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Silver.com is a Dallas, Texas, company that has been in business since 2013. The company provides a staggering array of coins and bullion.
The company not only sells products of gold, silver, palladium, and platinum but also of copper, including coins of copper bullion.
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It is important to note, however, that because copper itself is not classified as a precious metal, it is measured in avoirdupois ounces and not Troy ounces. That means that if you were to buy a copper coin, it would weigh 28.35 grams instead of 31.2 grams, and that would be correct.
The company will send you your purchases directly if you want it that way. Also, because the company provides access to both storage services and the kind of custodians you need to set up a self-directed IRA for your precious metals, you can choose to store your purchases elsewhere instead of at home.
This kind of flexibility is a point in Silver.com's favor. Remember, if you were to invest in an exchange-traded fund that deals in precious metals, you would not be buying actual metals of one kind or another.
Instead, you would be buying shares in companies that are associated with actual precious metals. Examples would be precious-metal mines, companies that trade precious metals, and even the brokers who manage the trades.
Although these are volatile entities, their one advantage over physical metals is that they can generate income through dividends.
The Self-Directed IRA
Also called a "Gold IRA," this kind of account is a version of the standard IRA that allows the investment of precious metals. Self-directed means that you get to make all the decisions regarding what to buy, what to sell, when applicable, and what to withdraw when the time comes.
Before you turn 59.5, you can't make any withdrawals without penalty. If you invest your gold in this kind of IRA, then it has to stay there. If you take possession of it, even if you don't intend to withdraw it from the account, then the IRS considers it a withdrawal anyway.
You'll have to pay taxes on it, and there might be withdrawal penalties, too, depending on your specific case. After you turn 59.5 years old, you can make withdrawals if you wish. At age 72, you must start making periodic withdrawals.
You also cannot invest in precious metals that you already own. All precious metals to be invested in a self-directed IRA must be new. That's one of the reasons you need a custodian to perform the transactions on your behalf and at your direction.
There are also rules for what you can put into your self-directed IRA. Bullion must be of a certain purity, and that purity depends on the precious metal in question.
Gold has to be 99.5% pure. Silver purity must be 99.9%, and platinum and palladium must be 99.95%. Copper must be 99.9% pure. Coins made of bullion of the correct purity are also allowable, with one exception.
Certain American Eagle coins are only 91.67% pure, but they are considered legacy coins and are allowed. All other bullion coins, bullion of lesser purity, and collectible coins are disallowed from investment into a self-directed IRA.
Silver.com has a vast assortment of collectible silver, gold, and copper coins from various countries around the world. Be aware, however, that the price for the roll of 10 dimes that Silver.com sells is slightly more than the sum of the open-market prices of the coins.
As an example, as of May 15, 2023, Silver.com's price for a roll of silver Roosevelt dimes is $32.10. They provide circulated dimes in these rolls. The value of a 1964 Roosevelt dime is between $2.25 and $2.75, roughly. A brilliant-uncirculated dime of the same year would be worth nearly $1,000.
Still, collectible coins are notoriously volatile in their prices. For every 1856 Flying Eagle cent that's been worth $10,000 fairly steadily since the 1980s, many other coins have lost most of their value over the same period.
For example, a 1914D Lincoln cent in VF condition was worth about $800 in the 1980s. Today, that same coin is worth just $210. This volatility is the primary reason that such coins cannot be put into a self-directed IRA.
Silver.com offers actual silver bullets to folks who collect them. They provide four different sizes: .45 ACP, .308 rifle bullets, 12-gauge shotgun shells, and .50-caliber machine gun bullets. Star Wars fans can buy silver figures, and fantasy role players can buy dragons of different shapes and sizes.
The company partners with several other companies that provide storage options. These companies will store your precious metals for you whether you have a self-directed IRA or not.
Even if you don't have a precious-metals IRA, by storing your bullion and bullion coins in a secure separate location, you could achieve certain tax benefits that are based upon where you live.
The company encourages you to contact an attorney to find out all of the legal ramifications that pertain to you when it comes to owning those precious metals.
Silver.Com's Shipping and Other Assorted Costs
The company generally ships your order on the same day you place it. If you pay by a standard check, then the shipment will be delayed until it clears. The company charges $7.99 for shipping on orders of $199 or less.
If the order is $199.01 or greater, then Silver.com doesn't charge shipping. The company will ship either through UPS or the U.S. Postal Service at its sole discretion, based upon which is more efficient than the other in your case.
If your order comes to $1,000 or more, then you or your designee will have to sign for it. You will have to pay sales tax on any order unless you live in Delaware, Oregon, New Hampshire, or Montana.
Those four states require you to pay the sales tax separately on this kind of purchase. Remember, if you live in one state and choose a depository to store your precious metals that is in another state, then you will pay the taxes on the sale in the state where the depository is.
Silver.com charges an additional fee that depends on the payment method you select. The company charges the highest fee for PayPal and the lowest fee for wire transfers and paper checks.
The company fee for credit card payments is a little less than that for PayPal payments, and if you pay by using cryptocurrency, then the fee is somewhere between the two extremes.
Overall Customer Ratings and Complaints
The Better Business Bureau lists a rating of 4.76 stars out of 5 when it comes to Silver.com. There is, however, only one review posted from the last year. The complaints about Silver.com largely apply to shipment issues and alleged damage to the items shipped.
Most folks who've posted reviews on the BBB website appreciate the extensive selection of items, but both they and the complainers agree that the customer service could be better.
On Trustpilot, the company has a rating of 3.2 out of 5, and more than half of the reviews give Silver.com just one star.
Granted, most of these reviews are more than five years old, but the common theme is that the company practices the "bait-and-switch," often not delivering items at all or canceling items if the price of silver goes higher than what customers paid. One reviewer remarked that, "... I'm sure that you would have cashed my check had the price of silver gone down."
Overwhelmingly negative reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, however, because many times, the reviewers simply didn't get their way and took it out on the company by exaggerating what happened or making stuff up.
The company's reviews on Sitejabber also contain more than half that are 1-star. Again, the biggest problem is shipping and returns. The reviewers made several inflammatory remarks about the company's credibility and business philosophy.
The JM Bullion Connection
Perhaps most disturbing is one of the reviews on the BBB website. The complainer had asked for a refund and mentioned that he had also opened a case with PayPal. Silver.com's response was that, "... there would be no refund coming from us."
Then, the person who responded to the complaint signed it JM Bullion. The only reasonable conclusion to reach regarding JM Bullion answering BBB complaints against Silver.com is that the two entities are actually one company or, at the very least, close partners that see to each other's business interests.
Research on the JM Bullion website yielded a paragraph that instructed customers to contact the customer service department of Silver.com if there were to be a problem with a JM Bullion order.
Further research into JM Bullion's BBB file revealed that there have been 248 complaints filed against JM Bullion in the last three years. The BBB also added a disclaimer about only being able to list 30% of the complaints because of site-performance issues.
That means that the true number of complaints against JM Bullion is closer to 900. The accusations of malfeasance and outright criminality in the complaints are vitriolic, and one complainer actually called the police on JM Bullion. Because of the close ties between these two companies, the complaints against one seem also to be relevant against the other.
The reviews from the industry are largely mixed, but the negatives outweigh the positives. All of the industry reviewers agree that Silver.com is a legitimate company and not a scam.
The Better Business Bureau agrees and has issued accreditation to Silver.com. Most of the industry reviewers do not recommend Silver.com or its close colleague in the business, JM Bullion.
Silver.com - Goods & Bads
The good points of Silver.com are:
The bad points of Silver.com are:
In all, although the company has some very strong points, this reviewer does not recommend Silver.com because of the company's complaints record with reputable online evaluation entities like the Better Business Bureau.
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