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Apart from midnight-gardening ... what are some of the truly safe and cost-effective storage methods for gold and silver bullion? This is for core bullion with no numismatic value.

And, yes I am looking specifically for bullion storage so any suggestions regarding e-Gold/Gold funds can be avoided.

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9 Answers 9

I used to open safes and vaults for a large US bank and have a fair bit of professional experience breaking into safes/vaults (legally).

I would avoid safe deposit boxes many banks keep poor records and I have seen way to many safe deposit boxes that were drilled and opened accidentally (wrong box number written on entry card happened fairly often).

Things to look for in a safe for gold and silver.

  • Thick door and side walls the thicker the better.

  • Door must have a bar or bars that when the door is shut the bars interlock with the walls to prevent prying. Many cheap safes

  • Must be bolted to the floor (preferably concrete) it doesn't matter how good a safe is if the thief can carry it away.
  • The heaver the safe + valuables are the better.
  • Mechanical locks are better than electronic locks in general many consumer and some commercial grade safes have a master combination.
  • Relockers are important for security just keep in mind they can be a double edged sword if you loose your combination. (relockers are mechanical devices that re-lock a safe if it is being tampered with)

The other consideration I would have is that it is important that you hide the location of the safe as best as possible.If a thief can't find it they can't steal it. Also if you are planning on storing documents or other things that could burn it would be a good idea to get a fire rated safe.

I don't think there is anything that will 100% protect your stuff from getting stolen but with a decent safe and some reasonable precautions you can thwart all but the most ambitious and skilled criminals.

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Wherever you end up storing it just make sure you don't tell anyone. You can't know how little secrets can slowly spread, especially over many years. You don't want someone vaguely connected to you try to rob you when they're really desperate.

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Just make sure someone knows where it is. For when you get hit by a bus. –  mjcopple Mar 31 '11 at 19:38
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Or at least store the information somewhere (next to all your tax documents and your will, in a personal fire safe... or something). –  fennec Mar 31 '11 at 22:57
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-1 because it should be a comment, not an answer. –  fennec Mar 31 '11 at 22:59

I'd go for a safe that's been properly installed.

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A safe that's been properly installed and concealed/disguised is a great option. –  C. Ross Mar 23 '11 at 12:49
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maybe provide some suggestions of good safes and installation? –  C. Ross Mar 31 '11 at 16:47
    
@C. Ross, unfortunately I'm no expert on these so I can't really give out any recommendations. –  Timo Geusch Mar 31 '11 at 21:37

The safest place would be inside of a safe deposit box.

You should consult with your insurance agent about insuring the bullion. You need insurance whether you keep bullion in a box or at home. Insurance companies may have specific storage requirements in order to store bullion over a certain amount.

If you are concealing the existence of the bullion for tax or some other purpose you have no legal recourse.

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I removed suggestions on how to evade taxes. Good answer, +1. –  Alex B Mar 23 '11 at 4:45
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Contents of a safe deposit box can be confiscated. Not a good answer. –  mbhunter Mar 23 '11 at 6:32
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@mbhunter: The contents of your home can be confiscated too. Gov't seizure of bullion is a risk, but you need to weigh how you control for that risk against other, more likely threats and the personal security of your family. –  duffbeer703 Mar 24 '11 at 12:28
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Realistically, gvt will not come and seize gold overnight without it becoming somewhat obvious. So I don't think this is a good reason not to put it in a safe deposit box. The risk with a vault at home is that criminals will come and pressure you into opening it. –  JDelage Mar 26 '11 at 14:24
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@Paul: Again, things like this are a risk, and you need to evaluate that risk for your situation. If you have a documented, insured quantity of bullion stored in a deposit box or safe, you're probably not at high risk of asset forfeiture -- corrupt officials most often target transient people with lots of assets in vehicles. –  duffbeer703 Mar 31 '11 at 16:04

Hide it in plain sight. A thief would look in obvious places (like a safe or the refrigerator) first. Use your imagination, and don't tell anyone except maybe your spouse, or in your will.

Something like unscrewing the bottom of a vegetable juicer you don't use, putting a bag of silver in there, and screwing the bottom back on. More elaborate would be opening up a wall panel, putting some in there, and then repairing the panel so that it looked untouched.

(Please don't break into my house to take my juicer. There's nothing there.)

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makes sense! But with electronics to detect metal becoming cheaper and widely available ... do you think there is anyway to enhance it? Detectors for specific frequencies can penetrate through even seeminly hard surfaces and show location. It is really galling that u decide to invest for a fallback and that securing that needs a fallback again. –  SR10N Mar 23 '11 at 15:23
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@ Shankar: Its unlikely that a thief would come to your house with a metal detector and search the house and pull out the wall to get the bounty. Secreacy is the key so if you havent told any one and have done the job yourself, no one would know. Its a time tested method used for ages. Even today when you are digging up an old house chances that you find a hidden treasure are high. –  Dheer Mar 31 '11 at 8:08
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Open up a TV, or a PC, and put it in there. Then screw the lid back down. Someday, someone in the Goodwill store will be very very happy with their purchase. –  Paul Mar 31 '11 at 9:14
    
Beer or soda cans. Sock drawer. Flashlight (instead of batteries). The possibilities are endless. –  Paul Mar 31 '11 at 9:15
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A couch made of gold, painted ugly and wrapped in plastic! –  MrChrister Mar 31 '11 at 15:49

A safe from a reputable manufacturer is a definite necessity. Also, take a good insurance policy to protect against any theft if it ever happens. It is also a good idea (depending on the additional expense required) to save the bullion in more than one safes. That way you can spread out the risk.

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You can store it in a house, but I wouldn't feel that's safe enough. A safe deposit box in multiple banks(possibly multiple locations) is your best bet for storing gold bullion.

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What about allocated (or even unallocated) storage in a vault - I know very little about it myself except but you own numbered bars (or rights to a percentage in the case of unallocated) in a vault. Worth mentioning anyway I think. Here's the first link I found it may help

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I got a small used TL-30 rated safe from a store that was closing for pretty cheap. There's several online stores that sell used safes and you might have some local locksmith/security shops that do as well.

I think as long as you bolt it down and don't plan to store millions in it that's a good way to go.

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