While online banking has made managing money easier than ever, it has also led to most people relying solely on digital assets. Precious metals are a popular investment choice for people wishing to buy a tangible asset that retains its value over time. In particular, gold and silver generally maintain their value even when the stock market faces major financial fluctuations.

gold and silver

They also do well in times of inflation and political uncertainties. In times when traditional stocks oscillate greatly because of any or all of these external factors, precious metals only become more valuable.

For investors who prefer a hands-off approach, you certainly can buy stocks in gold and silver that are traded daily just like any other stock. However, many people prefer to keep a physical store of precious metals on hand. While fairly illiquid, buying actual gold and silver is generally viewed as a long-term investment and it’s certainly a good option if you’re worried about inflation or the future of paper currency.

The Basics of Precious Metals

Before you start buying gold or silver, it’s important to understand the different forms each one can come in. Each type has its own pros and cons, so you might focus on one kind that you prefer, or create a diverse mix of different kinds of precious metals.

Let’s start off by talking about silver. Typically, you can buy this precious metal either in the form of bullion or junk silver. Silver bullion refers to silver as a bar, coin, ingot, or round. The most common coins you’ll come across are Silver Eagles, Maple Leafs, Kookaburras, and Britannias.

Junk silver, on the other hand, is any type of old U.S. currency containing real silver. Any U.S. half-quarters, quarters, or dimes minted before 1965 are considered junk silver; and in reality, aren’t very junky at all. In fact, you can sometimes find junk silver below the spot price so that you start off with a profit on your investment.

Gold also comes in bars and coins, each one giving you a different type of entry point into precious metals investment. Coins are the easiest to get started with because you can start off just buying a few at a low price point. If you are stocking up on precious metals as a hedge against inflation or to use as currency in a potential crisis, you’ll find that coins of any type (gold or silver) will be easier to barter with than bars.

If you do decide to buy bars, you can get them in different sizes to suit your space or budget; for example, you can purchase 1 to 10 ounce gold bars or up to 100 ounce silver bars. You can even find bars at just a fraction of an ounce if you want to start off small. One of the biggest perks of this tactic is that you get the lowest premium when you buy larger bars. So while they might not be as easy to get rid of when you’re ready, you’ll get a better value if you can make that large of an investment upfront.

While gold and silver are the most popular precious metals to buy, there are others to consider as well. Copper also comes in bars, rounds, and coins and is extremely affordable for the novice investor. Many experts believe it’s a wise investment opportunity because of its rising demand in our economy paired with a shrinking supply.

While copper might seem like a fairly common commodity, platinum is the rarest of them all and is usually sold as coins minted in the U.S., Canada, or Australia. Finally, consider palladium as another easy entry point that comes in bars and coins.

Best Places to Buy Gold and Silver Online

eBay and Craiglist are both great places to start when looking for silver and gold. But unless you’re sure that you’re dealing with a reputable seller, you might want to look into other sites that specifically specialize in precious metals. We’ve compiled a list of 20 online sellers along with reviews of each one to help you find the best place to purchase gold and silver.

Provident Metals

What started off as a precious metals trade show business has launched into one of the largest online bullion dealers today. Provident Metals holds a number of professional memberships, including the American Numismatic Association, the Professional Coin Grading Service, and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, among others.

Provident’s precious metal collections includes gold, silver, copper, platinum, and palladium, with an extensive selection of each one. In addition to coins, rounds, and bars, Provident also sells U.S. and foreign coins, wholesale products, and IRA bullion products. You’ll appreciate the company’s attentive service and timely delivery. And if you order $99 or more, you’ll receive free shipping; otherwise, it costs just $5.95 to ship.

Gainesville Coins

With an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, Gainesville Coins has been keeping customers happy for more than 10 years. In fact, the company has also received a five star rating from the National Inflation Association — the only bullion dealer to receive such a distinction.

On the Gainesville Coins website, you’ll find a wide selection of silver, gold, platinum, and other metals like copper, palladium, and rhodium. The company also sells pre-1933 gold and has an extensive clearance section with time-sensitive deals. You can calculate shipping based on your zip code and items placed in your cart and only Florida residents pay sales tax on their purchases.

Scottsdale Silver

Scottsdale Silver Stacker Rounds

Scottsdale Silver focuses on silver and gold while also offering each in different collectible series. They sell both types of metal in coins, bars, and rounds, with a particular premium set on artistic minting. For example, some recent popular collectible sets include a Vikings series and a Godfather set featuring images from the iconic movie franchise.

To qualify for free shipping with insurance, you must make a minimum purchase of $500. This may seem steep compared to some of the other companies providing free shipping at $99 but much of the allure of Scottsdale Silver comes from the company’s creative minting process.

APMEX

One of the largest bullion dealers in the world, APMEX is able to pass on savings to customers because of the sheer volume of business it does each day. Not only can you buy precious metals, you can also sell or trade from your current holdings. The selection is huge, covering the major precious metals along with historic gold coins, “elite” coins, old bank notes, and foreign coins. It also has an extensive collectibles section with rare coins and currency from around the world.

JM Bullion

Offering free shipping on all orders, JM Bullion only sells physical bullion that arrives directly to your door. They inspect every item of inventory to insure only quality products are sold, and accept many forms of payment (Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, PayPal Credit, bank wires, paper checks, and bitcoin). Fully accredited at both state and federal levels, they also have a solid customer support service that can be reached either via phone or 24 hour Live Chat. Sign up for email and you’ll be mailed exclusive sales and promotions.

Kitco

Kitco has a wide array of precious metal types, including gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and rhodium. The website also provides a slew of data and news to help you with your portfolio decisions. You can even download apps for your smartphone for gold news, market alerts, and scrap value calculations.

GoldSilver.com

As its name implies, GoldSilver solely sells gold and silver, in addition to products such as safes and storage containers. You can also create an account to sell your own gold and silver through the website. There’s a flat rate shipping fee of $25 for any order under $500, otherwise shipping, handling, and insurance is free. In addition to traditional payment options, GoldSilver also accepts PayPal.

Silver.com

Don’t be fooled by the name; Silver.com also sells a variety of gold, platinum, and copper products. In addition to government mints, you can also find gold and silver rounds and bars from private domestic and foreign mints. The order threshold for free shipping is high at $3,000 but their tiered flat rate shipping fees are reasonable. Smaller orders up to $299 cost just $4.95 for shipping and insurance. The highest tier of orders from $1,000 to $2,999 cost just $9.95.

MoneyMetals.com

MoneyMetals.com has received a number of accolades, including 2015 Bullion Dealer of the Year from Bullion Directory. The website also has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, indicating a strong commitment to customer service. Products include gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and rhodium. You can also invest in a self-directed precious metals IRA.

SDBullion.com

Silver, gold, platinum, and copper comprise SDBullion.com’s core product line, with coins, bars, and rounds from around the world. The website also sells lead bullion in the form of ammo as well as vaults, survival food, and herbal medicine. SDBullion.com offers weekly specials and currently has a promotion for all orders shipped at just $7.77.

TexMetals.com

Texas Precious Metals offers several unique features, including the ability to sign up for limit orders. You can automatically place a standing order if gold or silver reaches your desired value. Another perk is that all orders ship for free using UPS Next Day Air and all orders ship within three business days of payment. The website offers a curated selection of gold and silver bars and coins, as well as pre-1933 gold.

Golden Eagle Coin

Golden Eagle Coin is a place for investors and collectors alike. Take one look at their website, and you’ll see why — their inventory is absolutely huge. Prices vary moment by moment because they are based on the commodities exchange, so their site is a great place to go if you are researching when to buy. Like many other gold and silver online retailers, GEC offers free shipping on orders $99 and over. Also be sure to check out their bi-monthly blog for new items and savings.

BGASC: Buy Gold and Silver Coins

With thousands of positive customer reviews, it’s not hard to realize why BGASC is an A+ BBB accredited business. They offer free shipping on orders $99 and up, and every order is insured while in transit; moreover, they always ship your order the next business day. They are one of the largest coin and bullion dealers in the US, and sell just about every type of US coin ever made, as well as a large selection of mints from other countries, such as China, Mexico, and Canada.

PennMetals.com

Penn Metals offers a transparent pricing structure, charging spot + $2.49 on all quantities. You also get free shipping regardless of order size. The selection is also wide, with products including gold, silver, platinum, graded modern coins, and vintage coins.

Gold Dealer

Quoted on CNN, CNBC, and PBS, Gold Dealer offers a complimentary newsletter written by industry masterminds Ken Edwards and Richard Schwary. They have a physical office moments away from LAX, but, of course, if you prefer to not travel to Los Angeles, their website has everything you’d expect from a nationally recognized gold and silver dealer. Offering free, insured shipping on every order, they are able to offer such low prices because over the years they’ve cut down on operating expenses whenever and wherever they could, and have always passed their savings on to their customers.

CMI: Gold and Silver

An A+ Accredited Business, CMI is located in Phoenix, Arizona, because Arizona is the nation’s fifth largest silver producer; however, CMI will buy and sell precious metals to investors all over the United States. Its president, Bill Haynes, considers it his responsibility to educate the public about the dangers and benefits of buying gold and silver.

On his blog, he regularly updates his audience on all of the world factors affecting the prices of metals, and so is an excellent resource when determining to buy. With solid prices, gold and silver IRAs, and a plethora of educational material to read, CMI should be a website you routinely check if you are a serious investor.

Monarch Precious Metals

Monarch Precious Metals is a newer company that was established in 2008 to help with the huge public demand for gold and silver bullion, but don’t let its age dismay you from shopping there. They only use quality gold and silver, so anything you buy from them will be .999+ fine. Another perk is that they triple check the weight of every bar they ship. If it is ever underweight, they re-melt it. If it is ever overweight, it’s a win-win for you because they always let it pass and ship it as is. Everything is custom hand poured and marked in the old way, giving their metals a unique, old fashioned look. They accept all forms of payment except Paypal, and every order is properly insured.

Golden State Mint

When you purchase from the Golden State Mint you’re buying directly from the manufacturer. They’ve been in the precious metal business for over 40 years, and personally inspect every bar, round, and coin before they ship out. Don’t want anything second hand? No worries. Nothing they sell has ever been in public circulation. Want your IRA set up to purchase gold and silver? Golden State Mint sells a slew of products that fully meet the IRS guidelines.

US Money Reserve

With every shipment fully insured, USMR has one of the fastest delivery times in the industry, and offers a buyback guarantee on all non-bullion coin orders within 30 days of purchase, which is another best in the industry. They have a “AAA” rating with the Business Consumer Alliance (BCA), and have serviced over 300,000 clients in just ten years.

If you have any questions about purchasing gold, silver, or platinum, an account executive is always on call to answer any of your questions. Also, it’s the only gold company led by a former United States mint director, so don’t be afraid to bring your money here.

Gold Mart

Gold Mart is an excellent resource for up-to-date gold market updates, where you can purchase metals 24/7 online, or normal business hours via phone. They are a privately held company with a corporate office in Las Vegas, Nevada; moreover, they are a PCGS and NGC authorized dealer as well as a member of the Certified Coin Exchange.

They accept all major credit cards, and, if you have any precious metals you would like to sell, they will pay you top dollar for your items. Be sure to also check out their Daily Internet Special every day if you are on the lookout for good deals.