Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gold Coins and Bars Series - Part 2

Part 2 of a 3 part series.

Before 1968 gold traded at a fixed price of 35 US dollars an ounce under the then gold standard. Following the decision of the USA government or more likely the Federal Reserve, to close the "gold window" and abandon the gold standard in 1970, gold began to rise over the next 20 years peaking at $850 in 1980. Gold then fell and 20 years later, by 2000 it was down to $279 an ounce. In recent years gold has been steadily rising and by September 2006 the price stood at around $600 an ounce.

These days the price of gold is established on a daily basis twice a day from a meeting of representatives from five bullion-trading firms. This is known as the London Gold Fixing. In addition there are active gold trades daily based on the intra-day spot price, derived from gold-trading markets around the world as they open and close throughout the day. This is known as the Spot Price of gold and this can be seen in the charts at the top of this web site.

One troy ounce is equal to 31.1034768 grams. Thus if gold was at $600 U.S. an ounce, for example, a gram would be worth $19.29.

Note also that where gold is measured in ounces, these are troy ounces, not the much more common avoirdupois ounce which is used for measuring weights in food etc. An avoirdupois ounce is lighter than a troy ounce. One avoirdupois ounce = 28.349523125 grams and there are 16 avoirdupois ounces in a pound.

One kilogram = 1000 grams = 32.15074656 troy ounces
One tonne = 1000 kilograms = 32,150.746 troy ounces
One tael = 50 grams

The current value of gold places a price of approximately $241,000 on a 12.5 kg (400 troy ounces) London Good Delivery bar of gold although of course this varies on a daily basis.

Gold bars are classified into two different types. Cast and minted. Cast bars are made by pouring molten gold into an ingot mold to help the gold to take a form. Minted bars are made from gold blanks that have been hand cut to the required dimensions from a flat piece of gold. In both cases, markings are almost always applied by presses.

Gold exchange-traded funds (or GETFs) are special types of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) tracking the price of gold. Gold exchange-traded funds are traded on the major stock exchanges including London, Paris and New York.

End of Part 2 of a 3 part series - Gold Coins and Bars

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