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Gold Bars Through the Ages: A History of Wealth

The Origins of Gold Bars in Ancient Civilizations

Ancient civilizations treasured gold as a sign of riches and rank. Gold bars and coins enabled long-distance trade across civilizations and regions by providing a reliable currency. Rich and secure, they stored value for millennia.

  • Gold bars originally appeared in Egypt and Mesopotamia circa 3000 BC. Melting riverbed gold nuggets into bars made trade and shipment simpler. The poor metalworking made these early bars uneven in size and form.
  • King Croesus of Lydia (modern-day Turkey) standardized gold bars in the 6th century BC. He had an 8.4-gram gold stater bar. Persian gold bars and coins were also made.
  • In the 1st century BC, the aureus, the first Roman gold currency, weighed 8 grams of virtually pure gold.
Gold Bars in the Middle Ages and Rise of Gold Bullion in the 19th Century

Nobles, kings, and the church utilized gold bars as currency and to trade and build riches in the Middle Ages. As gold mining and production developed in the 19th century, gold bars were standardized and sold internationally.

  • Mediaeval gold bars were of different sizes and purities. Without specified sizes or purities, merchants had to estimate each bar’s gold content. King and noble gold bars have distinctive markings to identify them.
  • The 19th-century gold rushes boosted worldwide gold production. First-ever gold bars in regular sizes and purities were created. The 400 troy-ounce bar (excellent delivery bar) and lesser bars like 100, 10, and 1 ounce were most prevalent.
  • Large financial centres like London and Zurich established gold bullion banks due to increasing gold availability and bar standardization. Gold bars were traded globally and used to support currencies. Central banks also bought lots of gold bars.
The Evolution of Gold Bar Sizes and Markings
Standard Sizes

Gold bar sizes were initially standardized by the London Gold Market in the early 1900s. The most popular were 1 ounce, 10 ounces, and 100 ounces. These sizes dominated world trade for decades.

  • The 1-ounce gold bar is suitable for small private investments and transactions.
  • The 10-ounce gold bar was ideal for serious investors and portable.
  • Central banks, governments, and major institutions preferred the 100-ounce gold bar for significant purchases.

Gold bars come in 1 gram, 5 grams, 10 grams, 50 grams, 100 grams, 5 ounces, 10 ounces, and 1 kilogram. All buyers—from private savers to government treasuries—can acquire gold in various proportions.

Hallmarks and Markings

Unique hallmarks were given to gold bars to indicate their provenance and producer as the market is globalized. Notable trademarks include:

  • LBMA Good Delivery certification. This ensures bar quality and origin. LBMA-approved bars are accepted internationally.
  • Brandmark of Swiss Bank Corporation (PAMP Suisse). PAMP is a prominent gold refiner with a trusted reputation.
  • Royal Canadian Mint (RCM)hallmark. Famous for making.9999 gold bars.

These characteristics plus the bar’s unique serial number establish its validity and allow it to be purchased, sold, and exchanged internationally.

Why Investors Like 10-Gram Bars
  • Portability: A 10-gram gold bar is small and light, making it easy to carry and store.
  • Affordability: A 10-gram gold bar is cheap for beginner investors and budget-conscious gold buyers. At current gold prices, a 10-gram bar costs $600.
  • Liquidity: 10-gram gold bars are liquid despite their size. You can sell them rapidly to raise money or leave your stake.
  • Customization: Investors like 10-gram gold bars with bespoke engravings from some refiners. The bar can be engraved with a message, name, or special occasion.

For flexible, affordable genuine gold, 10-gram gold bars are popular. A 10-gram gold bar is ideal for gold ownership and investment.

 

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