What is an Assay / Certificate of Authenticity (COA)?
When it comes to assessing a coin’s market value, a great number of factors become folded into the process. From an accurate understanding of the coin’s popularity, which has an impact on its market value, to a diligent grading system designed to accurately assess a coin’s condition as a condition of sale, investors have a number of tools in their tool belt. These tools allow an investor the opportunity to arrive at a full accounting of the true value of a particular precious metal investment.
While the aforementioned grading process is largely a function of art over science, the assay process flips the script with a scientific approach to establishing the value of a precious metal investment. The assay process, coupled to the highly vaunted Certificate of Authenticity, lends heavy gravitas as to the purity of the metal comprising your precious metal inventory.
Importance of the Assay Process
When investors consider buying gold or silver from a reputable mint offering precious metal bullion, bars, coins, and rounds, they are offered an ironclad assurance that their products meet stringent purity and weight requirements. For instance, most mints will extend a promise that their bullion products will meet a purity level of 99.9 percent, and the assay process backs up those claims. An assay is a metallurgical assessment of the bullion’s composition in terms of its mix of ore, alloys, and precious metals. The process checks each lot in a mint’s production line to assure that each piece meets these exacting purity demands.
The Assay Process
After either taking a small sample of the precious metal in question, through the collection of metal shavings or extracted from the molten stage prior to its solidification into rock-hard bullion, he assayer have a myriad of options available to help measure the value of a collection of gold and silver bullion.
- Fire Assay
- Dry Assaying
- Wet Assaying
- Spectrograph Assaying
- X-Ray Fluorescence Assaying
The myriad of methods ensures honesty in the gold and silver bullion market. Some, steeped in historical tradition provide an understanding that any transaction is predicated on an accurate assessment of precious metal purity, these tests serve to buttress the entire precious metal market.
Precious Metal Assaying and the Certificate of Authenticity
Once the precious metal in question has been accurately assessed through the assaying process, a firm determination is backed up with a Certificate of Authenticity. This providence allows for seamless market transactions owing to the element of trust that such certification supplies. For instance however, should the bullion enter a private collection, as opposed to remaining in a secured bank safety deposit box or gold depository vault, the owner would need to submit to the expense associated with re-assaying the metal.
By keeping your investment within the close confines of a depository vault, you maintain the value of your collection because they retain their certified status. Gold held in private hands immediately loses some of its value owing to the fact that any reputable bullion dealer would need to go through the recertification process, known as assaying, to guarantee the high purity standards of what’s referred to as “investable gold.”
The gold and silver investing community has been a staple of financial transactions since the beginning of trade between differing cultures. Even back in the alleys of antiquity however, gold and silver buyers and sellers have relied on the need to accurately assess the purity of their wares. For the modern investor, these demands have not changed in anyway, so if you are looking to purchase gold or silver on the worldwide bullion market, always be sure to inquire over the existence of a Certificate of Authenticity to provide you the peace of mind you need when making a bullion purchase.