Glossary of Gold IRA terms

Ag – The chemical symbol for silver.

Ask – The price at which a dealer offers to sell.

Assay A test to ascertain the quality and purity of a gold or silver product. When a gold or silver product ships with an “assay”, this is a guarantee from the assayer that the product in question does contain the described amount and purity of gold or silver.

Au – The chemical symbol for gold derived from “aurum,” the Latin word for gold.

Bank Wire – An electronic transfer of funds through the Federal Reserve System from one financial institution to another.

Bar – Metal formed into a convenient shape for shipping, storing or further processing.

Base Metal – Also known as pot metal; a mixture of non-precious metals. It is frequently used as a base for gold-filled, gold-plated or rolled gold plate coverings.

Bear Market – A description forinvestment markets, such as stock markets or precious metals markets where prices are or are soon expected to decline. The opposite of a bear market is a bull market.

BidThe price at which a dealer is willing to buy.

Brilliant Uncirculated – A coin that has never been in circulation and is shiny, new and immaculate condition.

Bull Market – Describes investment markets, such as stock markets or metals markets in which prices are or are soon expected to be on the rise. The opposite of a bull market is a bear market.

Bullion – Gold, silver, platinum or palladium coins that closely follow spot prices and have little or no numismatic value (such as restrikes and modern sovereign mint bullion coins).

Bullion Coin – A precious metal coin whose market value is determined by its intrinsic precious metal content. They are bought and sold mainly for investment purposes. They may be produced by a sovereign mint with a denominated face value but will be considered as bullion because they trade at a price relative to its intrinsic value.

Bullion Precious Metals – Includes gold, silver, platinum and palladium. These metals are traded based on their intrinsic metal value and typically are delivered in a specific trading shape such as a wafer, bar, ingot, round or coin.

Buy/Sell Spreads – The difference between a precious metals trader’s buying prices and selling prices, relative to the spot price of the metal traded.

Cert – Short for certified, meaning rated by a third-party grading service.

Certified Coins – Coins that are submitted for encapsulation by an independent grading service to verify the quality, authenticity or state of preservation.

Circulated – Coins distributed to the public, as currency are typically in much worse condition than uncirculated coins.

Coin – A stamped piece of metal of a known weight and fineness issued for commerce.

Coin Grading – Evaluating the quality or condition of a coin using a specific set of standards.

Coin Of The Realm – A legal-tender coin issued by a government and meant for general circulation.

Coinage – – A stamped piece of metal of a known weight and fineness issued for commerce.

Collector (coin) – Coins not issued for general circulation. Special coins issued at a slight premium specifically for collectors.

Commodity – A physical product commonly traded and maintains its value based on industrial and commercial value.

Condition – The condition of a gold or silver bar, round, or coin. Common conditions are “New”, “Varied”, “Brilliant Uncirculated”, “Proof”, “Circulated”, etc.

Custodian – A financial institution that holds customers’ securities for safekeeping to minimize the risk of their theft or loss. A custodian holds securities and other assets in electronic or physical form.

Delivery – The exchange by which an underlying commodity, cash or other delivery instrument is tendered and received by the contract holder.

Denomination – A currency amount usually for coins or banknotes.

Depository – A place where something is deposited for safekeeping.

Depository or Warehouse Receipt – A document issued by a depository institution indicating ownership of a commodity stored in a vault or warehouse.

Device – A design found on a coin. Frequently, it is the bust or profile of a person who symbolizes a particular country at a particular time in history, or a country’s coat of arms or insignia.

Diversification – A means of managing risk accomplished by mixing different types of assets within a single portfolio. The goal of diversification is to minimize the impact that the performance of any one security will have on the overall performance of the whole portfolio. As such, diversification lowers the risk associated with the portfolio.

Divisibility – The ease to piece out and distribute a fixed weight of a certain product.

Diwali  – The ‘festival of lights celebrated’ in the Hindu, Sikh and Jain religions.

Early Release – Coins that are received by a third-party grading service within the first 30 days of the original release date.

Early Strike – Coins that are received by a third-party grading service within the first 30 days of the original release date.

Edge – The third surface of a coin, not the obverse or the reverse. The edge of a coin may be reeded, lettered or plain.

EF – Items that are in Extra Fine condition. All design elements are sharp and well defined.

Face Value – The monetary value of an investment coin, which does not necessarily correspond to its actual worth.

Field – The open area or background on a coin.

Fine Gold – The purity or fineness of a gold coin or gold bullion item. Pure gold is 24 karat, or .999 fine, gold.

Fine Silver – The purity or fineness of a silver coin or silver bullion item. Pure silver is 99.9 percent or greater in purity.

Fine Weight – The metallic weight of a coin, ingot or bar, as opposed to the item’s gross weight, which includes the weight of the alloying metal.

Fineness – The purity of a precious metal measured in 1,000 parts: A gold bar of .995 fineness contains 995 parts gold and 5 parts of another metal.

First Strike – Coins that are received by a third-party grading service within the first 30 days of the original release date.

Flip – A flexible plastic holder, used for storage purposes that include a slot on opposing sides used to house a coin.

Gold IRA – An investment vehicle used by individuals to save for retirement that includes gold bullion or coins, or other approved precious metals and non-precious metals assets.

Gold – A precious yellow metallic element that is resistant to oxidation and is highly ductile and malleable. Gold has long been used as a store of wealth and a standard for currencies worldwide and has been used in coinage, jewelry and in numerous industrial applications.

Gold-Silver Ratio – The amount of silver you can buy with one ounce of gold, based on present spot prices.

Grade – The condition of an item determined by its wear, or lack thereof.

Grading Service – An independent company that grades numismatic or bullion coins. Generally, graded coins are encapsulated in plastic, a procedure called “slabbing.” PCGS and NGC are the two dominant grading services in the United States.

Hallmarking  – A hallmark is an official mark guaranteeing the purity of the precious metal. Hallmarks will vary from country to country but will generally give information such as who made the item, the guaranteed level of fineness, the year in which it was made and the mark of the assaying/hallmarking entity.

IRA – An investing tool used by individuals to earn and earmark funds for retirement savings. Sometimes referred to as individual retirement arrangements, IRAs can hold a range of financial products such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds or precious metals The three main types of IRAs each have different advantages:

  • Traditional IRA – You make contributions with money you may be able to deduct on your tax return, and any earnings can potentially grow tax-deferred until you withdraw them in retirement.
  • Roth IRA – You make contributions with money you’ve already paid taxes on (after-tax), and your money may potentially grow tax-free, with tax-free withdrawals in retirement, provided that certain conditions are met.2
  • Rollover IRA – A traditional IRA intended for money “rolled over” from a qualified retirement plan. Rollovers involve moving eligible assets from an employer-sponsored plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), into an IRA.

Junk Silver – Any silver product that contains less than 90% silver content. Ex: pre-1965 US coins.

Karat – Measurement of purity used in showing the fineness of gold, scaled 1 to 24. One karat is 1/24 pure gold. 24 karat is pure gold.

Legal Tender – Coins that can be used as national currency. Ex: The 1 Ounce American Gold Eagle has legal tender of $50 USD.

Liquidity – The quality of being readily convertible into cash.

Liquid Market – A market characterized by the ability to buy and sell with relative ease.

Luster – The appearance of a coin’s surface, either satiny, frosty or proof like.

Mint (adj.) – Undamaged as if freshly made.

Mint (n.) – The facility where a coin or bar was manufactured.

Mint (v.) – To produce a coin by stamping metal.

Mintage – Total number of items issued with the exact same design elements.

Mintmark – Letter(s) added to a coin to indicate the city associated with where the coin was made.

Mint luster – The sheen or reflective qualities that are produced during the minting process.

Mint State – A coin in the same condition that it was when leaving the facility where it was made.

Modern issue – Generally accepted as coins issued within the last 20-25 years.

Numismatic Coins – Coins whose prices depend more on their rarity, condition, dates and mint marks than on their gold or silver content, if any.

Numismatics – The study of coins, currency and metallic art.

Numismatist – Coin collector or expert.

Obverse – The “front” side of a coin, usually bearing a head or face design.

Ounce (oz.) – A unit of weight. In the precious metals industry, an ounce means a troy ounce equal to 31.1035 grams.

Palladium – A rare silver-white metal of the platinum group. Palladium resembles platinum chemically, is extracted from some copper and nickel ores and is primarily used as an industrial catalyst and in jewelry.

Paper Precious Metals – Any precious metal investment that doesn’t result in the investor holding gold or silver in hand or at an approved depository.

Platinum – A heavy, malleable, ductile, precious, gray-white transition metal, platinum is used in jewelry, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts, dentistry and automobile emissions control devices.

Precious Metals IRA – A self-directed individual retirement account (IRA) that allows you to invest in your choice of IRA approved products, including precious metals and non-precious metals assets.

Proof – A coin struck with greater pressure than normal using special dye to make the design more highly polished. Proof coins are collectibles and trade at a higher premium than brilliant uncirculated or circulated versions of the same coin.

Proof Set – A set of all coins issued during a specific year. These coins are struck multiple times to bring out the features of the designs. They are also specially handled to keep imperfections at a minimum.

Pt – The chemical symbol for Platinum.

Purity – The gold or silver content contained within a bar, round, or coin. Usually displayed as .XXX. The amount of the relationship between metals. The higher the purity, the better quality the metal.

Reverse – The “back” side of a coin, with an alternate design usually displaying the coin’s purity and face value.

Rollover – A rollover occurs when transferring the holdings of one retirement plan to another without suffering tax consequences.

Safe Haven – A safe haven is an investment that is expected to retain or increase in value during times of market duress. Safe havens are sought after by investors to limit their exposure to losses in the event of market declines or volatility.

Self-Directed IRA – A self-directed individual retirement account (SDIRA) is an individual retirement account (IRA) where the investor is in charge of making all the investment decisions. Designed for independent investors, self-directed IRAs allow the owner to invest in a much broader array of assests than with a traditional or Roth IRA.

Silver – A soft-white lustrous transition metal, silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal and occurs both in minerals and in free form. Silver is extensively used in coins, jewelry, tableware and photography.

Spot Gold Price – The constantly fluctuating price of gold in the markets. The closing spot price varies with markets located in numerous cities and countries throughout the world.

Spot Price – The live, up-to-date price of gold or silver as determined by the latest trades on the futures market, as well as the OTC markets.

Tax Deferred – Tax-deferred status refers to investment earnings such as interest, dividends, or capital gains that accumulate tax-free until investors take receipt of the gains. Individual retirement accounts are one of the most common type of tax-deferred investments. Tax deferral allows growth to be compounded on the portion of earnings not lost to taxation.

Ton – A unit of weight equal to 2,000 pounds or 907.2 kilograms.

Tonne – A unit of weight equal to 2,204.6 pounds or 1,000 kilograms.

Variety – Coins that differ from their basic design type in some distinctive way and are thus differentiated by collectors.

Vault Receipt – A document used as a delivery instrument to indicate ownership of precious metals stored in a bank, warehouse or depository

Weight – The stamped weight of a bar, round, or coin.

Wire Transfer – A wire transfer is an electronic transfer of funds across a network administered by hundreds of banks around the world. Wire transfers enable individualized sending of funds from single individuals or entities to other individuals or entities, while still maintaining the efficiencies associated with the fast and secure movement of money.

Year – The year of issue for a gold or silver coin.