Originally Posted by Florida
Diversity and possibly appreciation
If these are your reasons (rather than fear of monetary collapse or blood in the streets) you might be better off owning a mutual fund that is specializes in gold mining stocks. They will generally appreciate well when the price of gold rises, just as the metal does. Unlike the metal, they are more easily traded, have lower transaction costs, and much lower storage/overhead costs/hassles. Best yet, you'll get paid dividends every year that the companies are profitable, which will not happen if you own physical gold.
If you are worried about a breakdown in social order, buy the guns, ammo, and MREs. They'll be both more useful and more valuable than shiny yellow metal if things ever turn really bad.