As long-time readers of Casey Research know, I believe owning real, physical gold is rule No. 1 when it comes to protecting your family's finances from a potential dollar crisis.
And if you've tried to buy gold in the past few months, you know many investors are coming around to this line of thinking. The premiums folks have to pay now to own physical gold have shot up to historic highs... with the Royal Canadian Mint reporting being "busier than we've ever been." Coins are still hard to find, and premiums remain unusually high.
The good news is that most of the recommended dealers (which we select at Casey Research for their reasonable premiums and timely delivery) tell us conditions "appear" to be loosening. Kitco, in particular, has resumed offering most of its standard bullion products. But overall, the market hasn't yet returned to normal, and no one really knows when it will.
The bullion market is always unpredictable, meaning premiums and delivery times can change, so don't delay when you find what you want. Here is a quick rundown on the best bullion deals, as I highlighted in the most recent issue of BIG GOLD:
Kitco (Kitco.com, 877-775-4826). All coins are back up for sale except one-ounce gold Eagles and Buffaloes. Premiums are above our recommended 6.5% limit, except for the Krugerrand, which is currently selling for an industry-low 5%. A one-ounce bar looks even better, at only $22.30 over spot (as of 12/12/08), the lowest we've seen. Delivery is slow, though: up to six weeks after the order is paid.
Gold Eagles were available in the first week of December but quickly sold out. We advise checking the website regularly for availability. Here's a link to Kitco's prices... Notice the company charges a set dollar amount over spot, versus a percentage as most dealers do. This can work in your favor as the gold price moves up (although Kitco does change its prices from time to time). You can also buy gold and silver in its pool account at just pennies over spot.
The Coin Agent (thecoinagent.com, 1-888-494-8889,firstname.lastname@example.org). Wayne Lemonier has gold Maple Leafs (the popular Canadian coins) at 6% over spot with a three- to four-week delivery time after a paid order. He can ship gold Eagles in about three weeks, but the premium is 9.5%.
We don't recommend paying the high premium for an Eagle, especially when the premium on the Maple Leaf is so much lower. Remember, you're buying an ounce of gold regardless of whose picture is on the front, and he's got one of the lowest premiums in the industry on Maple Leafs.
Border Gold (bordergold.com, 888-312-2288 ext. 7). Border Gold has Maple Leafs at 6.5% over spot and can ship within three weeks of a paid order. It also offers one-ounce gold bars at $25 over spot and five-ounce bars at $22.50 per ounce over spot.
One-ounce Silver Maple Leafs are available at $4 over the spot price of silver. While that's one of the lowest premiums we've seen recently, it's still too high for our wallet. For gold, its direct link to the Royal Canadian Mint allows a good price and prompt delivery.
Asset Strategies International (assetstrategies.com, 1-800-831-0007). Coin availability comes and goes, but ASI can deliver gold bars in one week after a paid order, the quickest delivery we know of. A one-ounce gold bar has a 7% premium over spot and a 10-ounce bar is 6%. Silver coins are available, but the premiums are not pretty.
ASI guesstimates we may see some improvement in availability and delivery times in January. The U.S. Mint is already producing the '09 coin, which should hit the market sometime next month.
If you haven't bought physical gold yet, I encourage you to use this list to shop around for the best deals. Your time will be well spent. As the Federal Reserve continues conjuring new money for Washington to borrow and spend, you can count on three things: The dollar will fall, inflation will return with a vengeance, and gold will rise to new heights.
Editor's note: Long-time DailyWealth readers know we believe gold could rise 100% or even 300% in the coming years. Investors in the right gold stocks should make 10 times that amount.
The folks at Casey Research travel the entire world to research the best large and mid-cap mining stocks, mining funds, and bullion investments. Readers of their BIG GOLD publication are the first to hear about them. Learn how to make a fortune in 2009's biggest trend with a risk-free trial subscription here.