DEMAND FOR GOLD COINS SOARING
Collectors value the Pandas simply for their aesthetic beauty; and it probably doesn’t hurt that the dealers authorized by the People’s Bank of China to sell Pandas in the US have a virtual monopoly on the market. Still, this situation can be exploited to your advantage– the difference between the buy price in Hong Kong and the sell price in North America is roughly $275 per 1-ounce coin.
For anyone looking to hold gold as a store of value or even medium of exchange, major gold coin mintage’s like the Eagle, Maple Leaf, and Krugerrand are advantageous because they’re recognizable worldwide.
You can do business in a coin shop anywhere in the world from Vancouver to Vanuatu with one of these coins; bulk bullion, on the other hand, needs to be specially weighed and assayed by experts before being traded. For this reason, the premiums for which gold coins sell tend to rise substantially in crisis periods when demand for physical metal is high.
In the initial days of the 2008 financial crisis, premiums shot up from 4% to well over 10%, even though the price of gold was simultaneously falling sharply. Hang Seng Bank, Bank of China, and Wing Lung Bank. At Hang Seng Bank, Canadian 1 Oz Maple Leaf coins — in pure, 24 karat gold — were available for cash purchase in Hong Kong dollars at just 0.5% above the prevailing spot price of gold. This is dirt-cheap… or as they say in Chile, ‘precio de huevos’, and it certainly presents an interesting arbitrage opportunity.
Depending on your objectives, however, there may be even better gold coin buys in Hong Kong at the moment. Over at the Bank of China, for example, the Chinese Panda coins were quoted at 4.9% above spot gold. Personally, I think the Panda is one of the most beautiful gold coins of all, and in North America they typically sell for much greater mark-ups above the spot price of gold than most other coins, often over 20%. In the UK it’s even more…….