Update, 12:03 AM, 1 Oct 2011
The widget NOW shows a 25% premium of physical to spot in gold, but a HUGE 86% in silver! Maybe it's one of those anomalies that happen over there at eBay...
Many of you now that I have been trying to find a way to keep track of actual physical gold prices vs. the spot gold quotations from the COMEX. There are two relatively easy ways to do this:
1) Call the coin shops or check with the gold sellers (Tulving, APMEX, Gainesville, etc.)
2) Monitor the 24hgold / eBay widget (found at 24hgold.com, at the bottom of the home page).
Since I check the price of gold at least once a day at 24hgold, I often take the time to check the widget, which tells us the premium of the US Gold Eagle offered at eBay vs. the spot price. The "widget" price is always higher than spot (as it should be, as the Eagle has some 3% silver and 5% copper to make the coin resist scratches, that of course is over and beyond the 1 troy oz of gold).
For sometime now I have been monitoring this, and occasion comment on it both here and at Zero Hedge when I see something interesting. Well, I think that the widget HAS been interesting since the Big Plunge in gold prices starting about 10 days ago.
I just checked the widget, the eBay price is an impressive 25% over spot, the highest I have ever seen! The Silver Eagle eBay premium is a very high 42% as well. During the past several days, I have seen the widget showing at least 11% over spot (and up to 20%), which is higher than the normal 5% - 9% which is the great majority of premiums I have seen in the past.
FOFOA teaches us that the "paper price" (COMEX) of gold may very well go down (as physical buyers cannot get the physical so the paper becomes worth less -- oversimplifying) yet the actual, real price of physical goes up.
I am NOT announcing that FOFOA's ideas are about to happen, but the widget, imperfect as it is (and several people have let me know that eBay is a playground for thieves too, although others have told me they buy & sell there regularly with few / no problems) MAY show an increasing scarcity of physical gold for retail buyers (we "shrimps") like us.
I saw NO evident shortage when I bought recently, although the two coin shops I buy from typically have NO 2011 or even 2010 Gold Eagles (my preferred gold investment).
What say you? Reader "Jonny Bahrain" a few days ago told us that there were shortages of retail bullion product there in Manama, Bahrain. Please comment or let me know if YOU see any shortages or have similar observations. If I hear something, I will say something! (thanks Madame Secretary Napolitano!).