Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Where can I buy silver in Canada?

It's not my intention to promote any particular business (unless of course they want to pay me, preferably in silver) but rather to enlarge the knowledge base of Canadian silver bugs on potential vendors. I will mention the few vendors I have dealt with and my perception of them and their service. I hope you will add to the conversation with insights on different vendors and those previously mentioned by myself or others.

Scotia bank- Scotia bank is a major bank and the largest bullion vendor in Canada with over 950 branches. I'm told it's possible to buy bullion from any of these branches so long as don't want it that day. Bullion is ordered from the main vault in Toronto and shipped via Brinks to local branches at your expense. I've asked at the main branch for a breakdown of these shipping fees but I was told the that only the local branches could inform me. I happen to be near the main Toronto branch so I've done all my business with Scotia in a walk up and carry away manner.

Business at Scotia is done at the bullion and currency exchange counter which can have quite long wait especially in high travel seasons. At the counter they have real time silver quotes and exchange rates which is important as metals trade in U.S. dollars. You book your order, they send the order down to the vault and you wait. I've spend from 10 to 45 minutes in line and waiting for my silver to be brought out. Scotia has silver bars and maple leafs, gold in bars, Maple leaf coins, English Sovereigns, Mexian 50 peso coins, Krugerrands, and American Eagles. Overall I've been satisfied with service but I would like to see some bullion in local branches rather than penalize everyone who does not frequent downtown Toronto, I think they are missing many potential buyers. Also why can't I watch the prices from my computer, book my own order and then just go pick it up? If I can trade stocks or buy RRSPs online why not silver?

Note: I do not know if it's a sign of total demand or just having the wrong sizes in stock but in early May I was told they were almost out of 100 oz bars and in early August they had no 5 oz or 10 oz bars.

Colonial Acres Coins of Waterloo Ontario, is primarily a store for Numismatics but they do advertise silver bars up to 100 oz and coins from the Royal Canadian Mint and various foreign mints. They sell a variety of gold collector coins including Maple Leaf in full ounces and fractional ounces, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz, and 1/20 oz. and 1 oz bars. Colonial also has some U.S. and Canadian junk silver. I have made purchases of Junk silver, maple leafs, and some protective containers from Colonial's web site with no problem. For the last while however, Colonial has shown "sold out" on silver bars and is often behind in correcting the web site prices. If silver suddenly starts to run, check them out you might get a deal on the last stock of Maple Leafs. Is the sold out status another sign of tightening supply? I understand many small dealers out west were empty in the spring 2006.

I follow the pricing on Border Gold , out of Surrey B.C. but have never used them. I'd like some feedback from someone on these folks. Border Gold lists Silver Maples and 10 oz and 100 oz bars of silver. They also sell various collectors coins, gold, platinum and palladium. Unlike Colonial there is little chance of getting a tricky discount purchases here, final quotes and orders are done by phone.

Note: Some provinces like Ontario charge PST on Numismatics (junk silver, Maple leafs, Royal mint stuff etc) while others like B.C. do not, nor are they required to charge you if they ship to a PST province. Keep this in mind for easy savings.

I know of many U.S. operations but the added joy of cross border shipping, duty, customs has not yet convinced me of the need. I would like a pile of rounds and a few Libertads so I still might take the plunge, but not just yet.

Ebay.ca - manic buyers often push prices too high and each vendor is a new adventure. Avoid U.S. customers as shipping and duty can kill you, especially when fools label your silver rounds as coins rather than bullion and you get charged PST. I also panic when things take 4 weeks to arrive. Look at the adds closely, I often see padded shipping and insurance. I've even seen one vendor in western Canada quoting shipping in English Pounds in order to slide over priced shipping past inattentive buyers.

Please add your vendors and insights as comments

Additional vendors added 2012

My go to place for the last 3 years has been First Majestic Silver a mining company that has made a wise choice in direct marketing a portion of their silver to the public. This creates market recognition of their company which must help the stock price and their bottom since they probably have a higher margin on the bullion vs the bulk refined silver.    They supply a nice selection of very pretty 1/2 oz, 1 oz, rounds, 5 and 10 oz struck bars, a nice molded 1kg bar and a 50oz rough poured job that fits poorly with their other products.  Service has been quick, accurate and pleasant after a slight problem when they first opened up for business.   I this is place I recommend and wish they had an associate program of some kind.  

Great Panther Silver should receive much of the same praise I give First Majestic but I cannot recommend a company that is consistently around $3 an oz more expensive than their peer.  I love the look of their product and I would buy it but only at a comparable price.

Speaking of prices that are way off, the day I checked a posters recommendation for Peracto they were a full $7 dollars an ounce pricier than Border Gold, a company I use for my fair value pricing comparison.  

The comments section has had a bit of a flame war about Precious Metals House I've not used them yet but I will with my next purchase just to get a feel for the validity of the comments I've blocked.  What I can say is they have a very nice selection of products including Scottsdale stacker bars and Mexican Libertads, both very lovely products that I count among my favorite silver.  They are also not readily available in Canada so the small premium on the Libertads far out ways trying to order them from the states or directly from Mexico.  They also have a bunch of high premium stuff like Pandas that I refuse to purchase because of their price.

Silver Gold Bull also gets a lot of plugs from my commentators and I found it had a very nice selection but with slightly elevated prices compared to a few other places. I've never seen silver from Fiji before and somehow missed the addition of 1/10 and 1/4 ounce walking Liberties which might well be a good purchase for SHTF money.  So far most of my small stuff is 1 and 1/2 oz rounds from First Majestic but a few rolls of 1/10ths might be a good addition.  Silver Gold Bull like Precious Metals House looks set up for larger purchases too something few Canadian Vendors could do when I started this blog. 

Bullion Exchange in BC offers free shipping over 500 oz of silver had decent prices but a smaller selection than some companies.

MRCS in Edmonton has been suggested for local buyers but they don't appear to do online sales

I received a lot of Bullion Mart span in the comments over the last couple years and checking today I still find them moderately overpriced but no where near the obscene prices at Peracto

While I try to keep to Canadian vendors to avoid the occasional over zealous customs asshole who doesn't know the difference between coins and bullion, or pure vs sterling I do hear good things about APMEX.  Amazing selection of silver and the small gold pieces I occasionally buy like sovereigns or 2, 2.5 and 5 peso coins.

I'll probably add some more vendors as I come across them, thx for dropping by.