What Are The Approved Precious Metals?

IRA-approved precious metals are specific gold, silver, platinum and palladium—bullion bars and coins—that meet stringent standards set by the IRS. Therefore, you can hold them in an individual retirement account. 

Understanding what are the four precious metals eligible for an IRA may help you decide which metals are right for you. 

To help ensure the long-term health of your individual retirement account, the IRS puts strict guidelines on the purity, condition, and origin of allowable precious metals.

Eligible coins must: 

  • Originate from government mints
  • Be new, uncirculated, and in perfect physical condition
  • Come in their original packaging and include their certificate of authenticity.

Bars and rounds must be manufactured by approved assayers and companies, all of which are publicly traded on the COMEX and other exchanges.  

Each precious metal has its own minimum purity standard set by the IRS. They are as follows:

  • Gold: 99.5% pure
  • Silver: 99.9% pure
  • Platinum: 99.95% pure
  • Palladium: 99.95% pure

Neither jewelry, scrap metal, nor pirate ship gold is allowed in an IRA. Only investment-grade, pure, clean metals that will last a lifetime make the cut.

Throughout this educational guide, we will help you answer the following questions:

  • What are the four precious metals?
  • How many precious metals are there?
  • What metals are IRA-approved precious metals?
  • What metals are not IRA approved?
  • How to invest in precious metals?

What Are Precious Metals?  

What are precious metals, and what makes them precious? 

Precious metals are rare, naturally occurring metallic elements. They hail from the earth and have a high economic value. 

Most precious metals are highly conductive, non-corrosive, malleable, and have a beautiful shine. The finest jewelry is usually fashioned from precious metals and may be paired with rare gemstones. 

There is a global market for precious metals, which many nations use to mint their flagship coins. High-quality coins originating from government mints are typically easy to liquidate.

While useful, metals such as steel, copper, iron, and aluminum are not considered precious metals. 

How Many Precious Metals Are There? 

There are eight naturally occurring precious metals:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Platinum
  • Palladium
  • Rhodium
  • Ruthenium
  • Iridium
  • Osmium

The only IRA-approved precious metals are the four primary metals. 

What Are the Primary Precious Metals? 

The four primary precious metals—gold, silver, platinum, and palladium—are the ones most commonly used for jewelry, industry, and coinage.

Each metal has its own set of properties and perceived value. 

1. Gold 

Gold needs no introduction. From the time of ancient civilizations on, humans have always had a fascination with gold. 

From its alluring color and non-corrosive, everlasting nature to its conductivity, gold finds many ways into the hearts of humankind.  

Uses for gold include:

  • Coinage and financial transactions
  • Jewelry
  • Electronics (conductors, connectors, circuitry)
  • Dentistry (fillings, bridges, crowns, orthodontics)
  • Aerospace (circuitry, protective coatings)

2. Silver 

Often thought of as gold’s younger sibling, silver has had a growth spurt. It has never been more in demand than it is now. 

One of the most useful precious metals, silver has become almost indispensable for modern living. 

In our tech-driven age, silver’s high electrical and thermal conductivity put it front and center in the manufacturing world. Almost every piece of electronics you touch relies on silver to function. 

Silver is now used in:

  • Jewelry
  • Coinage and financial transactions
  • Solar panels
  • Cell phones
  • Computers
  • Batteries 
  • Dentistry
  • Cars
  • Electrical contacts
  • Photography

3. Platinum  

Like other precious metals, platinum is often paired with rare gemstones. Its shiny white metallic luster makes it a favorite for some of the most elite jewelry pieces in the world. But platinum is used in many other ways.

One of the most rare elements in the earth, platinum is strong, nontoxic, stable, and extremely dense. It is also a great conductor of electricity.

Platinum is used in:

  • Dentistry
  • Catalytic converters
  • Coinage and financial transactions
  • Jewelry
  • Electronics
  • Cell phones
  • Pacemakers
  • Optical fibers
  • LCD displays

This rarest of rare metals has a prominent and permanent place in our everyday lives.

4. Palladium 

Palladium may be the least known of the primary metals, but it is the most expensive.

Primarily used in catalytic converters, palladium is instrumental in turning atmospheric pollutants into less harmful water vapors and carbon dioxide. 

Small amounts of palladium are also used in:

  • Coinage
  • Dentistry
  • Fuel cells
  • Jewelry
  • Groundwater treatment

Other Approved Precious Metals 

There are four precious metals that are not allowed in the precious metals IRA. They are:

  • Rhodium
  • Ruthenium
  • Iridium
  • Osmium

Rhodium reduces nitrogen oxide in exhaust gasses. It is used in catalytic converters, and as a catalyst in the chemical industry.

Ruthenium has a high melting point. It is used to harden platinum and palladium—making those metals more useful for jewelry and metal contacts. 

Iridium is the most corrosion-resistant metal known to man. It is used in compass bearings, pen tips, and equipment that is used in high temperatures.

Osmium has the highest melting point of the platinum group of metals. It is used to harden other platinum family metals, and in electrical contacts.

These metals are all valuable and useful. In fact, rhodium is the most expensive of all the precious metals. 

So, why aren’t they IRA-approved precious metals? One theory is that the markets for these metals are nowhere nearly as robust. There is often a huge gap between bid price and ask price—what a buyer is willing to pay and what a seller is willing to accept—and that gap can make it difficult to liquidate positions. 

Investment Considerations with Precious Metals 

Many investors turn to precious metals in an individual retirement account to gain protection from:

  • High inflation 
  • Geopolitical strife 
  • Stock market uncertainty 
  • Economic recession

Physical precious metals in your IRA are real and tangible—you can hold them in your hands. 

A non-correlated asset, they are not tied to stocks and paper investment products. 

History has shown that in times of stock market corrections and full economic recessions, precious metals tend to increase in value. 

Investors often turn to metals as a safe-haven investment during times of tumult.

When inflation rates are high, your precious metals IRA can give you a way to preserve your wealth. 

Because metals are priced in dollars, the cost of precious metals rises along with the cost of goods and services during periods of high inflation. 

Owning a tangible asset gives investors some peace of mind. Your IRA-approved precious metals are the same precious metals that have been on or in the earth throughout time. 

They have always had value, likely will not go to zero, and cannot be erased at the push of a button. 

Invest in IRA-Approved Precious Metals with Advantage Gold 

Advantage Gold makes it easy to own IRA-approved precious metals. Your highly trained account executive will walk you through the application process. 

From there, our award-winning IRA department will do all the heavy lifting to create your new self-directed precious metals IRA. 

After your representative educates you on eligible precious metals, you choose the metals you want to own and purchase them through your executive. 

The metals are then boxed, shipped, insured, and sent to the depository (vault) of your choice. 

They will sit, in the vault, on a shelf, with your name on them, until you’re ready for them. 

It’s that easy.

Call or contact us today. We’re here, and we’re happy to help.

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