What Is TEP?
If you buy precious metals, you likely have seen some of those products in TEP. The acronym stands for “tamper-evident packaging” and is often a polymer protective case that preserves a product’s condition. The United States FDA defines TEP as packaging with one or more barriers indicating when a package is breached. Tamper-evident packaging increases a product’s security and reduces the chance of a damaged product.
Why Are Some Gold & Silver Products Stored in TEP?
Investors prefer bullion in perfect condition rather than one with signs of wear and tear. This pristine state renders the asset more liquid on the market – although buyers consider other factors such as its producer, weight, and purity first.
Tarnishing can cause your bullion’s shine to diminish and is a significant concern for investors. It is essential to take proper precautions when handling these items to avoid tarnishing.
What causes metals to tarnish? Depending on the metal’s inherent chemical composition, it may respond negatively to organic or synthetic materials in its environment. Living in high-humidity climates and even being in contact with certain substances can expedite the toning (or oxidation) process in gold and silver. The magnitude of this transformation varies depending on the finish of your item. You may face difficulties trading your bullion in the market if environmental factors negatively alter it.
Gold is highly resistant to tarnishing due to its inert nature. It maintains its chemical and physical properties, even in normal environmental conditions. This metal can only dissolve by nitro-hydrochloric acids. Although it can be resilient to scuff marks and scrapes, gold is malleable, meaning that it is prone to denting if dropped from a considerable height or onto a hard surface.
Silver is prone to oxidizing under everyday circumstances and can quickly be scratched, damaged, or tarnished. It requires more care than gold to keep its shine. Silver can easily corrode when exposed to hydrogen sulfide found in foods like eggs and onions. It is also found in substances like gasoline, rubber, latex paint, and even in the air around us.
It is crucial to store bullion correctly to avoid tarnishing and potential damage. Buying gold and silver encased in tamper-evident packaging helps preserve the bullion’s condition. TEP ensures that your product is secure and in the same state, it was when it left the mint.
Alternatives to TEP for Storage
Buyers don’t have to buy bullion in TEP to ensure that their bullion remains in prime condition. When storing gold, especially silver, it is vital to keep it in an area that is both cool and dry. Basements or attics that are damp should be avoided. Newspaper or items with ink and rubber bands can damage silver over time, so stay away from those items.
Storing bullion in airtight containers keeps it safe from damage and potentially exposed to oxidizing substances. Bullion can go in individual coin holders, coin and bar tubes, storage boxes, and official mint monster boxes. There are also storage boxes designed for bullion in TEP packaging so that they can stay organized and protected.
Is There a Price Premium for Products in TEP?
There is a premium on products packaged in TEP because it offers security, peace of mind, and long-term protection. Tamper-evident packaging can also feature artistic designs to add a new, visually appealing element to a product, making it more collectible for some buyers.
Some companies offer TEP products that have unique qualities or guarantees. APMEX has its MintDirect® program in partnership with PCGS. MintDirect® guarantees that APMEX receives the coins within 30 days of release from the mint. These exclusive benefits make MintDirect® products more expensive than the same product without encapsulation.
You pay more for bullion in TEP because you pay for security and extra perks. There is a wide variety of gold and silver bullion in TEP at APMEX, so many options exist.