Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Gold Bars for Sale

Where you see gold bars for sale there is an opportunity to buy gold in an easily stored and transportable form. To do so it is good advice to know something about gold bars.

Firstly What is a gold bar? Gold bars come in a variety of forms sizes and weights. The definition of a gold bar is considered to be, 'a bar of gold made by a recognized bar manufacturer regardless of shape and size and upon which is reported the exact weight and purity of the gold as well as a registration number.

All gold is measured in troy ounces and the purity is measured in karats (not to be confused with the weight measurement of carats for diamonds). You can buy gold bars in sizes ranging from just one gram up to a weighty 400 ounces

Types of Gold Bars

There are two types of gold bars depending on the method of manufacture. Press bars, often called biscuits, and ingots. The main difference is that ingots are made by poring molten gold into a mould. This method is usually reserved for the larger bars. The smaller gold bars are pressed out in a similar fashion to gold coins and they have a better finish than the cast bars which usually have a rougher surface.

All gold bars are sold with a premium above the value of the gold at the time of the sale. The size of the premium will depend upon the size of the gold bar. The smaller the bar the higher the premium. This is due to the amount of work and cost in producing the bar which has to be factored in the price.

It is a matter of, how much can you pay when you buy gold bars.

The advantages with the larger bars is the smaller premium. 1000 Kg bars or even ten ounce gold bars carry a much smaller premium than if you were to buy a one kg biscuit. In fact the one kg bar has a premium that can outweigh the value of the gold and is not a good choice.

Also as the price of gold is rising that means, for the larger bars, the premium is less per ounce of gold as the cost production does not increase just because the price of gold does.

The advantage with the smaller bars is the less cost of shipping and the ease of storage and transport. Indeed with the one to 10 ounce bars, these can fit into a pocket or bag.

The cost of shipping is a big expense but actually the cost of the insurance is a bigger one. The larger the bar being shipped the higher the cost of insurance and this should be taken into account when you buy gold bars of any size.

Where to Buy Gold Bars
Gold bars can be purchased direct from most manufacturers and mints but also from dealers. Sometimes from online auctions.

Generally speaking it is better to buy gold bars from manufacturing mints or the larger well established dealers. Even online as most these days will have online ordering facilities.

Some points to keep in mind when you are buying gold bars online:

Make sure the mint or dealer is bona fide. There are established mints, such as the US Mint, Canadian Mint, Australian Mint, Mints in Europe and private mints.

Many will have shopping carts and facilities for you to pay by credit card so you should ensure they have a secure server. You can tell if a server is secure when you look at the address (URL) instead of starting with a http it will start with a https instead.

Is there a return address and are there contact phone numbers? Is there an 'About Us' page where you can find out who they are. The larger Mints and dealers will have a fixed address on their site.

What are the terms and conditions? Is there a returns policy of the bar looks nothing like the picture on the site or what you ordered? (Order processes can get orders wrong)

As with anything else always check, when you receive the goods, that you got what you expected and your credit card statement to ensure you were charged the correct amount. If you are ordering from overseas bear in mind there may be a currency difference as currencies change on an ongoing basis.

What to Look For in Gold Bars
All gold bars should come with a certificate that gives accurate details of the gold bar so ensure that the gold bar you order has the same. The weight, size, manufacturer and a number of the certificate should match the number stamped on the gold bar. Also it should be sealed in its own container. If not be suspicious and check it over it to ensure it has not been tampered with. With the smaller bars, unless it is sealed in the original transparent packaging as supplied by the mint it is better to return it. Of course the larger bars, such as ingots, will not come in any packaging but, if you are taking deliver, will likely come in a armored van with a heavy guard as packaging!

Gold continues to retain its value even when currency drops or fluctuates. In fact you can still buy the same value of goods and services with an ounce of gold now as you could 20 or 50 years ago. Gold was a lot cheaper to buy with currency then, but the value of an ounce has not changed. Unlike currency, the value of which has deteriorated so much that it now takes a bucket load of money to buy the same goods or services as an ounce of gold.

So provided some due diligence and a little common sense is applied there is no reason why, when you see gold bars for sale, you should not get your self a jolly good deal!

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