Krugerrands anyone? How to sell gold coins

Q: My father had me buy gold in the 1980s. It has only gone down in price since then. Is this a good time to sell gold Krugerrands? (Krugerrands are gold coins from South Africa.) My father has passed on and I don't know how to sell them. Where and how would I do it?

R.H., via e-mail

A: Gold prices are expected to continue to go up in the next few months, in part stemming from the popularity of gold as a financial hedge during times of economic and global insecurity, says Mike Haynes, of Certified Mint Inc., in Phoenix.

But some financial analysts, such as Chris Davis, of financial information firm Morningstar Inc., believe gold is a risky long-term investment, given its volatility.

Gold currently sells for about $280 an ounce. You can sell the coins to Mr. Haynes at www.certifiedmint.com, or other precious metals dealers. The selling price of gold coins is based on the spot price of gold, plus "market conditions," says Haynes. Gold coins, he adds, are currently in heavy demand, but most people who own them "are holding on to them, unless they need the money for personal reasons."

Q: I was shocked to read your piece of Nov. 5 that 10-year, fixed-rate mortgages are hard to find. I work in secondary marketing for a mortgage company, and we do 10-year mortgages quite often. We create our own securities and have no difficulty combining 10-year and 15-year maturities in the same security. The price for a 10-year term is identical to the price for a 15-year term. Many large mortgage bankers offer them.

S.L., via e-mail

A: According to an economist with the Mortgage Bankers Association, 10-year mortgages are generally rare. Granted, some firms, including yours, offer them. But finding them is not always easy. You have to shop around among mortgage lenders. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage also offers a 10-year mortgage - "an odd duck for sure," says a Wells Fargo spokesman. "But, it is available."

Q: Do banks carry insurance protecting the contents of safe deposit boxes?

M.W., Scotch Plains, N.J.

A: According to "Financial Security in Troubled Times," by Ric Edelman (Harper Business), banks do not usually carry such insurance. But you may be able to get outside insurance through your homeowner's policy.

Questions about finances? Write:

Guy Halverson

The Christian Science Monitor

500 Fifth Ave., Suite 1845

New York, NY 10110

E-mail: halversong@csps.com

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