How to Prove Ownership of Gold Bars
Gold bars are an increasingly popular way to invest in physical gold, but how can their ownership be proven?
Physical gold and silver bullion is only truly yours if you possess legal documentation confirming that specific coins and bars (identified by bar serial numbers) stored with a bullion bank are legally yours.
Gold bars are an increasingly popular investment choice among those seeking tangible assets unconnected to the stock market. Unlike coins which derive some value from decorative qualities, bars are priced purely on weight and purity. When purchasing them it’s important to work with a reliable dealer that offers competitive prices, as well as use resources which verify manufacturer, weight and purity of each bar purchased.
United States law does not set an upper limit to how much gold a person may buy and own; however, certain purchases must be reported to the government to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing; they also apply to collecting numismatic coins. During times of crisis, governments often confiscated private ownership of precious metals for political gain; historically this has included mad dictators like Hitler or communist oppressors like Castro seizing all gold from their citizens’ assets.
Certificate of authenticity
Gold is one of the densest metals on Earth and boasts unique physical properties that make it difficult to replicate. Due to this fact, investors seeking precious metal investments should opt for gold. Unfortunately, counterfeiters have developed sophisticated ways of producing fakes so it’s essential that investors learn how to detect fakes.
Visual verification can be used to assess authenticity, paying particular attention to minute differences between genuine and counterfeit bars. More advanced techniques require expert knowledge and technical equipment such as X-ray fluorescence analysis, acid tests and measurements of electrical conductivity measurements – but there are simple home recipes which can also help.
All genuine gold bullion bars meet the Good Delivery standard set forth by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), and many come equipped with serial numbers, statements of weight and fineness and serial numbers stamped directly onto them. Some even bear certificates from mints or refiners; these COAs typically accompany limited edition coins or special releases.
Certificate of origin
Proving the origin of gold bars can be tricky. Proving rare coins may involve complex chemical and ultrasonic tests; while for bullion this generally involves full-melt assaying to verify both purity and authenticity. Unfortunately, such procedures are costly and impractical for private ownership; hence it is wise to store gold bullion at a bank or an LBMA-accredited dealer instead.
Most genuine bullion bar manufacturers and dealers employ systems to verify the origin of each product sold, helping prevent fraudsters from selling non-gold bullion bars to unwitting buyers. Another way of ascertaining its authenticity is to check its weight – generally speaking, gold bullion will weigh three grams more than pure gold bars.
Gold bullion bars should come with an assay card providing full details about its metal content, from mint or manufacturer information, weight information (gross/fine), purity level statements and maker’s marks (with dates and makers’ signatures stamped onto them) through maker’s marks to assay cards with assay results and date stampings.
Certificate of weight
If you want to invest in gold bars, you have two options for taking physical delivery or leaving it at a bullion bank. Which method best fits your circumstances and preferences will depend on which option is chosen; when dealing directly with dealers be sure to obtain proof of authenticity and check its weight; most bars should weigh three grams more than their packaging.
As part of your gold bar purchase process, verifying its authenticity requires checking its serial number and markings. Keep a list of these numbers for insurance purposes – smaller gold bars may not have one but larger purchases will most likely contain one.
Be wary of programs that misrepresent gold ownership. Such schemes often allow customers to purchase fractional amounts online at significantly cheaper prices than actual physical gold costs; instead of owning specific pieces, customers become creditors if the company goes bankrupt.