American Precious Metals Exchange Review

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Inflation and economic instability are perennial threats.

With growing numbers of economists sounding the alarm over a possible recession soon and with inflation already at historic highs, those threats are now more keenly on people’s minds than they have been in quite some time.

Gargantuan and ever-growing levels of government spending have only exacerbated these fears. 

In such a difficult environment, it’s natural for investors to turn to the one asset category that everyone has always relied upon to be a source of stability amid even the wildest economic storms: precious metals.

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What is American Precious Metals Exchange?

american precious metals exchange homepage

APMEX is a massive e-commerce retailer that offers a cornucopia of precious metals products to its clients, allowing anyone who so desires to both purchase and sell gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, primarily in the form of either coins or bars. 

As stable and reliable as gold, silver, and other precious metals tend to be, however, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to get ahold of them, at least in certain forms or relative to certain other types of investments. 

For help in this regard, countless people have turned to the American Precious Metals Exchange or APMEX. 

APMEX is much more than just a fancy precious metals store. It’s a one-stop shop for investors, traders, numismatists, and those who simply love precious metals.

It serves as a hub for buyers and sellers of precious metals, allowing them to come together and trade their wares.

For investors who want to inject some precious metals into their portfolios, it offers a wide variety of different investment vehicles and other perks which make the process both easier and better tailored to individual needs.

And for coin collectors, APMEX teems with rare finds. 

In what follows, we will give a comprehensive overview of the entire APMEX platform and discuss what it provides to customers and clients.

Along the way, we’ll also talk about not only the kinds of physical precious metals products that it has for sale but also the many special features and other programs that it offers to investors and collectors.

Additionally, we’ll also mention various nuts-and-bolts issues that are important to prospective buyers, like storage, shipping rates, insurance, and general pricing.

Lastly, we’ll spend some time comparing the firm’s products, services, and advantages to those of similar companies in the field, all to help you decide whether APMEX should be a stop on your journey through the wide world of precious metals.

Pros and Cons of American Precious Metals Exchange

For those who want to quickly get down to business, here’s a speedy overview of APMEX’s general pros and cons. 


  • An extremely diverse selection of everything from physical products to storage services and investment vehicles
  • Precious metals bought through APMEX are IRA-eligible, and setting up a precious metals IRA is easy
  • Various automatic investing options are available
  • Knowledgeable customer services representatives and community


  • Some shipping and storage costs for physical metals can be somewhat higher than through other platforms
  • All canceled orders incur a $35 fee
  • Many customers have complained about late delivery

Company History

The American Precious Metals Exchange, or APMEX, is an online precious metals retailer that also provides wide-ranging resources for both precious metals investors and numismatists. 

Originally formed in Oklahoma back in 2000 after its founder Scott Thomas had inherited his grandparents’ coin collection and discovered it to be worth more than $100,000, APMEX had rather humble beginnings.

At first, Thomas simply bought and sold precious metals — mainly in the form of old coins — on eBay. Gradually, Thomas would open up a booth at a strip mall in Edmonton, OK, and then a brick-and-mortar location.

By 2004, Thomas had decided to move from selling coins on eBay to creating his e-commerce platform for the purpose.

Today, APMEX is a massive company, employing more than 200 people and offering more than 20,000 different precious metals products, including not only freshly minted gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins, and bars, but also rare collectors’ coins and a diverse array of investment and storage services.

The site is also a large repository of information for all things precious metals.

Buying and Selling Precious Metals

various gold bars and gold coins

The array of precious metals products for sale at APMEX is truly enormous, with all items combined easily numbering in the tens of thousands. APMEX sells many kinds of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins and bars.

The coins are mainly 1 oz. coins, though there are quite a few 1/2 oz. and 1/4 oz. coins for sale as well. Bars range anywhere from 1 oz. to 100 oz. in weight.

Bars and coins are typically .999 fine, meaning that 99.9% of the coin or bar is made from the metal in question. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however, such as gold South African Krugerrands, which are 91.67% pure.

Another major category that should be mentioned on its own is the so-called “junk silver.” This term refers mainly to old silver coins minted in the US before 1965.

Before 1965, US law required that coins used in circulation contain anywhere from 40% to 90% silver content. These include John F. Kennedy Half Dollars and Franklin D. Roosevelt Dimes, as well as many other coins.

APMEX also sells 80% junk silver coins from Canada. You can buy such coins either individually, in rolls, or bags containing face values of anywhere from $50 to $1,000.

APMEX sells coins minted in all sorts of countries and across a wide expanse of time, as well as special-edition coins depicting everything from car logos to comic book and movie characters.

The selection is simply too large to give anything even close to a comprehensive overview of it, but the sheer size of the inventory is a point in APMEX’s favor. 

Lastly, APMEX sells old bank notes that had been issued by the US or other countries. Many such notes are now rare collectors’ items. 

Everything that applies to the buying of precious metals on APMEX also applies to their sale. Anyone wishing to sell precious metals to APMEX must sell items valued at a total of $1,000 or more during each sale, however.

When selling, you must place your items into an unmarked box, but APMEX will provide you with a packing slip. Only US persons or those with metals stored at a Citadel Depository may sell to APMEX.

Be aware that some customers have voiced concerns that the company does not offer good prices during sales and may even offer to pay under spot for generic silver.

Products for Numismatists

APMEX also sells a variety of products aimed at numismatists and other collectors.

In addition to the pre-1965 junk silver and old bank notes already mentioned, APMEX sells rare items like Morgan Silver Dollars, Eisenhower Dollars, and coins that were struck during the Roman Empire. As before, the selection here is extensive.

When selling rare coins to APMEX, the company will appoint coin experts to examine what you wish to sell and estimate its value. If your coins are deemed to be of lower value, APMEX will offer you a lower price for them.

Products for Investors

In addition to physical products, APMEX offers many valuable perks and services to investors. The most obvious of these is perhaps the ability to set up a precious metals IRA.

These are tax-deferred retirement accounts through which investors can invest in precious metals.

They are self-directed, meaning that you can place as much money into your account as you like at any time and purchase whatever precious metals you want with the money, though APMEX does demand a $2,000 minimum when opening an IRA with them. 

Gold in an IRA must typically be above .995 purity, silver must be of at least .999 purity, and platinum and palladium must be of at least .9995 purity. 

Though it is technically legally permitted, the IRS strongly discourages investors from storing their IRA precious metals in their homes.

Realistically, only relatively high-net-worth investors will be able to meet the requirements necessary to be able to store IRA precious metals at home.

Thus, APMEX can store your metals with a licensed depository like Citadel. More storage information will be given below. 

Another major financial product is the APMEX Bullion Card. This is a Visa credit card that generates rewards points for you when you use it to make purchases.

You will get 4% back for APMEX gold and silver purchases whenever you use the card to buy anything on APMEX (though this will change to 3% on February 28, 2023) and 1% back for APMEX gold and silver purchases whenever you use the card to buy anything else.

After you spend an initial $1,500 using the card, you will also get 15,000 bonus points, which are valued at $150. A 0% introductory APR and 0% balance transfer fees are also available. Cardholders will also be eligible for various special offers. 

There is also something called the APMEX Club, a group intended for especially loyal and high-spending APMEX customers. Membership provides you with access to special sales and other exclusive offers.

It also entitles you to have your APMEX account manager. APMEX Club has various tiers. These are:

  • Select: Complete 2-5 orders or spend at least $5,000
  • Premier: Complete 6-9 orders or spend at least $10,000
  • Elite: Complete more than 10 orders or spend at least $20,000
  • VIP: A special tier that is invite-only

Additionally, investors may be interested in OneGold, which is essentially APMEX’s equivalent to a precious metals ETF. With this, investors will be able to trade “paper metal” without the hassle of storing and paying storage fees on physical bullion. 

Lastly, APMEX has an AutoInvest feature aimed at increasing investor convenience.

This service is precisely what it sounds like it is: It is a way for investors to automatically invest certain amounts in precious metals either weekly, biweekly, monthly, or quarterly.

If you plan to invest in precious metals regardless of short-term price fluctuations, this is extremely useful.

Storage Options

As mentioned, APMEX allows customers to store their precious metals with Citadel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of APMEX. Brink’s, one of the world’s leading security firms, manages and guards Citadel’s storage facilities.

Storage fees run at a minimum of $15 per month, though for portfolio values of between $25,000 and $1,000,000, storage amounts to 0.55% of the total portfolio value per year.

Portfolios valued at between $1,000,000 and $10,000,000 will cost 0.50% of portfolio value to store annually. For portfolios valued at over $10,000,000, the fee drops to 0.45%.

Payment Methods, Fees, Taxes, and Shipping Rates

APMEX accepts all of the standard methods of payment, including bank wire transfers, checks, PayPal, and credit cards. All orders above $500,000 can only be placed using bank wire transfers, and in general, this method is recommended for all large orders.

APMEX also currently does not accept payment in any national currency other than US dollars. 

If paying with a credit card, you will be charged an additional 4% fee, unless you decide to use APMEX’s Bullion Card. The details about that card have already been given above. 

Since APMEX has partnered with the cryptocurrency payment processor BitPay, customers can also pay for precious metals with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum.

No other cryptocurrencies are supported for transactions at this time, and there is a limit of $250,000 per cryptocurrency transaction. Payments made in any of the three cryptocurrencies mentioned qualify for a 3.0% discount.

As APMEX is an online retailer, the sales taxes that you will need to pay on your order will vary depending on the jurisdiction to which your order will be shipped. APMEX has a helpful page listing the sales tax rates for all 50 states.

Taxes on any order shipped within the United States will be paid automatically as part of the order. Paying taxes on orders shipped to other countries will be the responsibility of the customer.

Shipping for all orders of $199 or less incurs a flat fee of $9.95, while orders over $199 ship for free — unless they are to be shipped outside of the United States, in which case, shipping costs will vary.

Once payment for your order has been received, delivery can take anywhere from 1 to 10 business days. All orders valued at $60,000 or less are fully insured.

When customers buy precious metals from APMEX, the price is locked in at the moment of the transaction, and the customer will be required to pay that price, regardless of whether the spot price of the metal he has purchased shifts up or down between the time of placing the order and when the order arrives.

However, if the spot price falls and the customer decides to cancel the order, he will be required to pay a market loss fee equivalent to the difference between whatever the price was when the order was placed and when it was canceled, multiplied by however many ounces of the metal he ordered.

There is also a flat $35 cancellation fee for every canceled order.

Ratings and Comparisons to Alternatives

APMEX has received consistently high ratings from business review organizations throughout its existence. The Better Business Bureau gives it an A+, and Business Consumer Alliance, Inc. rates it at AAA, its highest rating.

APMEX compares reasonably well to JM Bullion, once of its major competitors. APMEX offers more physical metals products and investment services than JM Bullion does, but the latter’s fees — particularly its shipping fees — are lower. 

Money Metals Exchange, another major competitor to APMEX, offers customers one interesting feature that APMEX does not: the ability to take out loans using one’s stored gold and silver as collateral.

The Bottom Line

The plain fact of the matter is that American Precious Metals Exchange’s tremendous selection of coins and bars is virtually impossible to beat, and that alone makes it a great option for both collectors and investors.

The company’s various customer and investor perks are also useful and interesting. Its staff is extremely knowledgeable. In short, there are very good reasons why APMEX has been around for more than 20 years.

The difficulties with APMEX typically come on the sell side, as quite a few have complained of being shortchanged when trying to sell their metals.

If you’re only planning to buy, though — and if you’re willing to be patient while waiting for your order to arrive — it’s a reasonable option.

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