By Clara Denina
When Britain voted to leave the European Union, the thoughts of Yorkshire teacher Grace Hall immediately turned to her family's bottom line.
Three days later, as UK stocks and sterling plummeted, she put those thoughts into action and deposited part of her life savings -- 25,000 pounds -- into gold.
"My husband and I are both worried about bank failures and our cash getting swallowed up," she said. "I'm also worried about our kids' jobs and their future."
Hall was not alone. Dealers are seeing an unprecedented amount of interest in gold, much of it from first-time buyers, to take advantage of its role as a safe haven in times of stress or unexpected "black swan" events like Brexit.
"The speed at which people are purchasing gold is unprecedented," said Joshua Saul, CEO of The Pure Gold Company, where Hall bought and keeps her Britannia coins.
"We are seeing people convert as much as 40 to 50 percent of their net worth into physical gold, (compared to) 5 to 10 percent in the past," he said.
Government-owned bar and coin producer, the Royal Mint, saw a 7-fold increase in sales of 100-gram bars, around half the size of a credit card and costing around $4,400, in the two weeks following the June 23 vote.
Around 4 million pounds ($5.5 million) of gold and silver were traded online on the platform of London-based Bullionvault.com on the June 25-26 weekend, seven times the average weekend of the previous 12 months.
The number of first-time UK buyers on the site rose by around 170 percent in June and the first week of July, compared to the previous 12-month daily average, it said.