Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 MST

Gold Bars

Buy gold bars as investments

As investment vehicles, gold bars are gaining in popularity primarily because gold bars carry much lower premiums than gold bullion coins carry. For example, premiums on kilo gold barscan be as much as $50 per ounce lower than the premium on American Gold Eagles.

Truly, gold bars are an exciting way to invest in gold. Hefting large gold bars almost causes an adrenalin rush. Invariably, people holding large gold bars for the first time ask, “How can something so small be so heavy?” A huge amount of wealth can be stored and concealed in gold bars.

Gold Bars for sale

Gold bars for sale include 1-oz gold bars, 10-oz gold bars, kilo gold bars, and 100-gram gold bars. All these gold bars are .9999 fine (99.99 pure.)

Whereas a few years ago only 1-oz and 10-oz gold bars were available, today kilo gold bars are commonly bought by large investors. That is because kilo gold bars are easier to store than are 1-oz gold bars. In the space it takes to store twenty-five 1-oz gold bars (in their packaging from the refinery), six Royal Canadian Mint kilo gold bars (192.90 ounces) could be stored.

Investors wanting low premium gold bars may want to consider the 100-gram gold bars, which carry premiums only slightly higher than kilo gold bars. Buying 100-gram bars provides investors more flexibility when it comes time to sell.

As a rule, smaller gold bars carry larger mark-ups over spot. However, usually the premiums on 100-gram gold bars are less than the premiums on 10-oz gold bars.

Kilo gold bars

Kilo gold bars are .9999 fine (99.99% pure) and contain 32.15 troy ounces each. In the metric system, a “kilo” is short for kilogram, the base unit of mass in the International System of Units, commonly called the metric system. The metric system is the primary weight (and measurement) system used other parts of the world.

The most commonly available kilo gold bars are the PAMP and the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) gold bars. PAMP kilo gold bars come in protective plastic cases and usually with certificates. RCM bars do not come with either protective cases or certificates. Actually, the PAMP certificate is superfluous; the real “certificate” is the PAMP hallmark on their gold bars. The Royal Canadian Mint recognizes this and does not issue certificates.

Ten-ounce gold bars

The most most readily available ten-ounce gold bars are thePAMP bars and the Perth Mint bars. Occasionally, other accepted hallmarks, such as Johnson Matthey or Engelhard or Metalor, gold bars show up. For now, though, PAMP and Perth Mint 10-oz gold bars dominate the 10-oz gold bar market.

Ten-ounce gold bars are often bought by investors buying several hundred ounces. Investors buying less than one hundred ounces may want to buy 1-oz gold bars or 100-gram gold bars, both of which will offer greater flexibility when it comes time to liquidate.

One-ounce gold bars

The primary reason for buying one-ounce gold bars instead of one-ounce gold bullion coins is to buy “cheaper gold,” i.e., gold with a smaller market up over spot. At times, the difference in mark-ups between one-ounce gold coins and one-ounce gold bars can be $40 an ounce.

Perth Mint and PAMP one-ounce gold bars are readily available. Both come twenty-five bars to a container. Each bar is individually encased; a container of twenty-five one ounce gold bars measures 7-1/2″ X 4″ X 2-1/4″. By comparison, twenty-five one-ounce gold bullion coins in tubes would take up a space of approximately 3-1/4″ X 1-1/2″ X 1-1/2″, less than one-fifth the space needed for twenty-five one-ounce gold bars in their factory case.

100-gram gold bars

100-gram gold bars rapidly achieved popularity in the gold investment community, primarily because for small pieces of gold (3.215 troy ounces) they carry really small premiums, just a few dollars more than the premiums for kilo gold bars.

PAMP, the prestigious European precious metals refinery, produces the 100-gram gold bars. PAMP 100-gram gold bars come in shrink-wrapped sleeves of ten.

Small metric-weight gold bars

The Perth Mint produces 20-gram, 10-gram and 5-gram gold bars, which sell at higher premiums than the gold bars discussed above.  However, small metric-weight gold bars sell at much lower premium than fractional-ounce gold coins, such as 1/10-oz Gold Eagles.

For more information on small metric-weight gold bars, visit our Small Metric-Weight Gold Bars page.

Gold bars’ hallmarks

As noted above, PAMP and Perth MInt hallmarked bars currently dominate the gold bar market. However, RCM kilo gold bars are just as popular because they carry the hallmark of the prestigeous Royal Canadian Mint.

Other hallmarks of gold bars that may show up include Johnson Matthey, Engelhard, Metalor, and Umicore. Most U.S. precious metals investors recognize the names Johnson Matthey and Engelhard. Metalor and Umicore are equally recognized in Europe. Metalor is based in Switzerland; Umicore is headquartered in Belgium with operations in throughout Europe.

Another recognized hallmark for gold bars is Credit Suisse, the huge Swiss bank. Credit Suisse bars are manufactured by PAMP. (A few years ago, Credit Suisse bought First Boston Bank to gain a major foothold in the U.S. banking market.)

Are gold bars good buys?

The primary reason to buy gold bars instead of the popular gold bullion coins is that gold bullion bars sell at smaller markups over spot than do the popular gold bullion coins.

Investors who simply want to buy gold with the smallest markup over spot should consider buying Austrian 100 Coronas or Mexican 50 Pesos, which were the primary gold bullion coins of the 1970s, before Gold Maple Leafs (1979) and American Gold Eagles (1986) were introduced.

Today Austrian 100 Coronas and Mexican 50 Pesos are no longer promoted in the U.S. But, because they are no longer promoted, they often carry smaller premiums over spot than new 1-oz Credit Suisse and PAMP gold bars. However, Austrian 100 Coronas and Mexican 50 Peso gold coins are not always available.

Gold bars for IRAs

One-ounce, 10-oz, kilo and 100-gram gold bars, are eligible to be put in IRAs that accept physical gold and silver products. To learn more about setting up a self-directed IRA that accepts gold and silver products, read Putting Gold and Silver in IRAs.

How to buy gold bars

For more information about how to buy gold bars from CMI Gold & Silver Inc., see our page titled Doing Business with CMIGS. If you are interested in selling gold, you will want to visit the page about selling gold and silver to CMIGS.

If you would like to discuss buying gold bars or low premium gold coins, call us at 1-800-528-1380. We take calls between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. MST, Mondays through Fridays.

Although the minimum gold order at CMI Gold & Silver Inc. is ten ounces, smaller quantities of gold often can be found on our Gold Specials Page.