The Credit Suisse gold bar remains one of the most popular gold products in circulation. The impeccable reputation of Credit Suisse’s gold facility, combined with their product’s striking beauty and high purity level makes the Credit Suisse family of gold bars one of the most in-demand bullion products in the market, valued by collectors and investors alike.
Stackers should be aware of some counterfeit products on the market. But as you’ll see later in this article, the fakes should be easy for alert gold enthusiasts to spot.
The Credit Suisse gold bar is widely recognized by dealers, collectors, and other market-makers all over the world. You will have little trouble selling your bars in any major city – especially if you keep the product in its original packaging, together with the certificate of authenticity matching the serial number on the bar.
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Credit Suisse was founded in 1856 in Zürich, Switzerland, as a counter to French banks that were trying to exert control over the Swiss railway system then in development. The bank originally concentrated on financing larger industrial projects. But in the early 20th Century, Credit Suisse rolled out a line of products and services for middle class depositors and borrowers.
In the 1970s, Credit Suisse recognized a need for smaller-denomination gold bullion products for individual precious metal investors. Prior to this, banks created bullion products – bars, coins, and rounds of standard weight and purity – overwhelmingly for institutions and for the ultra-wealthy.
In 1967, Credit Suisse acquired a 50% stake in the well-known Swiss precious metal refinery Valcambi SA, and owned 100% of Valcambi by the end of 1980.
The first Credit Suisse-branded gold bars from Credit Suisse’s Valcambi facility were manufactured in 1979. Originally, Credit Suisse made its gold bars available only to its own clients. But they quickly saw significant demand for these smaller-sized bullion products, and so they rolled out a line of gold bars available to buyers and investors all over the world.
Credit Suisse sold its stake in Valcambi to European Gold Refineries SA in 2003 for $400 million. But Valcambi still makes nearly all of the Credit Suisse gold bar products. These bars have been in continuous production every year since 1979.
Credit Suisse gold bars are available to investors in all sizes, from 1 gram to 1 Kilogram.
In addition to gold bars, Credit Suisse manufactures bars in silver, platinum, and palladium.
Purity and Fineness
All minted Credit Suisse gold bars and most of their cast products are guaranteed to be 24-karat, 0.9999 pure gold, or 99.99% gold. Most Credit Suisse bullion products are manufactured in metric denominations (grams and kilograms), though there have been a few exceptions – products manufactured in troy ounces.
Because Credit Suisse bars are manufactured to an exceptionally high level of fineness (0.9999), they will have a yellower hue to them than other gold products that are made from alloys containing silver, copper, and other metals.
The bars themselves are thin rectangles. Edges are smooth, rather than serrated or beveled.
Credit Suisse gold bars have the Credit Suisse name engraved at the top of the bar. At the bottom end of the bar, you will find the bar’s weight, purity level (fineness), and a serial number for the bar.
You will also see the Swiss Credit Institution’s “CHI” logo, along with the words “ESSAYEUR FONDEUR” (“melting tester”), the official Valcambi stamp.
On the reverse side, you will find the Credit Suisse logo engraved diagonally in a repeating pattern.
Credit Suisse Gold Bars - what investors need to know
Credit Suisse gold bars are manufactured in a wide variety of weights and denominations. So investors can find a denomination suitable for nearly any budget.
Currently, you can buy Credit Suisse gold bars in the following denominations:
- 10 troy oz
- 1 oz
- 0.5 oz
- 10 tolas
You can also choose between minted and cast products. All minted bars and most of the cast bars qualify as ‘four nines fine.’ Some of the cast bars have a slightly lower standard of purity, 0.999. (5 tolas, 10 tolas, 1kg, 5kg and 10 kg sizes.)
Buying larger denominations can get you the most ‘bang for the buck.’ This is because you can buy more gold per dollar, and pay less of a premium in manufacturing and shipping costs compared to the value of the metal.
Generally, minting costs are lower for bars than for coins. Cast bars have a lower manufacturing cost than minted bars. So if appearance is not an issue and you are solely concerned with the intrinsic value of the gold content, cast bars have an advantage for the investor over coins and rounds, as well as higher-priced minted bars of equivalent weight.
Because Credit Suisse’s minting and manufacturing is basic and ‘no-frills,’ they are able to manufacture one of the most cost-effective gold bullion products available from any major maker.
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Credit Suisse Liberty Series
The Liberty Series is a special line of Credit Suisse-branded gold bars created specifically for the U.S. market. The face of each bar features an image of the Statue of Liberty, and the word “Liberty” inscribed at the bottom of the bar.
While most of Credit Suisse’s gold products are manufactured by their former subsidiary, Valcambi, the “Liberty Series” is manufactured by PAMP.
The Liberty Series is not available in silver or palladium. Just gold and platinum.
The smaller 1- and 2- gram bar sizes are distributed in a plastic slipcover, together with a certificate of authenticity. The larger bars are sold loose. However, all are serial numbered, with the serial number also included on the accompanying certificate.
Suitability for Gold IRAs
Because Credit Suisse minted gold bars and most cast bars are manufactured to a “four nines” standard of purity (0.9999), they meet the minimum purity levels required for inclusion in U.S. retirement accounts under Section 408(b) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Because the law prohibits IRA owners from taking direct, personal possession of IRA assets, you should not try to store gold or other precious metals held by your IRA in your home or safe deposit box. The IRS requires that all IRA precious metal holdings be held by an authorized custodian, such as a third-party vault service.
Trying to maintain direct, personal possession of gold IRA assets or other precious metals held by your IRA, rather than directly in your own name, may result in the IRS disallowing your entire IRA account, triggering significant taxes and penalties.
Consult with your IRA third-party administrator or custodian, or an advisor who specializes in self-directed gold and precious metal IRAs before engaging in any transactions, or taking personal possession of any gold or precious metal asset in your retirement accounts.
Shipping and Packaging
Gold is a very soft and malleable metal. It is vulnerable to scuffing and scratching. Quality packaging and shipping is a critical consideration for any 24-karat gold product.
When you buy Credit Suisse gold bars from the manufacturer or from an authorized dealer, you can order them in three different package formats:
- Security sealed in a PETG blister pack. For bars from 1g to 100g, The product comes together with a cardboard serial-numbered certificate in the size of a credit card.
- A PVC blister pack with a separate serial-numbered certificate. This option is standard for bars from 250-500g.
- Valcambi also offers customized packaging, and even a security-sealed package with an integrated cardboard serial numbered certificate made to suit the clients’ requirements.
Counterfeit Credit Suisse Gold Bars
Authorities have detected a number of counterfeit Credit Suisse gold bars in secondary markets. The known counterfeits – possibly Chinese in origin – have a larger Credit Suisse logo arrayed in the repeating, diagonal pattern on the back. Additionally, unlike the genuine bars, the fakes have an inconsistent spacing between the logos.
To avoid the risk of accidentally buying a fake, buy only from reliable, authorized gold dealers, or from Credit Suisse directly.