Choosing a Silver Dealer
However you choose to buy physical silver, gold or other precious metals, the most important rule is to deal only with reputable dealers who have proven experience in the business and clearly stated policies and warranties - especially if you're purchasing by phone or online.
Several long-standing firms in the United States with solid reputations include:
•American Precious Metals Exchange (apmex.com) - This Oklahoma City-based firm offers both bullion and collectible metals products, as well as storage facilities. Quotes are updated every 15 minutes during trading hours. Purchase online or call 1-800-375-9006.
•Asset Strategies International (ASI) (assetstrategies.com) - This Rockville, MD firm has a large inventory of silver bullion products, and also offers regular metals markets commentary and analysis on its website. Sales representatives are available at 1-800-831-0007.
•Gainesville Coins (gainesvillecoins.com) - Based in Lutz, FL, they provide an extensive selection of silver coins and bars that can be reviewed online or purchased via phone at 1-813-482-9300.
•Kitco (kitco.com) - One of the world's largest metals dealers with offices in New York, Montreal, Hong Kong and elsewhere, Kitco provides a wide range of products and services, including real-time quotes and news updates. Purchases can be made online or by calling 1-877-775-4826.
•SilverTowne (silvertowne.com) - Founded in 1949, this Indiana-based firm specializes in all types of investment silver, from collectible coins to silver bars in varied weights. Phone: 1-877-477-2646.
•The Tulving Co. (tulving.com) - Based in Newport Beach, CA, Tulving provides 24-hour sales and service, tracking trading and price quotes in markets around the globe. U.S. and Canadian investors can call 1-800-995-1708.
Physical silver provides a long-term store of value, but it does carry some added risks - one of them being the potential for confiscation.
That possibility, similar to what happened with gold in 1933, is quite real. As such, if you're seriously considering silver as a hedge against future U.S. problems, you might consider choosing Canada or elsewhere offshore as a storage site for your metal.
Also, while it's easy to both buy and sell bars and coins with any of the above dealers, they're still a bit cumbersome for trading purposes, what with price mark-ups, storage, shipping and insurance costs.