Gold is without any question the most sought-after of all the precious metals. Throughout history it has been a measure of the wealth of individuals and of nations, and has been a standard unit of commerce between countries for centuries. In addition to this it is widely used in jewelry, once again as an indicator of affluence. Gold is at once both versatile and yet consistent in what it represents.
The benefit of gold as an investment is especially evident during times of economic downturn. When currency fluctuates gold often holds firm, because any movement in its value is quite independent of that of other investments such as stocks. Thus it is that buying gold can be an attractive option for anyone seeking to protect their wealth from inflationary pressures.
Gold Bullion Bars
Gold can be traded in a number of forms, one of the most popular being gold bullion bars. Although they are typically the equal of coin in terms of purity and content, they tend to cost less because they are minted privately. Bars are stamped with their own weight, fineness and a dedicated number for enhanced security.
Gold bars are most often traded in sizes of one ounce or less, but can in some circumstances weigh as much as a kilo or even more. Gold trading in this form has been said to be the most authentic form of currency exchange in world history.
The advantage of coins over other forms of gold is that their purity and weight are backed by a central bank, and also because they are generally minted on an annual basis to meet customer demand, thereby minimizing the potential for shortages to occur. Click for more information on how to go about purchasing gold coins.
In the United States the US Mint produces an array of coins known collectively as the American Gold Eagle range. Available in weights from one-tenth of an ounce to an ounce, they are actually legal tender based upon weight.
So called because of its shape, the gold round is in fact a small circular disc, sometimes privately made and often featuring striking designs and lovingly finished. Their spot price is generally lower than that of coins and bars, and therefore offers opportunities to small investors. Many purchase them alongside other forms as part of a deliberately wider portfolio of options.
International Standards on Purity
The precious metals industry takes great pride in the purity of its products. In the United States coins are struck with a minimum purity level of .999 gold. Elsewhere, such as in Canada and Australia, the limit is .9999 gold. Weights vary, as do specifications.
Whilst investment is important, there are other reasons why small buyers might be attracted to gold. Commemorative coins, for instance, are often purchased either as an investment or simply as a keepsake or memento in celebration of a particular event. Banks regulate the supply and so shortages are unlikely ever to occur.