If you’re an investor or collector of physical bullion bars and coins, and you don’t store your precious metals offshore, then a popular method of storing your gold may be at home. The aim is to hide your treasure somewhere so unusual, an intruder never finds it.
Storing Your Gold
When it comes to storing your physical bullion, there is no correct way of doing so, it all comes down to personal preference. The size, weight, and storage conditions are all important considerations. Whether you have a big collection or a small stack of coins, it’s vitally important to make sure that you have ease of mind and your bullion is safe and sound.
Something worth considering is choosing someone to be your ‘confidant’. Goodness knows how much gold is out there because no one knows about it because no one has been told. It should be someone you trust implicitly. Give them some idea of how much you have, where it is stored, and the ability to access it in case you can’t.
The most important thing if you’re planning on storing somewhere different is to make sure it’s clean, dry, and secure. So, even if you don’t have a personal safe or vault, or even if you do and you’re thinking about where to hide it, it’s time to get creative with your hiding places.
1. In a Safe
As obvious as this may seem, this is one of the safest methods of storage. Safes are very obvious and distinct looking, but there are also additional precautions you can take to make sure your safe is even more secure. If you know your safe will be in an obvious place or will remain in one place for a long period of time, why not fix the safe to the floor or a nearby wall? A precious metal collection will weigh the safe down considerably, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
2. Back Of A Sock Drawer
This is one more intended for smaller amounts of physical precious metals or gold. Silver takes up a fair bit of room so this method is mostly applicable to smaller portions of gold. Make sure your bullion is either kept in some socks at the very back or have encapsulated coins taped to the roof of each drawer.
3. Under The Floorboards
This is a more complex method if you don’t have any loose floorboards to work with. If you know you’re going to be storing a very large collection, however, it might be worth investing to make this a long-term option. With the combination of this and safe under the floorboards, cement would be incredibly hard-to-remove.
4. Old Paint Tins
Remember the time you painted and decorated the spare bedroom and put the few tins of paint in the shed in case you ever needed them again? Well, many of us have old paint tins in our garden sheds and garages so using an empty tin to store your bullion is a truly discrete tactic. No one would suspect it!
5. Disused Furniture
Some of you may have old furniture stored around the property or in the garden. If you’re happy with it remaining there, these disused objects may have plenty of space to store your precious metals inside. Wrap them up carefully and make sure no one does a bid tidy and takes anything to the tip without you knowing.
Do you have space in your home with lots of instruments or a corner with an old piano sitting collecting dust? Open the piano up and find some excess space, or find some instruments that you don’t play at all anymore and store your bullion inside the instruments. Lining an old guitar with gold, putting it in a guitar case, and adding a combination lock could be a pretty robust solution.
7. Secret Compartment Book
This one is for smaller time collectors. Cut a hole in a large book. Leave a few pages in the front of the book untouched, so the compartment is covered and looks normal when initially opened. If you’re planning on storing coins this way, make sure you use plastic coin tubes.
If you’re storing bars, make sure they’re placed in a container before being placed in a book, or ensure the book is lying on its side at all times so no bullion falls out and gets damaged. Then you can stick the book at the bottom of your bookshelf and allow it to blend into its surroundings.
8. Buried In The Garden
If you’re an investor who purchases physical gold bullion less frequently, burying your supply in the ground outside is always a very robust solution. Always ensure all your containers are absolutely airtight and make sure you make a reference of where it is (particularly if you’ve got more than one stash!) Don’t draw too much suspicion from nosey neighbors by going out to the same spot to dig every week. That’s why this really is just for the less-frequent purchasers.
9. Under The Stairs
If you’re blessed enough to have some additional storage under your staircase, then the back of a dark, dusty cupboard, (filled with other equally-mundane distractions), would raise minimal suspicion.
10. Inside Old Shoes
If you’ve got a small stash of gold, who’s going to want to go near your old shoes? Make sure the pair you choose has an unattractive appearance and stays in a dry place. Wrap your bullion in a sealed bag for extra protection and push to the bottom of each shoe.
11. Gardening Pots
Those into their gardening will have all sorts of plant pots from growing seasons past. These are ideal little areas to store something valuable. No one would suspect that being a hiding spot where the treasure lies. Make sure to wrap everything up safe and choose a suitable pot to store your bullion in.
12. Walk-In Wardrobe
This recommendation again only comes with those of you fortunate enough to have this extra space at home. A walk-in wardrobe might be an obvious place to store something valuable, but it remains in dull enough packaging then it can be easily overlooked by outsiders.
13. A Random Folder In The Office
Who looks in your office folders apart from you? Especially if you write ‘Bills 2013-2014’ on the side, people are bound to walk past without a second glance. Ensure nobody does try picking up your special folder though, its weight would definitely give away its contents straight away.
Thinking of repotting some houseplants? Using an oversized plant pot can allow for extra space underneath the soil. No one wants to go unburying your trees to find something. A plant’s soil can be contained in a waterproof liner that can be lifted up to hide items underneath. Just make sure the gold items you’re hiding are in a waterproof container, too.
15. Big Coffee Cup In The Back Of The Cupboard
This idea, like some others, also uses mundane, everyday objects to create a distraction to outsiders and allows your hidden gold to blend into the background. Smaller coins or collections can be hidden like this. If you have a cupboard of coffee mugs, stick some coins in the back mugs where no one would ever go.
16. Old VHS Videotape Boxes
Who still has VHS videotapes? These objects are so old that anyone would walk past them. If you have enough videotapes to create a small collection, this wouldn’t look too out of place, but generally, these retro media devices aren’t to be given a second glance. Just ensure no one comes around with an old video recorder to watch your VHS of Titanic!
17. Sliding Bookcase Room
There’s nothing cooler than a secret room behind a bookcase. Pull the mystery book and watch the wall pull back to your very own vault facility. This option is for those with big houses and extravagant space. This is only necessary with a very large collection of precious metals, gold, and other valuables.
18. Disused Plug Socket (Be Careful Though!)
This is definitely not advised without an electrician qualification or someone there who knows what they’re doing to oversee the operation. If you know you have plug sockets in your house that you don’t use, you could store a small collection of gold in each one. Unmount the wall socket and use the space behind to store smaller gold bullion.
19. Inside Disused Computer Tower
If you’re a bit of a techy person, it may not be too unusual for you to have an old, disused, computer tower lying around. These are boring and outdated objects with loads of opportunities for a secret place to store your precious metals or gold that have little accessibility to burglars. Simply open up the side with a screwdriver, place your collection of bullion coins inside, and screw closed again.
20. Deep Inside The Attic
If an intruder came to your house, one of the last places they’d think of looking would be your old family photo albums. People can get lost so easily when they’re in a room they’re not able to mentally organize, especially when everything is just in cardboard boxes. The only person who knows where everything is is you.
You could even get an old box and write on the side ‘Family photos 2002-2009’ as a decoy. Whether you’re a small-time collector, or a large investor, storing bullion at home should be well planned and thought-through. Here are some extra options for those seeking bullion spaces.
A final option for those with the means and security would be to store your gold bars and coins in museum-style high-security and alarmed display cases within your house or apartment. While this will impress friends and visitors, you would need to be confident that your property is fairly impenetrable.
On Public Land
A less used and unusual tactic would be to hide your gold bars or gold coins in a secure and remote location which is on public land, for example in a forest, mountainous area, or coastal location. These locations have the benefit of being completely off the radar for storing gold, but could by chance be inadvertently discovered by passers-by, or disturbed by wildlife. A public location also runs the risk that it could be developed in the future, for example for road or path construction, so your gold could end up being buried under asphalt.
Safe Deposit Boxes
Renting and using a safety deposit box as a home safe is a common way to store valuables including gold bars, gold coins, and other precious metals, and give them liquidity. While safety deposit box companies and storage facilities and banks will pitch the fact that only the key holder has access to and knowledge of the box contents, this is a two-edged sword in some jurisdictions because of the following.
If the police or other law enforcement officials raid a safety deposit box company in the pursuit of criminal assets and seize all the contents of all the boxes, then your legitimate valuables could be confiscated and be extremely difficult to get back. For example, a number of third-party storage safety deposit box companies in central London were raided by the Metropolitan police in 2008, events in which every box was seized.
In typical government style, gold, jewels, and other high-value assets were the most of interest to law enforcement. This type of operation undermines the entire premise of bank safe deposit boxes confidentiality and is a disaster for those storing legitimate assets in these locations. Safety deposit box companies can also be the target of professional thieves.
Again, London provides a prime example, when in 2015 the vault of a safety deposit company in the famous Hatton Garden jewelry district was robbed by a gang of professional thieves over an Easter weekend and millions of pounds worth of assets were taken from a large number of safety deposit boxes in the vault.
Safety deposit boxes within bank properties also pose another concern, in that since the box location is within bank premises, the location could become inaccessible in the event banks remain closed during a financial crisis (think Cyprus in 2013), or fall under dictatorial government directives that the contents of safety deposit boxes would be inaccessible due to capital controls (think Greece in 2015). A final point to note is that safety deposit box companies can eventually open your box of collectibles if you fail to pay the storage charges and sell whatever is needed to pay the outstanding storage fees.
Stored With Family Member/Solicitor
A less obvious option would be to ask a trusted family member to take care of the storage arrangements for some or all of your gold bars and/or gold coins for peace of mind. Storing portions of your gold in various locations could be considered a ‘location diversification strategy.’ This arrangement would obviously be based on trust and you would need to ensure that wherever they stored the gold at their property was itself a sensible and secure place.
In a similar vein, you could instruct your attorney/lawyer/solicitor to take care of storage arrangements for some or all of your gold. This arrangement would have to be based on a formal contractual arrangement or understanding and could involve a legal trust in some instances. It would probably also involve another layer of costs. Again, you would need to determine that the storage location used by the lawyer or attorney was practical, smart, and secure.
External Secure Vault
Beyond home storage options, a popular choice for many is to store their gold in the vault of an external precious metals storage provider with insurance policies. When using such a service, a number of considerations are critical, such as the jurisdiction of the provider, its reputation within the industry, the cost of the storage service, whether the storage is allocated, and the flexibility and access offered to customers to keep track of, view, and audit and withdraw the gold.
There’s plenty more to say on the subject of buying gold and why it’s such a strong investment option. But if you’re already sold on the benefits of investing in these hard assets and are ready to purchase gold, one question remains: where on earth do you put it?
If you have coins squirreled away in a coffee can in your mother-in-law’s basement, your parents’ attic, or under a loose floorboard in your living room - it’s time to rethink your gold storage strategy. Your gold is simply not protected in those places, and your storage solution is hardly scalable.
You can physically lose it (or lose track of it), a house robbery could occur, or the house could burn down. An alternative could be a safety deposit box at a bank. But when you consider that a safety deposit box would only give you access to your precious metals for a mere eight hours on weekdays (assuming the power is on and some kind of natural disaster hasn’t taken place), suddenly, it’s not that appealing.
Savvy gold owners want safe storage solutions and convenient access to their gold through a fireproof depository. And that is why offshore gold storage is the best possible place to store their bullion. If you want protection from your government, don’t buy or store your gold in their country. Offshore gold storage offers maximum security for your assets - it’s a no-brainer.