APMEX vs Goldline

Two of the strongest competitors in the silver market are the American Precious Metals Exchange, or APMEX, and Goldline International, Inc.. At first glance, these two firms appear to have quite similar websites and a similar approach to doing business. For example, both provide data of interest to their clients and guests in the silver buying market, such as the latest spot prices for silver (and the other precious metals), stock market data, and news items from the world of business that might have a bearing on the future price of silver.

However, making an examination of the sites that is deeper than the most superficial glance will show that the advantage lies clearly with APMEX, from the customer’s point of view. Goldline is an honest, reliable firm, but it lacks the scope and breadth that set APMEX in a class by its own.

How Does the Selection Offered by the Two Companies Compare?

The most glaringly obvious difference between AMPEX and its competitor, Goldline, is to be found in the selection of silver coins, rounds, and bars that each one offers. The selection on APMEX is vastly larger than the fairly stunted catalog of Goldline, which contents itself with offering a tiny handful of the most popular American coins, and one or two international coins, as well as an astonishingly limited assortment of silver bars.

Among coins, APMEX covers the output of practically every modern mint except for those located in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), or former Soviet Union. There are U.S. Silver Eagles, Canadian Maple Leaves, Somalian African Wildlife Series, Chinese Pandas, Chinese Silver Fans, Chinese Flowers, Australian Kookaburras, Kangaroos, Koalas, and Sea Life coins, Mexican Libertads, British Britannias, Austrian Silver Philharmonic Coins, and countless others. These are all organized onto their own pages, and often ten or twenty years of issues are offered individually, letting you pick up past or current coins exactly as you wish.

Goldline features only a single page of silver coins, divided into Numismatic (those with collectible premium value), Semi-Numismatic (those with some collectible premium), and Bullion (a catch-all for the remaining types of silver). Each category contains only five or six coins, most of which are American coins. Only the most common coins are featured, at that – the international coin selection is limited to one kind of Australian coin, one variety of Mexican Libertad, and one kind of Canadian coin. Silver from Austria, Great Britain, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Somalia, South Africa, and so on is notable by its absence.

APMEX also provides a very detailed description of each coin they sell, while in many cases on the Goldline site, it is almost impossible to tell such basic information as what year of mintage you will be sent or which version of the coin is being offered. As through most of this website, information is scanty, baffling, or just totally absent.

Silver Rounds and Silver Bars from APMEX and Goldline

Silver rounds and silver bars are a very important product to many people interested in silver as well. These pieces of bullion are used for investing in silver as a store of value or a raw material, rather than for numismatic or collectible value. Their price includes only a narrow premium above spot, and this does not change over time – the premium will not shoot up to stratospheric levels at some point in the future. You buy these silver products if you want an asset to hedge against inflation, or if you are expecting silver prices to spike soon, allowing you to sell the silver again at a profit.

It is clear how the low-premium, high purity silver to be found in rounds and bars is an important part of many individual portfolios, letting the buyer accumulate more of the precious metal than would be the case if they were buying items with a higher collectible premium.

APMEX features a whole selection of different silver rounds and bars. On their site, you can find well organized pages for their own APMEX lines of rounds and bars; Silvertowne; Sunshine Minting, which is one of America’s foremost mint and is used as an official supplier of planchets by the United States Mint; Engelhard rounds, including the famous Silver Prospectors; Johnson Matthey silver bars; bars from Credit Suisse and the Royal Canadian Mint; and numerous bars and rounds from smaller operations.

Beside the vigorous array of choices that APMEX offers to you, Goldline’s selection appears anemic, even perfunctory. Only one type of silver bar is offered, produced by the Wall Street Mint, and Silver Rounds are touched on only briefly and appear to be limited to the Wall Street Mint and Sunshine Minting, although it is difficult to tell due to the sparse, vague information on the Goldline site.

APMEX is the clear winner in the silver bar and silver round markets as well, providing the largest selection as well as much better information than the flabby, hazy description given by Goldline.

How do APMEX and Goldline Compare for Ease of Ordering?

Ease of ordering is another important matter to consider when you are choosing where to buy your silver products. After all, the best silver selection in the world is no good to you if the process of buying is so difficult and so time-consuming that you simply give up and look elsewhere.

In the matter of payments, APMEX and Goldline are on a par. Both will accept a wide range of payment methods, including not only cashier’s checks and bank wire transfers but also credit cards from all of the major credit card companies. Personal checks and postal or bank money orders are accepted by APMEX, while Goldline takes personal checks but not money orders – but will also sell directly to you for cash at their Santa Monica, California store location.

The ease of actually making a purchase is much higher at APMEX than at Goldline, however. Goldline offers telephone orders as the main means of placing your order with them, whereas APMEX provides an excellent, easy to use full web store integration with their site. Goldline has an online store as well, but it is extremely difficult to find on the site – access is only available through a single text link on an obscure page, rather than being built conveniently and naturally into the site as is the case with APMEX.

Searching for and purchasing any coin on APMEX is as straightforward and simple as searching for it, entering the quantity you want, and clicking an “Add to Cart” button. Goldline’s method is obscure, labyrinthine, and may or may not be available twenty four hours a day as APMEX’s is – there is nothing easily accessible on the site to indicate their hours of operation.

Furthermore, APMEX ships internationally and gives clear, easy to access instructions, minimum order amounts, and shipping policies for such orders. Information about international orders – including whether or not they are possible – is simply not available at all on the Goldline International site.

A Danger Signal from Goldline

Goldline, unlike APMEX, repeats the old claim that certain gold coins were “immune” from confiscation in the U.S. when Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared gold coinage to be illegal in 1933, in order to rescue America from the economically devastating effect of the gold standard. The truth of the matter is that the gold coins with “recognized special value to collectors of rare and unusual coins”, which they claim were immune to this, are basically mythical.

The reason any gold coins survive from this period is that they were either hidden or because they were sent to Europe – there were no coins that possessed some kind of magical immunity from the gold ban because of their collectible value.

It is, however, recognized in coin collecting circles that some companies attempt to sell certain types of gold coins by loudly proclaiming incorrect information about gold coins immune from confiscation. Considering the accuracy of this data – that is, it is completely inaccurate – its use is generally considered to be a danger signal about the policies and reliability of the firm which makes the claim.

Goldline claims that some gold coins from 1933 and before have this “magical exemption” from confiscation – coins which, of course, they sell. APMEX makes no such claim and declares openly that no gold is immune from government confiscation. The reader may draw what conclusions they wish.

Conclusion: APMEX Outdoes Goldline in Nearly Every Regard

Examining the catalogs, policies, and information on both sites, it quickly becomes evident that APMEX outdoes Goldline in nearly every area.

Its selection of coins is vastly superior; its site is far more convenient to navigate; its ordering process is clear cut and easy, unlike the complex, obscure method offered by Goldline; its policies on international sales are laid out clearly, rather than totally absent; and it provides accurate information, avoiding claims about nonexistent “confiscation-immune gold” that Goldline makes unblushingly.

It is quite evident why the U.S. Mint made APMEX an official purchaser distributor of its Silver Eagles, and why it enjoys such a high reputation among silver investors everywhere.

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