What is the cheapest, most efficient way to buy and invest in gold?
There are many ways to buy and own gold. Buying coins and small bars offers a popular but costly way of doing so. The price you pay for gold coins or small bars is typically 5-8% higher than the spot price. When you sell, you’ll usually receive 5-8% less than the spot price. Shipping is not always included and the additional cost of home insurance should also be considered. Buying gold, securely stored and insured in a professional vault through BullionVault, avoids nearly all these costs and hassle.
The table below shows you how much gold some popular coins contain. It also shows the live prices to buy the same amount of gold on BullionVault. Use this table and our cost calculator to compare owning physical gold bought, stored and sold at wholesale prices using BullionVault versus buying coins from a dealer.
Comparing gold coins, gold bars and gold bullion for sale
Many coin and small bar dealers offer 'free' shipping when offering gold for sale online, but in reality that cost has been shifted into the price you pay for the coin or bar, along with the cost of its manufacture and the dealer's profit margin. In total, it is not unusual for all of these costs to result in you paying 5-8% over the actual wholesale price of the gold you buy.
Paying 5-8% over the spot price to buy a coin or small bar may be acceptable to some, but the costs you face get worse. Because when you come to sell, you are unlikely to realise full value for your bullion.
A coin or bar dealer will not buy gold from you at the spot price, as they have to factor in their business overheads. They also have to consider the chance that the bar or coin is not what they think it is. Some rarer coins might be quoted at prices above spot, but in gold bullion products like small bars, Sovereigns or Krugerrands, this usually results in you receiving 2-5% less than the spot price when you come to sell.
All told, the typical roundtrip cost of buying and selling a small gold bar or coin will cost you 10% or more of the value of the gold it contains. Losing one-tenth of your money seems like an inefficient way of buying something with the primary purpose of a store of value.
How BullionVault enables you to buy gold in a cheaper, safer and easier way
- You buy gold in 1 gram increments within LBMA approved wholesale bars
- You pay prices that are closer to the wholesale market price
- No VAT or Sales Tax
- No delivery costs
- Your gold, silver, platinum and palladium is stored in professional vaults in your choice of location
- Professional vaults mean you pay the lowest storage and insurance costs
- Buy and sell 24/7 and instantly have funds back in your account ready to be withdrawn
- Users in the United Kingdom can open an account online or via our mobile app and buy gold all in just a few minutes. You can sell at any time
- 5* Trustpilot rating and reviews
- BullionVault manages $4.1 billion in client property for over 100,000 users
Buying, trading and investing in gold FAQs
There are many different ways to buy gold, from buying gold bullion bars or coins to jewellery. How you choose to buy gold depends on your aims, how much you're looking to spend or invest, and how far the resale value will matter to you in future.
The most cost-effective way to buy and sell gold is in the form of professional-market bullion bars, weighing 400 troy ounces (~12.5 kg) and meeting the London Good Delivery standards. This is how all other gold products start life, from coins to jewellery and microchip wire, adding costs and losing value at each stage.
Platforms like BullionVault enable private investors to buy gold in large professional-market bars, benefitting from the lower costs associated with trading gold on the wholesale market.
Buying and selling gold can be profitable depending on the price at which the trader purchases and sells their gold. Gold prices can move swiftly, so setting gold price alerts at your desired level to buy or sell can be invaluable in making a profit with your investment. Track the changing price of gold using BullionVault’s live gold price chart.
As with all tradable assets, the buying and selling price of gold are different because of the profit motive. If you're using a coin store or gold bar retailer, the dealer's profit is the gap between the price they sell to you and the price at which they buy back.
In an open gold market such as BullionVault, the gap between prices to buy and to sell is known as a 'market spread'. You can access and change this spread directly yourself, bidding or offering gold at different prices to those quoted by other investors.
Track the changing ‘spread’ between the bid and offer prices on BullionVault’s live order board and see the actual prices being paid to buy and sell gold.
As with everything else, the cheapest way to buy gold is to buy wholesale, not retail. Large wholesale bars weighing 400 Troy ounces are the very cheapest per gram of fine gold. All other types of gold are more expensive by weight, and you will also receive less value per gram when you come to sell
For more information on buying the cheapest gold – from as little as 1 gram and up to 100kg – visit our dedicated guide.
The best way to sell old gold depends on what form the gold takes. If it is jewellery or a watch, speak to a specialist jeweller or auction house about getting a valuation. If it is a gold coin or small bar, speak to a reputable bullion dealer.
The best way to achieve the highest gold price when you sell is to buy the most efficient type of gold when you buy. When stored in LBMA-member warehouses, large 400-troy ounce (~12.5kg) wholesale gold bars carry a guarantee of quality, so they are accepted at the very best price by professional traders. Learn more about why wholesale gold bars guarantee the best price on our gold bars guide page.
There are several ways to sell gold, however, they often depend on the form the gold is held in. For example, professional bullion markets will not accept unverified gold products such as scrap gold, jewellery, small bars or coins due to the costly process of assaying the products.
The simplest and most efficient way to buy and sell gold is by dealing in 400-troy ounce wholesale gold bars. When stored in LBMA-approved warehouses, these gold bars are accepted by professional traders at the live ‘spot’ price for gold, avoiding time-consuming and expensive assaying processes.
The selling price of gold mostly depends on the form of the gold the seller holds, as well as the live ‘spot price’ of gold at the time of selling. The challenge in getting the best price for your gold is that the buyer must be sure they are getting the quantity of fine gold that they are paying for.
When selling unverified gold products such as jewellery, small bars, coins and scrap gold, sellers may have to cover costly assaying fees or accept a lower price for their gold.
Gold bars for delivery
As explained above, owning wholesale bullion in a market-accredited vault is the safer, cheaper and easier way to invest in gold, silver, platinum and palladium. That said, we recognize that some people also like to keep a little bullion at home, and so we now enable UK users to withdraw gold in the form of a 100 gram bar.