So you’ve taken the plunge and bought silver or maybe some gold as well! Now comes the 2 most important questions for safeguarding your silver: how to store silver or better yet how to hide silver?
There is no shortage of stories on the nightly news or online of homes broken into, ransacked, and rummaged looking for your valuables and precious metals.
Here is a recent story of about $250k in gold coins stolen from a home safe while he was away.
Another sad story of over $250,000 in silver coins, certificates, and bars stolen from a small apartment safe. That safe had apparently been in storage for over 70 years, and only a handful of people knew about it, says the owner.
Hopefully, these 2 stories will at least give you warning that this does happen. This article was written to prepare, prevent, and protect your silver/gold from being stolen. While this is not a How To, it is more of a rough guide to point you in the right direction and get you thinking. You should plan to spend 1-2% of your wealth to protect it.
Before we get into places of where to hide your silver, there are 4 simple rules that will do you well in securing your assets.
1. Take Possession
By taking physical delivery of your silver, you become active and aware of your purchase as a bullion investor and the rewarding experience it brings, especially when holding a 100oz silver bar in your hands!
It’s often said and worth repeating again, if you don’t hold it you don’t own it! Be responsible for your own wealth and take possession of your physical metal. Why entrust a bank or third-party to guard YOUR wealth? Not only that, it takes the silver out of circulation, raising the price for everyone.
2. Store Outside the Financial System
No ETF’s when storing your silver, and I’d suggest keeping your silver out of bank safe deposit boxes. Per the FDIC’s website, safe deposit boxes are not insured but they are subject to Bank regulations and any laws that are passed. Ditto for credit unions.
So if the situation where a Bank Holiday does occur, your precious metals are stuck until your bank reopens, IF they reopen. One of the main reasons of buying silver is because the banks are being reckless with too much leverage.
3. Diversify your Locations
Going by a rule of 3 can further protect your wealth if you diversify your hiding spots. Keeping all your silver or gold in 1 place, say a safe, underground, or hidden in the home is fine until it is found.
If you have 1/3 underground, 1/3 in your home, and 1/3 in a private vault somewhere, and someone breaks in and finds your silver in your home at least you still have 2/3 elsewhere. Granted, this is more for large stackers of silver. Also, consider different legal jurisdictions as well for large holdings. If you just have 3 gold coins, it’s probably not worth dividing them up 🙂 Also, more than 3 locations can begin to become a headache remembering all 10 locations or what not…
Probably one of the most important rules you can do to protect your metals is to tell only who needs to know! Maybe your spouse or one of your kids, if you’re older. You will want to at least let 1 other person know just in case something does happen to you. Other than that why tell other relatives or even close friends?
While you may trust them, they may tell a third party who is not so trustworthy. It’s amazing though when you hear of people declaring how much gold or silver they just bought. We’ll say it again:
Of these 4 rules, the best piece of advice upfront is to keep your mouth closed! People won’t come looking for what they don’t know about.
Understanding Bulk and Size
While we believe silver is a great investment, it’s downside is that it can be bulky. A Monster Box of Silver Eagles weighs around 34 lbs or 15.5kg for 500 ounces of silver coins. At current prices of $17/ounce this is ~$8500 worth of silver. Compare that to gold which you would only need 7 – 1oz. gold coins to equal $8500 at current prices.
So you can see, if you want to invest say $100,000 in gold or silver, depending on what you buy can greatly affect how you plan on storing it. At prices of $17 for silver and $1200 for gold: $100,000 is roughly 84 gold coins that weigh only 5.7 lbs or 2.6kg. You could literally carry this on your person if you wanted to.
However, $100,000 in silver coins/bars will equal 5882 troy ounces and weigh a whopping 403 lbs or 183kg. Storing and hiding 403 pounds of silver is no small task. And this weight goes up even more if you are holding junk silver.
Now let’s start brainstorming on the best places to hide silver & gold. There are basically 3 locations to consider: somewhere in your home, somewhere underground, or a third party location.
Hiding Silver in Your Home
The most common goto place of hiding your silver will be in your home or place of residence. Before you attempt to hide your metal, think if you were a robber and entered your home, where would you look? The most obvious places will be the mattress, toilet tank, bedrooms, closets, and dressers in my opinion.
So no, storing silver in your dresser under your socks & underwear is not a smart choice. Thieves are not dumb, well some of them. They read these types of posts and forums as well.
This is where creativity and thinking outside the box can really come in handy. I happen to believe hidden in plain sight is one of the best options to take when hiding gold or silver. That is hidden in common household items or furniture that people would tend to overlook.
This is a great place to consider, as you could store your coins in dry food items such as in a large can or bag of sugar, coffee, flour, beans, or any other dry bulk goods.
Another good place in the kitchen, although more and more popular is the refrigerator. Stashing some coins in a frozen pizza box or inside a frozen bag of peas should not be suspect.
Also there are numerous ‘fake kitchen items’ that you can buy with false bottoms otherwise known as diversion safes. Cans of food, coke cans, coffee cans, household cleaners etc … can all be great places to consider storing silver.
Here’s a nice selection of diversion safes.
Another place unlikely to get a lot of searching by thieves is the garage. The more messier and disorganized the better. (As long as you know where you hid it!)
Any old can, box, or storage of old screws, nails, scraps etc … can be taken out, silver placed in the bottom and then the other items on top. I’ve read of some people to hide gold coins, vacuum sealing them and then placing them in an old can of paint with the lid securely on. I don’t think most intruders will be sticking there hands in old cans of paint looking for silver or gold.
Just get creative, these are just ideas not meant to be followed step-by-step.
The attic is another place I’d bet that most robbers would avoid poking around in. Careful walking up there, but finding a nice secluded spot under the insulation
is ideal for concealment. Just remember to place the metal securely on some cross-boards so it won’t fall through, especially monster boxes!
A few other places to consider would be children’s rooms. Most thieves would stay out of these messy places. Granted the older they are the more likely they would have electronics which are target items. Utility closets are another good option, say an old vacuum cleaner bin.
Safe or No Safe
In your quest to protect your silver, you will eventually have to consider whether or not to buy a home safe. Safes are good for several reason, the main one being able to protect your metals from fire. Not only that, they can usually be fairly heavy which will make it much more difficult to steal as well as most having the option to being bolted to the floor.
On the flipside, having a safe is like a flashing sign saying “take me take me”!
What many people suggest is having a decoy safe and then your real safe. What you would do is go down to Walmart and buy a cheap entry-level safe. Put it somewhere hidden but findable, and then throw some papers and just a small amount of your valuables in there.
Hopefully, if your home is broken into, the thieves would find this and spend time on it, rather than your real safe, which maybe hidden in some creative home improvement project. These types of decoys will hopefully satisfy the thief and will search no more …
A whole article could be written on selecting a proper safe. Before you buy safe for your gold & silver you will need to understand the UL rating, or Underwriters Laboratory number, different kinds of locking mechanisms, steel thickness, fire endurance, size & weight. There are also many kinds of safes, wall safes, floor safes, drop safes, gun safes, cabinet safes, high-security safes, vault doors etc …
Liberty Safes are considered tops in the industry if you’re willing to spend some money. Check out there pry test in the video below:
Creative Home Improvement
Probably the most popular in hiding precious metals are custom home improvements done specifically to hide silver/gold/safes/guns etc.. There is no shortage of examples and unique hiding spots, just as there is no shortage of creativity.
Under floor boards, behind bookcases, sliding panels, secret compartments, fake plumbing, behind mirrors or artwork, fireplace compartments etc …
One company that does this really well is QLinedesign, they make custom furniture with secret compartments for hiding guns and valuables.
How to Bury Silver & Gold
While some people agree that burying is a good way to hide silver, others will say you shouldn’t do it. Mainly because of corrosion especially for silver and forgetting where you buried it.
It’s really straightforward to bury silver, just follow these 4 steps:
1. Pick your spot
Not too much to say here, other than you don’t want a location where water will pool and sit. If it’s in your backyard somewhere, just don’t pick the lowest elevated spot. Maybe next to yout favorite tree or next to a rock, something to remind you exactly where you buried it.
Burying gold or silver right in the middle of a big field may not be the best option.
There has been some suggestion of burying it under a tool shed with a trap door. This way you can access your dig inside the shed without no one seeing you. Most ingenious way I read was to buy a plot of land at your local pet cemetery and bury your ‘pet’.
2. Package your metals
This is by far the most important step as silver will corrode and tarnish with just the slightest moisture around. Buried underground for months and years through all sorts of weather will test even the best air-tight containers.
Some popular options to get them sealed airtight include:
PVC pipe – This is really popular with the preppers to bury ammo or geocaches. Because ammo needs to be kept dry as well, PVC pipes have been used to put them underground. Switching out precious metals will also do the trick. You will need some PVC pipe, end cap, female/male threaded fitting for other end, as well as some PVC glue. Below is a simple video on how to make one:
Ammo cans – Ammo cans are a great storage device to use for your gold and silver. These are airtight, waterproof, and are fairly durable. You can probably fit more silver inside of these than a 6″ PVC pipe. These can usually be found at your local army surplus store or just head on over to Amazon.
MTM survivor Vault – Already built storage vaults mainly for ammo, these can also be used for burying your gold & silver. If you don’t trust yourself building your own PVC pipe burial tube cache, this may be the way to go. You can get one on Amazon for ~$30.
3. Bury it
AS a final prep to your silver and gold, you will want to place them in some sort of zip lock bag or maybe a vacuum sealed storage bag. You can also throw in some desiccant or silica gel to further keep the contents dry and moisture free. Then seal them up.
Now comes the digging. Best to be done at night, so no curious eyes will be watching. As for the depth, I’ve read a handful of suggestions, but you will want to at least dig to a depth of 3 feet or more as well as below the frost line. (Note:modern metal detectors can detect metal of about 4 feet deep, if you’re concerned about that.) Place your items in and then begin to cover the dirt back. Half way in between your metals and the top, place some old junk metal to throw off any metals detectors, then finishing covering up the dig.
Be sure to press down and stand firm on the dirt to really pack it down and prevent any sinkholes from forming.
Lastly, make sure you don’t leave any fresh dirt or mound behind as that would bring obvious suspicion. Cover it back with the surroundings of dirt/rocks/leaves/grass whatever to blend in. As another precaution, I’ve read of burying ~10 or so pieces of junk metal scattered around your dig site to really throw off anyone nosy with a metal detector.
Storing Silver with a Third Party
A final way to diversify your silver is to use private storage. You can either go with private non-bank safe deposit box type companies or private depositories. Private safe deposit boxes or private vault storage are usually anonymous and are uninsured. Depositories on the other hand are precious metal storage facilities with segregated or non-segregated accounts with insurance. You would want to go with a segregated account.
Below is a list of just some of the private vaults in the US:
The Vault – Located in Tempe, Store your valuables in a solid steel flood and fireproof box, built into a steel-framed vault encased in three feet of solid concrete. The entire structure is guarded by the most advanced state-of-the-art security technology available.
Mountain Vault – Located in Phoenix, unique storage location in the side of a mountain to provide high security storage for personal and business data backup.
US Private Vaults – Beverly Hills, complete privacy on safe deposit boxes with the latest technology on security. This includes iris scan and hand geometry.
BlueVault – Located in San Diego, BlueVault offers private and secure storage in swiss style vaults and security.
CV Safe Box – Located in Centennial, Colorado, offers safe and secure storage for precious metals, guns, private documents, and other valuables in their private vaults.
Robovault – Quality storage in a specialized facility that offers not only safe deposit boxes, but also storage for fine art, wine, exotic vehicles, and business data.
The Gold Center – Serving Springfield, Illinois, The Gold Center offers online shopping of precious metals along with secure storage.
Security Center New Orleans – Private vaults and secure storage guarded by a 38 ton steel door!
Inwood Vaults – 4,000 square foot secure vault storage located in Dallas, Texas. Top of the line security with foot thick vault doors, 5 layers of bullet proof glass, walls of steel with reinforced concrete, man trap access with double door security.
Safe Haven Vaults – Anonymous storage of security boxes and private vaults located in Sandy, Utah.
Common Wealth Safe Box – Located in Loudoun County, offers secure, confidential, and private vault storage at their facility. Some of the measures include several layers of steel and concrete reinforced walls, tempered glass; seismic, motion, and pressure sensors; along with multiple cameras, backup power and fire prevention systems.
Below are depositories where they will store your gold and silver for you, usually in a non-segregated or segregated account:
GoldMoney – allows one to purchase gold or silver and store them in offshore third-party owned vaults in London, Zurich, or Hong Kong.
Loomis International – Swiss owned private company in the transportation and storage business with facilities all over the world including; Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, LA, New York, Frankfort, and London.
Bullion Management Group – Canadian precious metals company that allows you to buy and store your precious metals using their custodial services.
Perth Mint Depository – offers gold, silver, and other precious metals through its online retail shop as well as depository services to its customers for secure storage. Note: minimum purchase amount is $250,000 USD for non-Australians and New Zealanders.
Gold Silver Vault – located in Nampa, Idaho for the purchase and storage of precious metals to offset the risk of owning and storing gold or silver.
Along with these depositories many online precious metal dealers such as APMEX, GoldSilver.com, and JM Bullion also offer their own storage programs…
Please if you have any other ingenious ways of storing and hiding your silver or gold share them in the comments section below!
Thank you for sharing this gold and silver coin hiding advice! It is nice to get such a long, comprehensive guide on keeping your assets safe. I’d love to start investing in some gold and silver coins, and then keep them safely hidden in my home. However, before I can use this guide, I need to actually find a seller to get the coins. Once I do that, I’ll be able to start figuring out a place to hide them. The fridge sounds like the best idea for me so far!
I agree – it’s fun and helpful advice for hiding places.
I am not an expert on all this, and I am young, but I have gotten silver from SDBullion.com. They seem to have a good reputation – though I think it’s always good to Google reviews on something like this. I compared SD with other websites, and found that SD has slightly lower prices, including shipping (which is currently just below $8 for any order, I believe!) I haven’t had a problem with them yet – though I’ve only conducted one test to make sure all the coins have been genuine. I don’t know if this is helpful, but anyway, good luck to you!
My grandfather had a lot of gold when he retired and was able to live comfortably for the rest of his days. Gold is a valuable asset and must be protected. Your idea to diversify locations is great because it minimizes risk. I did not know, however, that safety deposit boxes were not insured by the FDIC. Thanks for this informative post!
Safes, if found, can be a very risky place for valuables in the case of a home invasion. “Open up your safe, or lose a finger!” If society starts to break down, I would remove most of your valuables and hide elsewhere, leaving only enough to let the bad guys think they got your “stuff”.
Do exercise careful discrimination when placing junk metal around a burial site. Folks into metal detecting are naturally interested in archaeology; so, in addition to asking “what is it,” one may wonder, “how did it get here?” You should be able to easily dream up a plausible explanation for how the decoy object got there.
To keep your local archaeologists (aka nosy neighbors) from wondering how that metal got there, use common construction items as decoys. While digging in my yard for other purposes, I have found nuts, bolts, washers, slugs from electrical boxes, and lots of roofing nails (from my roofing job years ago). At another house I lived in as a kid, I found spark plugs and automotive bolts. The area we were gardening in was next to a garage window, and some home mechanic must have been REALLY lazy.
My point is, a neat loop of stainless steel makes people wonder, but a broken piece of a scissors or an old bent lag screw is just something discarded fifty years ago–or planted last week. Only you know which it is.
Good post and good advice. I read on some numismatic sites that PVC (pipe or otherwise) is not good for silver and causes toning. Poly bags might be the answer. Not sure.
I have also read that with metals used for shtf storage toning is not an issue. (not true for graded coins whose value is in the rarity and grade).
I see devices for sale which are used for food in the freezer which evacuate a plastic “contaianer” and seal it. Seal-A-Meal? Would these work if not pvc?
Re: Dessicant-I think if you can replenish it this is probably a good idea but in a sealed container inaccessible it could reach it’s usage factor and then sit in the container and at best be useless. In the insulating glass industry there was some evidence that dessicants actually pulled moisture through the sealed perimeter.
It does not matter how heavy a door is, if there is no wall or ceiling. Wonder how safe that vault is?
Hide your gold in your teeth. When you get to the FEMA camp KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!
1. Rent a self storage unit. Place your gold and silver in a 12″x12″x12′ box labeled, books. Then place your gold and silver in the box with some books on top. Fill 3 or 4 more boxes labeled books and place them on the sides and top. Then fill or partly fill the unit with sofas, mattresses, box springs, other furniture, etc., that you pick up for free from Craigslist posts. You might plan on access by moving a piece of furniture that only you know which one and which way to move. Make certain no one knows that you can’t completely trust to keep their mouth shut. Even if someone was to break in, they are not interested in your junk. Even if they do get back to the boxes, after opening and emptying a couple of boxes, they will not empty the others.
2. Assuming you can find them at a reasonable price, place some counterfeit gold and silver in your fake safe. Without a close inspection, the counterfeits look real and anyone breaking in will think they found your precious metals. Alibaba.com may be a good source for counterfeit gold and silver. You may have to place a buy request to get offers.
3. For your home safe, cut your slab and dig 3 or 4 feet down, place 6 inches of gravel so moisture will have a place to go, place your safe to top of the gravel and pour 1/2 cubic yard of concrete around your safe. Concrete is 150 lbs per cubic foot so the concrete and safe will weigh about 2,000 lbs. To hide your safe, place an 1″ thick (70 lb) 24″x24″ square concrete reinforced with 1/4 reinforcing rod in a 3″x 3″ grid pattern. Place a 36″x36″ thick carpet over the area and attach at the bottom to surrounding carpet with adhesive strips. To further hide it, place it under a sofa or a bed.
For the end of society type situation where you might be tortured, the safe should open with a key and both keys in a bank safety box. Tape both keys to an envelope labeled “keys to safe, map and will in envelope” and take a picture of the keys and envelope inside the safety deposit box. The picture and referencing this post may prevent your being tortured. Regardless, they will probably kill you but unless they can break into your safe, they will not get your gold and silver.
Thanks for such helpful advice!
I just have a couple of questions:
If you do bury silver/gold underground with a vacuum bag and silica gel, it does not damage the metal in anyway?
Is silver quick to erode with air? does it damage the metal a lot?
As this article is a bit older, are there any new methods/ ways of storing silver/gold?
And finally what method do you recommend when storing approx. 88 pounds of silver?
A place that I read to hide cash and other valuables is in a cat litter box, under the litter. I have a plastic bag lining the litter box and placed my “mad money”, stored in a ziploc bag, under the plastic bag containing the litter. I also placed several layers of newspapers between the cash and the plastic bag. Easy to add additional emergency money and/or other valuables, a.k.a. gold and silver bars.
Also, inside a canister vacuum under the bag.