Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hawking Gold

Representative Anthony Weiner has a great deal of contempt for "hawkers of gold."

His feigned comtempt pushed my estimation of coin dealers up a notch.

I've been investigating the possibility of becoming a gold hawker.

The problem I see with coin hawking is that one is trading money for money (like for like). Trading makes more sense when one trades unlike things. For example, trading labor for food. I can see a restaurant adding a sizeable mark up to the food they sell because they are adding value and providing something folks with labor to sell may not have.

I could see trading my skill and time for a purse of silver.

But, trading one form of money for another form of money is purely a speculative play.

For trading to benefit the buyer in a speculative play, the margin on the trade must be very low ... too low to support a large number of sellers.

Imagine a coin dealer charging a modest 5% mark up. Well, the price of the metal must rise more than 5% for the transaction to provide a speculative profit for the buyer.

The internet increases efficiency.

Unfortunately metal coins are heavy and shipping costs expensive. Shipping costs can add another 10% to the transaction.

It will take several years of inflation before the investment covers the mark up of a coin dealer and the cost of the transaction.

Regardless, I think it is good for people to have a few precious metal coins on hand; So, I created a page listing Online Coin Shops. I bought coins through each of the dealers. The shipping costs put a limit on how much I would buy through the dealers.

My favorite place for hawking gold is eBay. I like trading on eBay because I am trading directly with other collectors. Sadly, the listing fees and shipping costs put a damper on my gold hawking activities.

It would be a hoot to make some money on the gold hawking page. I fear the transaction costs associated with buying money online make gold hawking an untenable long term business.

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