Top 5 Gold Bars for Investors
There are two primary ways to purchase physical gold as an investment: gold coins and gold bars. When you are deciding to add precious metals to your portfolio, you should be aware that
- there are real, substantive differences between investing in bars vs. coins
- not all gold bars are created equal
Ultimately, you are making a purchase in gold because you recognize the benefits of owning precious metals. Your next step is to decide which gold product to buy. Bullion bars and bullion coins both share characteristics which make them a superior investment hedge and much more reliable than holding national currencies. That isn’t going to change regardless of which you pick.
The dominant producers of gold bars in the world today include Credit Suisse/PAMP, the Perth Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint, Johnson Matthey and Engelhard. Others, including Metalor, Umicore and various government mints are also reputable bullion manufacturers.
The quality of your gold bullion bar is critical, and this is even more important if you are looking to add gold bullion bars to an IRA, 401k or other retirement vehicles. The Internal Revenue Service sets minimum purity requirements for any IRA-approved bullion, meaning that only bars of incredibly high purity are eligible.
Here is our list of top 5 gold bars (in no particular order) based on their purity, liquidity, and worldwide recognition: (note that all five are IRS-approved for IRA investments)
#1 – Credit Suisse Gold Bars
Developed by the international financial conglomerate Credit Suisse Group and manufactured by PAMP (Produits Artistiques et Métaux Précieux or “artistic precious metals products”), these gold bars are among the most popular bullion investments in the world. They boast a simplistic design and unique identifying serial number. In effect, this lowers their premium and makes it easy to guarantee the quality of your investment. At .9999 gold fineness, Credit Suisse Gold Bars are approved for IRA investing. If you had to invest in only one gold bar, make it a Credit Suisse Gold bar.
#2 – Johnson Matthey Gold Bars
Johnson Matthey is a British company with a long history in metals production. They became the official silver coin producer for the United Kingdom in 1946, and have exploded in popularity since. Their gold bars come in wide variety of sizes, designs, shapes and degrees of refinement. Rather than undergo the expensive minting process of many bullion manufacturers, Johnson Matthey bars are usually just a “cast” gold ingot, reducing the premiums to investors. All IRA-approved JM bars are .9999 gold fineness. Just like Credit Suisse gold bars, Johnson Matthey's bars are renowned and trusted worldwide. Another great bar to have in your portfolio!
#3 – Perth Mint “Gold Minted Bars”
The world famous Perth Mint in Australia manufactures gold bars ranging from ½ oz to 1,000 oz in gold weight. For most investors, however, it is simply cost-prohibitive to purchase their branded 400 oz or 1,000 oz bars. Their “Gold Minted Bars” series offers weight denominations in 5, 10 and 20 grams as well as 1 oz and 10 oz. These bars also include a hopping kangaroo and are packaged in a “tamper-proof” display card, making them more attractive than many other gold bars. The Perth Mint is a trustorthy and renowned institution that has been producing high-quality gold bars for decades.
#4 – Valcambi Gold CombiBar
For investors looking for a completely unique gold bar design, look no further than the CombiBar. Introduced in 2011 by the Swiss company Valcambi, these 50 gram bullion bars were designed to fit into a wallet much like a credit card. Each bar divisible into 50 individual 1 gram bars and is easily broken apart, making it a portable, divisible and universally accepted currency option. At .9999 gold fineness, the Valcambi CombiBar is IRA-approved. This is truly a unique gold bar that makes spending gold much easier. In an apocalyptic scenario, you definitely want to have this bar in your pocket instead of a credit card.
#5 – Engelhard Gold Bars
American based metals company Engelhard has been around for more than 100 years and is renowned for its gold and silver bullion. Engelhard bars are not produced at the levels of other forms of bullion, and their increasing rarity – and occasional odd shape – can be attractive to some investors (although this does tend to increase premiums). Most Engelhard bars are marked with a unique serial number and come in both “cast” and minted form.
Why Invest in Gold Bars?
When central banks hold precious metals – especially gold – in reserves, they hold gold bars. Why? Gold bars are simply more suited for storage and bulk investing than are gold coins. Gold bars take significantly less work to refine, are easier to stack, and can be easier to secure.
The most basic gold bar is essentially a brick (or ingot) that has been refined and stamped with important information such as the weight, gold purity, year of mintage and/or manufacturer’s name and logo. While some gold bullion is more complicated and difficult to produce, the simplicity of design and cheap production process of bars can be a sizeable advantage for investors.
Premiums on gold bars are typically very low, only marginally above the spot price of gold. For investors who have no interest in the design, collectability or other “numismatic” considerations of their bullion, gold bars are often the best option. Per ounce, you are probably going to pay less for your investments through bars instead of coins. This is especially impactful for large-scale investors.
Gold bars can be less liquid (i.e. more difficult to buy and sell) than gold coins. In this light, bars make more sense for those willing to hold on to their bullion for long periods of time than for an investor looking to flip their investment when gold prices spike.
Investing in Gold Bullion Bars Through an IRA
Did you know that you could invest in gold bullion bars through your IRA or 401k? This offers you a tax-advantaged way to own pure bullion bars and protect your portfolio from market and political turmoil. If you want to learn more, we highly recommend that you contact a reputable Gold IRA company such as Regal Assets, our #1 rated precious metals IRA company in 2018. American Bullion and Advantage Gold are also two great companies to consider for your gold IRA purchase. See the full rankings of 70+ Gold IRA companies here.