Gold IRA Glossary- Every Term and its Definition Explained!

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Interested in investing in silver or gold IRAs but not sure where to start and what it all means?

My glossary below tells you everything you need to know.

Gold IRA Glossary- every term explained
Gold IRA Glossary- every term explained

Table of Contents


What is Ag Chemical Symbol?

Ag is the chemical symbol for silver.

What is “Ask” in Precious Metals Industry?

Ask is the price at which a dealer offers to sell precious metals.

What is “Assay” With Precious Metals Processing?

An “assay” is an official testing process used to determine the quality and purity of gold and silver products. Product shipping with an assay is guaranteed to have the described amount and purity of gold or silver.

What is “Au” Chemical Symbol?

Au is the chemical symbol for gold. It’s derived from the word “aurum,” the Latin word for gold.


What is a Bank Wire?

Bank wire is an electronic transfer of money through the Federal Reserve System from one financial institution to another.

What is a Bar?

Bar is metal formed into a convenient shape for shipping, storing and further processing.

What is a Base Metal?

Base metal is a mixture of non-precious metals frequently used as a base for gold-filled, rolled gold, or gold-plated coverings. Base metal is also known as pot metal.

What is a Bear Market?

Bear Market is a descriptive name for an investment market where prices are low or are soon expected to decline. The opposite of a bear market is a bull market.

What is a Bull Market?

Bull Market is a descriptive name for an investment market where prices are high or are soon expected to rise. The opposite of a bull market is a bear market.

What is a Bid?

A bid is the price at which a dealer is willing to buy.

What is a Brilliant Uncirculated?

Brilliant Uncirculated is a coin that has never been in circulation and is shiny, new, and immaculate.

What is a Bullion?

Bullion is platinum, palladium, gold and silver coins that closely follow spot prices and have little or no numismatic value.

What is a Bullion Coin?

A bullion coin is a valuable metal coin whose worth in the market is based on the inherent content of precious metal it contains. Bullion coins are predominantly purchased and sold for investment reasons.

What are Bullion Precious Metals?

Bullion precious metals are palladium, platinum, silver and gold. These metals are traded based on their intrinsic metal value and typically are delivered in a specific trading shape such as a wafer, bar, ingot, round or coin.

What is Buy/Sell Spreads

Buy/Sell Spreads is the difference between the trader’s buying prices for gold and silver and selling prices, relative to the spot price of the metal traded.


What is a Coin?

A coin is a stamped piece of metal issued for commerce and with known fineness and weight.

What are Certified Coins?

Certified coins are coins submitted for encapsulation by an independent grading service to verify the authenticity, quality, and state of preservation.

What Does “Circulated” Mean in Precious Metals Industry?

“Circulated”- means coins are distributed to the public.

What is Coin Grading?

Coin grading is evaluating the quality or condition of a coin using a specific set of standards.

What is Coin of the Realm?

Coin Of The Realm is a legal-tender coin issued by a government and meant for general circulation.

What is Coinage?

Coinage is a stamped piece of metal of a known weight and fineness issued for commerce.

What is a Collector Coin?

Collector coin is a coin not issued for general circulation. Special coins are issued at a slight premium specifically for collectors and rare coins enthusiasts.

What is a Commodity?

A commodity is a physical product that’s commonly traded and that maintains its value based on industrial and commercial value.

What is a “Condition” of Precious Metals?

The condition of a gold or silver bar, round, or coin. Common conditions are “New”, “Varied”, “Brilliant Uncirculated”, “Proof”, “Circulated”, etc.

What is a Custodian?

A custodian is a financial institution that holds precious metals investors’ physical assets for safekeeping. Storing precious metals with IRS-approved custodians is necessary to minimize the risk of theft or loss.


What is a “Delivery” in Precious Metals Industry?

Delivery is the exchange by which an underlying commodity, cash or other delivery instrument is tendered and received by the contract holder.

What is a “Denomination” in Precious Metals Industry?

Denomination is a currency amount usually for coins or banknotes.

What is a “Depository” in Precious Metals Industry?

A depository is a place where something is deposited for safekeeping. Usually in the self-directed gold IRA’s the physical gold is kept in a depository of the investor’s choice.

What is a “Depository Receipt” in Precious Metals Industry?

A depositery receipt is a document issued by a depository institution indicating ownership of a commodity stored in a vault or warehouse.

What is a “Device” in Precious Metals Industry?

A device is a design found on a coin. Frequently, it is the bust or profile of a person who symbolizes a particular country at a particular time in history, or a country’s coat of arms or insignia.

What is “Diversification” in Precious Metals Industry?

Diversification is means of managing risk accomplished by mixing different types of assets within a single portfolio. The goal of diversification is to minimize the impact that the performance of any one security will have on the overall performance of the whole portfolio.

As such, diversification lowers the risk associated with the portfolio.

What is “Divisibility” in Precious Metals Industry?

Divisibility is the ease to piece out and distribute a fixed weight of a certain product.


What are Early Release Coins?

Early-release coins are those that are received by a third-party grading service within the first 30 days of the original release date.

What is an Early Strike in Precious Metals Industry?

Early Strike in the precious metals industry is the term that denominates coins that are received by a third-party grading service within the first 30 days of the original release date.

What is an Edge in Precious Metals Industry?

Edge is the third surface of a coin, not the reverse or obverse. The edge of a coin can be plain, lettered or reeded.

What is an EF in Precious Metals Industry?

EF stands for “Extra Fine”. This means that items that are in extra fine condition and all design elements are sharp and well defined.


What is Face Value Value In Precious Metals Industry?

Face Value is the monetary value of an investment coin. The monetary value of an investment coin doesn’t need to correspond to its actual worth.

What is Field In Precious Metals Industry?

The field in the precious metals industry is a term that denominates the open area or background on a coin.

What is Fine Gold?

Fine gold is the purity or fineness of gold bullion items and gold coins. Pure gold is 24 karat, or .999 fine, gold.

What is Fine Silver?

Fine Silver is the purity or fineness of silver bullion items or silver coins. Pure silver is 99.9 percent or greater in purity.

What is Fine Weight in Precious Metals Industry?

Fine Weight is the metallic weight of an ingot, coin or bar, as opposed to the item’s gross weight, which includes the weight of the alloying metal.

What is Fineness in Precious Metals Industry?

Fineness in the precious metals industry refers to the purity of a precious metal measured in 1,000 parts. A gold bar of .995 fineness contains 995 parts gold and 5 parts of another metal.

What is First Strike in Precious Metals Industry?

First Strike refers to the coins that are received by a third-party grading service within the first 30 days of the original release date.

What is a Flip in Precious Metals Industry?

A flip is a flexible plastic holder used for storage purposes. It includes a slot on opposing sides that’s used to house a coin.


What is a Gold IRA?

Gold IRA is an investment vehicle used by individuals to save for retirement. Gold IRA is a catchall term that includes gold bullion and coins, but also other IRS-approved precious metals and non-precious metals assets.

What is Gold?

Gold is a precious yellow metallic element that is resistant to oxidation and is highly malleable and ductile.

Gold has been used throughout history as a standard for currencies worldwide, and has been used in jewellery making, coinage, and in many other industrial applications.

What is Gold-Silver Ratio?

The gold-silver ratio is the amount of silver you can buy with one ounce of gold (31.1 grams), based on present spot prices.

What is “Grade” in Precious Metals Industry?

Grade is the condition of an item determined by its wear, or lack thereof.

What is a Grading Service?

A grading service is an independent company that grades bullion and numismatic coins. Generally, graded coins are slabbed, (encapsulated in plastic). NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Company) and PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) are the two dominant grading services in the United States.


What is a Hallmark?

Hallmark is an official mark guaranteeing the purity of the precious metal.

Hallmarks vary from country to country but in general, they give information such as who made the item, the guaranteed level of fineness, the year in which it was made and the mark of the assaying entity.


What is an IRA?

IRA ((Individual Retirement Account) is an investing tool used by individuals to earn and earmark funds for retirement savings.

IRAs can hold a range of financial products such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds or precious metals.

The main types of IRAs are precious metals IRAs, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, spousal IRA, and deductible IRA.

Learn about opening a gold IRA by reading my guide to the best gold IRA companies next.

What is Junk Silver?

Junk silver is any silver product that contains less than 90% silver content. Opposite to junk silver is pure silver with at least 99.9% or greater in purity.


What is a Karat?

Karat is a measurement of purity used to show the fineness of gold, scaled from 1 to 24. One karat is 1/24 pure gold. 12 karat 12/24 pure gold. 24 karat is pure gold.


What is a Legal Tender?

Legal Tender are coins that can be used as national currency. For example, the 1 Ounce American Gold Eagle has a legal tender of $50 USD.

What is Liquidity?

Liquidity is the quality of precious metals of how fast they can be converted into cash.

What is a Liquid Market?

A liquid market is a market that’s characterized by the ability to sell and buy precious metals with relative ease.

What is a Luster?

Luster is the appearance of a coin’s surface, either satiny, frosty or proof-like.


What is a Mint?

  • Mint (verb) – To produce a coin by stamping metal.
  • Mint (noun) – The facility where a coin or bar was manufactured.
  • Mint (adjectiv) – Undamaged as if freshly made.

What is a Mintage?

Mintage is the total number of items (for example coins or bars) issued with the exact same design elements.

What is a Mintmark?

Mintmark is letter(s) added to a coin to indicate the city associated with where the coin was made.

What is Mint Luster?

Mint luster is the sheen or reflective qualities that are produced during the minting process.

What is Mint State?

Mint State is a coin in pristine condition like it was when leaving the facility where it was made.

What is a Modern Issue in the Precious Metals Industry?

Modern issues is the term that denominates coins issued within the last 20-25 years.


What are Numismatic Coins?

Numismatic coins are those whose prices depend more on their rarity rather than on their mint dates, condition and mint marks.

What is Numismatics?

Numismatics is the study of coins, currency and metallic art.

Who is a Numismatist?

A numismatist is someone who’s an enthusiastic coin collector or an expert.


What is “Obverse” in a Coin?

Obverse is the “front” side of a coin, usually bearing a head or face design.

What is an Ounce (oz)?

An ounce is a unit of weight. In the precious metals industry, an ounce means a troy ounce equal to 31 grams.


What is Palladium?

Palladium is a rare silver-white metal of the platinum group. Palladium chemically resembles platinum and is extracted from the same copper and nickel ores. Palladium is primarily used in jewellery and as an industrial catalyst.

What is Platinum?

Platinum is a heavy, malleable, ductile, precious, grey-white transition metal. It’s used mostly in dentistry, jewellery, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts, and automobile emissions control devices.

What are Paper Precious Metals?

Paper Precious Metals are any precious metal investments that don’t result in the investor holding physical gold or silver in their house or at an approved depository.

What are Precious Metals IRA?

Precious Metals IRA are a self-directed individual retirement account (IRA) that allows you to invest in your choice of IRA-approved products, including precious metals and non-precious metals assets.

What is “Proof” in the Precious Metals Industry?

Proof is a coin struck with greater pressure than normal using a special dye to make the design more highly polished.

Proof coins are collectables traded at a higher premium than brilliant uncirculated or circulated versions of the same coin.

What is Proof Set?

Proof Set is a set of all coins issued during a specific year. These coins are struck multiple times to bring out the features of the designs.

Proof Set coins are also specially handled to keep imperfections at a minimum.

What is Pt Symbol in Chemistry?

Pt is the chemical symbol for Platinum precious metal.

What is Purity When it Comes to Gold, Silver and Other Precious Metals?

Purity is the gold or silver content contained within a coin, bar, ingot or round. Usually displayed as .XXX.The higher the purity, the better the quality of the metal.

What is the Reverse in the Precious Metals Industry?

The reverse is the “back” side of a coin, with an alternate design usually displaying the coin’s purity and face value.

What is a Rollover in IRA?

Rollover is transferring the holdings of one retirement plan to another without suffering tax consequences.

What is a Save Haven in Precious Metals Industry?

A safe haven is an investment that is expected to retain or increase in value during times of market duress. For example, investing in a gold IRA will act as a hedge against inflation and crumbling markets. This is because gold and silver are precious metals that have never been worth zero.

What is a Self-Directed IRA?

A self-directed individual retirement account (SDIRA) is an individual retirement account (IRA) where the investor is in charge of making all the investment decisions.

Self-directed IRAs allow the owner to invest in a much broader array of assets than with traditional or Roth IRA’s

What is Silver?

Silver is a soft-white lustrous transition metal that has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of all metals and occurs both in minerals and in free form.

Silver is extensively used in tableware, coins, jewellery, and photography.

What is a Spot Gold Price?

Spot Gold Price is a constantly fluctuating price of gold in the markets. The closing spot price varies with markets located in numerous countries and cities throughout the world.

What is Spot Price?

Spot Price is the live, up-to-date price of gold or silver as determined by the latest trades on the OTC and futures markets.

What Does Tax Deferred Mean?

Tax Deferred – Tax-deferred status refers to investment earnings such as interest, dividends, or capital gains that accumulate tax-free until investors take receipt of the gains.

Individual retirement accounts are one of the most common types of tax-deferred investments. Tax deferral allows growth to be compounded on the portion of earnings not lost to taxation.

What is a Ton?

Ton is a unit of weight equal to 2,000 pounds or 907.2 kilograms.

What is a Tonne?

Tonne is a unit of weight equal to 2,204.6 pounds or 1,000 kilograms.

What is the Variety in the Precious Metals Industry?

Variety is the term that denominated coins that differ from their basic design type in some distinctive way and are thus more esteemed by collectors and precious coins enthusiasts.

What is a Vault Receipt?

Vault Receipt is a document that shows ownership of precious metals stored in a depository, bank, or warehouse.

What is “Weight” in Precious Metals Industry?

Weight is the stamped weight of a bar, round, ingot or coin.

What is a Wire Transfer?

A wire transfer is an electronic transfer of funds across a network administered by hundreds of banks around the world.

Wire transfers enable secure individualized sending of funds from single individuals or entities to other individuals or entities.

What Does “Year” Mean When it Comes to Precious Metals Coins?

The year signifies the year of issue for a silver or a gold coin.


My gold IRA glossary guide is over.

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Nikola Roza

Nikola Roza is a blogger behind Nikola Roza- SEO for the Poor and Determined. He writes for bloggers who don't have huge marketing budget but still want to succeed. Nikola is passionate about precious metals IRAs and how to invest in gold and silver for a safer financial future. Learn about Nikola here.

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