Ask - The price that a gold seller will accept in for his/her gold.  (This is the price you will pay for gold when buying).

Bid - The price at which someone (a broker or a dealer) is willing to purchase your metals. (This is the price you will receive when selling.)

Comex - The Commodity Exchange, Inc. where traders can by and sell “futures” on gold, silver, and other commodities.

Face value – This is the amount of value shown on a government-minted coin.  Gold and silver (and junk silver) coins will often have a dollar or cent value on them.  Of course, the value inherent in the coin relies on the value of the precious metal it contains, which is usually far more than the face value.

Scrap gold – This is gold that no longer hold aesthetic or personal value.  It is therefore heading to the refinery to be “scrapped;” melted down and recycled.

Silver/gold ratio - Simply put, this is the silver price compared to the gold price set in ratio form.  The traditionally accepted silver to gold ratio is ~ 16:1

Spot price - (from Investopedia):  The current price at which a particular security can be bought or sold at a specified time and place. A security’s spot price is regarded as the explicit value of the security at any given time in the marketplace. In contrast, a securities futures price is the expected value of the security, in relation to its current spot price and time frame in question.

Spot prices are most often used in relation to pricing of futures contracts of securities, typically commodities. In pricing commodity futures, the futures price is determined using the commodity’s spot price, the risk free rate and time to maturity of the contract (along with any costs associated with storage or convenience). Using the same inputs, a security’s spot price can also be determined given the futures price.

Spread – This is the difference in price between the “bid” and the “ask.”  This is where the dealer makes his money.

Troy Ounce – We need to note the difference between a troy ounce and the more common avoirdupois ounce.  Here in the US we use the avoirdupois ounce for all our usual weighing: our bodies, our food, etc.  Gold and silver and other precious metals are typically sold by the troy ounce.  A troy ounce contains 2.75 more grams than a standard, avoirdupois ounce.  Here are some handy measurements

  • 1 troy ounce = 31.1034768 grams or 480 grains
  • 1 ounce = 28.3495231 grams or 437.5 grains
  • One troy ounce is 31.1034768 grams, or 0.0311034768 kilograms.
  • A troy ounce is equivalent to 480 grains. A grain is 0.06479891 grams.