Emphasis on the word “retail”. For the past five decades I’ve, on occasion, roamed through Asia and, over the years have substituted 22-24K gold bangles of the same diameter (of the first one we bought) instead of refrigerator magnets. Over the years, she’s accumulated quite a few of them - in many different styles, depending on what country they were bought in.
Generally, these have come from ethnic Chinese or Indian environments where gold was the accepted alternative for rapidly inflating local currency. The buy/sell spreads are paper-thin and the price is adjusted proportional to the allow (24k is actually a bit too soft for bracelets as they easily deform, so 22K is the most frequent mix). After establishing the "value of the item, the balance 0of the negotiation is over the amount charged for “workmanship” which includes the shop’s profit.
I usually pre-prepare a matrix showing the price per gram (or local weight system, on occasion) of various karat purities in terms of local currency before we go shopping.
While the value of the purchases over time has appreciated, while selling items like this is easy in Asia, there are resale issues in the US which is more accustomed to 1 ounce slugs, so these trinkets do not form part of my “gold strategy”.
I do keep some physical metal in my bank’s safe deposit box (say 1% of assets) and about 15% of my equity portfolio is in various mining issues - some specifically gold orient, but most are broader in scope.
Gold is an imperfect hedge against inflation. While it retains value, it is most likely to soar in “value” when one’s currency is in the process of being destroyed. Unless all currencies simultaneously head towards no value as their values are simply ratios to each other), gold is simply a proxy for stronger currencies. During the financial crisis of 2009, gold soared in relation to the US dollar, but so did currencies like the Australian dollar, the Canadian dollar, the Euro and the Swiss frank. In fact, for most of the period (with one interim reset), while gold soared compared to the US dollar, it was nearly completely flat compared to the Australian buck. One saving grace for my stock portfolio is that a large portion has been valued in terms of foreign currencies for a very long time. Little comfort if stocks go lower, but this is hedged by the underlying currencies going up. (Of course, during periods when the USD rises, as it has more recently, the hedge is reversed).
If I ever have to fall back on using the physical gold (something I think would be a black swan of Godzilla proportions), all the gold ETF shares that I might have owned would be most useful as electronic toilet paper. In the meantime, gold has been most to me because wearing the bangles puts a smile on my wife’s face.
When discussing gold, advertised retail price indicated by resellers has little importance except if you are forcing yourself to either buy or sell through them at any particular time. (One of my two “major” gold purchases (many years ago) was buying part of a recently divorced Indian woman’s dowry - all “known” 1 oz coins - at bouillon pricing in a win/win as neither of us had to pay a commission).