Pictures of gold bar often appear in animation and movie. The large trapezoid-shaped gold bars are stacked in a pyramid shape. This scene is quite shocking. Do you know that gold bars like this are not only on the stage in the fictional world, but also have a very large circulation in the real world?
From ancient times to the present, rich people have held gold bars to ensure their assets. In recent years, due to the economic instability caused by international monetary easing and Brexit issues, investment in gold has attracted much attention. For this reason, there are many gold bars circulating in the investment world. Nowadays, fueled by the global investment boom, not only the wealthy people, but many ordinary families also own gold.
Gold bars are called “gold bullion” in the field of investment and precious metals acquisition.
Gold bars are made of pure gold. If such high-priced items are forged, or items of poor quality are circulated on the market, it will cause great trouble. Therefore, in order to prevent gold bars from being forged, many strict regulations have been established. And these gold bars that meet strict censorship standards support our lives. We will introduce the basic knowledge of gold bullion as following.
Use gold bars to activate tourism industry
Gold bullion is treasure! I believe everyone has such an impression of gold. Many local governments also want to take advantage of this impression and use gold bars for tourism.
Sado Gold Mine (Sado Kinzan) Gold Nugget Challenge
In Sado City, Niigata Prefecture, there was Sado Kinzan that supported the wealth of the Edo period. In the Museum of Sado Kinzan, a large bar weighing 12.5 kg is displayed in a transparent display case. The event of take out gold bar from box called “Gold Bar Challenge” has been widely praised by tourists. If someone can take out the gold bar smoothly, they can get a souvenir! Do you also want to take a challenge?
Awaji Island leased 100 million yen gold bars
In the era of economy, the government promoted subsidies for the “Hometown Creation Project”. Subsidies in various regions amounted to 100 million yen. Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture used all the 100 million yen to lease gold bars. Since the first year of Heisei (1989), this gold nugget has been displayed in the museum of “Shizunosato Park” and has become a pilgrimage site for gold lovers. In 2010, the gold nugget was returned to the lender’s Mitsubishi Materials Corporation after the completion of the task. A replica of the gold nugget is displayed in the archive.
Asset utilization of gold bars
Because of the recent investment boom and economic unease, more and more people are buying bullion in order to protect the value of their assets. Gold is a relatively safe asset compared to stocks and bonds. Especially when the international situation is unstable and credit risks increase due to financial policies and political conditions, more people choose to invest in gold.
The value of gold as an asset is quite high. Even the central banks of various countries own it. The gold bars are also specially manufactured in response to the need to preserve assets. In addition, for investment and asset utilization, gold coins are also circulated in the market, but they need to be processed into gold coins, and processing costs are added. In contrast, the processing of the bar is only the operation of heating into the mold and casting, and it hardly costs much. Therefore, gold is a very good investment and asset utilization target.
The specifications for gold bars are extremely strict
Gold bar are made of pure gold. In other words, basically no other metals are added to gold. Pure gold is represented by 24K gold, and the bullion circulating in the market is 24K gold. 18K gold bars are generally not traded. However, because it is very difficult to make 100% pure gold, even if it is claimed to be pure gold, the purity is not 100%. In addition, there is also a risk of fake products in the market. Therefore, purity standards will be set in the representative trading market, and certification lists for dissolving companies and quality assurance companies are also listed.
LBMA (London Bullion Market Association)
The London Bullion Market Association established the London Gold Market Standard Delivery Bar (Good Delivery Bar). The gold bullion traded as a Good Delivery Bar must have an extremely high purity of 99.5% or more. In addition, gold with a purity of 99.99% or more is traded on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange in Japan. China, Taiwan and other places also trade gold with purity above 99.99%; the Middle East generally trades gold with purity above 99.5%.
Good Delivery Bar has other strict specifications. In addition to the prescribed shape and weight, the weight and purity must be imprinted on the gold, and it must be manufactured by a certified refining company before being inspected by an inspection company. Finally, it must be dealt with by certified specialized storage companies and shipping companies. As long as it is gold bullion recognized as a Good Delivery Bar, it is actually equivalent to meeting the world standard and has a high degree of credibility in global circulation.
※ The London market is known as one of the three major markets in the world and is the center of spot gold trading. The LBMA is the one that monitors the quality of gold and silver in this specialized market. LBMA not only sets the rules for gold flowing in the London market, but also certifies recognized dissolvers and so on.
Tokyo Commodity Exchange
The Tokyo Commodity Exchange Co. Ltd. was established to open up the trading futures commodity market. The English name of Tokyo Commodity Exchange is “Tokyo Commodity Exchange Inc.”, so it is also called TOCOM.
The Tokyo Mercantile Exchange is a public precious metal market in Japan, and there is no other public precious metal market. The Tokyo Commodity Exchange has designated gold bullion handled by one of the world’s few brands as delivery products for futures transactions under strict standards. In addition to the gold futures market, a spot market was also opened in July 2016, attracting market attention.
Production Method of Bars
Since the Edo period and the Meiji period, Japan has mined a lot of gold in mines. But now the gold available at low cost has been mined, and most of the mines have been closed. But besides digging from mines, making gold nuggets from waste is another method.
There are several methods of making gold nuggets from waste as following:
Because the waste parts such as semiconductors in smart phones and computers are rich in gold, they are also called “urban mines.” We can recycle gold and reuse it through this approach. In addition, gold can be recycled from items such as precious metal and factory waste.
Revert to solid after dissolution
The recycled gold will first be dissolved with aqua regia. Gold is a metal that difficult to dissolve. It can’t be dissolved without this strong acid. But the properties of gold are easily restored to solid. Gold is dissolved in the liquid in the form of gold ions, as long as it can get electrons, it can be restored to a solid powder.
Filter & Dry
The solution is then filtered to separate the gold crystal powder from other components. Since the other components used at this time are separated, gold powder with a purity of more than 99% can be obtained. A brown gold powder can be obtained after drying.
Dissolve again & Revert
In order to further improve the purity, it is necessary to dissolve the gold with aqua regia, and restore it to a solid with reducing agent. After these steps, a bright brown dry gold powder can be obtained. This gold powder is called “refined gold” and has a purity of 99.99% or more.
Turn gold powder into gold particles
Gold does not melt until the temperature is above 1064 degrees Celsius. The gold powder is heated to melt at a high temperature exceeding the melting point. Then use a lot of water to rapidly cool the molten gold, and the cooled gold will return to solid again. In this way, the molten gold will solidify into gold grains of several millimeters in size. At this time, the brown gold that was originally powdered has finally changed back to the color of gold.
Make Gold Nugget
The golden particles just obtained are then melted at a high temperature above 1000 degrees Celsius. After melting into liquid gold, it can be poured into a mold to make a block, and the gold block is completed after cooling. Through the above methods, gold with a purity of up to 99.999% can be obtained, which is also called “Five-nines”.
After the gold bullion is cast, in order to ensure its quality and circulate in the market, it will be stamped on the top. After checking the weight, it will be marked with the foundry logo (recognized by the London Gold Market) and quality stamps. This completes the gold bullion guaranteed by the brand.
Casting of gold bullion
The gold bullion does not have a guarantee certificate to guarantee the quality; instead it is stamped with a guarantee of quality. In other words, the gold bullion itself guarantees its quality. The imprint on the gold bullion has the following contents:1. Trademark
The stamp is engraved with the logo of the manufacturer of the gold bullion. Only the industry that has passed the strict LBMA review and obtained certification can put the recognized mark on the gold bullion.2. Refining and analyzing signs
The gold bullion is also stamped with a refiner (Melter) The logo of the Assayer. These are also called Melter and Assayer logos. If the refining and inspection are carried out by the same company, sometimes only one logo is used to indicate; if the brand manufacturer is responsible for the refining and inspection, the process of marking the logo will be omitted.3. Indicates quality
There is a quality assure stamping on the gold bullion. Quality is equivalent to purity, which is equivalent to purity displayed by weight ratio. If the purity is higher than 99.99%, “999.9” will be imprinted at the rate of one thousand. This sign is also called “Four-nines”.4. Indicates material
Gold bullion will be marked with “GOLD”, and sometimes “FINE GOLD” will be stamped to indicate that it is pure gold.5. Indicates weight
The cast mark indicates the weight of the entire gold bullion. For example, if the gold bullion is 500 grams, it will be imprinted “500g”.6. Manufacture number
A manufacturing number (serial number) is cast and imprinted on the gold bar, and each gold bar has its own manufacturing number, and there will never be gold bullions with duplicate numbers.7. The size of the bullion
There are many types of bullion weights. There are 5 grams, 10 grams, 20 grams, 50 grams, 100 grams, 200 grams, 300 grams, 500 grams, and 1000 grams of gold bullion on the market. The 1,000-gram gold bar is about the size of a smart phone, and its shape is similar to that of a smart phone. However, the shape of the bullion varies from brand to brand. Even if the weight is the same, the length, width, and thickness of each brand are slightly different. The gold bullion kept in banks such as the Bank of England is about 12.5 kilograms of extra-large size and is also called “Large Bar”. The shape is like a trapezoidal gold bar often seen in movies.
Japanese domestic brand
Gold bullion can be purchased from the following domestic Japanese brands.
• TANAKA Precious Metals
• Tokuriki Honten Co.
• ISHIFUKU Metal Industry Co. Ltd.
• Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd.
• Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC)
• JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corporation
• Mitsui & Co. Ltd.
• Sumitomo Corporation
• Sanki Shouji
• Asahi Pretec
TANAKA Precious Metals, Tokuriki Honten Co., ISHIFUKU Metal Industry Co. Ltd. , Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd., Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC), JX Nippon Mining & Metals Corporation, Mitsui & Co. Ltd. , Sumitomo Corporation and Sanki Shouji are familiar trader. Asahi Pretec is a metal recycling company. It can also be purchased from a bank. It is recommended to buy these gold bullions with reputable brands.
There are also many trusted brands abroad.
• Johnson Matthey ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• Engelhard ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• Engelhard-CLAL ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• Argor S.A.( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• Argor-Heraeus S.A. ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• Valcambi S.A. ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• Metalor ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• PAMP ( Precious Metal Manufacturer
• Swiss Bank (Finance , Banker )
• Credit Suisse (Finance , Banker )
• Degussa ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• Golden West Refining ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• AGR Matthey ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• Perth Mint（Mint）
• Royal Canadian Mint ( Mint )
• Comptoir Lyon Alemand Louyot ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• LG Metals ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• Rand Refinery ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
• Navoi Mining and Metallurgical complex ( Precious Metal Manufacturer )
How to buy & store gold bullion
We can buy gold bullion through various methods. When buying less than 500 grams of gold bullion, sometimes it is necessary to pay a handling fee called Bar Charge. Therefore, many people will buy gold bullion over 1,000 grams, but at the same time, they must carefully consider the method of storage.
You can buy gold bullion directly at precious metal stores, land dealers, traders, refining companies, banks and other stores. It can also be sold and purchased online. In addition, counterfeit gold bars are also sold on the market, so please buy from LBMA certified refiners or reputable companies. Although many people keep the gold bullion they bought in their own vaults, there is also a risk of theft. Therefore, it is recommended that you ask a custodian to keep it on your behalf. In addition, you can also use the safes lent by banks, or some vendors will also provide safekeeping services.
If you buy gold bullion by way of a gold passbook, it will automatically be kept by the seller. Generally it is stored in “specified custody” or “consumption entrust” in Japan. Each storage method has its own advantages and disadvantages.
This is a service that asks the custodian to keep the gold bullion purchased. Even if the custodian goes bankrupt, the gold bullion entrusted for safekeeping can be recovered.
Since this method transfers the ownership to the custodian, if the custodian goes bankrupt, sometimes the gold bullion entrusted for custody cannot be recovered. But it is relatively possible to invite the industry to use gold effectively and obtain the benefits. If you want to safely keep your assets, it is recommended to use specific custody; but if you want to take risks to obtain investment benefits, it is recommended to use consumption entrust.
There are fake gold bullion on the market
Since gold bullion is made of pure gold, the raw material alone has extremely high value. Therefore, there are also counterfeit gold bars in circulation on the market, which requires more attention. A common fake product on the market is a gold shell with imitation imprints containing tungsten, which has a specific gravity similar to that of gold. There are also fakes that are gold-plated on alloys such as copper, nickel, and zinc. If you feel that “it is much lighter than gold”, “the stamping is not the same as the real product”, “the stamping is a bit skewed and unnatural”, it may be a fake. Since gold is an easily deformable substance, even gold bullion can deform. But if it looks too unnatural, be sure to doubt whether it is a fake. X-rays can also be used to analyze the crystal structure to verify the authenticity of gold. In addition, although gold will dissolve in aqua regia, it will not react to nitric acid. We can also take advantage of this property to pour nitric acid on it to confirm its reaction. If it is a metal other than gold, it will change color.
Conclusion of gold bullion
Gold is very important in supporting our economy and society. Gold is also very active in the tourism industry, not only involving personal asset use or assets held by the central bank.In the world’s leading gold markets such as LBMA or Tokyo Commodity Exchange, only fewer gold bullion made by reputable brands are in circulation. These few of the world’s leading brands all abide by strict regulations, allowing us to buy gold bullion with confidence.
In addition, the gold bullion is stamped to guarantee the quality of the gold. There are also many different designs of brand logos. The stamp has information such as purity, weight, dissolving company, quality inspection company, etc. Please be sure to check carefully when purchasing.
The gold billion is completed after being dissolved and solidified many times from the waste. Although they are all made into easy-to-storage shapes, the shapes of gold nuggets vary from brand to brand. There are also many weights to choose from, but since the price of gold is quite high, it is recommended to carefully consider the method of purchase and storage in advance.
Even though the production of gold bullion is so laborious, unfortunately, there are fakes on the market. Please purchase from certified companies through LBMA or Japan Gold Metal Association. The above is an introduction to the basic knowledge of gold bullion.
Gold bullion is not an ordinary metal bar, it is very active in various fields, all of which can be attributed to the hard work of the world’s few brands.