Certificates for Gold Bars
We give our opinions & advice about certificates for gold bars.
Paper or Gold?
It's a strange curiosity that people buy gold because they don't trust paper money, but some then expect to get a piece of paper, as though the gold was not good enough in itself!
All investment gold bars display self-explanatory information about themselves, so that an extra piece of paper or certificate is unnecessary.
The standard information shown on "small gold bars" is their weight on grams, troy ounces, tolas, or tales; their purity or fineness, usually as parts per thousand e.g. 999.9; and their maker's or sponsor's mark, which therefore acts like a brand name.
By "small bars" we mean bars smaller than London Good Delivery Bars, so includes all bars from 1 gram to 1 kilo.
In addition, some bars also have a serial number. The only bars which are required to have a serial number are London Good Delivery Gold Bars, on all other bars it is optional.
London Good Delivery Gold Bars
These are not designed with the typical gold investor in mind, but are intended for transfer and settlement in wholesale financial markets.
Although their weight is typically cited as being 400 troy ounces, they can vary between 350 and 430 ounces. the fineness can also vary from 995.0 parts per thousand upwards.
Fake Bars or Fake Certificates?
Although we have never seen any fake investment gold bullion bars, it is highly likely that they exist, but it is very easy to check the purity of a fine gold bar. It is also easy to weigh one. It would need to be a very stupid person who could be fooled by a fake bar.
It would be very easy to produce a fake certificate.
Taking these two facts together, any certificate accompanying a gold bar is mainly for marketing purposes, to make the buyer feel happy, rather to to provide any meaningful protection.
There are lots of replica bars on the market, but it is extremely unlikely that any of these could be mistaken for the real thing, except at a distance, or by a complete idiot. We did actually have a young German man phone us to ask what we would pay for a kilo bar. Several weeks later he turned up at our showroom with a plastic Perth Mint display kilo bar. We showed him the real thing. Strangely enough, he did not appear to be as surprised or disappointed as we expected.
Donkey or Thoroughbred?
Although we have made our view clear that a fake bar would be very unlikely to fool anybody, we are also aware that it is almost impossible to protect some people from their own stupidity.
We are sure there are people out there somewhere who would buy a donkey as a thoroughbred racehorse if it came with a spoof certificate.
Certificates for Gold Bullion Coins
As with gold bullion bars, certificates are unnecessary, or should be unnecessary, for gold bullion coins.
These usually state their weight and fineness, being stamped on them, and are generally difficult to fake. Certificates are obviously much easier to fake.
Pre-Krugerrand bullion coins such as sovereigns, gold eagles, mainly did not state their weights and finenesses, but they used to circulate as real money back in the days when most people were intelligent enough to be able to tell the difference. Although fakes do exist, a certificate is unlikely to add any real security. If in any doubt, buy from a reputable source, and obtain a receipt.
Gold Bars for Collectors
Certificate for Degussa Kilo Gold Bar
Gold Bullion Bars
Degussa Cast Kilo Gold Bar
Bullion Coin Selector Page