Gold Bullion ?
Gold Coins ?
We often hear from first-time gold buyers:
“I want to buy gold, but don’t want
to pay extra for gold coins.
How do I buy just plain gold bullion ?
Basically, this is a misunderstanding of what gold bullion is. The common perception is that rectangular bits of gold (“bars”) are the most cost effective, and perhaps the only available, form of gold bullion. The same thinking has it that round bits of gold (“coins”) are not really gold bullion. There’s a common misperception that “coins” are limited in supply, expensive, and perhaps, to some extent, collectors’ items.
When you go to buy gold for gold’s sake, what you are looking for is a practical and tradable form of gold – gold bullion. Gold bullion is a recognized weight and fineness of gold that you can purchase for the current price of gold, plus the small percentage costs incurred in refining, fabricating, and shipping that bullion to you.
The word ‘bullion’ has a very simple definition: a refined and stamped weight of precious metal. Of course, what most of us think of as gold bullion is the large gold ‘bricks’ that we imagine are stored in Fort Knox.
You may remember seeing these large gold bullion bars in movies such as “Three Kings,” and the old James Bond movie “Goldfinger.” Bars like these make up most of the world’s gold bullion owned by governments and central banks. These are the “London good delivery” gold bullion bars of approximately 400 troy ounce size, refined and cast by the various private refiners worldwide, and accepted for ‘delivery’ into London and other major gold bullion markets.
These large bars are an efficient way to buy physical gold, particularly if you are going to store your larger gold bullion holding in a recognized insured precious metals storage facility. Also, if you have a working use for the gold, such as in electronics, manufacturing, or the arts, these large gold bullion bars are the most cost-efficient way to buy it.
But if you don’t actually make use of them, these bars can be costly to liquidate once removed from storage. You may encounter assay, refining, or just handling fees in trying to liquidate that size gold bullion bar. It’s much more difficult and time-consuming to liquidate gold bullion in a single chunk that is worth over $100,000 than it is to sell the same amount of gold bullion in more convenient and tradable sizes.