Most of us have heard of gold bars, many of us have seen gold bars only in movies, many may have owned 10g gold bar while there are a lucky few who may own huge gold bars of 1kg or 10 kg size. Even fewer of us may be aware that there are three main types of gold bars – cast, minted and Combi Bar. All three types have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Cast Gold Bars
Cast gold bars are simplest and fastest to manufacture as they are cast on pre-set moulds. For cast gold bars, a mould is created of the size and weight in which the gold bar has to be cast. The gold is heated till it becomes liquid and then poured into the mould. Once the liquid gold cools, it will come out in the shape of the mould. Cast bars have natural rugged finish and mostly only have the engraving describing details of the manufacturers name, logo and the gold bar weight and purity. Every individual cast gold bar is different as they have their own individual irregularity or blemish. The gold is set in its new mould in a few hours and the casting process is also cheaper. Hence, manufacturers can sell the bars at a lower price and the in this form, gold investment is the cheapest.
Minted Gold Bars
Minted bars are the most commonly found with their shiny finish and sharp edges. Mint bars are of two types – ones that are cast in a continuous casting machine where they are compressed into shape. The second type are ones that are cast as a long strip of metal and then cut into pieces. After each bar is inspected, their weight and size is measured. When the bars have softened, a striking process will begin to ensure uniformity. Later, the bars are polished, cleaned, and dried. Minted bars have a complex finish and are popular among gold investors. Hence, they are easy to sell than cast bars. They are securely packed for protection and if the packaging seal is broken, the bar is likely to lose its value. Thus, a 10g gold bar has greater value in a package than without it.
Combi Gold Bars
CombiBar was created by the Swiss refinery Valcambi in 2010 when Valcambi, Edelmetall-Service GmbH & Co. (ESG), and the German company Heimerle + Meule jointly produced and marketed the CombiBar. There was an influx in investor demand for smaller and more flexible gold bars and the answer to this was the CombiBar which is the size of an average credit card. They contain 50gm of gold and cane be broken into smaller pieces of 1 gram wafers by hand. They have 99.9% purity and have the same shiny appearance as minted gold bars. The CombiBar pieces can also be used as alternative methods of payment.
While cast bars will give the least amount of initial return on investment, it is the cheapest and most preferred among collectors. Minted bars may be more expensive, but they are still cheaper than CombiBars. The CombiBars are versatile and suitable for small investors, making gold investment accessible to all.