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Provident Metals Dealer Rating

Discussion in 'PM Dealer Feedback' started by Scorpio, Mar 31, 2010.



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How do you rate this dealer?

  1. * One Star

    4 vote(s)
    2.3%
  2. ** Two Star

    9 vote(s)
    5.1%
  3. *** Three Star

    10 vote(s)
    5.6%
  4. **** Four Star

    32 vote(s)
    18.1%
  5. ***** Five Star

    122 vote(s)
    68.9%
  1. shallow_explorer

    shallow_explorer Silver Member Silver Miner

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    Ordered five 10 oz silver roosters from Provident ten days ago. Capsules came all scuffed and scratched. Provident wouldnt provide replacement capsules or pay for return postage. I've ordered from them 80+ different times. But never again.

    Here's what a "new" capsule from Provident looks like:
    image.jpeg

    Here's the coin in the capsule:
    image.jpeg
     
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  2. goldielox1

    goldielox1 Silver Miner Seeker

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    Curious how this compares to others. Would love to see some tests done with the same equipment on various manufacturer bars. I wouldn't be happy to learn it was .997 when advertised as .999 but it is only $2.50/ozt difference.

    But to hear buyers are paying down $12/ozt for that name seems like a pretty major overreaction.

    I'd also be curious what years/brands are being tested. OPM-->NTR-->Elemental-->Provident. Since OPM was LBMA approved I imagine they would have had higher QC until things started going south and also curious if there would have been banks assaying LBMA bars randomly as a QC measure.
     
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  3. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    The .997 bar that was discovered yesterday was actually marked as .9999, which at $1,250 gold would be $3.62/ozt. Not much, but still did not test to what it was marked. It's about the equivalent of taking off a 1/10g chunk from a 1oz bar.

    At https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF03214762 there is a "Download" link to a free article from 1998, where they tested .9995/.9999 fine gold from 9 different refiners. 6 were grain, 3 were bars. 8 of the 9 samples tested at least what was claimed. One sample failed, at 997.56 (which was supposed to be 999.5+). The failed bar impurities were mostly silver, with some copper and some trace elements.

    The $12/ozt isn't an overreaction: one report referred to ~.991 fine (equivalent of about a 1/4g chunk taken off), which is around $12/ozt. And the results are just coming in (most are secret, like whatever results the Dillon Gage refinery has found), so you have to err on the safe side. It could be that 95% of Elemetal bars are fine; it could be 50%, we just don't know.
     
  4. goldielox1

    goldielox1 Silver Miner Seeker

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    I wouldn't price all bars off the worst case bar. I would price based on the expected purity. e.g. If 95% are as advertised and 5% are .003 below, it's silly to price all as .003. It sounds like it is pretty easy for a big dealer to test, so why not test the bar and price accordingly? It sounds like shady dealers trying to make a few more bux than they already do on buybacks.

    Also, I need to reiterate that Elemental bars went through many iterations of name over many years, some of which are/were LMBA certified. To find a few bars and not identify their name and age is not very helpful. It would be like testing a single AGE and finding out there was a problem with its purity and then saying all AGE and all years of them are bad because I won't identify that it happens to be a 1970 and was bought on the black market (fleabay fake?). For all we know there was one bad pour under one of the 4 names, or the buyer bought it from a shady Chinese/Fleabay reseller that melted down junk metal and stamped Elemental on it.

    I'm not saying there is no reason for concern, but I am saying it would be nice if these "anonymous" sources would provide some information such as:
    1) weight of bar
    2) where it was bought from (primary or secondary market)
    3) when it was purchased (year)
    4) method of assay and whether there were additional bars from other manufacturers tested as a control

    I do appreciate your input though as I do have several of their bars.
     
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  5. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    And that does make a lot of sense. But please do tell us what percentage of bars are advertised and what level of impurities there are. That's why you have to price at the worst case.

    Once the details are fully understood, pricing based on the expected average results would probably make sense (assuming, of course, you aren't a small operation *and* there are extremely impure bars).

    Unfortunately, there just isn't much information yet. If it were me, I would be keeping an impeccable list of metal, weight, brand, year (if applicable), style, full test results, a front/back picture, and any other information I could think of.

    The two that I do have trusted results for are:

    [1] The .997 marked .9999+ is a 2016 Elemetal 1oz gold bar with the Elemetal logo on one side and "79 Au Gold 196.966657" and other elemental information on the other.

    [2] A bar that fell outside the expected range with a Sigma Metalytics tester. That was a 1oz gold OPM bar.

    Also, the report on Dillon Gage (which I believe to be true) was that they had tested impure bars and were not buying NTR/OPM/Elemetal bars. But they could have found impurities in one or two brands, and extended the rejection to all 3 brands.
     
  6. gringott

    gringott Killed then Resurrected Midas Member Site Supporter

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    "79 Au Gold 196.966657"

    What exactly does the above mean?

    Example, this Elemental bar seems pretty clear:
    [​IMG]

    However, this one which has the markings you posted does not seem very clear as to what it is as to purity, other than the card, which is easily faked IMHO.

    [​IMG]
    79 = Standard symbol for atomic number of Gold.
    Au = Chemical Element Symbol for Gold.
    Atomic Weight of Au = 196.966569

    I'm not seeing .999 on the bar, help me out here.

    I just found this image, which shows both sides. about.ag, does the bar you referenced in your post have .9999+ on the other side from the Au symbols like this one?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
  7. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    The one that I referenced looks nearly identical to those (as in I do not notice any differences, other than the serial number). The one I referenced, like this one, has ".9999+ FINE GOLD" on one side (but not the other).
     
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  8. goldielox1

    goldielox1 Silver Miner Seeker

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    I just did some looking around on egay. One OPM 1 ozt bad just sold a couple days ago for $1302 sold by PCE. So it looks like there's no problem in the secondary market. For reference, I checked what other bars PCE is selling and the OPM is listed at about $3-4 less than the big name brands like Credit Suisse for instance. This is consistent with the premium at time of purchase as OPM bars were always the lower premium bars (I think I paid $8.95 over spot for mine several years ago). Also OPM bars are for sale at a higher price than the "our choice" listing which is a random 1 ozt bar from PCE inventory.
     
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  9. louky

    louky Silver Member Silver Miner

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    Searched the forum, i'm surprised there's no discussion other than this about the purity concerns with elemental, ntr, opm, provident, etc
     
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  10. louky

    louky Silver Member Silver Miner

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    Not that i would sell to them, but kitco has issued a statement that they are officially paying less for

    NTR/Elemetal/OPM/Provident

    bars. 75 cents less/oz than other generics and $20 less for gold.

    I wonder how long before this spreads around to other outlets.....


    Glad i stopped buying from provident after they played games with check clearing as described in this thread
     
  11. goldielox1

    goldielox1 Silver Miner Seeker

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    That was the vendor mentioned earlier in this thread I believe. We haven't seen anyone else do likewise.
     
  12. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    At this point, we just don't have enough information. Dillon Gage refuses to talk about it (that's where the story starts; I was told they tested impure bars and stopped accepting Elemetal/NTR/OPM bars for refining), Kitco claims it is offering less because Elemetal was de-listed from COMEX/LBMA (which has some truth to it, but why would they include NTR and Provident, neither of which was ever COMEX/LBMA approved?). And I've received a number of anonymous reports which seem credible. I then had one person I know show me XRF results for a supposedly .9999 Elemetal bar that test with XRF at .997 -- but it is unclear how accurate XRF is at that level of fineness.

    I also received a report from someone I know that he tested an OPM 1oz gold bar (marked .9999) with a Sigma Metalytics tester and it failed for .9999 fine gold, and reads just outside the expected range for .999 fine gold. I was able to obtain this bar, and verify for myself that there is something very unusual about it based on the Sigma readings, so I have sent it in to a lab to test the purity.

    My hope is that this is just a result of so many people testing Elemetal/NTR/OPM bars due to all the recent negative publicity, and that current non-destructive testing methods just aren't accurate enough to handle this. Although from the evidence I have seen, I am leaning heavily the other way, that there is an issue with some of the bars (e.g. based on the time of when the bars were made).

    So I think that may be why there hasn't been much discussion about this: there just hasn't been enough information to prove that there is a problem. If the testing does show an impure bar, then it could potentially open the floodgates.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
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  13. goldielox1

    goldielox1 Silver Miner Seeker

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    Keep us posted. If you talk to someone that has tested a provident bar, please ask them to use the identical methodology on their other bars as a control group. That would make the results 100x more credible IMO.
     
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  14. Usury

    Usury Gold Chaser Platinum Bling

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    People are actually worried about .9999 vs .997? REALLY???? That's less than 3/10 of 1% difference. I'll not lose any sleep at night over that.

    And I'm skeptical that anybody's measuring equipment and production QC could be that good all the time. Heck I bet if you tested a big lot of pre-33 gold coins you'd find more variance than that in the gold composition.
     
  15. Usury

    Usury Gold Chaser Platinum Bling

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    Call me if Multiple bars start turning up fake.....that can be proved were actually sold by Elemental/Provident as new bars. Heck scammers fake Apmex bars all the time...I've seen one at my LCS that he showed me.
     
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  16. gringott

    gringott Killed then Resurrected Midas Member Site Supporter

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    On another note, I made a purchase recently and got IMHO some very nice Peace $ for a good price.
     
  17. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    If people aren't worried, why bother marking gold .9999 rather than .999 or even .995? Why not start a business selling .980 gold marked .999 and make a heck of a lot more money than the competition? Or sell gold-plated .500 fine gold, and make $600 for every 1oz bar you sell? At what point is it no longer OK?

    Yes, pre-33 gold coins are quite variable in their composition.

    The LBMA has specific standards -- see http://www.lbma.org.uk/assets/GD_Rules3.pdf . For example, LBMA-approved assayers must be able to assay a 999.5+ sample to +/- .05. So if the sample was actually 999.87 (.99987), they have to get between 999.82 and 999.92 to pass. So their testing must be pretty accurate. XRF doesn't cut it at those levels, and a fire assay will only get you so far. The lab I'm sending the sample to uses a $100K piece of spectrographic equipment.
     
  18. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    That is something entirely different from the current issue. The current issue has to do with impure bars (ones that are made of real gold, but you're getting less gold than you paid for). I would not be at all surprised if there are fake Elemetal/OPM/NTR/Provident bars out there, but I would be *completely shocked* if Elemetal/OPM/NTR/Provident sold those bars. Someone would have to be VERY brazen to try to sell fake bars to the company they are supposed to be from, and I cannot imagine that Elemetal/OPM/NTR/Provident would intentionally buy (or make) fake bars (e.g. made from a base metal).
     
  19. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    Right now, what I have seen proof of is an Elemetal gold bar marked .9999 that tested as .997 via XRF (that bar no longer exists), and an OPM gold bar marked .9999 that failed the Sigma Metalytics tester for .9999 (and was outside the expected range for .999).

    The problem with the XRF and the Sigma Metalytics tester is that they may not be accurate enough to provide conclusive results. So even if a lot of one brand fails and many bars from other brands pass, that doesn't mean much more than the bars are "suspect."

    That's why I am having the bar I could obtain that failed the Sigma Metalytics tester sent for lab testing (hopefully getting the results by the end of next week). The lab testing *is* accurate enough to easily distinguish .997 from .9999+. In my mind, the results of that one test are much more credible than any number of bars failing the other tests.

    If the results show that the bar is indeed .9999 fine (or perhaps reasonably close), I will likely consider this case closed unless/until I get further details suggesting impure bars. But if it *is* impure (perhaps .997), that instantly adds credibility to the anonymous reports I heard.
     
  20. goldielox1

    goldielox1 Silver Miner Seeker

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    Im just shocked no one is testing their other bars. Lets hear the results of the guy testing his provident bar along with his Credit Suisse, APMEX, etc bars. Is everything testing in spec EXCEPT the provident bar or is he just testing his provident bar because they got gold from illegal sources (IMO who cares)?

    No one is arguing they might have used illegally obtained metal but that's a entirely different issue than the integrity of the content. I think some of these "dealers" are confusing the two issues. Yeah I know, you're so PC because you won't buy slave labor bars. If Elemental hadn't been busted for illegally obtaining metals, they'd still be LMBA certified, which means the content has never been an issue. If you don't want to buy it because materials came from whereever, that's fine but most of us don't care.
     
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  21. gringott

    gringott Killed then Resurrected Midas Member Site Supporter

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    Yeah, might be harsh but I don't care if my gold used to be in someone's dental work. I think melting it cleans out any possible bacteria.
     
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  22. Usury

    Usury Gold Chaser Platinum Bling

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    Ag,

    I'll reiterate my assertion that there's no real world difference between .9999 and .997 or even .995 for that matter. It's all marketing smoke and mirrors IMO. Most buyers seem to treat them the same for all intents. If they did, dealers would pay premium for GML's over other sovereign gold coins, but they don't....quite the opposite in fact. Also consider that AGE's are more like .9167. Don't obfuscate the issue by throwing in absurd examples comparing this minutiae to .500 or gold plate.

    I am interested in the test results, but so far it just all seems much ado about nothing. Even if they come back testing at .997 IMO.
     
  23. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    There's a lot here.

    First, the reason for .9167 is that it is 22/24ths pure, which means it is 22k gold. Pure gold is too soft for jewelry and circulating coins. Sure, the AGEs were never intended to circulate, but like the Krugerrand they chose to do it that way. People don't care about the purity because with .9167, you still get a full ounce of gold. With .997 marked as .9999, you are getting less gold than you paid for.

    You say that it absurd to try to draw the line somewhere. But you have proven my point! You would not be upset if your .9999-marked gold tested as .997. But you if it came back as .500, boy would you be upset! So how much wiggle room do you give them?

    And the $64M question is if the bars are impure, was it intentional or not? There is a massive difference in *my* mind between a company that has had to lay off a few employees, and as a result doesn't fully refine their gold, and a company that says "Hey, if we send out .997 bars, nobody will notice, and we'll make an extra $5M a year." Of course, no amount of testing would be able to answer that question.
     
  24. Usury

    Usury Gold Chaser Platinum Bling

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    SMH...it seems to me you're missing my point. Let's just move on and see what happens.
     
  25. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    As an example of purity, this is a representation of a .9999 bar (most/all of the gold OPM bars are marked .9999, most/all of the Elemetal bars that replace them are marked .9999+):

    [​IMG]

    In this example, there are 40,000 pixels, of which 3 are darkened, representing impurities. That is 9,999.25 gold pixels for every dark pixel, or the amount expected for .9999+ fine (for exactly .9999, there would be a 4th dark pixel). For reference, a sample of .9999+ gold from 6 refiners in 1998 showed the worst was actually .99993. Depending on your eyesight and monitor, there is a very good chance you can see that there are impurities.

    The next example is a representation of a .997 bar:

    [​IMG]

    In this example, there are also 40,000 pixels, of which about 120 are darkened, representing impurities. That is 9,970 gold pixels for every dark pixel, or the amount expected for .997 fine. Can you see the difference between the .9999+ and .997 representations?

    The final representation shows the amount of gold a refiner would get for free if they marked a bar as .9999+ but it was really .997:

    [​IMG]

    That's free gold for a refiner that sells impure gold. Gold that would belong to you, but the refiner keeps. That's not a massive amount for a single bar, but multiply that by 100,000s of bars over a few years, and you've got quite a bit. And if it is lower -- we may be talking about .992-.997 or perhaps even lower -- that's even more that would go to the refiner.
     
  26. goldielox1

    goldielox1 Silver Miner Seeker

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    I think we get that no one likes being cheated. We're just saying from a big picture standpoint it's not a huge difference in $ at this point. e.g. I already bought a .999 bar. I'm not going to pout over possibly having lost $3 in Au.
     
  27. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    That's fine. My job is to point things out, and let each person decide how they want to react. And over time, we'll get a much better sense of whether we're talking about $3 of gold, $10 of gold, and how the market value of the bars may be affected (e.g. if your bar is short $3 of gold, but the bars range from $2-$15 short, you are stuck with getting paid for a $15 short bar unless there is a cheap way to distinguish between the bars that are $3 short and the bars that are $15 short).

    Of course, it could turn out that the bars truly are all .9999+ fine.
     
  28. platinumdude

    platinumdude Gold Chaser Platinum Bling

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    Glad all my gold is government minted.
     
  29. Usury

    Usury Gold Chaser Platinum Bling

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    I suspect it would cost them more than $3 per bar to refine the gold into that "impure" state. Nothing is free.
     
  30. TomD

    TomD It blowed up, y'all Platinum Bling

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    Anyone remember about 7 years ago when a GIM member "Skeptic" claimed to have a Philharmonic gold coin that was .900 rather than the published .999?
     
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  31. Silver Art

    Silver Art Silver Art Bar collector Platinum Bling

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    Yep. I think I remember that thread. I think that "Skeptic" claimed that he did several tests to prove that the gold Philharmonic gold coin was only 90% gold. The thread ended up being very long since he was heavily questioned and a several people were very doubtful of his claims that it was 90% gold instead of .999 purity. It was an epic thread back then IMO.
     
  32. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    ... and I do hope that people realize that I am not claiming that these bars are impure. I do try very, very hard to distinguish between facts and speculation.

    I have fully stated the facts that I have that make it seem to me to be a very likely possibility, and I'm putting my money where my mouth is by having these professionally tested. Hopefully, the test will come back as .9999+, and we can put this to rest.
     
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  33. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    The results are back, for a 1oz gold OPM .9999-marked bar that had "suspicious" results on a Sigma Metalytics PMV (failed .9999, just outside expected range for .999). The Sigma PVM isn't intended to test purity (e.g. distinguishing between .9998 and .9999), so it needed to be tested further.

    It turns out the bar is what I would call "acceptable." It tested at .99984 with ICP-OES per ASTM B562-95(2012) specs, but may have been slightly lower (.9995+) due to the way the ASTM specs work. The iron content and nickel content were out of spec (0.00815% vs 0.02% and 0.00056 vs 0.0003% respectively), with the iron causing the Sigma PMV to show the results it did (alerting that something didn't seem quite right).

    Although the bar tested at below .9999, it clearly is not a case where they intentionally made impure bars to profit on the lower gold content, as we're talking about something like 20-60 cents of metal (and the bar was just enough overweight to make up for the impurity).

    With that all said, I would treat this kind of like a brand-new sealed gold bar with an obvious dent on it. Not too pretty, it makes the company look bad, and some people would complain, but gold is gold, and you're getting what you paid for.

    And the final word is that since this bar had some minor issues, and there are a number of rumors circulating about further issues, the case isn't completely closed yet. But I wouldn't be too concerned unless more information surfaces.
     
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  34. Usury

    Usury Gold Chaser Platinum Bling

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    Good to hear.
     
  35. goldielox1

    goldielox1 Silver Miner Seeker

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    Curious what type of test the "lab" did? Was it obtrusive or is the bar back in your hands in the same condition it was sent in as?

    I'll bet some unscrupulous dealers will still try to pay less no matter what the data actually suggests on these. If they can pay less they gladly will, then turn around and pocket the extra spread.
     
  36. About.Ag

    About.Ag Seeker Seeker

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    It was a destructive test. They clipped off a piece of the bar from the corner (about 800mg), pickled it to remove any contaminants from the surface, dissolved the gold in acid, and then tested with the ICP-OES machine. I don't have the bar back yet, but when I do, it will certainly raise questions when I try to sell it!

    [edited to change '800g' to '800mg']
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
    TomD and goldielox1 like this.
  37. Surface

    Surface Seeker Seeker

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    Just got this email yesterday afternoon, they have been acquired by a group of private investors...


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    WHAT'S NEWTRENDING SELL TO US




    Hi [Surface]


    Thank you for your interest in and business with Provident Metals! We have some exciting news to announce! Provident has enjoyed nearly 8 years of continued success and improvement and we are excited to announce that we have been acquired by a group of private investors. They have signed a management agreement with one of the largest bullion wholesalers in the world, Dillon Gage, through 2022 to help improve inventory management as well as fulfillment operations.


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    This new development gives Provident the ability to offer a greater inventory selection and depth as well as maintain the service and creativity that you deserve.

    We have always been the most creative online bullion dealer in the nation and have delivered consistent and industry-leading service and pricing. That will not change. What will change is our ability to deliver a greater depth and consistency of inventory as well as incredible new products. As a matter of fact, we are already bringing new and exciting changes to the market including a redesigned Prospector as well as the 3rd release of the Egyptian Gods Series, both of which will launch in the 4th quarter. We also have other supporting products in the pipeline!

    Another new development is the addition of Bitcoin. It is back! Provident had allowed Bitcoin as a form of payment in the past and has brought it back as it has been a feature that has been highly requested by cryptocurrency enthusiasts. We continue to offer IRA-eligible gold and silver bullion and will bring more of it online in the coming months. We will be putting forth a significant effort to bulk up our IRA program to make it more accessible and easy for our customers to store their precious metals with the most secure and renowned custodians in the world. As a matter of information, our bank accounts have changed and so have our wire instructions. Please take special note of those new instructions if you place an order with Provident and request to pay with a wire.

    As a final note, these new developments are the first of many that we have lined up for release in the coming months. We are excited that we have been able to maintain all the employees at Provident including the executive leadership that has brought so many improvements to the precious metals industry. We are honored to have a management contract in place with Dillon Gage because of their 40+ years of delivering consistent results and providing stability in an uncertain landscape. We are thrilled with our new partner investors because of their commitment to enter into the online retail world of bullion that we all know and love.



    With kindest regards,


    [​IMG]
    Joseph Merrick, President

    Provident Metals




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    Call (800) 313-3315 7am-7pm Central Mon-Thu | 7 am-5pm Friday

    © 2017 Provident Precious Metals. All Rights Reserved.

    15850 Dallas Parkway | Dallas, TX 75248

    Blog |
    [​IMG]
     
    gringott likes this.
  38. gringott

    gringott Killed then Resurrected Midas Member Site Supporter

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    ^^^^^^
    I got this email too. Hope the vet discount carries over.
     
    Surface likes this.
  39. TomD

    TomD It blowed up, y'all Platinum Bling

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    Good news!
     
  40. goldielox1

    goldielox1 Silver Miner Seeker

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    Hope that doesn't mean higher prices (probably will).
     

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