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Bullion Gold

Arguably the most satisfying way to invest in gold is to own bullion gold bars and coins.

Why bullion gold?
Throughout human history, man has been fascinated by gold and a very big part of this is the metal's visual and physical appeal--it has a very attractive luster and distinctive color and it feels hefty and substantial in one's hands. Add to this its extreme rarity and unusual, some would say almost divine characteristics and we can begin to understand why it has always been such a powerful psychological driver for humankind since the earliest recorded times and why it has always been synonymous with "money", wealth, purchasing power and status.

Until very recently, gold, along with silver, was money and vice versa. In today's electronic age where we never even see our investments except as numbers on a screen and where "money" is backed only by the word of a government, physical gold takes on special meaning as a tangible store of material value and wealth. This, combined with the unprecedented uncertainty of events around us today have made physical gold an extremely attractive thing to own to people all over the world, driving its price to record levels.

While there is no doubt that gold is a desirable addition to assets that make up one's wealth regardless of its current price, there is only so much that one can own and store by oneself physically and therefore most of our gold investments and holdings exist in paper or electronic form as a representation of our ownership. Examples are gold mutual funds and gold ETFs. For many of us though, this is just not good enough and we psychologically need to see the rich luster of our gold and feel its heft. Jewelry is one beautiful option but it is not entirely practical for more than a token amount for vanity purposes and the most efficient forms of physical gold are gold bullion bars and coins because they are a lot more compact and portable.

What is Bullion?
The term "bullion" refers to precious metals in the form of ingots, bars or coins for the purposes of investment and trading. Jewelry and other items made out of these metals are not considered bullion.  Precious metals, of which gold is the prime example, are rare, naturally occurring elements of "high economic value which are not radioactive". Other examples are silver, platinum and palladium.

  • Gold bar

    Gold bar bullion can be of any shape though the most popular and familiar by far is the rectangular "gold brick" shape of varying sizes and weights. Gold bars that are traded by banks and gold dealers must be made by an approved producer who meets certain standards of manufacture, record keeping and labeling and are typically made by stamping gold sheets into blanks of the correct shape and dimensions and then pressed and minted just like coins. The standard weight for bars and ingots is the troy ounce or ounce which is equal to 31.1034768 grams.

  • Gold ingot

    The gold ingot is simply a larger bar (and also called bar with a weight, eg. "kilobar" for a 1,000-gram bar) that is cast by pouring molten gold into a mold. Standard gold ingots that are held by the central banks of the world as gold reserves and traded by bullion dealers are the "Good Delivery gold bars" which weigh 400 troy ounces (12.4 kg or 438.9 oz), about 11 inches long and 99.5% gold. These gold bars (or ingots) are typically what people picture when they hear the word "bullion". Currently, the largest gold ingot weighs 250 kilograms or 551 pounds, roughly 18 x 9 x 7 inches and worth over 10 million dollars at today's prices.

  • Gold coins

    Gold coins bullion is the most common and practical form of bullion and has been so through the ages. In addition, this form of bullion is popular with collectors. Like gold bars and ingots, gold coins are easily and commonly acquired online today through trusted dealers at popular sites like Amazon. For most investors, this is probably the most economical way to acquire gold because the minimal overheads of online dealers combined with the stiff competition they face should translate to the best prices, all other things being equal. The most popular gold investment coins in the US are the American Gold Eagle series which are offered in 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz and 1 oz denominations.

Regardless of the form of holding, bullion gold has always been an important part of our psychological need to feel financially secure, especially in times of uncertainty and turmoil.

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