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If you're looking to invest in gold, you may be considering purchasing gold bars for an IRA or for a personal holding. Unlike gold coins or rounds that may be marked up more compared to spot price of gold, bars tend to come with a lower premium. This means that you can maximize your investment in gold and hold a greater quantity than you may otherwise be able to purchase in gold coins or rounds.
However, with so many different gold bar mints, you may feel stumped trying to decide which company to purchase from. Is there really any difference between PAMP Suisse gold bars and Sunshine Minting gold bars? Does it matter which gold bar brands you buy? Today, we're going to answer these questions and more to help you decide which gold bar brands you'd like to add to your investment portfolio.
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Different Types of Gold Bars
There are two different types of gold bars: cast (or poured) gold bars and minted gold bars. You may see both of these types of gold bars offered from the different mints and companies below, so let's start by taking a look at the differences between each type of bar.
To make a cast gold bar, liquid gold is poured into a mold. After the gold cools completely, it is removed from the mold. Once removed from the mold, the manufacturer engages key details on the bar. These may include the mint's name and the weight of the bar.
While some investors choose cast, or poured, gold bars, minted gold bars tend to be the bar of choice for most. If you're picturing a shiny and expertly finished gold bar, chances are you're thinking of a minted bar.
Minted gold bars are produced in a similar fashion to gold coins or rounds. They are made using a continuous casting machine. Each gold bar is inspected to verify its weight. If any imperfections are discovered, those bars a melted down to be remade.
Minted gold bars tend to cost a bit more than cast gold bars. However, they are also more likely to offer a higher resale value, often making the initial investment worthwhile.
Name Brands vs Generic Gold Bars
You may have noticed that there are a number of different gold bar brands. Some of these brands are categorized as "name brands" while others are "generic." Just as there are name brand clothing manufacturers that sell their items for a premium compared to off-brands, there are name brand and generic gold bar manufacturers.
With name brand gold bars, you should expect to pay a higher premium. This premium comes with the well-known and trusted status of the mint or manufacturer. While you will initially pay more for a name brand gold bar, you will also be able to get more for the bar when you sell it.
Generic gold bars are made by smaller, lesser-known private mints. The benefit of purchasing a generic silver bar is that you won't pay a premium. Generic silver bars should match the spot price of silver. However, on the other hand, you also shouldn't expect to get a premium when you sell the bar.
In the next few sections, we'll take a look at Royal Canadian Mint Gold Bars, Valcambi Suisse Gold Bars, PAMP Suisse Gold Bars, Engelhard Gold Bars, and Johnson Matthey Gold Bars, some of the top name-brand gold bar companies. We'll also explore three generic gold bar companies: Sunshine Minting Gold Bars, Scottsdale Mint Gold Bars, and 9Fine Gold Bars.
Name Brand Gold Bar Companies
The biggest name brand gold bar companies include the Royal Canadian Mint, Valcambi Suisse, PAMP Suisse, Engelhard, and Johnson Matthey. In the next few sections, we'll take a closer look at each of these companies and the gold bars that they offer.
❑ Royal Canadian Mint Gold Bars
If you're at all familiar with investing in precious metals, you've surely heard of the Royal Canadian Mint. The mint, which has been operating since 1911, employs technologically advanced equipment to product gold, silver, platinum, and palladium coins, rounds, bars, wafers, and more. They were among the first to refining gold to a .9999 fineness level (followed a few years later by a .99999 fineness level).
When you purchase Royal Canadian Mint Gold Bars, you can feel confident that you're getting some of the finest gold available. Some of the available sizes of gold bars you can get from the Royal Canadian Mint include:
❑ Valcambi Suisse Gold Bars
Valcambi Suisse is another one of the best gold bar brands to buy. The refinery is very well respected within the precious metals industry. They classify themselves as a boutique refinery and say that they work to use technological and manufacturing best practices to help their clients.
Valcambi Suisse was incorporated in 1961. Their headquarters are located in Balerna, Switzerland.
In addition to the cast and minted bars that you can find through most other refiners, one of Valcambi's signature products is their CombiBar. CombiBars represent a unique investment. Rather than just being a solid piece of gold in whatever weight, they are broken down into 1-gram detachable sections.
Below are the various minted, cast, and CombiBars available from Valcambi Suisse:
🠲 Minted Gold Bars
🠲 Cast Gold Bars
🠲 Gold CombiBars
❑ PAMP Suisse Gold Bars
If you've started looking at different gold bar brands, you've likely come across some from PAMP Suisse. Produits Artistiques Metaux Precieux, or PAMP, was founded in 1977. The company quickly grew after 1979 when Mahmoud Kassem Shakarchi started MKS (Switzerland) SA and began working closely with PAMP. The influence of Shakarchi is largely responsible for the reputation PAMP developed.
Today, PAMP is one of the world's most trust precious metals refiners. If you're looking to buy PAMP gold bars, you can choose from both minted and cast options. These include:
🠲 Minted Gold Bars
🠲 Cast Gold Bars
❑ Engelhard Gold Bars
Despite the fact that Engelhard is not currently producing any new gold bars, they remain one of the most trusted refiners. Engelhard was founded in 1902 by Charles W Engelhard Sr. Engelhard founded a number of other precious metals companies and quickly helped scale Engelhard's production and build their positive relationship.
Because Engelhard isn't currently producing gold bars, the selection you'll be able to find may vary depending on where you look. Some of the different sizes of gold bars that were minted by Engelhard in the past include:
❑ Johnson Matthey Gold Bars
Johnson Matthey is another company with a history that dates way back. It got its start in 1817 after Norton Johnson opened a gold assaying company in London. The company was officially named Johnson Matthey following the partnership between Norton Johnson and George Matthey in 1851.
Johnson Matthey was one of the first refineries to refine platinum and palladium, rather than just gold and silver. Initially, they were most well-known for their refining of platinum, but later gained recognition for other metal types as well.
Johnson Matthey sold their precious metals investment division in 2015, so there are not currently new bars being made. However, you can still find some Johnson Matthey gold bars available for sale. Some of the available sizes you may find include:
❑ Generic Gold Bar Mints
If you are interested in a Generic Gold Bar, you'll have more options. If you remember from above, generic gold bars are ones that are made by a private mint. Because there are many private mints, you may be able to find numerous other options beyond what we have listed below. Sunshine Minting, Scottsdale Mint, and 9Fine are three generic gold mints that offer gold bars. Below you'll find some of the different gold bar options offered by these companies:
🠲 Sunshine Minting Gold Bars
🠲 Scottsdale Mint Gold Bars
🠲 9Fine Gold Bars
How to Purchase Gold Bars
A quick online search will show you that there are numerous precious metals dealers that offer gold bars. However, it is best to always do your research and look for a reputable company to work with. Consider the number of years the company has been in business, their ratings from organizations such as the Better Business Bureau or Business Consumer Alliance, and reviews from past customers.
You may also want to look up information about the company's shipping policies. Do they offer free shipping for orders over a certain value? Do they include free transit insurance with each order?
If you are looking for a specific gold bar brand or size from one of the mints listed above, you will also want to confirm that it is available from the specific dealer(s) you're looking at. Not all gold dealers will offer all brands and/or sizes of gold bars, so you may need to look around if you have something very specific in mind.
Finally, once you've narrowed down your options to a few reputable companies, it is always a good idea to do a quick price comparison between the dealers that have what you are looking for. Additionally, some dealers may offer bulk discounts, which could save you a good deal of money if you're looking to purchase multiple gold bars.
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