Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Buying Gold Like Candy Bars

Now - This might give the $100 grand candy bar a run for its money ... and the concept is "Gold To Go" - insert some euros into this vending machine and out pops some gold bars...

Germans flock to gold bars vending machine at Frankfurt airport
"It's better value than the bank," Romy Erhardt of TG-Gold-Super-Markt told The Times, "And it's very convenient — no waiting time — you just put in your cash and a minute later you are an investor in gold."

The prototype gold-dispenser has been installed in Frankfurt airport and today there was a queue of passengers mulling over whether to buy one gramme, 5 grammes or ten grammes of gold.

The one-gramme bar was available for €30 (£25). Other options — rather like a high-end coffee machine it has five selections — included a Maple Leaf Five Canadian dollar coin and a Kangaroo Fifteen Australian dollar coin. Both represent about one tenth of an ounce of gold and the price on today was hovering around €80.

"The price is updated every 15 minutes," Ms Erhardt explained. "The vending machine is linked to the computer which we use for our online gold outlet."

The margins are lower than those offered by banks but fluctuate at about 20 per cent higher than market prices. That is the price of being able to pick up your gold before boarding an aircraft and having it packaged in a metal case labelled "My Golden Treasure".

A less sophisticated version of this Gold to Go machine was installed in Frankfurt's main railway station last month and has been doing well. The company hopes to put 500 of the machines throughout Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

They are riding on the crest of a wave of investor interest in gold as the market price edges up towards $1,000 for a troy ounce.

Online gold dealers — who offer a discreet armoured-car delivery for large purchases — are reporting boom times. The World Gold Council said that individual purchases started to rise dramatically in the last quarter of 2008 and have broken all records in the first quarter of this year.

Above all, small individual investors — nervous about the future of the dollar and other currencies — are buying and selling the metal. In the US, the gold equivalent of Tupperware parties have caught on and the idea has spread to Britain.

The Michigan based company My Gold Party — a housewife acts as a company agent and invites her friends to her home to have their gold rings and bracelets professionally valued — has been taken up by 28 US states.

The online company Cash4gold.com meanwhile is reporting 25,000 transactions a month. And Exboyfriendjewelry.com — whose testimonials are full of stories about the cathartic effect of selling jewelery given by former husbands and lovers — is thriving.

The Germans are particularly interested, partly because of the collective memory of the currency collapse after two world wars.

Some high street jewellers even buy dental gold to be melted down. "German investors have always preferred to hold a lot of personal wealth in gold, for historical reasons," said Thomas Geissler, head of the Stuttgart-based TG-Gold-Super-Markt.


To make sure that no one [tampers] with the Frankfurt gold vending machine, the company has positioned it near high-resolution closed circuit television cameras and given it an armour-plated casing.

In a related story - Are gold prices being manipulated to keep them low? Maybe so... It would seem that this article could be bringing other events into focus. For example, the fact that China has doubled it's supply of gold; is it possible that some of that has come from the Federal Reserve? Maybe that explains why the Fed is a bit nervous with regard to the sunshine bill currently being pushed by both sides of the aisle in Congress to Audit the Fed! (although some high ranking Democrats are trying to block it). The Fed does NOT want to be audited... So what is the likelihood that the vaults at Fort Knox and 33 Liberty Street could be empty? Especially if the Fed has been selling off gold for 15 years to manipulate the gold supply as the author of this article contends.

It leads one to wonder if the Feds will call for another seizure of gold once they run out, so they can restock their supply, at no cost, and continue to inflate and manipulate world prices.

On the other hand if gold market manipulation is in play to keep prices low then that is good for us regular folk who can still buy gold while it is below $1000 an ounce. Once it breaks that ceiling who knows what will happen.. and especially when the dollar begins to really crash and/or hyperinflation hits .. at least the people will have something other than worthless paper in their wallets. (Just like the Capital One commercial: What's in YOUR wallet?)

Gotta admire those Germans though... gold vending machines? Looks like they still remember Weimar Germany.

(H/T Andy R. and David A.)