Since its discovery thousands of years ago, the processes of refining gold and minting gold bars have improved and evolved numerous times. This has given the average investor many different options of gold bars in terms of types, sizes and brands.
Depending on the manufacturing process, gold bars are mainly classified into two types – Gold Cast Bars and Minted Gold Bars. In this blog post, we’ll discuss these two types of gold bars and their differences.
Gold Cast Bars
They’re also known as ‘poured’ or ‘molded’ bars and are known for their traditional manufacturing process. A mold is created first to ensure that the gold bars are formed of proper sizes, shapes, and weights. The gold is then heated to a very high temperature till it becomes liquid and is poured into the mold. Gold solidifies quickly and when it cools, it’s taken out from the mold.
Cast bars are natural looking than the other types of manufactured gold bars. It comes with only a simple engraving of the details of the gold bar and its manufacturer. The engraving is done within a few hours of taking the gold from the mold.
These bars are available in different weights such as 1 ounce, 2 ½ ounce, 5 ounces, 10 ounces, 20 ounces and 50 ounces.
Minted Gold Bars
Minted gold bars are very popular with investors. They’re the most commonly known gold bar type with a brilliant shine and perfectly clean finish. The manufacturing process of minted gold bars is both time-consuming and expensive than gold cast bars.
During the early phases of manufacturing minted gold bars, they were traditionally processed like cast bars through a compression machine to have a more uniform shape and size. Although this process is still in use, a continuous casting machine is used these days to make minted gold bars. The weight and size of each of these bars are inspected carefully and all imperfect bars are put into a large furnace to soften them and strike them back to perfection.
Cast Bars Vs Minted Bars
Apart from differences in their manufacturing processes, gold cast bars and minted gold bars also have different advantages and disadvantages.
- Appearance: The casting process, though simple, creates unique irregularities, ruggedness, and blemishes on individual cast bars. They’re also a little rough at the edges. No two bars are the same. Minted gold bars, on the other hand, are cut down from a long strip of processed gold metal which eliminates the chances of any marks or blemishes.
- Pricing: As the casting process is cheaper than the other manufacturing processes, gold cast bars are available at a lower price. They’re ideal for investors looking to pay the lowest premium over spot gold prices. Minted gold bars are mostly available at a higher premium because of their complex and expensive manufacturing process.
- Packaging: Minted gold bars are securely packaged and often a significant portion of their value depends on the packaging. Opening the packaging may devalue these bars, unlike cast bars which you can touch with your hands. For this reason, investors and collectors often consider it as a drawback of minted bars.
- Selling Gold: If you want to sell your gold for cash, minted bars are easier to resell than cast bars. This is because of their perfection in size, shape and design over gold cast bars.
Each type of these gold bars is used for a different purpose. Gold cast bars, although very popular among collectors and investors for their traditional nature, are usually known to have the least return on investment. Minted bars are expensive to buy but they have better resell value. You should make your gold bar investment decision based on how you intend to use them.