Montana Rarities is an employee-owned coin dealer based in Missoula, Montana. Our mission is to be the best online seller of precious metals and collectible coins, dedicated to helping people protect their savings with tangible metals.

The internet is an incredible tool enabling communication and trade between millions of people who would never otherwise be able to meet. Which is why our customer service and trustworthiness have to be the best in the industry.

Although we only sometimes do business face to face with our clients our outstanding service and honesty wins over many converts. At least 40% of our new business comes from referrals, and we are very grateful for the trust our customers show by recommending us to their family and friends.

We do not advertise on talk-radio shows, and will not push inappropriate "rare coins" on anyone. We do not pay for internet advertising, when you found us using a search engine it was without paid influence.

We do not pay for referrals so any online link to us is not getting a kickback, we don't even know who some of those blogs were written by! But we are grateful that bloggers are willing to refer readers to us anyway.

No salesman will ever call you! Even when people ask us to call, it is to address specific questions and help sort out how the precious metals markets work. We don't have time to call someone with a sales pitch, we will never do anything of the sort.

We want you to feel confident in your dealings with us. If you have any questions email or call. Check out our Ebay feedback, and reviews at ResellerRatings.com to see what our customers have to say about us.

We pride ourselves on very fast shipping- over 99% of our orders ship within 24 hours, most of our shipments are in the customers' hands before some companies even process your order. Emails are answered as soon as we get them. Unless we are eating or sleeping, obviously!

We hope that you will try us out and join our thousands of satisfied customers who make Montana Rarities their "Local coin shop on the Internet".

Mark Haythornthwaite
Owner


Contact information

By mail:
Montana Rarities
P.O. Box 1221,
Missoula, MT 59806

By phone:
406.396.9468 (between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mountain Time, Mon-Fri). Please note: If you want to contact us on the weekend email is best. Please do not try to phone, thank you.

By Email:
sales@montanararities.com

Customer Registration:

We now offer customer registration. Just follow the prompts during the checkout process. We understand not all customers will want to create an account, so registration is completely optional. Keep in mind, however, that registering for our site is easy and makes return visits and purchases a breeze.

Customer registration uses OpenID, requiring our customers to register a store account using an existing Yahoo!, Google, or AOL user ID. Along with registering and signing into your account through a popular, trusted provider, you can also enjoy the benefit of not having to create and remember an additional user ID and password.

Benefits of customer registration include allowing the system to save:

  • Essential customer information (name, display name, email address, phone number)
  • Shipping address information
  • Billing address information
  • Order history (beginning with the first order after registering a store account)
  • Shipping status of orders


As always, we take customer security very seriously. Please view our Privacy Policy for more information.

Order Processing:

We only sell what we have in stock, there are no back orders. Orders received before noon usually ship the same day, otherwise by the next business day. If there is a delay we will contact you and explain why.

To help prevent fraud we may contact you to verify your identity and make sure you actually placed the order, while orders in excess of $2,000 will be held for a minimum of 24 hours to allow Paypal time to complete their required fraud checks.

If Paypal is unable to verify your address through your credit card company, or your Paypal address is not the same as your shipping address, your order will be cancelled without compelling evidence that it is a legitimate, authorized transaction. We're sorry, but one too many chargebacks has ruined it for everyone.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and hope you understand this is to reduce the risks associated with identity theft and credit card fraud.

Shipping:

We ship exclusively using the USPS, utilizing First Class Package, Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express. First Class and Priority Mail are usually delivered within 2-4 days of order placement, Priority Mail Express in 1-3 days. Registered Mail for high value shipments can take up to 10 business days.

Select U.S. Mail at checkout for insured First Class Package or Priority Mail.

If you want faster handling and shipping select Express Mail at checkout, your order will ship with overnight delivery to many parts of the country, 2 days to the furthest points. This is NOT a guaranteed next day service, we can not tell how the USPS decides on next day or 2 day delivery (not available to US Territories). Orders will only ship same day if placed before 2 pm MST, otherwise they go out the next business day.

All orders go out with Delivery Confirmation and are fully insured.

Regular Shipping (First Class or Priority Mail)
Order Value Shipping
Up to $50.00 $4.99
$50.01 to $100.00 $5.95
$100.01 to $200.00 $7.75
$200.01 to $300.00 $10.45
$300.01 to $400.00 $12.75
$400.01 to $500.00 $14.75
$500.01 to $750.00 $17.95
$750.01 to $1,000.00 $21.25
$1,000.01 to $1,500.00 $24.65
$1,500.01 to $2,000.00 $27.95
$2,000.01 to $3,000.00 $30.35
$3,000.01 to $4,000.00 $32.75
Over $4,000 Actual USPS charges*


Priority Express Charges
Order Value Shipping
Up to $100.00 $23.99
$100.01 to $200.00 $27.49
$200.01 to $500.00 $35.85
$500.01 to $750.00 $39.85
$750.01 to $1,000.00 $43.95
$1,000.01 to $1,500.00 $45.95
$1,500.01 to $2,000.00 $47.95
$2,000.01 to $3,000.00 $50.55
$3,000.01 to $4,000.00 $53.75
Over $4,000 Actual USPS charges*


*Online credit card purchase limit is $4,000.00, shipping charges on large cash/money order/bank wire orders will be calculated at time of order.

International Sales:

We only sell to residents of the U.S. states and territories at this time.

APO/FPO/DPO Sales:

While we appreciate the sacrifices of all men and women serving our country, we cannot always ship to APO/FPO addresses if the host countries forbid the importation of precious metals through the mail (APO mail is subject to their Customs restrictions).

We are trying to create a listing of APO/FPO zip codes we can ship to. Choose APO/FPO at checkout and enter your zipcode. If it does not accept your address, please Email with your APO/FPO address and we will double check to see if it's possible. Keep in mind it is a work in progress...

This is a listing of countries we know we can not mail precious metals to-

Afghanistan, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Diego Garcia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Great Britain, Greece, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Uruguay and Venezuela.

(There may be more, this information is not easy to find)

Please note that orders to Germany are restricted to US$500 total value by mail, for Belgium it is US$650.

In addition postal restrictions mean that some of the cheaper postage options (eg First Class Parcel) may not be allowed over a certain value, our shipping charges are higher than domestic mail as a result.

You will be responsible for any duties or fines owed to the host country. We will not fabricate invoices or make false customs declarations, so do not ask us to.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Why are your prices so much higher than the official "spot" price?

Q. Why should I buy my precious metals from Montana Rarities?

Q. Is gold a good investment?

Q. What about silver?

Q. What is "junk silver"?

Q. The company I talked to said I should buy graded coins, because they are the best. Is that right?

Q. What does MS-63 mean? What are the coin grades? Who decides what grade a coin is?

Q. What about numismatic gold coins? What's the deal with gold confiscation?

Q. Do you collect sales taxes?

Q. Do you keep records on what your customers buy?

Q. Why are your prices so low?

Q. Do you offer "pooled accounts" or metals storage?

Q. Why are your prices higher than online dealer XXX ?

Q. Do you charge Handling Fees?

Q. Why don't you use UPS or FedEx?

Q. Do I have to sign for delivery?

Q. Do you offer discounts for cash?

Q. Do you make substitutions?

Q. Do you have everything in stock?

Q. Do you have a physical store?

Q. Where should I store my precious metals?

Answers:

Q. Why are your prices so much higher than the official "spot" price?
The spot price is set by paper trading on the commodities exchanges, not by physical metal in the real world. It is a number subject to manipulation by speculators who never touch the metal, trading contracts for 100 oz of gold and 5000 oz of silver that they never intend to take delivery of. If you want to take delivery of a silver contract there are many hurdles, people try all the time and the exchange makes it difficult to do, when delivery is made silver is supplied in random weight bars of between 950 and 1050 troy ounces.

It is a number used as a negotiating tool by huge corporations who sign purchase agreements for millions of oz a year for industrial or jewelery use.

We mostly sell 1, 5 and 10oz silver bullion and 1oz gold coins, the so-called "retail" products. It costs more to make those, as well as for shipping and packing costs etc. Do you ask why bread costs so much when wheat is only $5 a bushel on the commodities exchange? The comparison is very similar.

Many precious metals investors believe the markets are being manipulated, and the "real world" price is higher because nobody is willing to sell bullion at the spot prices. In order for transactions (a market) to occur there have to be willing sellers, and they appear to be willing to sell only at prices well above spot. There also have to be buyers willing to pay those prices, and chronic shortages of precious metals prove that there are plenty of willing buyers right now.

Q. Why should I buy my precious metals from Montana Rarities?
Couple of reasons. We will have a broader selection of bullion and collectible coins than most "brick and mortar" coin-shops, where they might have "silver rounds" we carry at least 5 brands that you can buy without getting an assortment. Also, you don't have to get in your car and drive over to the local store to buy. Even if their prices beat ours (including shipping), don't forget to factor in the gas, time and effort you need to shop local. Finally- no sales tax. Enough said...

Q. Is gold a good investment?
Buying precious metals carries risk, and prices can go down. There are no guarantees, prices fluctuate according to investor whim, the economy and Central Bank decisions. That being said, the Federal Reserve appears determined to destroy the US Dollar for some strange reason. Gold is not an "investment", it is real money, a form of savings. While the price of gold fluctuates when priced in Dollars, the amount of gold does not. It will never be worthless- can you say the same about your shares of Enron or Washington Mutual? We at Montana Rarities have decided to put our savings into Gold, a trusted store of wealth and widely accepted money for over 5,000 years.

Q. What about silver?
Silver usually follows the pricing movement of Gold, but with a twist. Silver is a very important industrial metal that in many applications is consumed and lost forever.

It is estimated that over 98% of all the Gold ever mined is still available for use. Not so with silver.

If not for newly mined silver industrial consumption would have already caused prices to sky-rocket, but mining output cannot keep up with demand. An estimated 150 million ounces per year are being used from above-ground stockpiles, and one day prices will have to reflect that reality.

If we have a positive recovery in the economy demand for Silver (and Copper, Lead and Zinc) will increase, driving the price much higher than what will result from investor demand alone. Ironically, when the economy is foundering and less base metals are being mined, silver mining also declines as most silver is produced as a by-product of mining for copper, lead and zinc!

Q. What is "junk silver"?
First off, "Junk silver" is not junk! Coin dealers refer to pre-1965 dimes, quarters and half dollars as junk silver only to differentiate them from numismatic collectibles. These coins were minted from 90% silver, and for each $1 face value there was 0.7234 troy ounces of silver when the coins were new. Allowing for wear, the industry accepted practice is to figure 0.715 troy oz.

"Junk silver" is not sold by weight, but by face value ($5, $10, $100 and $1,000 being the most common increments).

In 1965 silver was removed completely from Quarters and Dimes, and dropped to 40% in Kennedy Half Dollars until 1969. There is 0.296 troy oz of silver for each $1 in 40% Halves, and these usually sell for a very low premium.

Since 1970 only special issue coins contain any silver, some Eisenhower Dollar Uncirculated and Proofs were 40% until 1976 (none in 1975) and special proof coins since 1992 have been struck in 90% silver.

Q. The company I talked to said I should buy graded coins, because they are the best. Is that right?
For older, collectible coins, yes. See the next answer for more on that. But for modern bullion coins, even proof strikes- NO! There are some firms that will try to tell you that if you are buying a Silver Eagle or a Gold Buffalo you should buy the slabbed and graded MS70 or PR69 because you know they are genuine and they are the most collectable because they are the best examples. They will be priced at least 70% over the price of the metal, and they may try to tell you that your purchase is guaranteed.

Please, hang up the phone and never do business with them again. Modern bullion coins will all grade well due to precision equipment and techniques that result in much better quality than was possible even 40 years ago. These coins are overpriced, and when you go to sell them you will lose 30-50% of your investment. Unless they have a guarantee, of course. Then you will only lose 10% of your investment, and they will sell that same overpriced coin to someone else.

In reality, a high grade Gold Eagle is still a Gold Eagle. They are not rare. They are not exceptional. If you are selling graded bullion coins most coin dealers will only pay the same as for an ungraded coin.

Q. What does MS-63 mean? What are the coin grades? Who decides what grade a coin is?
Unlike the answer above, having coins graded does make sense for older, collectible coins. The better grade coins are rare, and rarity commands higher prices. It also helps everyone know if the coin has been tampered with, cleaned or in other ways less desirable. But we stand by our answer above- for modern coins there is no advantage to being graded and encapsulated.

Collectible coins are graded on a scale of 1 to 70. A coin graded 70 would be perfect, but 1 is poor, where almost nothing on the coin is legible and even the design is lost. Also there are different designations for Business or Mint Strike (MS) and Proof Strikes (PF). A business or mint strike is a coin struck on regular dies and intended for circulation, whereas proof coins are struck using specially polished dies at least twice. You can read about the grades and the subjective criteria here at the PCGS website.

When we talk about a coin being "slabbed" it refers to the coin having been examined by a skilled coin grader for evaluation, then sealed in a tamper-resistant holder with the assigned grade on a label, usually with a serial number and some kind of hologram or other recognizable feature that certifies its authenticity. There are many organizations that grade coins, not all of them are honest or accurate. The best are PCGS, NGC, ANACS and ICG.

When we list coins that have not been professionally graded I will attempt to give a ballpark idea of the condition of the coins. I try to be conservative in my grading, and have been told that it is fair. However, I am not a professional coin grader and accept no liability for inaccurate grades. Please look carefully at the photos, Email me if you have questions or would like additional pictures. Unless otherwise stated in the product description, photos are of the actual coins being offered for sale.

Q. What about numismatic gold coins? What's the deal with gold confiscation?
A lot of nationally advertised dealers will push pre-1933 U.S. Gold coins, and like to point out that the government confiscated gold in 1933 but exempted collectible coins. They hint that it might happen again, but if you buy their numismatic gold offerings you will be safe.

I call BS. In 1933 Gold WAS money. The Federal Government confiscated the people's gold to keep the banks (and government) solvent- it was an emergency measure. There was a run on banks, and people were trying to withdraw their gold. The banks did not have enough gold reserves for that.

It also had the benefit (from the Federal Reserve's point of view) of severing the link between gold and paper, allowing unfettered inflation of the currency. Gold is no longer legal tender money so there would be no actual purpose or reason to try confiscation again (unless the government decides to confiscate other kinds of savings like IRA and 401(k) accounts).

That said, collectible coins are pieces of history and have appreciated much faster than bullion, so there is nothing wrong with having some in your portfolio. That is why we offer them, plus they are just so beautiful.

Q. Do you collect sales taxes?
We live and work in Montana. Montana has no sales tax, and so we do not charge sales taxes on your purchases. If you live in a state that charges sales tax on precious metals transactions then you are expected to pay use tax, but that is up to you to take care of.

If certain states get their way and reach a sales tax agreement to force businesses in their state to collect taxes for sales to other states in a big reciprocal deal, we are confident that Montana will not be part of it.

Q. Do you keep records on what your customers buy?
Buying precious metals is a private matter. We will never keep track of what you purchased. Quite frankly, it is none of our business (well, it is our business... but you know what we mean).

Q. Why are your prices so low?
We are a low overhead operation, in a low-cost location. Plus, we are not greedy.

Q. Do you offer "pooled accounts" or metals storage?
NO!!! When you buy precious metals you should always take delivery. No exceptions! Some big-name dealers offer so-called pooled accounts at lower metal prices. Well, if you are buying the exact same bullion items that could be delivered to you how can it be cheaper to not have it delivered? The only price difference should be shipping costs- which you would pay separately anyway.

Ignoring that quirk, there have been many spectacular collapses involving companies that did not actually have the metals that were shown on customer statements leaving them with nothing. Likewise if you are buying for financial security, what is the point of having it stored somewhere else? It could be the most secure of blue-chip securities companies, but in a crisis how sure are you that you can take possession of your property? When buying precious metals always take delivery.

Q. Why are your prices higher than online dealer XXX ?
A lot of those dealers have very high minimum orders (or Handling Fees- see the next FAQ). Not everyone is in a position to buy large amounts at one time, that is why we are here. Our minimum order is 1 of anything we offer for sale. However we do offer volume discounts if you want to purchase a large amount, prices on this site are for 1 oz of gold and up to 75 oz of silver.

Discounts apply for mix and match purchases, but cannot be automatically calculated on the web store, so please contact us so we can calculate your savings.

If you are considering a large purchase please visit the Spot Plus Purchases page to see how low our prices can be, and contact us by phone at 406.396.9468 or Email before you place that order with someone else.

Q. Do you charge Handling Fees?
Other dealers might appear to have lower prices, but a "Handling Charge" of 4% gets added on during checkout, or they charge $40 for shipping. Our prices are all you pay and our shipping charges are calculated based on actual USPS postage plus insurance.

Q. Why don't you use UPS or FedEx?
Both UPS and FedEx will not cover precious metals or rare coins for loss or damage during shipping. They limit their liability to $1,000, only the United States Post Office offers up to $25,000 of insurance coverage per package. So on general principles we refuse to give them any of our business.

Q. Do I have to sign for delivery?
Anything insured for over $200 will require that someone sign for the package. For Registered Mail a photo ID is usually required also. If you are not home during the day your mail carrier will leave a notice and you will have to visit your local post office the next day to sign for it. Sorry, but nobody wants valuable gold or silver just left lying around.

Q. Do you offer discounts for cash?
Yes. If you use Checkout your purchase is completed by credit card (or Paypal). Transaction fees are a major cost, so if you want to pay by check or wire transfer we offer a 3.3% discount. Every product listing shows both the credit card and cash prices. See Paying by Check or Wire Transfer for more details.

All quotes for cash prices are good only for a limited time. For mailed payments the envelope MUST be postmarked by the following day. For orders large enough to require wire transfer the payment must be sent the same day. Payments sent late may, at our discretion, be returned. If prices have increased and your payment was mailed 2 days late you can count on it being returned.

Q. Do you make substitutions?
Maybe. The only time we would consider it is if we are out of generic rounds, we might ship a brand name round instead.

Q. Do you have everything in stock?
If we are out descriptions will show "Sold out!". We don't sell things then make you wait for delivery. It is possible that an inventory error may allow you to purchase something that is in fact unavailable, but it is a rare situation. We will contact you if it happens.

We don't keep large quantities of everything in inventory (there are over 500 different products on the website). Just having 5 of each type of 1 ounce gold bullion coins would mean having 50-60 ounces of gold- just in 1 oz coins. Add in all the 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz etc. and pretty soon we're talking a lot of gold! For very large purchases (over 5 oz of gold or 200 oz of silver) we may have to source your order from a wholesaler or other dealer, and it may take a few days longer to get to you.

Q. Do you have a physical store?
No. We have an office, a really serious jeweler's safe and a website. So please don't ask us where the office is.

Q. Where should I store my precious metals?


LEGAL NOTICE: You should make your own decisions and be responsible for them, I can not be held responsible for losses incurred if you hide your silver in some clever place that turns out to be stupid. If any advice here is wrong, illegal or just dumb, DON'T FOLLOW IT!!!

OK, legal disclaimers aside, here are some ideas:

A good choice is a private vault company. Like a bank, these companies offer secure safe deposit boxes. Unlike a bank they do not have to follow the Federal Reserve banking rules (as long as the rent is paid you can call yourself Mr. Smith, while banks require you to prove your identity). A bank safe deposit is fine, but you should be aware that banks have to co-operate with legal authorities. If a judgment is entered against you then you may find your box sealed, if you use a private vault company with an alias that makes your property a little harder to find.

Another option is to rent a small unit at an indoor mini-storage facility. I mean the type where all the units are inside a multi-story building and accessed by internal corridors, anyone following you cannot see which unit you are going into from outside. If you can, pay for the rental with cash, and don't forget to pay the rent each month! The facility should have card/code secured gates, and preferably alarmed unit doors. Put some boxes of books and broken vacuum cleaners in there and nobody will suspect that there is a box of silver behind that.

Use your imagination, and you could keep them in your home. People have used old paint cans in the garage, gunsafes, underneath floorboards, in attics. If you hide your metals in a foolproof spot make sure you leave a note for yourself (or your family) in a safe place, and be careful about throwing out those old paint cans! Homeowner's insurance does not usually cover precious metals or rare coins (firearms, fur coats and jewelry too) over $1,000. You either have to go without coverage, or pay extra on these items. Read your policy carefully or talk to your agent.