Tiny family business sells $4 billion gold to US mint, jewellers and hedge funds each year

Good news for the economy is bad for gold

Businessweek magazine takes a look at Coins ’N Things which from a small gold shop that opened “between a Dairy Queen and a hair salon” in Brockton, Mass in 1973 has grown into the number one vendor of gold to the US mint.

The move from peddling collectors coins via the storefront to selling almost $2 billion worth of bullion per year to the US government (and much more to hedge funds and jewellery manufacturers) only happened in 2010, when it was first granted a licence:

Every weekday, Coins ’N Things faxes the Mint with the amount of gold it can furnish and the price it wants. The Oliaris compete against four other government-approved sellers, and the Mint orders from the one with enough stock on hand at the lowest price. The family says its extensive network of suppliers often means they win the day. Coins ’N Things gets roughly 40 percent of its gold from a refinery owned by the Canadian government. “You have to know everybody, everywhere,” Mark [Oliari, son of founder] says.

Annual revenue is now about $6.5 billion, 65 percent of which comes from gold. Mark won’t reveal profits but says the company pockets about a quarter of a percent of its precious metal sales—less for the gold it sells to the government. With 50 employees, including Mark’s two daughters and a son, Coins ‘N Things is still a family affair.

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