Will The Real Silver Slingers Please Stand Up? A Beginner’s Guide to the Dealers of the Retailers
After many hours spent on the internet, observing products on the many websites of North American bullion retailers, I think SV has compiled a sufficient enough list to deal with the topic of where North America’s retail gold and silver retailers get their stock.
An interesting system of interwoven relationships reveals itself from the shadows of the inner-industry. This article highlights mainly the relationships between private mints and private retailers, and not between governments and distributors and retailers, as to decipher where the retailers receive their national government minted product is much more difficult.
NTR Metals, according to their website, refines more than 30 million pounds of metal annually. They offer refining, recycling and minting services for their clientele. On the website they disclose 50 locations throughout the United States and Europe, and that they serve over 20,000 companies, “ranging from small, independent businesses to large corporations. NTR Metals is not open to the public.”
Based on the product-line of certain, large retail level bullion dealers throughout the United States, NTR Metals, a Texas limited liability company based in Dallas, has made a certain imprint on the industry.
A simple Google search reveals that Tulving, Texas Precious Metals, Provident, Gainesville Coins & Liberty Coin & Precious Metals all offer NTR products. Apparently, NTR mints namely their 10 ounce and 100 ounce silver bars, as well as a variation of the 1 ounce Buffalo Rounds popular in today’s bullion shops. One problem with the 10 oz silver bars are the plastic packaging in which they come, which is too brittle and makes for very difficult storage, unlike the Ohio Precious Metals 10 oz silver bars, which I detail next.
Most likely owing to their private, closed nature, the company’s website ranks only at around 290,000th in the United States, according to Alexa, which ranks lower than many retail level companies, such as heavy weights GoldSilver & Gainesville Coins.
The company has been entangled in some controversy, although the validity of the accusations of the company cannot be fully confirmed over the internet. A couple of companies recently filed class-action lawsuits against NTR Metals alleging the bars purity was misrepresented on the “Fine Silver” stamp so important to bullion. Begin Your Own Research Here
Ohio Precious Metals was founded more than 35 years ago and offer services for refining gold, platinum and palladium. Whilst fewer dealers than the aforementioned NTR bars openly sell Ohio Precious Metals products, they are still common bars. As documented here, NTR Metals and Ohio Precious Metals recently strategically merged.
Gainesville Coins offers 100 ounce silver bars by Ohio Precious Metals, though the company is also known for its 10 ounce bars, which are openly advertised by APMEX, alongside other OPM options. Neither are the prettiest bars on the market, many customers mistake the poured look of the bar for sloppiness, when in actuality such bars were the standard in bygone decades, and the look is really just a product of the minting methods employed by the company. In fact, many such poured bars are very popular on eBay by such companies as Engelhard and Johnson Matthey. Best of all, especially with the 10 ounce offerings, they are among the most easily stackable 10 oz silver bars on the market.
The Ohio Precious Metals website is rather small, ranked by Alexa at 6,944,078. That means approximately 500 hits a day. Again, however, with companies such as the ones on this list, judging them by their internet traffic is not the most scientific exercise, considering their often small-yet-wealthy clientele and their closed operations.
A-Mark was founded in 1965, and is a full service precious metals trading company. They offer many original products, as well as numerous services, such as offshore storage and international ordering options, They sell gold, silver, platinum and palladium for storage and delivery.
Of the services offered by A-Mark, there is included financing, leasing, consignment, hedging and a variety of customized financial programs. According to their website, they are the “official distributor” for many Government Mints throughout the world, among which is included The Royal Canadian Mint, The South African Mint, The Australian (Perth) Mint. A-Mark is also an Authorized Purchaser for the US Mint.
The company services clients on six continents – coin and metal dealers, investors, collectors, mines, manufacturers, refiners, jewelers, investment advisors, merchants, commodity brokerage houses and central banks. The company is based out of Los Angeles, on Santa Monica Boulevard.
A-Mark bars often appear on the market, and alongside Johnson Matthey products. Reasonable it is to then assume, that A-Mark works closely with Johnson Matthey. One of my personal favorite retail silver product is A-Mark’s tiny 1 ounce silver bar. It is extraordinary due to its storability:
Tulving sells A-Mark products, as does APMEX, Blanchard and GoldSilver.com. One can see very clearly on Michael Maloney’s site that he does quite a bit of business with A-Mark, as he features a 10 ounce A-Mark Bar, a 1 oz A-Mark round and the 100 oz Johnson Matthey bar, which presumably is supplied to Goldsilver.com via A-Mark, since Blanchard, who obviously also uses A-Mark quite a bit, features only the 100 oz Johnson Matthey bar in that weight. The company has also minted stacker 100 ounce bars, similar to Academy-Scottsdale Silver bars, which lock into each other, a nice perk.
A-Mark’s more open policy can be seen in their internet rankings, as, according to Alexa, the A-Mark website ranks at 86,293. A much higher rank than the other dealers.
Bloomberg calls Coins N’ Things, “the family that sells gold to the government.” That’s a pretty gangster title, if you were to ask me.
The company started in 1973, when Louis Oliari opened Coins N’ Things, a small storefront between a Dairy Queen and a hair salon in Brockton, Mass. Mark, his teenage son, had begun already trading coins, and the father thought he would indulge him. “The whole idea was that I’d get bored and get this out of my system,” Mark, now in his mid-fifties, remembers.
Today, to be sure, Coins N’ Things is the largest seller of raw gold to the United States government. Last year, the company sold the U.S. Mint $1.86 bullion worth of gold. This only three years after Coins N’ Thing and the U.S. Mint began working together. This alone is reason enough to conjecture that Coins N’ Things is also an Authorized Purchaser for the United States Mint.
Each and every weekday, Coins N’ Things faxes the Mint with the amount of gold it can furnish, as well as its asking price. The company competes against four other government-approved sellers, and the Mint takes its pick.
Coins N’ Things purchases 40 percent of its gold from a refinery owned by the Canadian government. The company’s annual revenue is approximately $6.5 billion, of which approximately 65 percent comes from gold.
Seemingly at odd’s with gravity, the website of this multi-billion dollar company is even smaller than this here mere blog, ranking at over 18,000,000.
Founded in 1976, Dillon Gage offers a number of services. Dillon Gage Securities is a full-service FINRA and SIPC member firm specializing in financial planning. Dillon Gage Metals is one of the largest precious metals dealers in the United States. Dillon Gage refiner is a fully-operational metals refinery. Dillon Gage Incorporated operates in the futures markets and its depository, Diamond State Depository, is a wholly-owned, independently-operated precious metals storage facility in New Castle, Delaware.
Due to the lack of Dillon Gage brand product on the market, it is reasonable to ask if the company depends on its selling of government minted product to remain competitive for retailers. Their website ranks a modest 2,829, 464.
So, there you have it: a beginner’s guide to the dealers for the retailers. Not much can teased from this list, and obviously there are many dealers I have left off it, but a few relationships make themselves visible when a good question is posed. For instance, it can be seen through this examination that A-Mark supplies Johnson Matthey 100 oz bars regularly to retailers, as their 1 oz and 10 oz silver products are oft pictured next to the JM bar, as seen at GoldSilver and Blanchard. That Coins N’ Things sells gold to the mint suggests they have a healthy working relationship with the United States Mint.
With NTR having had a class action filed against them, I would personally stay away from the company. My favorite product that I have come across from any of the aforementioned dealers is A-Mark’s 1 oz bar. As I stated earlier, it is a small bullion option that I believe must be very easy to store. In one Monster Box without its shelves, I would wager a guess, nearly 1,500 ounces may be stored. Perhaps with the proper donation, Silver Vigilante could host an experiment to find the real number.