Sep 11, 2011

Some sell while some snatch up gold

Jan Carlan gathered pieces of old jewelry, took them to Cole's Coins and Collectibles in Chester and cashed them in for $800.

"You don't want to act too surprised, but I thought, 'Holy cow, you're going to give me that much for them?' " said Carlan, a Charles City County resident.

"It was just stuff in the jewelry box — a couple of chintzy gold chains, a bent bangle bracelet, a ring I didn't wear anymore, a silver charm bracelet."

She and her husband used the money to stay an extra week at the beach.
buy or sell gold coin

Gold is selling for about $1,860 an ounce, close to record highs of more than $1,900, and up from $255 an ounce 10 years ago.

Silver prices are $42 an ounce, up from about $4.50 an ounce 10 years ago.

As some people rush to cash in on the high prices of gold and silver, others are snatching up gold and silver coins or exchange-traded funds for precious metals as a hedge against inflation.

They are trading in their grandmother's silver tea service for cash or rummaging through garage sales to find and resell silver and gold trinkets, gold dealers say.

Some dealers and retailers say they see a steady stream of consumers bringing in their gold and silver pieces to sell while others are buying for investment purposes.

Investors are adding gold to their portfolios to diversify their assets and protect their assets.

"You have to be very careful about investing in gold," said James A. Cox III, managing partner at Harris Financial Group in Colonial Heights.

"I like the actual coins and pieces of gold that you can carry and spend. But most investors buy gold by owning futures or exchange-traded funds. With these, you are buying the right to buy gold, but you don't own it."

Gold is a small market, but it makes the headlines because of the sharp run-up in prices, Cox said. "What I don't like about gold is it (the price) can rip around quickly."

People perceive gold as safe, but it has its risks, just like any investment, he said.

Precious metals tend to hold their values in inflationary periods, Cox sad. "People are going into gold in droves, not to grow their money but to preserve the purchasing power of their money."

Unlike paper currency, which the government continues to print, there is only a finite amount of gold and silver, he said.

Cox recommends that investors put no more than 5 to 7 percent of their portfolios into gold. "Over-allocating to it is a bad idea. It could be disastrous to one's financial future. … The thing that worries me the most about gold is, people are buying it because they think it will go up."Read More.