Best Way to Buy Physical Gold

To begin, let us start by defining physical gold for this post.

Physical Gold - (n) actual gold bullion typically in a pure .999 coin/bar or 22k coin form which investors take direct possession of either in hand or stored in a non-bank gold bullion depository directly (no middlemen).

Gold Bullion is the Smartest Way to Buy and Own Physical Gold

Most gold bullion buyers choose to take direct delivery of their physical gold bullion purchases through high-volume online gold dealers like us here at SD Bullion.

Their reasons are many-fold but likely include many of the following points and motivations:

  • Physical gold bullion is a great wealth diversification asset

  • Physical gold protects from both inflation and deflation scenarios

  • Physical gold bullion products protect one’s wealth from potential Bank Bail-Ins, Bank Bailouts, or general bank failure threats

  • Superior financial liquidity (it is liquid and easy to buy and sell physical gold)

  • Physical gold bullion is a potentially undervalued asset class (compared to current valuations for most stock shares, real estate properties, bonds, and fiat currency values, etc.)

  • Physical gold bullion is a highly private asset an investor can own outright to counter cashless and digitally trackable trends ongoing

  • Physical gold bullion is and can be a mobile store of value that cannot be hacked nor easily stolen by nefarious third-party counterparties or actors

  • Physical gold bullion can be quickly passed on to heirs and loved ones

  • Physical gold bullion is an excellent defense from both slow and even overnight fiat currency devaluations ahead

  • Physical gold bullion is truly a multi-millennial, inter-generational proven store of buying power with a proven track record as long as physical gold bullion.

Please Note: gold ETFs are not Physical gold bullion

Most gold ETFs or gold exchange-traded funds you will see quoted in mainstream financial press gold articles or gold trader posts online will cite popular gold ETFs as an option for investors. Use your head and read their respective lawyer written prospectus if you doubt what we are about to say.

Many gold ETF examples often cited include the most popular gold ETF called GLD or perhaps a less costly version called IAU. Other gold ETFs we have included in the following list as well as their yearly expense ratios (ER) which all but guarantee your losses will vary from 20 basis points to 1.35% of your annual holdings each year.

Gold ETF expense per year psst not as good as Gold Bullion for long term SD Bullion SDBullion.com


Almost every one of the gold ETFs mentioned above doesn't allow average stock shareowners to take delivery of any physical gold bullion at any point in time (OUNZ the lone exception, for GLD or IAU for instance, you have to be an Authorized Participant).

By owning electronic gold derivative equity shares like GLD, an investor merely is getting diverging price exposure to the fluctuating gold spot price (see the chart for proof of that statement) all the while enjoying the ‘privilege’ of paying 50 basis points or a ½% of their holdings every year.

In late March 2018, the gold spot price was $ 1,346.60 oz USD while the most popular gold ETF GLD was trading at $ 127.61 per share (that is over -5% below the supposed 1/10 oz of gold bullion it purports to represent).

Gold ETF GLD price divergence from gold spot price SD Bullion SDBullion.com

Perhaps gold ETFs are excellent for day traders, but they are wholly inferior to physical gold bullion for longterm holders and value investors. See for example below how well physical gold bullion product like the most popular 1 oz American Gold Eagle coin performed during the last global bank crisis in the fall of 2008 (+25% price premium above the then fluctuating gold spot price).

Price premiums for Physical Gold Bullion in Bank Crisis SD Bullion SDBullion.com

What is the best way to buy Physical Gold Bullion?

For US physical gold bullion buyers, we suggest the best lowest price option for acquiring gold bullion is through the online gold bullion dealer industry. Trouble is there are some which are significant while there are others who have proven track records of poor business practices and even bankruptcy.

To buy physical gold bullion items in bulk can be rather expensive, so much so that even one single failed order could cost you years of hard-earned savings. Thus we don’t care how many times you or others have successfully bought from a specific physical gold bullion dealer before. We suggest that you always perform your proper due diligence on recent customer reviews each time you risk your savings when buying physical gold bullion products online.

We suggest bookmarking hard to rig organic (non-affiliate kickback) gold dealer review websites which have already helped many physical gold bullion buyers avoid losing their hard-earned capital to imploding, incompetent, and or potentially crooked physical gold dealers.

The process for physical gold bullion buying and paying options gets further explored in the following posts we have made on this critical topic ( See here, here, here, and here).

Know that the best physical gold bullion prices you will typically find will be online over locally. The reasons for this often pertain to the economies of scale associated with each respective business model.

High volume online gold bullion dealers typically have way larger gold bullion sales volumes and lower overhead costs without having to pay for a retail storefront and the expenses associated. Online physical gold bullion dealers can market to their entire respective countries of gold bullion delivery, and this fact gives them a much larger population of potential gold bullion buying and selling clients.

Do not misunderstand us here, though. Finding a trusted local coin or gold bullion shop is excellent if you require a quick purchase or a sale for cash. There is also a sensical argument for privacy being stronger in a local coin shop but take note as well.

If you are buying physical gold bullion in bulk ($10,000 fiat US dollars or more), you will still get a paper trail from either a check or bank wire transfer used in payment (this is due to Anti-Money Laundering policies will cover later, known in short by its acronym AML). The employees, other customers, and even bystanders on the street nearby could begin recognizing your face or worse trail you on your way home for future robbery or home invasion.

Bottom line is all physical gold bullion buying choices online or locally have various risks associated. If you do buy physical gold bullion locally, always, always, always still only purchase and take what physical gold bullion the local dealer has on hand. You do not want to end up like this unfortunate soul who will be lucky to even get pennies on her dollars lost, likely only after years of lawsuit battling for them.

When it comes to physical gold bullion buying, you must always perform proper due diligence and use best practices to ensure you get what you are buying at a fair price and delivered in a reasonable amount of time.

We have created various educational resources you can find here to help you do just that.

Thanks for visiting us here at SD Bullion.


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James Anderson
James Anderson
Senior Market Analyst & Content

A bullion buyer years before the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, James Anderson is a grounded precious metals researcher, content creator, and physical investment grade bullion professional. He has authored several Gold & Silver Guides and has been featured on the History Channel, Zero Hedge, Gold-Eagle, Silver Seek, Value Walk and many more. You can pick up Jame's most recent, comprehensive 200+ Page book here at SD Bullion.

Given that repressed commodity values are now near 100-year low level valuations versus large US stocks, James remains convinced investors and savers should buy and maintain a prudent physical bullion position now, before more unfunded promises debase away in the coming decades...