General Frequently Asked Questions

We have provided a list of commonly or frequently asked questions about the bullion industry, bullion product and using our website and online shopping. Please take a look below and click or tap on a heading to see the answer. If the below doesn't answer your question, feel free to contact us via phone or email. 

What's the difference between spot price and your price?

What you see and hear on the news is the international Spot price, normally in US dollars. The Spot price is the price traded in the massive metals exchanges such as COMEX (US)  or LBMA (UK) and essentially set a ‘base’ for all metal trades. The price changes constantly and follows markets around the world around the clock.  We buy off our refiners and customers relative to Spot and we sell relative to Spot. Generally no-one other than the big bullion banks and trading houses trade at the Spot price given the scale they trade in and the large format of the metal. The Spot price is heavily influenced by the largely ‘paper’ trades of Futures and ETF’s (paper as in they often don’t settle with real metal but rather on sold or in cash) and like in April 2013 we saw a disconnect in price between physical bullion and the Spot given demand was rampant for ‘the real thing’ when the paper trades had greatly reduced the Spot price.

There is clearly a cost in producing and selling the smaller bars and coins that we mere mortals trade in and everyone needs to make a small margin in order to sustain a business to do so.  Other factors come in to play for instance in periods of heavy demand and tight supply when producer’s and refiner’s resources are stretched and metal is hard to get.  Margins then inevitably go up to allow refiners and ourselves to get hold of the bullion to satisfy customer’s demands.  These are normal market forces just as you see in equities or property.

In essence the more work that goes into producing the product you are after the greater the margin over spot.  The closest to Spot you can buy off us is our unallocated silver which is kept in large format (c15kg) blocks.  The other extreme is a small, intricate, limited run minted coin.  Read more about the relative merits of each product available and our explanation of the Different Types of Bullion on this site.

Our prices on the website and in our store change every 2 minutes as the Spot price fluctuates.  That is why you will be asked at times if you want to “lock in that price”.   You will note in our Web Shop that you can “lock in” your price once you have selected your cart of bullion.  You then have 10 minutes to complete your purchase at that price.    

Do I have to buy online?

Ainslie Bullion provides our customers the choice of either buying on line (at a small price discount), by phone, or if you’d prefer, a comfortable secure store in the heart of the Brisbane CBD or Melbourne CBD.  All 3 are simple and the choice is yours!

Our online Web Shop allows you to see photos and descriptions of our entire range and the convenience of shopping from home or on your mobile device.  The Web Shop is open 6am to 10pm 7 days a week except over a Christmas holiday period.

Many still prefer the in-store option as it allows you to discuss your options with one of our friendly consultants, discuss the market more broadly with our own Chief Analyst, and take immediate delivery of your bullion after paying either by cash, EFTPOS or credit card (surcharge applies).  Many people like the ‘cash and carry’ option the store provides.  We even provide heavily subsidised parking directly under the building.  It couldn’t be easier…

Do I receive real bullion?

Yes, you do.

This may seem like a strange question but one of the alternatives in precious metals investment is buying Exchange Traded Funds, or ETF’s.  These are shares listed on the ASX (or elsewhere in the world) that are meant to track the price of gold or silver through the company you buy shares in then buying and selling its physical holdings to mirror that market dynamic.  You have a paper share for an unallocated metal account. To be very clear, the precious metal bullion you buy from Ainslie Bullion is the real thing.  Its pure, you get to take it, you get to hold it, and nobody can change that by going broke or with the stroke of a pen or ‘printing press’ like many ‘paper’ assets including cash.

If you are considering buying ETF’s we encourage you to do your research and satisfy yourself around the fundamental question of fractional reserves.  i.e. do they really hold enough gold and silver bullion should everyone want theirs, and if so could that change in a strong market.  There is evidence put before legal hearings that some of the largest ETF’s in the world may have a ratio of 100 paper ounces to 1 physical ounce in store. It is now also common that these funds will only settle a sale with cash or make delivery of metal unfeasibly expensive.  You should consider too that any ‘paper asset’ is simply a promise to pay and not like holding the real asset itself.

We outline in Bullion Storage just how easy it is to store your physical bullion so it just makes sense to buy the real thing.

Can I have bullion in my SMSF?

In any investment portfolio it is important to have a balance across a number of asset classes.  Your Super is no different yet too many people are in funds that are mono dimensional exposing them heavily to that asset or investment class being ‘down’ just when they really need it.  Look at those retiring in the years after the GFC if they weren’t in gold and silver!

Gold and Silver bullion are a perfect asset to have in your self managed super.  Super is generally a long term investment and few investments wear the test of time better than gold and silver bullion.  Gold and silver also tend to be counter-cyclical to the likes of equities and property and hence provide greater assurance of have a portion of your portfolio in a healthy position when you need that income out of your super during retirement.

We talk elsewhere on this website about the Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) alternative which may seem much easier to do as they are essentially traded like shares and appear to be a direct play into the gold and silver market.  We raise the questions being asked about fractional reserve holdings of the metal backing the shares and you should consider too that any ‘paper’ asset is simply a promise to pay.  It is now also common that these funds will only settle a sale with cash or make delivery of metal unfeasibly expensive.  Nothing beats holding the real physical metals for your long term peace of mind.

The good news is that it is just as simple to buy precious metals bullion through your SMSF as it is in personally.  Simply provide us with copies of the front and signing page of your SMSF Deed and the rest is as outlined in How to Buy Bullion on this website.

Note that coins are classified as ‘collectibles’ by SMSF regulations and hence must be independently stored and insured.  If you have coins in your SMSF, Reserve Vault meets the requirements of these regulations as it is independent and offers insurance underwritten by Lloyds of London.

What are my ID requirements?

There are various company and legislative requirements

  • You do not need to setup an account with us (unless you are a prospective storage customer)
  • Anyone coming in to our store must provide official Primary photo ID before entering for our (and your) own security purposes. If you come accompanied and your companion does not have ID or not want to come in, they can stay in our showroom without providing ID whilst you attend to your purchase, sale or pickup.
  • For web or phone orders being delivered and over $5000, we require you to identify yourself before we dispatch your goods. You can do this online by clicking here or the ID Verification link at the bottom of this webpage.  If you are purchasing less than $5,000 and having it delivered there is no need to provide ID (pick ups will need to bring ID to enter our office).
  • If you are buying in your Self Managed Super Fund (or another Trust Fund) we will need to take a copy of the original (or you provide a copy) of your SMSF Trust Deed (front page and signing page(s) only) together with the verified ID of all Trustees/Directors of that Trust.  If the Trustee is a company, we will also need a copy of its most recent Company Statement (this is easily obtianed from your Accountant) or similar. Please see further information at the Ainslie ID Verification page for Manual Verification - Non Individuals.
  • If you are buying in a company name we will need to take a copy of the original (or you provide copy) of your most recent Company Statement together with the verified ID of all directors of that company. Please see further information at the Ainslie ID Verification page for Manual Verification - Non Individuals.
  • For the above two non-individual instances, if you are not coming in to our store the ID verification link also provides a simple form to help.

Why doesn’t my financial advisor recommend buying bullion?

Historically many Financial Advisors have been reluctant to recommend buying physical gold and silver bullion.  There are a number of reasons for this and we don’t want to generalise as many of our best customers come through their Financial Advisors.  There are some things to understand though.

In the past many advisors were allowed to charge clients on a commission or brokerage basis where fees were earned within each transaction.  This may have included fees paid by managed equity funds for instance.  There was little incentive for Financial Advisors (who like you need to earn a living) to place clients into gold and silver bullion which works on extremely low margins and has no capacity to pay such fees.  Generally too, people buying bullion often do so with quite a long hold so there is no ‘in and out’ trading on which to draw fees.

On 1 July 2013 the regulations changed to prohibit such fees and ensure Financial Advisors work solely on a retainer basis irrespective of the investment product.

Some will tell you also that it is not an ‘investment’ as it does not provide a yield (dividend, rent,etc).  We’d argue that probably your biggest ‘investment’ is your personal home and that too does not provide a yield.  Like bullion, your home is considered a safe store of wealth which you expect will enjoy capital gains over time.  They are hard assets, not paper investments.  But because of this ‘technicality’ many Financial Advisors do not entertain gold and silver as part of your investment portfolio.

Many Financial Advisors too will recommend Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) as an alternative to invest in gold and silver.  We talk elsewhere on this website (Do I Receive Real Bullion) about this alternative which may seem much easier to do as they are essentially traded like shares and appear to be a direct play into the gold and silver market.  We raise the questions being asked about fractional reserve holdings of the metal backing the shares and you should consider too that any ‘paper’ asset is simply a promise to pay. It is now also common that these funds will only settle a sale with cash or make delivery of metal unfeasibly expensive.  Nothing beats holding the real physical metals for your long term peace of mind.

All Financial Advisors act under the Australian Financial Services Licencing regulations.  Most act under a ‘dealer’ (often the ‘brand’ you see) who holds the actual licence and has an ‘approved list’ of investment products.  In terms of gold and silver these often limit your Financial Advisor to maybe a percentage of your investment or ETF’s etc.

We advocate a bit of self education and ownership of your destiny and read up on gold and silver and decide if you think you need more balance in your portfolio.

What are your trading hours?

In store and by phone: Monday – Friday; 9.00am – 4.00pm
Web Shop: 7 days ; 6.00am – 10.00pm

What is your address?

We have two locations in Brisbane and Melbourne.
Our Brisbane Office is at Level 6, 12 Creek Street, Brisbane 4000. The name of our building is called Blue Tower.  It is on the corner of Creek, Charlotte and Eagle Street.
Our Melbourne Office is on Level 14 of 357 Collins St, VIC 3000.

Is there parking?

For our Brisbane Customers: There is parking under our building called Wilson Parking. You enter the car park via 289 Charlotte Street, immediately on your right as you turn off Eagle St. It is a public car park so you do have to pay but we can offer our clients 1 hour parking for $10.
For our Melbourne Customers: If driving, you can park immediately adjacent in 333 Collins St (access off Flinders Lane) and we will cover the cost of parking for FREE, for up to an hour.
These parking prices are subsidised so be sure to ask reception for your special ticket.

What happens when I get to your premises?

When you arrive at level 6 or Level 14 in Melbourne, you will proceed to the main entrance of Ainslie Bullion and ring the Intercom. After speaking to one of our friendly staff, you then proceed into the waiting area. In the waiting area you can see our full display of product or watch an informative DVD.

After providing photo ID and upon availability of the next sales consultant you will proceed into the store.  This process may seem a little daunting but please be mindful we have your security and that of our staff top of mind.

Do I need an appointment?

You do not need to make an appointment to buy, sell or collect bullion. We operate on a number system and each client is looked after by one of our consultants.  

I’m unsure which bullion product I wish to purchase?

We are not Financial Advisors but our friendly and knowledgeable consultants will help guide you through your purchase and show you some samples of the products which are available.  We also encourage everyone to read through the various educational pieces we have on our web site or more broadly to determine what best suits you.

What are the methods of payment available and surcharges?

We accept cash, EFTPOS, BPay, Visa (in store only) and Mastercard (in store only), Debit Card (in store only).
Surcharges or fees.
Credit cards - there is a surcharge of 1% applicable for using your credit card in store (not applicable to web order deposits).
Payment by Bank transfer or cheque is acceptable but your items will not be released until the funds have been cleared into our account, which may take a number of days.

Can I get my items delivered and are they insured?

We can arrange a courier service for you at a cost which is calculated by weight and where you reside. Most deliveries are through Star Track though some higher value deliveries are via armed couriers. Items are insured until they are signed for.

Can I get someone else to collect my order on my behalf?

Yes, all you need to do is send us an email stating you give permission for whomever to collect your items and remember to tell them to bring Photo Identification with them. We will send you a return email confirming your request.

Are my details and purchases kept confidential?

We treat our customer’s privacy very carefully.  Unless required by law we do not provide your details or transactions to anyone without your permission.  It is important to note that the Anti-Money Laundering & Counter-Terrorism (AUSTRAC) legislation requires us to report all cash transactions of $10,000 or greater to AUSTRAC.  We also legally must keep on record all transactions over $5000.  You should refer to our Privacy Policy (below).