Coins don't have serial numbers on the metal itself (some refiners do, such as Valcambi), but there will be one on its original wholesale packaging from the refiner or mint.
You can get many individual gold and silver coins come in their own package, but these are usually from coin dealers and new from the mint or refiner rather than from the secondary market. The companies that vault tend to buy wholesale.
If the coins have been broken down from their packages then the company that buys and stores them for you should add them to special bags that have unique serial numbers.
With GoldVu you can easily access the list of your allocated bullion coins and check them when you perform a personal visit and audit to the vault that is storing them.
An Exception for When You Buy Gold for Investment
As ever - there is an exception, even for when you buy gold for investment. And this relates to a pooled bullion bar.
As the companies that offer vaulting buy the larger wholesale bars, there is often the case where the money you send isn't enough to buy a whole bar.
You can elect to share a bar with others that also don't have enough money to buy a whole bar.
It doesn't mean the bar isn't there. It's just you can only receive a serial number for bars you wholly own.
- 1 x LBMA 400 ounce gold bar at a price of $1200 per ounce = $ 480,000.
- If you could only send $ 4,800 then you can choose to have it sit as cash with the provider or you could buy 1% of a 400 ounce gold bar.
Each subsequent payment you send increases your share of that bar until you own 100% at which point you can then receive its serial number.
To make outright ownership easier, some providers offer smaller bar weights such as 1kg (32.15 ounces) gold bars, but these are not normally available as a pooled bar.
If you have few funds then buying physical silver bullion could be a better route as it is around 70 times cheaper than gold and you get the same great benefits of having your purchasing power preserved when buying gold as an investment.
A final note on allocated bullion -
After you buy gold for investment, you should always be paying a fee for the storage of allocated precious metals.
This fee indicates that there exists a legal custodial agreement between you and the vault operator, and that the vault operator is only acting as a custodian for your private property.
Generally speaking, in cases of disputes, one of the first things a court of law will seek to establish is whether or not a custodial storage fee was being charged.
It is instant proof that you had something of yours stored for you, on your behalf, on a custodial basis. The remainder of the battle is about proving what was stored.