Compare Silver Prices, etc. Websites Threaten North American Bullion Industry
A swiftly growing amalgam of internet websites is turning the American gold and silver industry on its head. Captained by the one who calls himself “Bernank,” Compare Silver Prices, Compare Palladium Prices, Compare Platinum Prices and Compare Gold Prices represent a complex of websites featuring live dealer prices and highlights for the low-price leader on each coin in North America and Canada. The four websites are tied-together via a blog, wordsmithed by the Bernank himself, who posts irregularly offensive banter and silver market chart analysis. For example,
A close above $35.50 should make for a quick run to $37…the Bernank is bullish, CRASHJPM I’m sick of these guys front running our trades all day long. Word on the street is they can stillshort about 19,000 net/si before really needing to puke. It seems to us over here at Shmuel Rockwell Bernank & Sons that silver is poised for some serious epic trendline smashing in the next couple of days. I am currently advising the addition of $4 trillion (the difference in the $2 trillion since 1-1 and the $6 trillion in ‘fake’ 1934 Federal Reserve bonds found in Italia last week) into the system, and the Morgatroids have already asked Bernank to backstop the selling of 100 million more paper oz…but I told those suckers that Mrs. Bernank needs a new Cadillac and to shove it, we’re gonna let oil rip in preparation for March Gulf of Tonkin redux…so sorry they can’t buy those extra Isles of Greece with the money they’re used to raping from the s/i…
The Bernank has even offered free silver to his readers upon completion of one simple task:
Ok so Bernank has been educating himself in physics, trying to determine how to increase the velocity of linen in the e-con-omy, he found himself wondering a few things
1. If light has no mass, why does it bounce off things?
2. How come light bounces off some things, but goes through glass?
3. What is powering the infinite random movement of electrons inside atoms?
Bernank will arrange a silver eagle to anyone who helps him to understand the aforementioned.
Thanks & Happy ZIRP to all
Each site contains dealers across North America. From giant dealer-sites like Kitco, who very rarely lead the pack in prices on any of the featured products, to small, local dealers like Missouri Coin, the website pulls together many features that might one day make it the silver, gold, platinum and palladium investors “one-stop-shop” for information on precious metals products.
Yet, whilst the site is a win for the user, who through this convenient portal can become acquainted with the landscape of precious metals dealers in North America, I wonder if dealers are viewing these sites as such in terms of the future of their premiums. Do the websites pose a threat to the American bullion industry altogether? Before I touch on this, let’s take a look at each site.
Compare Silver Prices
According to internet records, Compare Silver Prices was the first of the four sites to go live, late last fall. At the time of this writing, the site featured 14 bullion dealers, including Liberty Coin & Precious Metals, Merit Financial, Kitco, Blanchard, Provident, APMEX, Scottsdale Silver, Missouri Coin Co., Lear Capital, American Gold Exchange, Bullion Direct, GoldSilver.com, Gold Information Network & Texas Precious Metals. The leader-board these days usually consists of Liberty Coin & Precious Metals, Merit Financial and APMEX. On the leader-board the longest, Liberty Coin & Precious Metals caught bit of a break when the Bernank decided to take Gainesville off the board, his reasons cited in this post.
The dealer premiums on the website are calculated by percentages, so one can easily see that the premium on Silver Eagle fluctuates from a low of 8.33% (Liberty Coin & Precious Metals) all the way to 14.9% (GoldSilver.com). Interesting enough, the highest priced dealers on the Silver Eagle are also perhaps the among best-known dealers; they are, usually, Kitco and GoldSilver.com.
Alongside the Silver Eagle, the other products on the website include the Silver Canadian Maple Leaf, The Austrian Philharmonic, The 1 oz Silver Round, 90% Junk Silver, 100 ounce Silver Bar and the Monster Box.
On the pages footer is written:
This website is dedicated to silver, the devil’s metal, the most manipulated market known to mankind. When you buy silver you are betting against evil central bankers who have unlimited amounts of “paper metal” to sell. This website is also dedicated to The Bernank et al. for making their activities so blatant and obvious so as to pique the curiosity of even the most rural of peasant.
Compare Gold Prices
At Compare Gold Prices, one can investigate the premiums by the same set of dealers featured on Compare Silver Prices. The products are the Gold Eagle, Gold Buffalo Gold Maple Gold Panda, Gold Kangaroo, Gold Philharmonic, 1 oz Gold Bar, 1 oz Krugerrand, 10 oz Credit Suisse bar and the 1 oz Gold Kilo bar. One can investigate the premiums between dealers and find that whilst on the Gold Eagle Merit stands in the number 1 spot at 3.5%, the most expensive dealer on the list for this particular coin is 5.5% (American Gold Exchange).
Compare Platinum Prices & Compare Palladium Prices
At Compare Platinum Prices as well as Compare Palladium Prices some intriguing information about the precious metals market in North America comes to light. Indeed, I suspect that North America can be considered a micro-chasm of the world precious metals market. What we find on these websites is that the platinum and palladium markets are significantly smaller than the gold and silver markets, and whilst this might be a truism, that there are only six platinum dealers in North America speaks to the size of the market, and attests maybe to the fact that platinum is the rarest precious metal in the world, 75%+ of which is mined on 200 square miles in the, at times, unstable South Africa.
Moreover, we see that the premiums on platinum coins are typically double that of their gold bullion counterparts, pointing towards possible future supply issues in the platinum market and the likelihood that, assuming some individuals in the coming decades have money to spend on luxury goods, some of these coins—especially the Platinum American Eagle—could obtain semi-numismatic status in the minds of collectors.
And so, whereas the low-price leader on the Platinum Maple Leaf and Gold Maple Leaf, Liberty Coin & Precious Metals, charges a premium of 7.36% on the platinum coin, they charge just 2.59% on the Gold Maple Leaf.
The story of palladium is similar; that is, tiny market albeit without the large premiums found on the platinum market. Nonetheless, platinum and palladium are similar to silver as the most likely candidates to one day experience supply issues. One finds at Compare Palladium Prices, below a logo featuring a devilish looking Putin (most of the world’s palladium is supplied by Russia) that there are only three or four options for purchasing palladium in the United States, betokening of its market size. One finds at Compare Palladium Prices that APMEX is the low-price leader on all mainline palladium products, consisting of the Palladium Maple Leaf, 1 oz Palladium Bar, 10 oz Palladium Bar and 1 Kilogram Palladium Bar.
The growth of the websites has been substantial in the short amount of time they’ve been online. Already, Compare Silver Prices has 2,200 external back-links linking into it and is worth, according to Estibot, $1300. The websites have received publicity already on the web. At SGT Report, Compare Silver Prices is featured under the site-link section, and even Brother John F has made a post regarding the website. In the world of the internet, a critical mass of visitors to a given website can create a snowball effect in that websites traffic, and I fully expect this to be the case with the Compare Empire.
As I mentioned before, these websites offer the user a gold-mine of information in regards to the silver, palladium, platinum and gold markets. In just seconds, they can become acquainted with the premiums of all the major dealers on all the major precious metals products available on the retail market. Other information made available to the dealer is the percentage premiums charged on each coin and by each dealer, as well as slapstick, yet informed, blogging by “The Bernank,” who thus far has not replied to interview requests.
But, is the website such a good thing for the dealers? Could Bernank—either knowingly or unknowingly—be single-handedly starting a collapse in dealer premiums, thus threatening the viability of a business that, as so many people are aware, is the last vestige remaining for citizens to exchange their Federal Reserve Notes for real money, like gold and silver, platinum and palladium.
Even the dealers themselves have commented on the website and its effects on their premiums, as demonstrated by a press release by Liberty Coin & Precious Metals, who, according to the websites, consistently offer the lowest margin on their product:
“My IT guys contacted me about the hits we were apparently getting from these sites, especially Compare Silver Prices, and so when I looked into it I thought it was a pretty interesting idea,” said Liberty Coin & Precious Metals President Mark Lonneker. “I use it now as a guide to see what my competition is doing. Sometimes it forces me to really lower my gold prices more than I’d like to, but this is America, and competition is what has made the American economy strong. Plus, with economic turmoil threatening the American Dream, I feel proud being able to get the people their bullion for near wholesale prices.”
Perhaps the best service provided by the websites, when they are not forcing honest, reasonable dealers to lower their premiums, is the transparency it forces upon major dealers like Kitco and Mike Maloney’s GoldSilver.com. The compare websites clearly show that these two dealers, despite their notable reputations, have premiums often many percentage points higher than their competition, thus making their status as “premiere” gold and silver dealers, just maybe, undeserved. For the better, the site will direct its users instead towards those dealers who offer more reasonable commissions.
Nevertheless, the Bernank is playing with fire. I predict that, as these sites grow in popularity, more pressure will be thrust upon North American precious metals dealers to be competitive in their pricing, and I do not suspect that all will survive. Some might have to expand their services to include storage and higher-margin numismatics, and others might have to run a tighter ship expense-wise. But, I do expect these sites, assuming their growth rate remains unswerving, to alter the North American precious metals industry until supply squeezes become so acute that people will pay anything simply to obtain any physical silver, physical palladium, physical platinum and physical gold at all.
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