Jun 5, 2012
From the first time buyer of gold or silver, a question we often get is “How do I choose between buying PAMP Suisse gold and silver bars versus local New Zealand refined gold and silver bars?”
A short answer would be to say that the local NZ refined gold and silver are bought by 89% of our clients. With PAMP being the next most popular but a long way behind.
So does this make local NZ gold and silver bars the better option?
Our thoughts are – it depends.
But before we get to why it depends, maybe we should start by firstly outlining the differences between the products as then the pros and cons for purchasing each will be more obvious.
Actually on second thoughts we should first say what they have in common.
PAMP Suisse Gold/Silver Bullion vs Local NZ Gold/Silver Bullion: What do they have in common?
For gold, both the PAMP Lady Fortuna 1oz bar and the local gold 1 oz bar are both 99.99% pure – four 9’s in industry speak. For silver the PAMP 1kg bar and the local NZ silver 1kg bar are both 99.9% pure or three 9’s. So both local gold/silver and PAMP gold/silver contain the same amount of silver or gold in each unit.
Now, how are they different?
Compared to local NZ bars, PAMP gold and silver bars have 3 major differences:
- PAMP bars have an assay certificate and individual serial numbers
- PAMP bars are manufactured in Switzerland and more easily recognised worldwide
- PAMP bars cost more to buy per bar
A bit more detail on each of these 3 differences…
1. PAMP bars have an assay certificate and individual serial numbers
The PAMP gold and PAMP silver bars both come with an assay certificate from PAMP confirming the purity along with an individual serial number on each bar.
Local silver and gold bars do not come with an assay certificate or individual serial numbers. However local gold and silver bars/ingots are stamped with the suppliers “hallmark” and with either 9999 for gold (four 9’s or 99.99% pure) or 999 for silver (three 9’s or 99.9% pure). Also, in terms of ensuring purity of the supplied product, the local New Zealand suppliers we use regularly exchange metal with other companies locally and in Australia and so when this happens the metal is assayed again. So if there was ever a problem with purity they would be found out before very quickly. And as reputation is everything, this would put them out of business. They are family owned and run businesses, conservative by nature and have been around for 30-50 years, supplying precious metals to private investors but also to Jewelers in NZ.
2. PAMP bars are manufactured in Switzerland and more easily recognised worldwide
PAMP Suisse gold and silver bars are manufactured in Switzerland by Produits Artistiques de Métaux Précieux (PAMP). PAMP has more than half the world market for gold bullion bars weighing less than 50 gms and has gained a reputation as one of the world’s premier gold refiners and an instantly recognizable and respected worldwide brand. So PAMP gold and silver bars are well recognised and easily resold worldwide be it Europe, USA or even Asia, without the need to be assayed. While not relevant from a logical perspective the PAMP Lady Fortuna Gold Bar is also probably one of the most attractive bars we have seen, if not the most.
Local NZ gold and silver bars are well recognised and readily bought and sold in New Zealand and Australia (and for one supplier in Thailand as well). The suppliers will readily buy back the bars and they can also be bought and sold on the likes of TradeMe. However they may not be so easily exchanged for cash in other parts of the world without first requiring assaying. You may get slightly more when selling the PAMP gold back to the supplier but it will still be under the spot price. So the spread (the difference between the price to buy and the price to sell) will still be more for PAMP than for local gold. Selling privately is a bit more hit and miss – you may get no more than a local NZ product – it would just come down to the individual buyer.
3. PAMP bars cost more to buy per bar
PAMP gold bars cost another $45 per 1 oz bar more and for silver bars, a further $50 per 1kg bar, This is on top of the percentage mark up over the spot price of gold or silver. As an example, at the time of writing if you bought 50 ozs of PAMP gold, for the same money you’d get a whole extra ounce of local gold – 51 ozs. For silver the difference can be even more pronounced as when you buy 5kg’s of silver or more the local price is even cheaper. Buying 75 kgs of PAMP amounts to approximately $103,100. Spend the same amount on local NZ silver 1kg bars and you’d get a smidgen under 80kgs instead. Almost 5 kgs of silver more.
You can see and compare todays indicative prices for each product on our products page.
So how do I decide between PAMP bullion bars and local bullion bars?
The first and main question to ask yourself is when the time comes, where do you intend to sell the gold or silver bullion?
If it’s in New Zealand then the lower priced local gold and silver bars may be as good an option for you as you’ll get more gold or silver for you buck. And as we outlined above, when you start buying many ozs of gold or kilos of silver the extra $45-50 per bar can start to add up.
However if you believe you may wish to sell overseas then the more recognisable PAMP products may be the better option. Of course when it comes to silver you’ll have to consider whether you would try and lug say 20 kilos of silver around the airports with you! Gold is much more portable of course (one of the characteristics that makes it money) and so a PAMP 1oz bar can make a great travel insurance product. At today’s prices a bit over NZ$2000 that can be easily hidden on your person, in a pocket etc. Often a great gift for a travelling son or daughter. An emergency back up they can’t easily blow on beer in a london pub but if necessary can turn into cash!
Just like anything else, individual circumstances mean that the best option will differ from person to person and in the end you’ll have to make up your own mind.
Much like if you can’t decide between gold and silver themself, if you’re really unsure then an option may be to have a “bob each way” and get a bit of both. Some local gold or silver to get the best price and therefore the most physical metal possible, and some PAMP products in case you relocate overseas. And if you travel, then especially consider a few PAMP Lady Fortuna gold bars as some emergency money in case of theft or a lost wallet or purse while overseas.
If you’d like to compare the difference in price today between local and PAMP bullion, head over to our order page which has today’s indicative pricing or call David on 0800 888 465 (or +64 9 281 3898 outside NZ).
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