Spike in deliveries of gold coins and bullion to Irish homes
Gold coins and bullion are being delivered by post to Irish homes as demand has increased in recent weeks.
Postal workers and delivery drivers are bringing unmarked packages containing gold to buyers around Ireland amid growing investment interest in precious metals, according to Dublin-based gold traders.
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A number of businesses involved in selling gold bars and coins have reported an increased appetite because of developments in global markets.
Small regular purchases for investment purposes are being made by middle-income earners like gardai and nurses while some property developers have made substantial purchases in the past year, said Shane Carroll of Goldbank.ie, whose firm sells gold from an office block in Dublin 8.
The most popular forms of gold for Irish purchasers are British gold sovereigns and South African Krugerrands.
"Gold prices have risen by 8pc in the past three weeks. There is definitely more interest in gold at the moment," he said.
He said a small number of wealthy buyers like to take possession of physical bars of gold to store in secure places such as strongrooms within their homes.
The trade war between the US and China, attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf, and pressures on central banks to ease the supply of money can all be factors influencing a movement into gold, he said.
Mark O'Byrne, a founder and director of Goldcore.com, said no gold is ever stored or kept on the company's premises at Ivy Court, off Harcourt Street.
Both An Post and the Royal Mail will deliver gold to their customers with an upper value limit of €50,000. The packages containing the gold are always "discreet" and give no indications, for security reasons, that the packages contain gold, he said.
Recently, Goldcore held a promotional event for GPs which was attended by around 15 medical doctors who expressed concern about providing for their future pensions. Many professional and self-employed people show an interest in investing in gold, said Mr O'Byrne.
He said most buyers prefer to have their gold stored in specialised secure locations. A cash-handling company has opened a new gold vault at their premises off the M50 in Dublin, he said.
Goldcore has done €8m worth of business this month and has many high net worth investors as clients. The company sells much of its gold in the form of certificates of ownership issued through the government of Western Australia. Some of Goldcore's customers have their gold stored in banks in Switzerland. Mr O'Byrne and his business partner and chief executive Stephen Flood have entered vaults in Zurich where their customers' gold is stored, he said.
He said the price of gold stood at around €1,150 per ounce at the beginning of this month and it had now reached a level of around €1,240 per ounce.
Ireland does not have a strong culture in investing in gold and this may be partly due to a tax that was imposed on the precious metal at the foundation of the State.
It was only in 1999 when an EU-wide measure was introduced that resulted in tax being removed from gold in Ireland.
He said market turbulence and uncertainty in investment markets usually result in people putting more of their savings and investments into gold. Gold has been viewed as a hedge against uncertainty for centuries, he said.
He did recommend, however, that people hold no more than 10-20pc of the total investments in gold.
Dublin jeweller Martin Gear, who runs the family business in Mary Street in Dublin, said he buys all types of gold from customers but he only uses new gold in the manufacture of jewellery.
He said he recently helped create an 18-carat gold dental cap for singer Christy Dignam which contained a green diamond.
The singer displayed his new purchase on his Facebook page, said the jeweller.