SALES OF Gold Coins in Mumbai hit their highest level for three years on Monday, according to a leading gold dealer.
Monday saw the Hindu festival of Dhanteras – the start of the five-day Diwali celebrations and traditionally regarded as an auspicious day to Buy Gold.
"The sale of coins is the highest in the city in three years," said Prithviraj Kothari, director of Mumbai-based Riddhi Siddhi Bullions and president of the Bombay Bullion Association.
Staff at jewelry stores have also noticed a trend towards buying Gold Coins.
"Those who opt for jewelry are often looking for the latest designs that appeal to the eye," one sales assistant said.
"In case they are not satisfied, they postpone the buy to a later date but often go for a coin as it is an auspicious date."
Kothari points out that Gold Coins tend to contain more Gold Bullion as a percentage of total weight than does most jewelry.
"The ratio of pure gold to alloys in jewelry is 75:25 this year against 80:20 during Diwali last year," he said.
"Each year, the gold ratio is falling by 2-3% and there will soon be a time when the two will level out 50-50."
In 2006, the Bureau of Indian Standards analyzed 162 samples of non-hallmarked gold jewelry taken from 16 cities. Over 90% were found to be less pure than claimed. The Indian government is currently deciding whether to make hallmarking of gold jewelry mandatory.
Sales of American Eagle bullion Gold Coins by the US Mint meantime are on track to fall for the second month running. The American Eagle is the most common of the US Mint's bullion Gold Coins – which are aimed specifically at investors.
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