Apr 16, 2013

Hedge, a recommendation

I'd been doing some digging over the past couple years on sources for silver. Apmex.com is well-known and -regarded in the precious metals world, and tends to have fair pricing. I'd also found multiple references here and there to MontanaRarities.com, not only for good selection but for their monthly purchase plan.

I skimmed through both sites, and ended up ordering from Montana Rarities. I ordered a small assortment of "junk" dimes and quarters, and a small selection of non-coin bullion - that is, assayed silver from private mints without a face value. In my ordering process, I mis-clicked one bar for another, and didn't notice until I re-read my order confirmation email in the afternoon. The price difference was measurable, so I took a chance and called them up.

I spoke with Mark, who sounded tired (in his words, "We've been slammed today!*") but was cheerful and helpful. I explained what I'd done, and asked if there was any way he could change the order. He checked current inventory and pricing at the time of order, and found he'd owe me a small refund. I asked if he could make up the difference with a few of the smallest bars they have - five-gram pieces. He did some fast math, and agreed to do that with no quibbling.

The computer decided to argue with him, so after a minute or two of trying to convince it, he said, "You know what? If you don't mind an incorrect invoice with a hand-written note on it, I'll do it that way and go pull this order myself as soon as we're off the phone."

I got the shipping notice last night. My silver should be here by the end of the week.

That is exemplary customer service, and they have just guaranteed a long-term customer (that monthly plan is next on my list).

As an aside: I ordered early in the day. The silver market did strange things yesterday, and my order went in around $24/oz. By 7pm the market had dropped to $22/oz, and as of now it's back to almost $24. Yes, I could have tried to watch and time the drop for bottom, but I didn't have time for that. Buying PMs for a hedge means accepting some risk or potential for lost capital. I don't expect we'll ever see silver at $8-10/oz again. Under $20 is possible albeit not very likely. Over $50? I suspect that's more likely than the low end.

* - the other thing Mark mentioned was that while the market was falling, all his calls were not people panicking and trying to get out - they were people buying as quick as they could. This suggests to me that people are definitely not interested in switching their hedge funds back to cash, and will accept a pretty hefty short-term loss to protect their capital in the long run.


Wally said...

"This suggests to me that people are definitely not interested in switching their hedge funds back to cash, and will accept a pretty hefty short-term loss to protect their capital in the long run. "

I am not sure I agree with your analysis, for there are folks who can make that transition without taking the tax smack of your route.

For a balanced funded portfolio, a downtick in a solidly-founded commodity is a signal to buy.

ZerCool said...

Wally: I agree with your last sentence completely, and that's at least part of the reason my timing was fortuitous.

The tax smack - we knew that was going to happen. This was a way that I was comfortable with getting some silver put away using money that wasn't being otherwise productive - and not a whole lot of it in the scheme of things.

The initial sentiment was more along the lines of people not wanting to divest themselves of PMs in their existing portfolio - even if they bought during the bubble of the last couple years. i.e., they'd rather have the tangible in-hand than hustle and sell in a hurry to minimize any cash loss.

(I'm not phrasing this well, I know. Markets are not something I have much experience with; I let the investment firms pick the retirement plans for me, etc.)

Old NFO said...

Get in and STICK WITH IT...

Phssthpok said...

I have dealt with mark Face-to-Face in Missoula, both buying and selling. he is, as you said, a fantastic person to work with. he's also a gun nut and a car geek (ask him about his 300Z sometime..if you dare)

Commander_Zwero said...

Don't forget that when you deal with Mark the amusing New Zealand accent comes free!