Gold bars have an undeniable allure. Perhaps you’ve seen vintage photos of prospectors panning for gold during the California Gold Rush, or old Western flicks where thieves plot to steal a shipment of gold bricks. Stories of lost treasure and sunken ships filled with gold doubloons have stirred imaginations for centuries. There’s just something special about holding a bar of pure, gleaming gold.
While fake gold bars abound today, you’ll certainly want to avoid spending good money on counterfeit gold-plated metal. If you know where to look, purchasing a real, authentic gold bar to add to your portfolio is absolutely possible. So, if you’ve been wondering “how to buy a gold bar”, here’s a guide to give you a head start. So, how to buy gold bar?
What to Look for in a Reputable Seller
When trying to buy a gold bar, you of course want to make sure you only purchase from reputable sellers. Avoid sellers on peer-to-peer marketplaces or social media, as counterfeits run rampant. Instead, turn to trusted precious metals dealers with a longstanding, verifiable reputation.
Legitimate sellers acquire bars directly from refineries or mints and provide documentation of authenticity. They also assay bars to guarantee the purity and weight match what’s stamped.
One way to verify a seller’s reputation is to check for accreditations from reputable organizations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or associations like the American Numismatic Association (ANA). Reviews from objective third parties can also provide insight into others’ experiences.
Choosing the Right Type of Gold Bar
Once you find reputable sellers, it’s time to choose the type of gold bar you want to buy. Gold bars come in a variety of sizes, purities, and designs. Smaller bars in the 1-10 ounce range offer affordability and portability. Larger 400-ounce “Good Delivery” bars store substantial value but are heavy and illiquid.
Most investors choose 99.99% pure gold bullion bars between 1-100 ounces. These provide the best combination of purity, divisibility, and reasonable premiums over the fluctuating gold spot price.
Recognizable branded bars from mints like PAMP Suisse may carry higher premiums, while basic designs like Credit Suisse’s gold bars tend to have lower premiums. Opt for hallmark-stamped .9999 fine gold bars from LBMA-approved refiners for optimal liquidity.
How to Verify Authenticity
Once your shiny new gold bar arrives, you’ll want to verify its authenticity. Start by matching the serial number, weight, purity, and refinery brand stamp against the documentation provided. Use a magnet on the bar – real gold is non-magnetic.
Next, get out your magnifying glass and examine the bar closely. Look for crisp edges, defined ridges, and clean, precise stamping. Fake gold bars often have imperfections like rough surfaces or inconsistent logos.
You can also ping-test the bar. Suspend it by a string and tap the top gently with a pen. The resonance when pinged should sustain instead of damping immediately. Lastly, consider paying for third-party authentication services to provide definitive certification.
Storing Your Gold Bar Securely
Once satisfied with your bar’s legitimacy, it’s time to store it safely. Many choose at-home storage in a concealed floor or wall safe, preferably bolted down. Safety deposit boxes also provide secure storage. Ensure your homeowner’s insurance policy covers bullion.
For larger collections, offshore private vaults, non-bank vaulting firms, and specialized precious metals storage providers offer advanced security like biometric access and 24/7 monitoring. Avoid storing in a bank safe deposit box, as government seizure is possible.
No matter how you store, keep details private and store bars across multiple locations to mitigate risk. Don’t flaunt your gold on social media of course lest you attract unwanted attention from thieves, hackers, or scammers.
How To Buy Gold Bar: The Bottom Line
Purchasing investment-grade physical gold bars is a savvy way to diversify. But fake gold bars pose a real risk, so when wondering “how to buy a gold bar”, remember the tips mentioned above. By buying only from trustworthy sellers, verifying authenticity rigorously, and storing securely, you can add genuine, valuable gold bars to your portfolio.