Gold has been used as a form of monetary investment and exchange for over two thousand years. Many believe that gold bullion bars or coins are the safest option against economic unpredictability’s such as inflation or stock market crashes. Bullion collecting is also a type of hobby and people seek out rare and beautiful coins.
eBay’s auction system offers excellent value for money and a quick and easy way to acquire bullion. However, buying gold does present some risk so prior knowledge is advised before making a purchase. This guide will help any first time buyers to successfully search, authenticate and buy bullion bars or coins on eBay.
The Value of a Bullion
Bullion is the term given to bars or ingots of precious metal. These metals include gold, silver and platinum. Bullion’s are traded on commodity markets and also kept by people for personal investment purposes.
Why Gold Bullion?
Gold is the most popular of all precious metals, thanks to its monetary value and beauty.
People invest in gold bullion as it provides them with a physical investment that will stand against economic downturn.
Another attractable aspect is being able to store the gold in a safe place in their home. If planning on storing the bullion at home then make sure to have an adequate safe and storage area to prevent theft.
Bullions are valued on two things, purity and weight.
Bullions must contain a certain amount of purity for them to be recognised internationally as investment gold. In Europe this amount is
- 99.5% for gold bullion bars and ingots.
- 90% for gold bullion coins.
- Gold bullion bars and ingots tend to be sold at a higher purity, around 99.9%.
The purity of the bullion is its most important aspect, as without it the bullion becomes worthless. Be careful not to buy gold plated bullion, as this is not solid gold but instead just coated.
eBay users measure their bullion in grams, ounces or kilograms. The most common weights for gold bullion bars are as follows.
- 1 Ounce.
- 5 Ounce.
- 10 Ounce.
- 1 Kilogram.
Occasionally a seller will display the bullion’s weight in Troy Ounces. This is the correct way to measure bullion but is not often used by amateur dealers.
- 1 Troy Ounce is equal to 1.097 Ounces.
Bullion coins come in a variety of weights, all either multiples or fractions of 1 Troy Ounce.
Gold Bullion Bars or Coins
Gold bullion is bought either as bars or coins. There are other forms that can be bought as investment gold, but bars and coins are the most popular. Depending on the intended use of the gold, one form may be preferable over the other.
Gold Bullion Bars
Bullion bars are divided into two groups, cast and mint.
- Cast Bars – Manufactured by pouring molten gold into a mould and leaving it to harden.
- Minted Bars – These are cast bars that have been stamped by a pressing machine. The stamp adds to the value of the bar. These bars are usually rectangular, but can be found in other shapes including squares and circles.
Although most countries use quite similar methods to manufacture the bars, slight variations in standards means the bars differ from region to region.
- Kilogold Bar – The most popular gold bar available in the world today.
- Tael Bar – Chinese gold bar. Name comes from Chinese unit of measurement, the Tael.
- Tola Bar – Common in Asian countries like Pakistan.
- Baht Bar – Common in Thailand.
Gold Bullion Coins
Coins are valued by their purity and rarity. There are many coins to choose from, and the year minted and country of origin both influence their worth.
Coins collected because of their rarity or beauty are known as numismatic coins.
Some coins such as the Britannia are still accepted as legal tender in Britain (the Britannia has a value of £100).
All first time buyers should spend some time thinking about which form of bullion would be better suited for them. Bars make a better monetary investment, but their size can cause storage problems. Coins are obviously easier to store but are valued more so by numismatic value rather than purity.
Buying Bullions On eBay
eBay is an excellent place to buy and sell gold bullions. Its network of users means better value for money and the opportunity to find rare bullion. It is advised that all first time buyers research beforehand about the bullion they want to purchase. All buyers should also check on the day’s market value of gold before searching online.
When this is done head to eBay.co.uk to begin the search.
- Click the All Categories tab located beside the search bar.
- This will load up the Categories page.
- Scroll down to the Coins heading.
- Click Bullions/Bars to be brought to the relevant page.
- Enter gold bullion into the search bar and press enter.
- Scroll down to the filters on the left and click gold.
If searching for a specific bar or coin try to find as much information about the bullion as possible. Enter any extra details e.g. year of mint, country of origin etc. into the search to make it as fast and precise as possible. eBay’s search tips and Wish List function can assist if difficulty is still being experienced while looking for a bullion.
The Gold Bullion Listings Page
The listings page is used by buyers to browse through the various gold bullions for sale on eBay.
The numbers of listings that can be shown on a page are 25, 50, 100, and 200. To change the amount shown scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the desired box or pagination request.
The table on the left contains filters to help with the search. Use these filters to sort through the gold bullion.
The Type filter allows buyers to choose what form of bullion is listed. These include Bars/Ingots, Coins and Mixed Lots.
The Origin filter determines where the bullion was manufactured. Take this into account when searching, as it may prove helpful if searching for rare bullion.
The Certification filter allows buyers to view all certified or uncertified gold on eBay.
The Location filter determines where the bullion is currently being kept.
Listings can be organised by price, condition, location and time left in auction. To do this click on the Sort by drop down menu found at the top of the listings.
Bullion is listed as Bid Now, Buy It Now, or Best Offer. If the bullion is listed as Buy It Now then it is being sold at a set price.
Gold Bullion Product Page
Clicking the title of a listing links to that listings individual product page. The product page contains all the information about the bullion, the cost, the seller and the postage. Spend some time reading this page.
- A picture of the bar or coin is found on the right of the page. All users on eBay are advised to upload a photo of the item in its current state. If the listing is without a photo request one using the Ask A Question function.
- If the bullion is listed as authenticated but without a picture of the certificate then make sure to request one.
- The boxes on the right contain information about the bullion’s condition, current bid, time left on auction and quantity available.
- The description box will contain any messages from the seller about the bullion. Check here for comments about condition and purity.
- The postage box contains cost for postage and estimated delivery time.
- If the seller is a business then their contact details can be located at the bottom of the page along with any refund policies.
Certificate of Authenticity
All gold bullion bars and coins should come with a Certificate of Authenticity. This guarantees the gold’s purity and value. If there is no evidence of one on a listing contact the seller using the Ask a Question function. It is important to be sure of a bullions authenticity and purity before making a purchase.
If the bullion is bought without a Certificate of Authenticating, then try the following to check if it is fake or not.
- All bullion bars and coins are made to an exact size. If the bullion is even slightly off the specifications then it could be fake.
- Repeat this process but instead weigh the bullion. If the weight is different to the specifications then it is possibly a fake.
- If the bullion seems overly polished or very dull this could mean the addition of another metal. Fake bullions are more yellow than gold.
- Fake coins are often without much detail. Compare the coin to authentic online examples of the same mint.
- Real gold coins create a high ringing sound when dropped on a table, fake ones will land with a thud.
If still experiencing uncertainty about the gold’s authenticity, contact an outside party to test it for purity.
Buying Bullion with Confidence
Buying bullion online can seem like a risk, but with some diligence it is possible to tell if the seller is genuine or not.
- Does the bullion come with a Certificate of Authenticity? Without this there is no way to be sure of its purity.
- What kind of feedback has the seller received? Are there any negative comments and if so then what about?
- Is the seller as business? Or an individual? Buying gold bullion from a business guarantees its purity and all first time buyers are recommended to do this.
- If any problems are encountered then contact eBay’s Resolution Centre. Their page can be found by clicking on the link in the Customer Support drop down menu.
- PayPal handles all of eBay’s transactions, and eBay users are protected online by the Buyer Protection Programme.
Buying gold bullion for investment purposes is a great idea and has been done so for hundreds of years. It is a physical form of monetary worth and can be kept at home or at a secure location.
Gold bullion is a guarantee against economics problems, but it is important to research before making any purchases. eBay is a great site to locate bullions, but be sure of the gold’s authenticity before buying.