Heavy metal payout

A reader wants to unload a big lump of silver, but he doesn't know how to get rid of it. The Answer Guy tells him how.

By George Mannes, Money Magazine senior writer

(MONEY Magazine) -- Question: Nearly 40 years ago I bought a 1,000-ounce silver bar and carried it out of a Chicago bank vault. Now I want to sell it, but I don't know whom to sell it to, where to get a good price or how to transport it securely. Can you help? - Milton Taylor, El Paso

Answer: As you've no doubt figured out, handling precious metals can be a hassle. But despite some transaction costs, selling your $12,000 door-stop should be easy.

Looking for some answers? Send us your questions about investing. E-mail answer_guy@moneymail.com.

Start with your stockbroker; some firms accept metals for sale. You can also try established silver dealers such as Dillon Gage in Dallas and FideliTrade in Wilmington, Del. Recently, Dillon Gage offered $11.31 an ounce (40 below the spot price) for a big bar.

Once you've found a buyer, shipping can be simple. Take your bar, which should weigh in at 62.5 pounds, to the post office and send it registered and insured.

If the package exceeds the mail's 70-pound limit - so-called 1,000-ounce bars vary in weight - ask the buyer about shipment. (UPS won't accept bullion; FedEx won't insure you for big losses.)

And next time you want to put a sliver of your money in shiny stuff, try the PowerSharesDB Precious Metals ETF (Charts). That way, there's no heavy lifting.

Question: How can I find a mutual fund that holds certain stocks I am interested in, such as Intel (Charts, Fortune 500) and Sprint Nextel (Charts, Fortune 500)? - Teresa Barnes, Cincinnati

Answer: For those particular names, the easy answer is the Technology Select Sector SPDR (Charts), an exchange-traded fund holding all the tech stocks in the S&P 500. Of late it had 5.4 percent of its assets in Intel and 2.4 percent in Sprint.

Finding the mutual funds and ETFs that are the biggest fans of a given stock is easy at morningstar.com. Start by entering the stock's ticker symbol - say, INTC for Intel - in the box labeled "Quotes."

Scroll down to the bottom of the results page; under "More About This Stock," click on "Show me who already owns this stock." Once that page loads, click the tab at the top that reads "Concentrated Fund Owners." Then you'll see the 20 funds with the highest percentage of their assets devoted to Intel.

But here's another thought. Why not simply buy the stocks? Mutual funds can sell their holdings at any time, and you'll be paying management fees every year.

Don't put a big chunk of your portfolio into two holdings, but if you use a discount broker and hold the stocks for the long term, your costs will be almost nil.

--Looking for answers? Send us your questions about investing. E-mail answer_guy@moneymail.com.  Top of page