Professional Numismatists Guild offers three expert tips to avoid gold scams

Following the recent fraud charges filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission against a California gold seller, a trade group composed of veteran precious-metals experts is urging investors to take three important steps before making any purchases of gold, silver, or platinum bullion coins or ingots.

“To avoid paying too much when you buy, or receiving too little when you sell, and to avoid potential scams, investors absolutely must know the credentials of the bullion dealer—not just what the dealer may tout on TV advertisements or with a fancy website,” cautioned Barry Stuppler of Woodland Hills, California, president of the nonprofit Professional Numismatists Guild.

“If you don’t know gold, you’d better know your gold dealer,” Stuppler emphasized.

The Temecula, California–based Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) was founded in 1955. Two years ago, PNG established an Accredited Precious Metals Dealer (APMD) program to provide consumer and investor protection in the marketplace. APMD members must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics in the buying and selling of precious metals. The firm that was recently sued by the CFTC is not a member of the APMD program.

“The second step investors must take is know the current spot price of the precious metal they want to buy or sell. Bullion items, such as the American Eagle, Canadian Maple Leaf, and South African Krugerrand usually sell for only about three to five percent above the current spot price depending on the quantity purchased. Beware of high-pressure selling prices that would force you to wait for gold or silver to double or triple in value before you could make a profit,” warned Stuppler.

“The third step is to take prompt delivery of the bullion items you purchase. Be wary of sellers who want to keep and store your gold, or claim it will take months to deliver items to you. The reason many people buy precious-metal coins and ingots is because of their liquidity, but if you don’t have possession of the items then you can’t act quickly when you want to sell,” said Stuppler, who also is president of the California Coin and Bullion Merchants Association.

For additional information about the Accredited Precious Metals Dealer program, call the Professional Numismatists Guild at (951) 587-8300 or visit the website of the AMPD. A list of APMD member-dealers is online here.

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  1. KEITHSTER says

    Or you can buy it from the mint and know for sure you paid too much! Or wait till you sell to go haaaa whaatf Well Good Luck Anyway

  2. KCSO says

    “Buy the coin, not the label” – a bunch of wise ole souls that used to post here,

    “Buy as close to spot, ’cause Moderns will never be rare” – KCSO (well, not really, but I’ll take credit for posting it here 😉

    “If you don’t know gold, you’d better know your Interest rates” – something Cag would say

    “Paper is poverty,… it is only the ghost of money, and not money itself.” – Thomas Jefferson

  3. Jerry Diekmann says

    Good advice. It’s amazing how many people are fooled into buying gold from hucksters at much too high prices -the guy from HSN, otherwise a respected channel – is an example, or sell their gold at much too low prices to crooks who stage buying offices at hotels and then quickly depart, never to be seen again.

  4. gatortreke says

    “Paper is poverty,… it is only the ghost of money, and not money itself.” – Thomas Jefferson

    I wonder what Jefferson would have to say about cryptocurrencies?

    Re: HSN, I would never buy a coin (or anything else for that matter) from him/HSN just as I wouldn’t from any of the tv marketers but to be fair to them, they can’t sell their coins anywhere close to spot like many other dealers. They have high costs that need to be covered including a fancy studio, television time, etc…. These things aren’t cheap. The thing most need to remember about such is that the cable marketers are SELLING you something rather than you BUYING it. Buyers are people who seek something of interest and go out and search for it rather than have someone present something for the purpose of convincing you to buy it. It isn’t any different from the old market square sellers shouting at the top of their lungs or folks who came to your door to sell encyclopedias. The medium has changed but not the message. If you are being sold something, you are probably paying too much for it.

  5. Sith says

    Not sure what this has to do with physical gold purchases

    “According to the Complaint, Monex offers leveraged trading in gold, silver, platinum and palladium to retail customers through its “Atlas” program.

    “The commission has asked a judge to stop the company from continuing to offer the leveraged commodities trades to retail clients. It is also seeking to have Monex provide full restitution to harmed customers and to disgorge any ill-gotten gains.”

  6. cagcrisp says

    AM Gold Fix $1,306.90

    PM Gold Fix $1,300.05

    To get a Gold Decrease tomorrow we have to have a PM Gold Fix Below $1,300.00…

  7. cagcrisp says

    Yellen gave a speech today in Cleveland and hinted that “Fed should be wary of moving too gradually”.

    Banks went UP

    Precious metals went Down…

  8. Louis says

    OT- Just got my NGC grades from 15 proof Libertads of different sizes from 1/20th oz to 5 oz.
    and I got 11 70’s and 4 69’s, which is a good result and justifies the fees.

  9. Daveinswfl says

    Yellen is just yellin’! Talk is cheap. Start worrying if and when they actually DO something to ” normalize ” rates and actually unload most of their balance sheet. Meanwhile, stack ’em while you can🤑

  10. Scott says

    @ gatortreke, you are so right about the tv marketers. In general, I think that coin shows are the best place to buy because the dealers are competing (to some degree) for your business. There is also more variety at a coin show and for me, it’s all about the thrill of the hunt.

  11. cagcrisp says

    17XA 2017 AM LIBERTY 24K GOLD 1 OZ 24,703 +69
    17XB 2017 AM LIBERTY SILVER MEDAL (P) 45,171 +311
    17XC 2017 225TH ANN ENHANCED UNC SET 194,661 +1,088

  12. cagcrisp says

    16AN 2016 ATB SILVER UNC 5 OZ – FT MLTR 17,550 + 18
    17AJ 2017 ATB SILVER UNC 5 OZ – EFF MNDS 15,864 + 23
    17AK 2017 ATB SILVER UNC 5 OZ – DOUGLASS 15,864 + 48
    17AL 2017 ATB SILVER UNC 5 OZ – OZARK 15,044 + 90
    17AM 2017 ATB SILVER UNC 5 OZ – ELLIS ISLAND 15,891 +282

  13. cagcrisp says

    16XA 2016 WALKING LIBERTY 24K GOLD .5OZ 64,299 + 53
    16XC 2016 STANDING LIBERTY 24K GOLD .25OZ 90,188 +54

  14. cagcrisp says

    16EA 2016 AM EAGLE SILVER PROOF 1 OZ 572,877 +341

    16EB 2016 AM EAGLE GOLD PROOF 1 OZ 23,747 + 6

    16EG 2016 AM EAGLE SILVER UNC 1 OZ 206,711 (139)

  15. cagcrisp says

    17EB 2017 AM EAGLE GOLD PROOF 1 OZ 6,442 +94
    17EC 2017 AM EAGLE GOLD PROOF 1/2 OZ 1,513 + 38
    17ED 2017 AM EAGLE GOLD PROOF 1/4 OZ 2,417 + 53
    17EE 2017 AM EAGLE GOLD PROOF 1/10 OZ 10,143 + 226
    17EF 2017 AM EAGLE GOLD PROOF 4-COIN SET 8,521 + 75

    17EG 2017 AM EAGLE SILVER UNC 1 OZ 124,349 +638

    17EH 2017 AM EAGLE GOLD UNC 1 OZ 4,535 +36

    17EJ 2017 AM EAGLE PLATINUM PROOF 1 OZ 8,957 (35)

    17EL 2017 AM BUFFALO GOLD PROOF 1 OZ 13,287 +100

  16. cagcrisp says

    17CA 2017 BOYS TOWN GOLD PROOF 1,408 + 1
    17CB 2017 BOYS TOWN GOLD UNC 2,030 +17
    17CC 2017 BOYS TOWN SILVER PROOF 23,391 +92
    17CD 2017 BOYS TOWN SILVER UNC 9,854 +20
    17CE 2017 BOYS TOWN CLAD PROOF 16,245 +27
    17CF 2017 BOYS TOWN CLAD UNC 14,213 +37
    17CG 2017 BOYS TOWN 3-COIN SET 5,092 +12

    17CH 2017 LIONS CLUBS SILVER PROOF 65,154 +57
    17CJ 2017 LIONS CLUBS SILVER UNC 16,453 +14

  17. cagcrisp says

    JQ1 2015 FS GOLD PROOF 1/2 OZ – TRUMAN 2,713 + 5
    JQ2 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ – TRUMAN 1,906 +8
    JQ4 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ – EISENHWR 2,051 +7
    JQ6 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ – KENNEDY 6,771 –
    JQ8 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ – JOHNSON 1,841 + 8

    16SA 2016 FS GOLD PROOF 1/2 OZ – NIXON 2,593 +3
    16SB 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ – NIXON 1,680 +2
    16SC 2016 FS GOLD PROOF 1/2 OZ – FORD 2,407 + 4
    16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ – FORD 1,662 +2
    16SE 2016 FS GOLD PROOF 1/2 OZ – REAGAN 3,442 +2
    16SF 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ – REAGAN 1,922 +3

  18. cagcrisp says

    The Mint’s bullion site is “supposed” to have updated sales by 5PM ET.

    Today’s Palladium Still shows sales numbers of 15,000

    Once the updated happened and NO more palladium sales were listed, APMEX sold a little over 200 Palladium coins in short order.

    To put this in context, there hasn’t been but a few more than 200 coins sold in 7 days on APMEX site.

    ONCE APMEX sells out an offering, IF they get more the price is Increased.

    ONCE APMEX sold out originally on the Douglass puck the price Increased.

    ONCE APMEX sold out originally on the Ellis Island puck the price Increased.

    When there is a Mint SO on any item APMEX will soon thereafter raise prices.

    IF you want a Palladium from APMEX, you better get one of the remaining 64 OR you will have to pay more in the NEAR term. (Long term a Lot of factors).

    I’m not a buyer …

    …SO…I’m not pumping anything…

  19. Louis says

    Cag- In the past when the Mint sold out of bullion pucks to the AP’s, they announced it and the number. So wouldn’t they have done the same with palladium if the 15K was it? That’s why I believe there is at least a possibility more are coming.

  20. cagcrisp says

    @Louis, the mint has been very tight lipped about this offering. Really doesn’t make any sense. It either is or it isn’t. Don’t know why they want to make it a Great Mystery out of it…

  21. Louis says

    Thanks, CC. I agree. As I see it, these actions are distorting the market. While I accept that markets never work perfectly, buyers should have this info. to make informed decisions, and the confusion allows sellers to hype things.

    By the way, my deep dive on the coin is out now over at Coin Update. Any and all comments are welcomed.

  22. KEITHSTER says

    I see the APE is now listed as sold out! So it could come out under 9,000 but who knows with the way the #’s jump on that one? But the Mint did cancel one that was processing since 8-10 even after I reordered what I think was my own coin on 8-18 as there was only one available and l got that one with the one from the 10th still in process till the cancel so nice story glad it’s over Well Good Luck All”>

  23. says

    I think since companies like MCM say a mintage limit of 15,000, then I think they must know something about it.
    I don’t anticipate the mintage increasing above 15,000.
    Time will tell.

  24. gatortreke says

    Louis: Nice article re: the palladium coin. I haven’t really followed the news about this coin so your article is a great primer.

  25. Old Big Bird says

    Cagcrisp – what are the odds that two of the 5oz ATB Silver coins would have the exact sales quantity
    Effigy Mounds 15864 and Douglass 15864 could that be a miss entry???

  26. cagcrisp says

    @Old Big Bird , I saw that and that Ellis Island has surpassed both Effigy and Douglass Until the Initial returns have kicked in for Ellis Island…

  27. cagcrisp says

    AM Gold Fix $1,291.30

    There WILL BE a Gold Decrease this Afternoon IF PM Gold Fix Remains under $1,300.00…

  28. Gold man says

    For those excited about the palladium coin, first year issues always seem to me to be losers as the it is often the highest mintage year. Sure 15,000 people may want one now because it’s the first one ever but check out the 86 proof and mint state gold eagle, or the 2006 proof buffalo, or the Martha Washington proof spouse coin. Not to say there won’t be lots of money to be made on the first us palladium coin, but I think the long term price could go either way. Just my thoughts….

  29. cagcrisp says

    @Louis , Another Good Article…

    From Louis article, “There was also a requirement that a feasibility study be conducted to assess the market outlook for the coins. That study, performed in 2013 by the CPM Group, estimated that the bullion coin would sell about 100,000 pieces but then decline after the first year.”

    That tells you something about the state of the coin world.

    100,000 sales expected in 2013 study and …

    …in 2017 that number has been ratcheted Down to 15,000 actual sales…

  30. So Krates says

    @ Gold man – Good point, I agree. But the 1986 ASE brings a nice little premium…

    and don’t forget the first Proof and Mint sets bring BIG money (but the mintages were low at first then grew large)

  31. So Krates says

    I guess for the year based on Louis’ wording. But even four years ago that estimate seems way out of whack based on the Pd ML sales.

  32. Louis says

    Yes, the 100K was for year 1, and seems wildly optimistic. What is strange is why they thought they would sell 100K, yet it would not be profitable. In 2013 the metal was right in the $700-range for the year.

  33. cagcrisp says

    @Dustyroads, The Mints survey for the Winged Liberty Head Dime, the Standing Liberty Quarter and the Walking Liberty Half were WAY UNDER the actual Mintages…

  34. Mintman says

    I believe the quality of these will be decent for bullion strikes but not up to numismatic MS 70 standards
    That’s why I went with the presale PCGS MS70

  35. Louis says

    I also think being a new coin, new metal, and first non-gold high relief (all new areas for the mint), the grades will be lower than usual.

  36. data dave says

    @Louis – Isn’t grading both subjective and relative? So the main thing that determines grade distribution is the consistently of the output? So if theoretically the mint turned out 15K identical palladium coins, they all should get the same grade. If the are careful about handling after they are struck then there wouldn’t be any marks to lower the grade either.

    For instance, with the gold mercury dime, there was talk of finning which should have been a manufacturing defect, but I never heard that it affected the grade of the coin.

    I honestly don’t understand why the very slight difference between a 69 and 70 coin drives the cost to be double or higher. I can see if it is very rare, but even more common coins there is a big difference.

  37. Ryan says

    I’m such a sucker for Canadian mint coins, just ordered the 125th anniversary Stanley Cup coin!! I’m predicting it will be extremely popular

  38. Mike in NY says

    I’m thinking of picking up the 225th anniversary liberty gold now that the price has been reduced. Anyone know if the mint plans on ending sales end of year or will this be around for a while? For those who have purchased one, what do you think of it? Any buyers remorse? Long term potential?

  39. data dave says

    @Mike in NY – I haven’t purchased the 225th Gold coin, but I think it has at least one thing going for it, no flippers bought it. I haven’t heard how long it will be on sale for though.

  40. says

    Wow, I just noticed that spot palladium is now higher than platinum
    $936 for palladium vs $925 for platinum…I can’t recall the last time that happened

  41. Tom says

    Yes. The race is on. Palladium is now more valuable than platinum. Will it hold? Or….once things level off, will the new palladium purchasers feel like they’ve been scammed and find they are the new subjects in the next article? Time will tell.

  42. says

    I don’t believe it has ever happened before.

    The disconnect between the two metals within the PGM family group is very interesting.

  43. Ryan says

    I wonder how much the mint issuing coins has to do with it. My theory is that palladium is so thinly traded that the act of the mint buying blanks sent prices higher and in a world of robot trades the number of articles mentioning palladium may have set off the trigger for them to buy. Just a theory but palladium is overvalued at this point

  44. cagcrisp says


    7,100,000 ounces of palladium mined worldwide in 2016…

    …And …

    15,000 ounces for the US Mint has moved the Needle…


  45. Ryan says

    Yes because it may be that supply was tight and this was unaccounted for demand. Sometimes it’s not the size of the order it’s the order size vs. expectation

  46. cagcrisp says


    “unaccounted for demand” This palladium law was passed in 2015.

    The 15,000 mint tail has wagged a 7,100,000 world wide dog to the tune of $132 in 6 months, $227 in 1 year, $292 in 5 years and $479 since 2000…


  47. Ryan says


    Palladium is a rare and thinly traded metal, just because someone says they will buy something in the future doesn’t mean you can ramp up production to accommodate. Kind of like saying “wow” before something doesn’t make it more meaningful, it just makes you a jerk.

  48. So Krates says


    I don’t know about y’all but if someone offered me an ounce of platinum or an ounce of palladium today, I’d still take the platinum. It’s about 80% denser. Ever hold a 1 oz Pt coin or a beefy men’s PLAT wedding band in the center of your palm ? You can’t help move your hand up and down in the air marveling at the heft such a small piece of metal can possess.

    BTW anyone who wants an “American” palladium coin but doesn’t want another cheesy Merc redux can get one of those 2004 Stillwater Lewis & Clark rounds. High quality strikes minted by Johnson Matthey. They usually come sealed in the original assay card. They made bars and fractionals, too.

  49. earthling says

    Palladium was once up over a $1000 back maybe around 2001 wasn’t it? Gold and Platinum were very low then.

    Every thing seems to go in cycles with PMs . Rhodium was over $10,000 back around 2007 or 2008.

    Now Palladium and Rhodium are both climbing up again.

    Lately I’m more into good Pizza than PMs. 😎

  50. So Krates says

    “Lately I’m more into good Pizza than PMs. ”

    Too bad you live in Detroit then.

    One time I was there I (foolishly) asked for brown rice. The guy took white rice and mixed some soy sauce up in there. Yeah

  51. Scott says

    Platinum is pretty scarce at most shows I’ve attended and palladium is virtually nonexistent. There are many dealers that won’t mess with platinum because it tends to have greater price fluctuations than gold and it’s not as widely accepted as gold. I would expect that any dealer who buys palladium on the secondary market would only do so at a considerable discount to the spot price.

  52. So Krates says

    There is an inverse square pizza law which states the further you get from NYC the quality of pizza drops off exponentially. E.g., Kansas pizza is twice as bad as VA pizza which is twice as bad as Pennsy pizza which is about 2 times worse than NY pizza. By the time you get to Utah, it’s sh*t on a shingle. You get a slight uptick once you can see the Pacific.

  53. Louis says

    @Scott- I had no trouble selling 2 palladium 1 oz. bars (PAMP in fact) to my local dealer for right around spot a couple years ago.

  54. Ryan says


    I sold my palladium to JM and I believe they even paid above spot by a good amount but they were Canadian maples

  55. KCSO says

    Need some thoughts here –

    Gold Spot – $1,284 (down $10 today from $18 down yesterday, or $1,313)

    I need to pick up some Au pieces for the collection.

    Could one assume that the December rate hike and stronger dollar is now baked into gold prices, OR is there further downside come December?

    Barring anymore stupidity from Rocketboy, inflation is negligible, and we get a rate hike in December, we looking at further downside in gold? 5%? 10%?


  56. Ryan says

    Past couple years we’ve had the lowest gold prices around Christmas time and usually good sales by the big dealers because no one has extra money to spend. I’ve been buying here but only because of some unexpected money that came my way and I don’t need or want to buy anything in the near future. I also think we haven’t seen the end of ten Korea drama, if they were to shoot down one of our jets one would think gold would have a big gain.

  57. Ryan says

    With that said……the market could rally and we could see $11XX .XX gold by Christmas. With the fed unwinding supposedly it looks to me too much like 1929. I’d rather have the gold in my possession a little early than too late.

  58. Tom P. - MA says

    Not sure what to make of you yet Ryan. A troll, or at least a serious collector with a strange sense of humor? I looked up yearly production of palladium myself and was shocked at the 6-7 million ounces. 15,000 ounces should have a negligible effect. (In my mind anyway).

    Trying to guess the future price of any commodity is a coin flip. I buy myself a gold coin every Christmas no matter what the price. Who deserves it more than me? The size of the coin does vary year to year.

  59. Ryan says

    I’m not a troll….. if you guys don’t agree that’s fine but the mint coming in and buying can affect price. Think of a stock with very low daily volume, every day a few hundred shares are traded and it goes up and down, all of a sudden the volume spikes and since the stock is usually low volume there isn’t very many shares that float, meaning that there’s not that many shares even available for purchase……the price spikes because the person who’s buying is buying a set amount and doesn’t care at what price. This distorts the price even after the sale is done, what was that sp Je in volume? Does someone know something that he rest of the market doesn’t know? Even if it wasn’t enough to fool people the bot traders saw it and it changes their decisions on buying and selling.

    also if someone knows that the us mint is out buying something, I would bet that they aren’t offered the best price, and I would also guess that the mint doesn’t really care because it’s not their money anyway.

    Plus I’m not sure but if they only bought “American palladium” the largest company only produced 118,000 oz in 2016! OS buying from one producer in one market can send prices for a ride if everyone raises in lockstep. Palladium isn’t the gold market, the prices set are done buy 4 banks or something stupid like that (don’t quote me) but it’s not a free moving market. The price is set twice per day between these banks on a phone call!!!! It’s a market ripe for manipulation and it very frequently is.

    Who knows maybe I’m way off the mark here and that’s fine, but there’s no reason to be rude.

  60. So Krates says

    “Barring anymore stupidity from Rocketboy”

    If you can separate out the demonization and fear mongering by the Western media and US government , you’d realize that he is taking the most logical course. You can ask Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Gaddafi how well they fared after negotiating a nuclear disarmament plan, oh wait, no you can’t…

  61. Daveinswfl says

    Ahh, pizza wars begin!
    Winner gets a palladium coin?

    An old Buckeye can vouch that Columbus, OH is the greatest test market in the U.S. and that you just couldn’t beat the TAT pizza.

    In general, the pizza you grew up on is probably the best pizza you’ll ever eat. EVERYBODY is an expert, ya know.

  62. Mintman says

    It’s all about the dough and especially the water source
    Brooklyn-not bad; Jersey City/Bayonne NJ will give it a run off for the best…..

  63. Darek says

    I live in Brooklyn, but the best pizza in my opinion is in South Beach in Miami at Lincoln Rd ( Rustica Pizza).

  64. earthling says

    Best Pizza I ever had was in Rome in 1983 . Only problem is I don’t remember the name of the place or the location. Found it in a tourist guidebook – they said Native Romans loved the place so I figured good enough for me . I tried it, thought I was in heaven.

    If I ever go back to Rome, I’ll try the guidebook approach again. The place sold slices of Pizza by weight and they must have had 20 varieties. They had one really strange Pizza with fresh leaf lettuce, sliced fresh tomato and canned Olive Oil Pack Tuna , all on a square slice of Cheese Pizza . It was so strange I just had to try it and was forever impressed. That’s the one I hope to go back for.

  65. earthling says

    Well I just did a bit of internet research on Roman Pizza. Seems like selling Pizza by weight is the way they do things over there. So looks like I won’t be able to ever return to the Pizza Place of my dreams. But the good thing is that the entire City sounds like Pizza Heaven.


  66. smalltimecollector says

    The only similarity of pizza to a coin is that they are both disc shaped, if each is properly made.
    I digress. I did not purchase the ape for investment (I simply like it for the design, especially the reverse) some thoughts to ponder, the other first year issues were coins that were made of metals previously used. For “collectibility” the ape is a semi fresh design with new material for a mint offering. Regardless of value, I feel it’s an oddity, and attractive one at that. Caveat are that somehow the coin reverse resembles the mexico 20 centavo of the mid 40’s and of course the obverse is recycled. imho, heads or tails it’s attractive and I’m anxious to hold it to feel it’s heft/size.

  67. joe#2 says

    Darek, It’s worth a shot trying Rustica Pizza. Trios on Ave U in Sheepshead Bay is phenomenal. Been there for many many years.

  68. joe#2 says

    Darek, It’s worth a shot trying Rustica Pizza. Trios on Ave U in Sheepshead Bay is phenomenal. Been there for many many years. I’ll be in SOBE end of Nov. Might give it a shot..

  69. Louis Golino says

    Well, there was a coin a while back I believe that had a pizza image on it, but I don’t think it had the scent
    of pizza like the chocolate and marijuana coins that have that.

  70. John Q. Coinage says

    Sokrates, as with Detroit & pizza, I was in Wisconsin @ a market, they asked “paper or plastic” I said both please, I got 2 bags one in plastic 1 on paper!! Wow.. Best Pizza old time Maui @ The HAppy Opu but the cook died….now Doillies Maui, great pie, view & Dolliettes to watch…..NY ..Chicago fughettaboutit go for view w/your Za!!! – And a good pie in Wisconsin, cheap & full o’cheese…..

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