Boston Bullion is a popular precious metals dealer that serves the Boston area. In addition to their retail storefront, they also have an online store for customers outside the area. Are they good enough to compete with other online precious metals dealers? What do you need to know before you get started?
About the Company
Boston Bullion has been in operation since 2006, meaning that the company has more than 15 years of experience in the precious metals industry. Company founder Kenneth Murphy created the company because he was interested in silver and gold. Not only was he interested in investing, but he was also fascinated by the monetary history of the metals.
The more that Ken researched, the more he wanted to purchase them. He spent a lot of his time explaining the benefits of investment to his friends and family, especially considering the prices were much lower before the 2008 market crash.
Unlike some other precious metals dealers, Boston Bullion doesn't focus on numismatic rarities. Instead, they try to provide people with investment level bullion. Kenneth has pointed out that gold and silver have become more popular with American investors over the past decade or so, but that many other countries outcompete America in terms of public investment in precious metals.
According to the company website, the overall goal of Boston Bullion is to be the most trustworthy and reputable precious metals dealer in the US. They also aim to give people an excellent selection of investment level bullion at low prices.
Selling Your Precious Metals
If you are in the Boston area, you can schedule an appointment to bring your precious metals into the store. The company owner will give you a price quote on the spot.
For those who want to sell your items online, you can still do that. You'll just give the company a call during business hours. Make sure that you know the number of items you're selling, their condition, and any other important information.
You will be given a price quote over the phone. Once you agree to the price, the company will email you a packing slip. You'll print the slip out and place it in the package, then send the contents by following the email instructions. These should include an address. You should also insure your package in case it gets lost in the mail.
Once the package arrives at the company, they will give you a call to let you know. They will verify the authenticity and quality of the items in question, then they will lock your price. It's possible that the price might change slightly from the original quote depending on market fluctuations.
You can either have a check mailed to you or have a bank wire transfer done. Bank wire transfers tend to be much simpler and quicker. Payment will be sent within 1 to 5 business days depending on how busy the store is and how long verification of the items takes.
Price Quote Calculations
One super helpful thing about Boston Bullion is that they explain their price quote process on their website. For every item that they accept, they say exactly how they calculate the prices. This means that you can get a rough idea of the price quote before you even call. It also helps give you a better sense of how fair the deal is.
For example, for certain gold coins, the price is always the spot price minus $20. But with other coins, the price might be the spot price minus 2% of that value. It all depends on the exact item.
Calculations are published on the website for many different gold and silver categories. There are gold coins, gold bars, fractional gold products, miscellaneous currency, silver coins, and silver bars.
The website doesn't provide any immediate information about whether Boston Bullion will purchase platinum or palladium from customers.
Shipping and Brokerage Fees
Most precious metals dealers add a certain cost to their items as part of their brokerage fee. Basically, the price of the metals is marked up so that the company can cover their overhead. Brokerage fees are often rolled into the price of precious metals, and companies are often not transparent about how they calculate their markups.
But Boston Bullion is the opposite of that. In fact, the company has an entire website page that's dedicated to explaining their brokerage and shipping charges. That way, customers understand their policy and aren't surprised by their total cost.
When you make purchases from the company, they have brokerage fees as follows:
They also note that if you buy items in bulk, your prices might be discounted somewhat.
If you're selling items to the company, the brokerage fees depend on how the payment is made. When the business sends you a check in the mail, there isn't any brokerage fee. When a wire transfer is used, the fee is 1 percent. When cash is used as the payment method, the fee goes up to 2 percent.
Bank transfers remain the most convenient payment option, but if you're willing to wait for the check in the mail, you might appreciate the extra savings.
The company also charges flat fees for domestic shipping inside the US. No matter how heavy or bulky your order, all orders under $5,000 have a fee of $19.95. This should cover the cost of packaging and insurance.
When you make a purchase of more than $5,000, it can be shipped to any part of the domestic US for free.
The company's website has an online learning center. This is an educational section that teaches you about many things to do with precious metals, especially with regards to their pricing. You'll actually find a lot of information here that you don't often get with other educational precious metals sites.
For example, the page explains how the premiums for silver and gold are calculated. Then it explains what the difference is between a premium and a spot price. A lot of dealers will explain the advantages and disadvantages of precious metals investment, but they won't get into the nitty-gritty of the market terms like this.
The spot price for precious metals is simple to calculate. It is simply the price per ounce of the metal that's currently being traded on the global market.
A bullion premium is an extra price that's charged for bullion.
According to the Boston Bullion website, bullion premiums are calculated based on:
Is Boston Bullion a Scam?
Boston Bullion is not a scam. Though it seems that most of their clientele is local, they have excellent reviews on third party websites like Yelp and the Better Business Bureau. Customers consistently praise the owner for how personable and honest he is.
It's encouraging to see a business with this many good reviews. There aren't any major red flags that might stop you from investing with them. The only big thing to keep in mind is that this is a small business that seems to do more business in person than online.
Pros & Cons of Boston Bullion
Boston Bullion is a legitimate business that has a great reputation in the Cambridge and greater Boston area. Local clients say that the store owner is respectful, honest, and very easy to work with. There are quite a few different bullion products available for purchase through the company website.
Overall, there are no glaring issues with this company. It seems like you'll have a perfectly pleasant experience with them. If you want to support a small business, this company is a good way to do so.
Most of the reviews we've found online have been from local customers who went to the in-person retail store. With that in mind, we aren't sure how much of the company's business is conducted online. There are other precious metals dealers that are structured to do the majority of their transactions online instead.
In addition, some people might be nervous about the company's lack of return policy. But there is a note that as long as you call within three days of receiving your package, the staff will do everything they can to resolve your issue. And there haven't been online complaints about mishandled packages or incorrect orders.