A gold bar, also called a gold ingot or gold bullion, is
a quantity of refined metallic gold of any shape that is made by a bar producer meeting standard conditions of manufacture, labeling, and record keeping.
Larger gold bars that are produced by pouring the molten metal into molds are called ingots. Smaller bars may be manufactured by minting or stamping from appropriately rolled gold sheets.
The standard gold bar held as gold reserves by central banks and traded among bullion dealers is the 400-troy-ounce (12.4 kg or 438.9 ounces) Good Delivery gold bar.
The kilobar, which is to say 1000 grams in mass (32.15 troy ounces), is the
bar that is more manageable and is used extensively for trading and investment. The premium on these bars when traded is very
low over the spot value of the gold making it ideal for small transfers between banks and traders. Most kilobars are flat,
although some investors, particularly in Europe, prefer the brick shape.
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metal is deemed to be precious if it is rare. The discovery of new sources of ore or improvements in mining
or refining processes may cause the value of a precious metal to diminish. The status of a "precious" metal can also be determined
by high demand or market value. Precious metals in bulk form are known as bullion and are traded on commodity markets. Bullion metals may be cast into ingots or minted into coins. The defining attribute of bullion is that it is valued by its mass and purity rather than by a face value as money.
The level of purity varies from issue to issue.
"Three nines" (99.9%) purity is common. The purest mass-produced bullion coins are in the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf series,
which go up to 99.999% purity. A 100% pure bullion is nearly impossible: as the % of impurities reduces, it becomes progressively
more difficult to purify the metal further. Historically, coins had a certain amount of weight of alloy, with the purity a local standard. The Krugerrand is the first modern example of measuring in "pure gold": it should contain at least 12/11 ounces of at least 11/12 pure gold. Other bullion coins (for example the British Sovereign) show neither the purity nor the fine-gold weight on the coin but are recognized and consistent in their composition. Many coins historically showed a denomination in currency (example: American Double Eagle: $20)