May 29, 2024

What’s the Difference Between Gold Cast Bars, Gold Minted Bars and Gold Bullion Coins?

2014-Australian-Kangaroo-1kg-Gold-Bullion-Coin-Obverse-SBesides offering an incredible selection of gold and silver precious metal products at fair prices, the Perth Mint excels at educating its customers.

The Perth Mint has specialized in the production of precious metal coins since 1899.  The Perth Mint operates and owns the only gold refinery in Australia and is owned by the Gold Corporation which operates under the statutory authority of the Government of Western Australia.

All gold and silver bullion coins and bars produced by the Perth Mint are available in 99.99% pure gold and are issued as legal tender in Australia.

In this week’s Bullion News, the Perth Mint explains to potential buyers the different factors to take into account when deciding whether to buy gold cast bars, gold minted bars, or gold bullion coins.

Cast Bars, Minted Bars and Bullion Coins

Gold Cast Bars

Investors seeking to pay the lowest premium over spot gold prices will typically consider purchasing gold cast bars since they have the lowest fabrication cost.  The Perth Mint warns buyers that when buying gold cast bars it is essential to make purchases from a totally trustworthy seller to ensure weight, purity and re-saleability.

The Perth Mint sells gold cast bars in 1 ounce, 2 1/2 ounce, 5 ounce, 10 ounce, 20 ounce, and 50 ounce weights.  The current markup over spot on a 1 ounce cast bar is only $35.  Investors planning to make larger purchases such as a 20 oz cast bar can pick it up for less than $100 over the current spot price of $25,633.

Gold Minted Bars

Gold minted bars are cut from rolled gold, have a better finish and appearance, and are stamped with various designs on a minting press.  I have observed while traveling that gold minted bars are extremely popular in gold and jewelry stores in China since they can be purchased in sizes as small as 0.3 grams and often come in a tamper proof security container.

The Perth Mint sells gold minted bars in 5 g, 10 g, 20 g, 1 oz, 50 g, 100 g, and 10 oz.  A one ounce gold minted bar currently sells for a premium over spot of around $44.

Gold Bullion Coins

Gold bullion coins are typically favored by many small investors since they are issued and guaranteed by governments, come in numerous sizes, are difficult to counterfeit due to their thin size, and are issued with distinctive and detailed designs which add another dimension to the desirability of owning gold.  The minting process to produce a gold bullion coin is far more complex than that for producing bars and therefore the premium over the gold spot price is significantly higher.

The Perth Mint sells gold bullion coins ranging in size from only 1/20 ounce to a massive 1 kilogram.  The one kilogram gold bullion coin currently sells for about $42,000.

Royal Canadian Mint Precious Metal Coins a Hit with Investors and Collectors

Maple Leaf goldThe Royal Canadian Mint has a rich history, striking its first gold sovereign coin back in 1908.  The Mint began production of the world renown Canadian Gold Maple Leaf in 1979 and introduced the 99.99% pure Silver Maple Leaf in 1988.

Investor demand for both the gold and silver Maple Leafs has remained strong year after year.  According to the Mint’s latest third quarter 2013 report, sales volume of the Gold Maple Leaf coins increased during the quarter by 17.5% to 195,000 ounces and sales of the Silver Maple Leaf coins increased by a very robust 40% to 6.7 million ounces.

In addition to gold and silver bullion coins, the Royal Canadian Mint produces a wide variety of stunning coins for collectors and investors including such innovative coins as the $20 for $20, a silver coin that has both a face value and a price of $20 (see How to Buy Physical Silver with a Zero Chance of Loss).

Here is a look at some of the most popular and unique coins currently being sold by the Royal Canadian Mint that are a representation of Canada’s rich culture and history.

1 oz. Fine Silver Coin - 100th Anniversary of the Royal Ontario Museum - Mintage: 8,500 (2014)

1 ounce silver coin commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Royal Ontario Museum.

Fine Gold Coin - Pope John Paul II - Mintage: 1,500 (2014)

Pope John Paul II fine gold coin with a mintage of only 1,500 pieces.

Pure Gold Ultra-High Relief Coin - Matriarch Moon Mask - Mintage: 500 (2014)

Matriarch Moon Mask ultra-high relief pure gold coin.

$20 for $20 Fine Silver Coin - Canada Goose

Fine silver Canada goose coin with $20 face value and a price of $20.

$20 for $20 Fine Silver Coin - Bobcat (2014)

$20 for $20 Bobcat coin made of fine silver.

US Mint Gold Bullion Coin Sales Slower

The United States Mint currently has three gold and silver bullion coins available to its network of authorized purchasers. This includes the one ounce American Silver Eagle; the 22 karat American Gold Eagle available in one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce sizes, and the recently released 24 karat American Gold Buffalo coins.

The group of primary distributors is able to purchase the bullion coins directly from the US Mint in bulk quantities based on the market price of the precious metals plus an established mark up for each product type. The coins are then resold to other bullion dealers, coin dealers, and the broader public. The sales levels for US Mint bullion coins can be an indicator of the demand for physical precious metals.

For the weekly period ending March 23, 2011, the US Mint sold a total of 24,500 ounces of gold bullion coins, down from the 45,500 ounces sold in the previous week. The higher numbers in the previous week were in part driven by the release of the 2011 Gold Buffalo, although initial sales levels were not as strong as experienced in 2009 and 2010.

For all of 2010, the US Mint had sold 1,429,500 ounces of gold bullion across all product options. About twelve weeks into the current year, gold bullion sales have reached 314,500 ounces. Assuming the same pace of sales continues for the rest of the year, gold bullion sales would be 1,362,833.

US Mint Bullion Coin Program Sales 3/23/2011 (ounces)

Prior Week Month to Date Year to Date
American Silver Eagle 652,500 2,069,500 11,731,500
American Gold Eagle 14,000 56,500 282,500
America the Beautiful Silver 0 0 0
American Platinum Eagle 0 0 0
American Gold Buffalo 10,500 32,000 32,000

The US Mint sold 652,500 ounces worth of silver bullion coins. The Silver Eagles are currently subject to allocation, meaning that the supplies are rationed amongst the primary distributors based on the available supplies. The allocation program has been in place for all of 2011.

Year to date silver bullion sales have reached 11,731,500. If the rate of sales remains constant for the rest of the year, sales would exceed 50 million ounces. Last year, the US Mint sold a record 34.6 million ounces worth of American Silver Eagles.

US Mint Begins 2011 Gold Buffalo Coin Sales

Earlier this week the United States Mint began sales of the 2011 American Gold Buffalo coins to their network of authorized purchasers. So far, sales are off to somewhat of a tepid start compared to the high initial demand experienced in recent years.

The American Gold Buffalo is a one ounce 24 karat gold coin that has been issued since 2006. Featuring the classic Buffalo Nickel design created by James Earle Fraser, it has enjoyed popularity with both bullion investors and collectors. The US Mint has offered a bullion version of the coin, which is sold to authorized purchasers based on the market price of gold plus a premium, and various collector versions, which are sold to directly by the Mint at higher premiums.

The bullion versions of the coin have not been available since late September, when inventories of the 2010-dated coins became depleted. Prior to the start of sales for the 2011-dated coins on March 14, 2011, the US Mint indicated that they would have a sufficient quantity of the coins to meet public demand. As such, their allocation program, which serves to ration available supplies, would not be necessary. The authorized purchasers were allowed to order unrestricted quantities of the coins, under the typical procedures.

Through March 16, 2011, the US Mint has recorded sales of 21,500 of the one ounce gold bullion coins.

This represents a slower start than the prior two years. In 2009, figures available for the first three days of sales indicated 71,500 coins sold. Last year, opening day sales figures had reached 48,500 coins.