Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gold ads what?

These ads have been running off and on now for a couple of years.

I only just noticed something strange. It looks like you can buy these with credit. I don't know anyone who extends credit for gold. It seems to me that the government is the only entity that could "afford" to do such a thing. Is this a venue for getting gold into the hands of the public? Does the US want to sell of "its" gold before its creditors claim it?

Update - how about that? Without a title, I couldn't look at the comments.


  1. A few points that I suspect:

    1. The "US Gold" simply means it was minted by the gov -- not that it's currently owned by the gov. "Release" just means this private company is selling it -- not that the gov has been hoarding/holding it.

    2. Sure you can use your credit card, because the premium over spot will include the card processing fee (and a fair bit more).

    3. I'm confident that this is a private company that (at best) is a dealer registered to buy directly from the US Mint. The US government never deals with the general public in precious metals.

    Holding a portion of one's assets in metals is likely a good idea, but we should keep in mind that anything that sounds like a "great deal -- don't miss out!" is not likely to be a sound investment vehicle.

    Just some thoughts....

    1. Usually the amount of actual "gold" in these coins is far less than spot gold price.

      General rule: if the ad says "fiat" they only want to sell to utter morons who never took Econ 101.

      If you want to buy real solid gold at close to spot you go to Scotia Macotta in Toronto. Bring your passport and a bank cheque.

    2. I think you may be conflating two separate gold-related ads: (1) this one, which (let's assume) is selling actual US Mint gold eagle coins, and (2) the "Franklin Mint"-type ads on TV that sell replicas of famous gold coins, but which are made of silver or base metal with a gold plating.

      If one were to pass off a coin from (2) as a genuine coin, that would be a go-directly-to-jail-do-not-pass-Go fraud.

      The spot price is a per-ounce price and pretty much every dealer will price a bullion coin based on the gold content, since few are truly near-pure. In fact, many collectors complain that Canada's Maple Leaf coins dent and ding too easily since they are 24k.

      US coins are (IIRC) 22k, and many pre-1933 coins are of various purity levels. But generally those levels are known and you only pay for what you get.

      One notable exception is the old British Sovereign. In its heyday, the coin was worth a significant premium to its gold content, so counterfeiters wouldn't make an effort to match the alloy and would actually make them with a greater gold content. It made economic sense at the time.

      Whether the premium to spot is reasonable is a different matter.