The difference between mint bars and cast bars are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to variations in gold bars. The U.S. Gold Bureau carries a plethora of different sized bars, both cast and mint. One of the most important factors people take into account when buying gold is what size to purchase. As stated previously, gold can be found in almost any weight you can imagine. The single gram or 1 gram bar is about about as small as you can go when it comes to gold bars with investment potential. Sometimes referred to as the "small bills" of the gold world, these tiny bars are just about the size of a thumbtack. The 5, 10, and 20 gram bars are the next steps up in terms of gold bar weights.
That big run-up during the early 2000s — which silver shared — is still helping precious metals salespeople paint dreams of lustrous gains. The Lear Capital TV ad, for example, says that, “if silver just returns to half of its all-time high, it would be a 60% increase.” Fair enough. But if it sagged to around twice its recent low, you would suffer a very painful 50% loss.

This is why some investors like to buy gold in a more indirect fashion, via mining stocks. The prices of mining stocks tend to follow the prices of the commodities on which they focus, so there's a logic to this approach. However, because miners are running businesses that can expand over time, investors can benefit from increasing gold production. This can provide upside that owning gold coins never will.
Physical gold such as gold bars and gold coins can be purchased through a self-directed gold IRA. However, there are minute and detailed specifications that should be taken care of. Because of complex gold IRA rules and regulations, the IRS has mandated it to get services of a custodian to hold and manage a self-directed gold IRA. A custodian is a company responsible for the management and security of your assets.

Since the dawn of time, silver, platinum, and gold have been considered valuable. Thousands of years have passed but the human fascination with precious metals remains as strong as ever. Even today, these valuables have their place in an intelligent investor’s portfolio  because they are undeniably considered as a universal symbol of wealth and prosperity. However, in today’s uncertain economic conditions, there are several other reasons for investing in these valuable commodities.
Goldcorp, one of the largest gold miners in the world, has just come off a year of restructuring that helped it lower AISC by roughly 4% to $856 an ounce and swing to profits from losses in 2015. But it's the miner's recent growth moves -- including its acquisition of a 25% stake each from Barrick and Kinross to become a part-owner in Cerro Casale -- that should get investors excited.
Analysts say that CitiGroup and Barclays, may not be too far behind in the race to the bottom. The biggest problem with this scenario is that many smaller banks are dependent on larger banks, like Deutsche Bank. So if Deutsche Bank fails – it won’t go down by itself – it’ll take a large swath of smaller banks with it. And to add even more insult to the injury, a Deutschebank failure could result in the complete breakdown of the already weakend European Monetary Union.
APMEX: (OK) 405-595-2100 and press 1 unless you want to be on hold forever. For purchases of one to 19 coins there is a 5% markup; for 20 to 99 coins it’s 4.8%; for 100 or more it’s 4%. You must open a free online account. You’ll pay $25 shipping for orders under $25,000; shipping is free if you buy more. Payment by check or wire transfer is preferred.
Goldline International, a major dealer, has come under fire by U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) for the high markups it charges on such coins. For example, Goldline and some other dealers push a French gold coin, the 20-franc “Rooster.” Weiner says Goldline charges 69% more than the melt value of the Rooster, which has no numismatic value.
For instance, the IRS only allows 24-karat gold bullion bars and coins to be included in gold-backed IRAs (with the exception of 22-karat American Eagle coins). Furthermore, gold used in gold-backed IRAs must be administered by an IRA custodian, and stored at a location approved by the IRS — in other words, you’re not allowed to store this gold at your house.
In a segregated or allocated depository, your gold coins and gold bullions are kept separately from other people’s assets. This type of storage option is available for gold bars of 10 ounce and greater. When you decide to withdraw your funds, you will receive the same gold bars that you had originally deposited. In a segregated depository, gold bars are identified by their serial number, refinery name, and size.

Bars generally carry lower price premiums than gold bullion coins. However larger bars carry an increased risk of forgery due to their less stringent parameters for appearance. While bullion coins can be easily weighed and measured against known values to confirm their veracity, most bars cannot, and gold buyers often have bars re-assayed. Larger bars also have a greater volume in which to create a partial forgery using a tungsten-filled cavity, which may not be revealed by an assay. Tungsten is ideal for this purpose because it is much less expensive than gold, but has the same density (19.3 g/cm³).


Many veteran investors prefer gold stocks to bullion. Even investing icon Warren Buffett points out that "bullion produces no income." Investing in the gold miners and dealers offers potential corporate profit opportunities. Still, the price of bullion has a strong influence on the value of a miner's or gold trader's business and therefore, stock prices increase and decrease. Historically, over the long term, solid gold mining and selling companies have produced more profitability than bullion.
In June, I rated Barrick Gold "underperform" on Motley Fool CAPS because, at the time, Barrick stock wasn't generating anywhere near as much real free cash flow as it was reporting in net income. Thus, I argued the stock wasn't as cheap as its low 10.7 price-to-earnings ratio suggested it was. This wasn't a popular opinion, but with Barrick stock down nearly 21% since I panned it -- against a 4% rise in the S&P 500 -- I'd argue it was the right one.
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