot price, encompassing business-related expenses such as fabrication and distribution. Additionally, it may include collectible or numismatic costs for rare items. 

Precious metals, traded in U.S. dollars, are listed differently based on their type. For instance, if silver’s spot price is $23.50 per ounce, an American Silver Eagle – a popular silver coin – may have an $8.00 per ounce premium. Therefore, a Silver Eagle in the market would cost approximately $31.50. Certain rare silver coins, like silver dollars, can command a significant premium over the spot price. While the spot price and premium for a Silver Eagle may be $31.50, the same cannot be said for the Gold Eagle because the spot price and premium will be different considering it is a different metal. 

Spot Price + Premium + Sales Taxes (Varies) + Shipping Costs (If Applicable) = Price of Bullion 

Understanding Premium Over Spot 

Understanding premium over spot is equally important for investors and collectors. Investors naturally want to purchase items as close to the spot as possible. However, collectors must also be aware of the spot price to understand how much they pay for the numismatic aspect of the precious metal. 

This is why it pays to research different precious metal products before investing, as precious metal prices can vary significantly between items. By understanding the factors influencing premiums, investors can make more informed decisions about which products to purchase and avoid overpaying for their investments. 

Factors that may influence premiums include: 

  • Production Costs: The intricacies of fabricating coins, rounds, and bars can impact their premiums. Often more detailed, coins may incur higher production costs, influencing their premiums. 
  • Rarity and Collectibility: Rarity, especially in the case of limited mintages or collectible designs, contributes significantly to premiums. Collectors are willing to pay more for items with unique or historical value. 
  • Market Demand: The law of supply and demand plays a crucial role. High-demand items may command higher premiums, particularly during increased interest in precious metals. 
  • Unique Designs: A product’s aesthetic appeal and uniqueness can influence premiums. Bars with intricate designs or coins featuring special editions may attract higher premiums. 
  • Metal Type: Variations in the properties of gold and silver can lead to different premium dynamics. Gold’s unique characteristics may result in distinct premiums compared to silver. 
  • Market Conditions: Economic and geopolitical factors can impact premiums. Uncertain times may drive investors towards precious metals, affecting spot prices and premiums. 
  • Historical Significance: Items with historical importance, whether due to age or specific events, can carry higher premiums. Numismatic value contributes to the overall appeal for collectors. 

As you navigate the dynamic world of precious metals, keeping these factors in mind will empower you to make well-informed decisions. Whether you lean towards the allure of collectible coins, the practicality of rounds, or the simplicity of bars, understanding the influences on premiums is crucial. By staying informed, investors and collectors alike can navigate the nuances of the market, ensuring that their choices align with their individual preferences and financial goals. 

Premiums in Coins, Rounds, and Bars 

Understanding how premiums differ among coins, rounds, and bars is essential for investors seeking to optimize their precious metal portfolios. The distinct characteristics of each form contribute to the variations in premiums over spot prices. 


  • Collectibility and Rarity: Coins often carry higher premiums due to their collectible nature. The example above of an $8.00 per ounce premium on a Silver Eagle, for instance, reflects not only fabrication and distribution costs but also the coin’s popularity and potential rarity. 
  • Numismatic Value: Some coins command significant premiums beyond fabrication costs. Numismatic or historical value contributes to the overall premium, making these coins more expensive than their intrinsic metal value. 


  • Limited Collectibility: Rounds, being coins without inherent numismatic value, generally have lower premiums than collector coins. Their prices tend to align more closely with the metal’s spot price, making rounds a practical choice for investors focused on the metal’s intrinsic value rather than collectibility. 


  • Uniformity and Production Costs: Bars, while varying in premium, are often more uniform and straightforward in production. Standard bars may have lower premiums as they involve simpler fabrication processes than intricate coins. However, premium variations can still occur based on factors like limited production or unique designs, like the 1 kilogram Cast-Poured Silver Bar from Pioneer Metals, for example.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial when navigating the market. The premium for a Silver Canadian Maple Leaf may differ from that of a Gold Maple Leaf because gold, as a metal, has unique characteristics – which is true for each individual metal. Investors should carefully assess their preferences and objectives when selecting coins, rounds, and bars, prioritizing collectibility, minimal premiums, or a balance between the two; a nuanced understanding of these factors empowers investors to make informed decisions aligned with their financial goals. 

After deciding between coins, rounds, or bars, investors should always be aware of the premiums charged over the spot prices when purchasing precious metals, as they can vary significantly from one product to the next. By understanding what drives premiums – production costs, rarity, collectibility – investors can make more informed decisions about which precious metal products are right for them. 

Premium Over Spot: Supply and Demand 

The live spot prices move up and down related to supply and demand. When buying and selling during increased demand, precious metal dealers may charge a higher premium than usual. Fewer sellers are willing to sell precious metal bullion at the spot price during periods of high demand. Conversely, the spot price typically falls when precious metal supplies exceed demand. 

The same global factors as silver determine the price of gold, but gold is influenced by its unique supply and demand dynamics that differ from silver. For example, the production of gold coins typically has a higher premium over the gold spot price than silver coins because there is a more significant fabrication cost associated with gold coins. In times of political or economic uncertainty, most investors often flock to gold as a safe haven asset, which also drives the price of gold higher than silver. 

Gold and Silver Spot Price 

It is virtually impossible to buy exactly at the spot price. Spot prices show the market price for a raw ounce of unrefined metal, but there will always be a modest markup for a refined and minted product. It is expected to pay a premium over the spot price, but a wise buyer armed with information can make the best decision, and it is easy to monitor gold and silver prices on any reputable website for opportunities. 

Reputable coin dealers, bullion dealers, or local coin shops offer certification of authenticity and live spot price charts to aid buyers in understanding variations in prices when they pay a premium. 

Premium Over Spot Summary 

Investors and collectors should remember that precious metal prices vary both by metal and within the precious metal market. Understanding the relationship between spot prices and premiums and awareness of the factors influencing premiums allows investors to make well-informed decisions.  

Whether driven by a preference for collectible coins, the practicality of rounds, or the simplicity of bars, informed investors and collectors can easily navigate the market when they buy bullion, ensuring their choices align with personal preferences and overarching financial objectives. 

APMEX encourages those investing in precious metals to consult with their financial advisor. 

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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