Costco Gold Bar Buyers Are Finding Resale Challenging

Whenever Costco announces a new batch of gold bars for sale, they are swiftly acquired by eager shoppers within just a few hours, drawn by the modest markup over the prevailing market price.

These frequent sell-outs create a perception of scarcity, enhancing the allure of these precious metals. Despite this, Costco consistently transacts significant volumes in gold bars and silver coins, with monthly sales estimated at around $200 million.

However, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, several purchasers are learning the intricacies of commodity trading the hard way. Unlike most items, Costco's policy on gold bars excludes the possibility of returns, refunds, or price adjustments. Consequently, buyers must navigate the secondary market to recoup their investment, a process that proves more challenging than anticipated.

Lark Mason, a New York-based appraiser, explained to the newspaper, "It’s not akin to trading stocks. There’s a noticeable discrepancy between the purchase price and the resale value."

This was the experience of Adam Xi, who initially bought a gold bar for $2,000 aiming to accumulate credit card points, only to sell it for $1,960, facing a slight loss as reported by the Journal. Another buyer held onto their purchase for nine years before realizing an $850 profit.

Historically, gold has served as a medium of exchange for millennia, yet it no longer functions as currency in contemporary financial systems. Instead, Costco categorizes gold bars as collectibles, whose value may fluctuate over time.

The Internal Revenue Service also treats gold bars as collectibles, imposing up to a 28% tax on profits from gold held longer than a year.

Owning gold bars might provide the tactile pleasure of holding wealth, but when considering potential interest, taxes, shipping, and additional costs, not to mention the effort required to find a buyer, trading gold might ultimately not justify the hassle, even with Costco’s competitive pricing.


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