In 1997, silver bullion, as well as gold bullion and platinum, was approved as investments for American IRAs. Before that time only the gold and silver Eagle coins were approved for IRA holdings. This was excellent news to investors who enjoy investing in silver because the premiums on the American Eagles are often very high, certainly higher per ounce than silver and gold bars. Silver bullion bars and rounds are generally closer to the spot price per ounce, especially if you invest in larger amounts.

The coins approved for IRA investments generally must be at least 99.5 percent pure gold and 99.9 percent pure silver and be legal tender. Silver bullion pieces contain .999 pure silver, making them an excellent investment. In addition to silver bullion, silver Eagles are specifically approved for use as IRA investments. Currently minted silver Eagles can carry very high premiums, but those from previous years are often less expensive.

Due to limitations in the amount which can be invested in tax-deferred IRAs, you may want to purchase 100-oz silver bullion bars or silver coins for holding in your IRA. Silver Eagles are the only U.S. silver coin specifically mentioned, but due to their silver content, the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf may be used as an investment for the IRA. Any silver coin, not .999 pure silver definitely cannot be held in an IRA.

Other Precious Metals as IRA Holdings

Gold bullion and gold Eagles are also allowable for an IRA. Any gold product must be at least .995 pure gold and be legal tender. Using this standard the gold Canadian Maple Leaf, Australian Kangaroo, and Austrian Philharmonics are allowable holdings. Gold bullion bars can be held but generally require a larger investment than silver bullion.

Platinum and palladium may also be used but many investors are wary of these as IRA investments because, until recently, they have only been used for industrial uses. There are now platinum coins available but they are not circulated as currency.

IRA Assets in Held Trust

Whether precious metals or not, assets held in an IRA must be held in trust by an authorized trustee. A trustee is a third party authorized for such holdings and is usually a bank, securities company, or other financial institution. The trustee must be the entity purchasing the asset and be able to accept delivery and store the physical assets. The depository must be in an approved location usually a bank vault or precious metals depository.

For a further guide to IRA/401K rollover rules and regulations look to the link in this line<<<>

Intending to cash in on the rising prices of gold and silver, people are bagging up virtually every scrap of precious metal that they own and flocking to shops that are willing to buy them. Knowing how to appraise, or get the value, of your gold and silver is vital if you are to get a good deal.

The simplest way in which you can appraise the value of a gold or silver item is by considering its bullion value. This is the value of the raw if it were to be melted and recycled, based on its weight and purity. There are a few basic determinants, however, that can tip the scales. Consider the following points on how to appraise gold and silver.

Gold Appraisal Tips

First, check the weight of your gold item, preferably with a pair of digital scales. The heavier the item, the more valuable it is.

Second, use a jeweler’s lops to examine the gold for a hallmark. This is usually found on the reverse of jewelry, and in some cases on the inside of trinket boxes. Most often, gold is mixed with another metal such as copper, depending on its purpose. Purity markings that determine the carat will help you appraise the value of your gold. It is generally expressed either in parts of 24 or in parts per 1000. In either case, the higher the marking, the higher the value of your item.

Third, consider the item itself – if it is a collectible or a coin, it might have more value than a piece of jewelry. For example, a gold watch by a renowned watchmaker will be appraised above its bullion value.

Silver Appraisal Tips

Start by weight your silver items using a digital scale. The current market value of silver is multiplied by its weight to give you its current spot value.

Silver, too, has a purity marking and most silver items will be marked. For example, Sterling silver is said to be of 92.5% purity and will be hallmarked as.925. The general appraisal of silver is in parts of 1000. The higher the number, the purer the item, and the greater its value. If your silver is not hallmarked, test it with an acid tester. This involves rubbing the silver on a stone rubbing slab and then wiping the stone with nitric acid. The color of the stone changes based on the purity of your silver.

Finally, do a lot of research on the silver item in question. The rarity of the object determines its final price, which could turn out to be much more than the melt value of silver. In the case of old coins, their age can give you a price much higher than the silver they are made from.

In summary, the above points provide a basic outline of how to appraise gold and silver. Keeping these points in mind will help you get the right appraisal and get the best value for these precious metals, irrespective of whether you are buying or selling. It is important to keep in mind that the current market values are constantly changing. Therefore, keep up to date with these changes so that you will be able to get the correct appraisal.

Though not one of the most common gold coins in the United States, the American Gold Eagle Coin is one of the official gold bullion coins of the country. These gold coins were first minted in 1986, and they were authorized by the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985.

The obverse side of these American Gold Eagle Coin designs is a slightly different version of the Augustus Saint Gauden depiction of Lady Liberty, with Lady Liberty holding a torch in one hand and an olive branch in the other, with flowing hair and the Capital building in the background.

The reverse side was designed by the sculptor Miley Busiek, and it depicts a flying male eagle holding an olive branch and about to land in a nest with a female eagle and eagle hatchlings. Also on the reverse is the phrase E Pluribus Unum and the phrase In God We Trust, with the latter being required by law on any coin minted in the United States.

The American Gold Eagle coins are produced in 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 1 oz versions, and the United States Government offer a guarantee that each coin contains exactly the listed amount of gold weight in troy ounces. Interestingly enough, United States law also requires that all of the gold used in the coin must come from sources within the United States. Both the United States Mint and United States Congress back the coins for both weight and gold content.

These coins are also unique in that they come in a very large denomination of 50 dollars, a very high face value for a coin, even a gold coin. If obtained by a collector, which will usually be the case with coins of this type and value, the collector can at least take solace that the coin will always be worth its face value. However, with such a large gold content and such a unique design, the coin will almost surely be worth more than its listed face value.

There are also smaller denominations of the coin, with the $5, $10, and $25 versions available to go along with the $50 coins. However, numismatics will show you that such coins are usually worth more than their list face value, and their values are usually much closer to $150, $325, $650, and roughly $1,250. The face values are according to the different weights previously mentioned, but the actual values are tied much closer to the current price of gold.

Gold investing is a field with many options. You can gain exposure to the price performance of this commodity directly by purchasing physical quantities of it in various forms. You can also make profitable ventures into gold through the purchase of stocks and other financial instruments.

Physically Investing in Gold

The most traditional way to invest in gold is to buy it straightforwardly. You can acquire quantities of gold as coins, bars, and some other forms.

Many people prefer this method because it allows them to hold their investment in their hands and they derive satisfaction from that. If you put physical gold in a retirement account, then you may be delayed in holding it yourself because a special, third party will have to keep the gold for you until you officially retire.

Nevertheless, a lot of investors are driven to this type of investment because they lose confidence in their more abstract investments in stocks and bonds that seem to exist only on paper.

Physical investments typically occur in the form of coins or bars. Other types of physical investment resemble these first two. For example, there are rounds and proofs, which look like coins but are not usually counted among the legal tender of a country as gold coins are. You can also buy collectible coins or coins salvaged from shipwrecks. These are also gold investments but they naturally incorporate other values in their purchases as well.

Gold Coins

Several different countries mint gold coins annually. You will have a hard time finding many from certain periods in the 20th century, such as the 1970s. Many nations abandoned the gold standard and stopped issuing gold coins.

South Africa, with the infamous Krugerrand, was one of the few exceptions. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, many countries began issuing gold coins again. Examples include the American Gold Eagle and the Chinese Gold Panda.

Most of the examples contained here are considered legal tender for use in business transactions occurring within the borders of the country which manages each mint. However, given that the value of gold is so high, it would not make sense to use the coins in that fashion. For example, most one-ounce gold coins are given face values of anywhere from 10 to 50 units of their currency but the actual value of a gold ounce is more than 1,000 units of most such currencies.

American Gold Eagle

The US Mint strikes more gold Eagles every year. These coins are given a face value of $50 and show a bald eagle on one face. These US coins are almost unique among gold currencies in the world because the mint purposely mixes small amounts of silver and copper into the alloy.

This gives the strength of the coin and helps them resist the wear that brings down the value of many other coins. The American Gold Eagle sells well above the spot price because of these factors.

Chinese Gold Panda

The Chinese got into the gold mining business in the 1980s. Their gold panda is known for its purity. These coins also change design periodically, giving each batch a boost of numismatic value.

Canadian Gold Maple Leaf

The Canadians are known for the high level of purity in their coins. Each gold maple leaf coin is rated with a .9999 fineness. This essentially means that they are 100% pure, as there is no higher fineness rating.

Battle With Gold:

The situation has changed. Investment in this safe zone is now a complicated and risky task for business enterprises and individuals. Employment is rather more complicated than in past years. And this is all happening because the plague of the financial crisis is all around the globe.

The crisis started to show its impact in the middle of 2007 and 2008 when many stock markets crumbled and several other financial institutions collapsed bursting out unemployment as the major issue in the country. Many wealthiest Nations were compiled to seek a rescue package to bail out their financial systems. In this volatile financial condition, it is obvious that investors are more concerned about safe investments so to survive in this thorny period of crisis. So what can be as simple as the solution?

Today, it is the foremost question hovering in everyone’s mind.

Invest In Gold & Silver:

Gold and silver have always been a better solution in the crucial period of financial crisis. Even in the great depression period (1932-1936) when the price of gold was fixed by the government, the value of silver doubled rewarding its investors with a good return. Similarly, in the next long bear market which was 1968-1980. Silver rose from around $2 in 1968 to a peak near $50 in 1980. It is the Economical trend that Gold stock will raise during inflation and deflation. Investing in gold is good inflation protection. Where gold rises as the value of the dollar fall. And as the government lowers the interest rates significantly and wildly prints money creating inflation to offset that deflation. So, this leads to substantially higher gold prices. Thus, investing in gold coins lowers risk in our investment portfolio.

Reasons to Invest in Silver:

Silver is a precious metal that is used and valued as money. Because the supply of Silver can not simply be printed or supplies increased with a simple computer data entry, it retains its purchasing power over time. Expanding the supply of silver is a methodical, enduring process that requires significant human effort, investment, exploration, discovery, production, transportation, and storage of a physical item. The precious metal element of investment is very attractive when other currencies are losing their purchasing power.

Silver has unique characteristics that are nearly invaluable for commercial use. Silver is used and consumed by all modern societies. It is used in medical supplies, photography, computer chips, and in the ever-increasing aspect of our lives. Because most products such as a computer require a very small quantity of metal in the finished product, the users of the metal will pay nearly any price for silver in a potential shortage. With great up-and-coming nations such as China and India with billions of new consumers, commercial demand for silver is yet one more extremely bullish factor to consider.

Another key reason to invest in silver is the acknowledgment of “paper silver” and its negative impact on the price of real silver. Paper silver is a paper contract representing silver that may not necessarily be backed by an actual physical silver bar. E.g.:

Financial institutions currently sell silver certificates for pooled silver accounts. We understand these pooled account certificates may be well more than actual silver available anywhere in the world. Any short position held by institutions is potentially a huge suppressant to the free market silver price.

The futures markets are another example of a paper contract representing physical silver. It is believed there are more short contract positions in the silver futures markets than can be physically delivered if required. This unnatural condition may be another price appreciation inhibitor.

Silvers price spiked exceptionally like in the 1970s when silver climbed from under two dollars to over fifty dollars. This is an aggressive appreciation of about 2700%. We believe we are currently in similar market conditions and could potentially have a repeat of this significant growth.

Reasons to invest in Gold:

According to the World Gold Council, members of the Central Bank Gold Agreement sold 297 metric tons of gold so far in this agreement year. This suggests that the full 500-tone quota will not be released to the markets this year. Less supply usually means a higher price.

Production from the world’s gold mines remains flat. The big gold price increases seen over the past few years have not stimulated any significant global gold production increase. Indeed, the output may well show a small decline over the next few years. Production is already falling off a cliff in South Africa, formerly the world’s biggest gold producer.

Jewelry demand in India, the biggest fabrication market on Earth, is beginning to pick up again while emerging markets like China and Vietnam are having a sharp impact as their populations get more money and therefore buy more gold.

SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) formerly known as Street Tracks Gold ETF, which an exchange-traded fund that holds physical gold and tracks the metal very closely. As inflation takes off and the value of the dollar goes down, gold should go up.