What Type of Precious Metals Can I Hold in my IRA?

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Last Updated on: 26th January 2015, 04:49 pm

As Gold IRAs, as IRAs that allow you to hold gold and other precious metals are often called, grow in popularity with the investing public, one of the most frequent questions arising about them is what type of precious metals can be held in such an account.  A summary of the rules in regards to eligible precious metals for your IRA follows below, but first, a word or two on what is driving investors to buy precious metals in their IRAs in the first place is in order.

The factors behind the popularity of Gold IRAs

With central banks around the world attempting to spur their economies via quantitative easing (QE) policies which seek to increase the amount of money in circulation, investors have become more concerned about the inflationary implications of such policies.  History has shown that fiat currency, which is backed only by faith in the government which issues it, is subject to devaluation and debasement when dilution by way of excessive money printing occurs.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008/2009, a number of central banks entered QE programs which continue to this day.  Recently the Japanese government announced a more concerted effort to boost its economy by dramatically increasing the scope of its QE efforts.  Given these trends, it is no wonder that many Americans have turned to precious metals as a way of helping to preserve their purchasing power should inflation pick up.  With a long history as a store of value in turbulent times, precious metals can offer a safe haven from the dangers of currency debasement.

Image courtesy graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy graur codrin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Precious metals proof coins in an IRA

IRS regulations  allow for certain types of bullion and proof coins to be held in an IRA.  Coins allowed to be held are gold coins including the Canadian Maple Leaf, American Eagle, Australian Kangaroo/Nugget, Austrian Philharmonic, and US Buffalo uncirculated coins (no proofs); selected silver coins including the Mexican Libertad, American Eagle, Australian Kookaburra, Canadian Maple Leaf, and Austrian Philharmonic; and platinum coins including the Australian Koala, American Eagle, Canadian Maple Leaf, and Isle of Man Noble Coins.

Proof coins are created via a special minting process using select dyes.  Lustrous coin blanks are sent by hand into the presses and struck a number of times to make sure that softly frosted, detailed coin images above a mirror-like background are produced.  Each coin is reviewed by a mint inspector before qualifying as a proof and being put in a protective case.  American Eagle proof coins come in velvet presentation cases with certificates of authenticity from the US Mint.

Bullion bars and rounds in an IRA

Gold, silver, platinum and palladium bars or rounds produced by approved manufacturers can also be held, provided they are of sufficient fineness.  Acceptable fineness for gold is .995 or better; for silver .999 or better; for platinum .9995 or better, and for palladium .9995 or better.

IRA custody guidelines for holding precious metals

It should be mentioned that to maintain the tax-favored status of an account, precious metals held within an IRA must be kept at a location designated by the custodian, and not the owner of the IRA.  The owner is not allowed to take possession of the precious metals purchased in the IRA, as it is the custodian’s responsibility to maintain physical control of them in accordance with IRA regulations.  Before purchasing precious metals in your IRA, be sure to check with your IRA custodian for information relating to the storage fees charged for assets of this type. 

David Robles
David Robles

David has a bachelor in Economics and an extensive financial background. He is CFP® professional which means that he is an expert in investment and retirement planning. David enjoys covering current geopolitical world events and topics that relate to the U.S. economy.

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One comment

  1. A couple of thgnis to keep in mind.Platinum and palladium are used in catalytic converters cars. With the rapid decrease in automotive purchases/production, the world wide demand for these two metals will have dropped significantly. Silver is also an industrial metal, but not as related to the automobile industry as platinum and palladium.Gold has significant demand from India and China as jewellry. If you want my opinion on where gold is going, have a view on these two economies and assume gold follows.

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