Gold and Silver Bars
A gold bar, also called gold bullion is a quantity of refined metallic gold of any shape that is made by a bar producer meeting standard conditions of manufacture, labeling, and record keeping.
Based upon how they are manufactured, gold bars are categorized as having been cast or minted, with both differing in their appearance and price.
Cast bars are created in a similar method to that of ingots, whereby molten gold is poured into a bar-shaped mold and left to solidify. This process often leads to malformed bars with uneven surfaces which, although imperfect, make each bar unique and easier to identify. Cast bars are also cheaper than minted bars, because they are quicker to produce and require less handling.
Minted bars are made from gold blanks that have been cut to a required dimension from a flat piece of gold. These are identified by having smooth and even surfaces.
To prevent bars from being counterfeited or stolen, manufacturers have developed ways to verify genuine bars, with the most common way being to brand bars with registered serial numbers or providing a certificate of authenticity. In a recent trend, many refineries would stamp serial numbers even on the smallest bars, and the number on the bar should match the number on its accompanying certificate.
The world’s largest gold bar stands at 250 kg (551 lb), measuring at the base 455 mm × 225 mm (17.9 in × 8.9 in) and 170 mm (6.7 in) high with 5 degree draft angle (equal to 15,730 cm3 or 960 cu in). It was manufactured by the Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi. It went on display at the Toi Gold Museum on 11 July 2005. Its gold content was valued in 2005 at 400 million yen (approximately US$3,684,000 at the time). As of 18 August 2020, it is worth approximately US$16.1M, not accounting for the premium associated with being the world’s largest gold bar.
Silver has been the most popular and used form of money throughout history.
Silver is believed to be just 8 times more abundant than gold and remains a finite and very rare precious metal. In fact, the quantity of above-ground, investment grade silver, is only slightly more than that of gold bullion held by governments and banks.
Due to banks and central banks desire to move to purely fiat currencies and due to silver’s limited supply and high price, the use of silver as mass-circulation coinage was abandoned over 40 years ago. In effect, silver went from being used as currency and money to being used as an investment and store of value and in industrial use.
Today, silver bullion bars are still widely minted all over the world to meet its increasing demand as a tangible asset and critical industrial and technological component.