Lawrence Chard's Insight into Recent Events
Since the UK entered panic mode over the Coronavirus crisis, every bullion dealer in the UK has experience hugely increased demand. This has also occurred in other countries. Global stock of available bullion coins and bars have been bought out, rather like toilet rolls in supermarkets.
Our Examination of Events
We understand that most mints and refiners are working flat out to meet demand, with many of them facing production problems, delivery delays and staff shortages.
During the first few weeks of March 2020, we were still able to source most of our important bullion products, but we are now unable to get delivery dates for most products. For many dealers, this will seem like unprecedented demand, but we have been through a similar situation before in the 2008/9 Global Financial Crisis.
We could have reacted to this by asking rip-off prices and premiums, but this is not our policy, although we have needed to make incremental upward adjustments to some of our highest demand products.
We have been receiving stock we ordered and paid for, but with longer delivery times. On most days, we have someone working to try and source supplies.
We do still have some stock of premium bullion products, such as earlier date, minty coins, but these stocks are dwindling daily.
We do, of course, still have millions of pounds worth of numismatic stock, including higher grade, selected date gold sovereign, but many of these coins sell for double, treble, or more times the intrinsic bullion price.
We do not just act as a distributor or retailer; we actually make a market in most bullion coins. This means that, for items which we would normally expect to be able to source in reasonable time, we are prepared to sell ‘short’, but if any delay is likely to be more than a few days, we try to be fully transparent, and give an indicated or estimated delivery date, and we will only sell if our customer understands and agrees. Typical products include secondary market gold sovereigns and one ounce gold bullion coins.
Normally, we can replace ‘new’ current year bullion coins within days, but in current market conditions, this is not possible, but we are prepared to sell for future delivery subject to customer agreement. Please understand that we would much prefer to sell you coins or bars which we have in stock, or can source quickly, than on the current ‘emergency’ basis.
This gives you five main options:
1. Buy our ‘best value’ bullion items, but be prepared to wait an indefinite time for delivery.
2. Pay slightly more for our premium or semi-numismatic items.
3. Defer or forget about your bullion purchase.
4. Shop around to see if you can source elsewhere. Most of our competitors are not delivering, and some have shut up shop completely.
5. Pay rip-off prices from unreputable dealers elsewhere.