Taking Stock: Silver and Gold

Dear Mr. Berko:

My husband passed away a little over a year ago and left lots of silver commemorative coins, small silver bars, some gold coins, some very small gold bars and quite a few gold chains and bracelets that neither I nor my married children care to keep or wear. The kids seem to think that Dad's gold and silver is worth between $10,000 and $12,000. So we've decided to sell it all. But do you think it's a good time to sell, or should we wait for the prices of gold and silver to move higher? Every once in a while, a big national dealer advertises that they are buying gold, silver, coins and jewelry in our paper. And then they come to town and set up shop for a few days. Is this a good place to sell, or should we use one of the storefront gold and silver dealers here in Columbus?

D.F., Columbus, Ohio

Dear D.F.:

If you don't need the money, I suggest that you keep those items. They may not be important to you or your married children, but you might want to save them for your grandchildren. And when the grandkids are old enough to recognize that Facebook is juvenile and mindless, and that video games are an antisocial response to peer pressure, those gold and silver trinkets could give your grandkids a lot of warm family memories. I had some incunabula that belonged to my father and passed it on to my daughter. But if this idea fails to flick your BIC, then consider the following:

The best time to sell your gold and silver is when the price of those metals has topped and won't rise further. Now, some observers believe gold and silver will rise much higher, some believe prices have peaked and will trade at current levels plus or minus 5 percent and others believe prices will fall. I think all of them will be right at some time or another, but the prevailing sentiment seems to be in favor of higher prices.

However, if a modestly knowledgeable appraisal is $10,000 to $12,000, which isn't much by today's standards, then a possible l5 percent increase in value (that's the consensus) isn't very meaningful in the long run. So sell the stuff, spend the money and help increase our gross domestic product.

But be wise about to whom you sell this stuff. Most of those traveling road show artists who take out full-page newspaper advertisements are as crooked as a Virginia fence. They pay lots of money for advertising, the showrooms they lease cost big bucks, not to mention travel plus room and board for their grifters, most of whom would steal pennies from their dead mother's eyes.

Frankly, they can't afford to pay all those expenses and pay you top dollar, too. So I'm certain as sunshine those gonifs who ease into town for a few days will snooker your socks off. Stay away from those guys because I don't trust their weights and measures. A local coin dealer or jeweler will give you a better price.

But do not--and I repeat--do not sell your cache to the first coin dealer or jeweler you visit. Most of these guys are also greedy as Scrooge and have less conscience than a riverboat gambler.

Here's what to do: Visit two jewelers and have them give you an itemized offer for each piece in the cache. If they won't itemize and insist on giving you a consolidated quote for your items, avoid them like a mudslide. Their kind will steal rings from the fingers of the deceased before the coffin is closed.

Anyhow, get itemized quotes from two jewelers and two coin dealers, and you will be "gabberflasted" at the difference between the four offers. Oh, if the total amount is more than $10,000, get two checks, and each must be for less than $10,000. Banks will flag checks for $10,000 or more, and you want to avoid flagging at all costs, especially today.


Please address your financial questions to Malcolm Berko, P.O. Box 8303, Largo, FL 33775 or e-mail him at mjberko@yahoo.com. Visit Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

© 2011 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Published: Fri, May 13, 2011


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