This site’s main focus is the four price-comparison tables that compare: silver coin prices, silver bullion prices, gold coin prices and gold bullion prices. This post describes how the silver and gold price comparison tables work in detail.
Lowest price for one unit
The goal of each price-comparison table is to show the lowest silver and gold price for one unit. Some dealers do not sell single units, and there is not much I can do about that. If, however, you ever discover that I’m accidentally indexing a volume-discount price, instead of a single price, just let me know and I’ll fix it ASAP. In fact, if you check the comments on the ABOUT page, you’ll see that I’m very quick to fix problems and fulfill other requests.
For gold bars and silver bars, the mint is not taken into consideration. For example, when gathering prices for 1 oz gold bars, it doesn’t matter if the bars are from the Perth Mint, Pamp Suisse or Heraeus; what matters is the bottom line: the cheapest price for one ounce of gold.
Prices are indexed for each table every 15 minutes. This can cause minor price discrepancies depending on the dealer’s own price-update frequency and market volatility. However, from my experience, 15 minutes provides a good price accuracy without clogging the dealers’ servers too much.
You should also consider that each dealer updates his own prices at different rates. I’ve seen everything from instant (live market) updates, all the way up to one-hour intervals. It seems as though most silver and gold dealers update every minute.
Prices are collected around the clock, except when the market is closed, from Friday 17:00 until Sunday at 17:00. So if you check prices on the weekend, the prices should always match exactly. If they don’t match, please let me know about it.
Note: This site is a guide for comparing prices. Before making purchases, please refer to each dealer’s own site to ensure the most recent and accurate prices.
Shipping prices are not included. I don’t include shipping because there are too many variables to do that in a consistent way. For example, some dealers offer flat rates, whereas others use standard shipping rates. In the latter case, you would need to know the destination address and services used in order to provide an accurate price, and I’m not interested in collecting that data from my users, for your safety and mine.
When indexing prices, the payment method is not considered because some companies are cheaper when paying by bank wire, while others are cheaper when paying by credit card or check. Some companies even have account systems, where you have to fund an account before you can make purchases and take possession. Also, not all companies offer the same payment methods, so it’s hard to pick one payment type that everyone accepts. Therefore, the payment method is not taken into consideration; all that matters is the lowest price for a single item.
If you check the customer-review page for the dealers you’re interested in, you can see the payment methods they accept.
The precious-metal pricing tables try to index prices for items that are in stock. Not all dealers list whether or not an item is in stock, but for those that do, I try to avoid out-of-stock items.
Things that can go wrong
This site indexes gold and silver dealer prices from 35 categories of silver and gold, every 15 minutes, from a long list of dealers, which amounts to about 250,000 page requests every day. That’s a lot of data going back and forth, and sometimes problems can occur. For example:
- Dealers can change the layout of their site, which can cause unknown problems or even cause a site to disappear from the tables automatically.
- Product variations can get indexed on accident. This can happen if a dealer doesn’t use standardized names for items. For example, one time a coin-holder price was indexed, instead of the actual coin.
- Dealers performing site maintenance can display price discrepancies or be temporarily dropped from the price comparison tables. This can also happen if there is any kind of disruption in web services.
When serious problems occur, dealers are automatically removed from the pricing tables until I have a chance to diagnose the problem because I prefer to display no information, than incorrect information. However, if you ever notice an unusual problem that persists, please tell me about it, and I’ll fix it ASAP.