December 9

How Much Does a Gold Bar Weigh?

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How Much Does a Gold Bar Weigh? The answer, as with so many things, is “it depends!” Gold bars, coins, and other products are manufactured in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and weights.

Smaller bars and coins are meant for individual collectors and investors, while the larger units – especially bars – are manufactured primarily for institutions, such as banks and governments that want to back their paper currencies and notes with hard gold assets.

Gold products come in different levels of purity (fineness) as well. For example, two gold coins that weigh exactly one ounce may contain very different amounts of gold.

To understand how much a gold bar weighs, let’s begin at the beginning:

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How much does gold weigh? The physics

Gold is a rare but naturally-occurring element with an atomic weight of 196.96657 u. It’s among the heavier naturally-occurring metals, with a high density of about 19.32 grams per cubic centimeter.

Troy Measurements and the Weight of Gold Bars and Coins

Gold and precious metals are traditionally measured in troy ounces – a convention that dates back to the middle ages, and the village of Troyes, France, where it was first adopted for the annual Champagne Fairs in the 11th and 12th centuries. However, the term isn’t necessarily derived from the village name, but from an old French dialect term, troi, meaning “balance.”

 One troy ounce is equivalent to 31.1034768 grams – slightly higher than the standard avoirdupois ounce we are most familiar with, which equals about 28.35 grams.

The gold and precious metals industry has generally kept the troy measurement system, in order to keep transactional records and purity standards consistent over time.

So when you look up the market price of gold, and see that the gold spot price is “x dollars per ounce,” they’re referring to the larger troy ounce, rather than to the standard avoirdupois measurement.

Looked at another way, while a pound is equal to 16 standard ounces, it’s equal to only about 14.6 standard avoirdupois ounces.

Related: Credit Suisse Gold Bars - What Investors Need to Know

To make matters even more confusing, a troy pound is lighter than a pound, and contains only 12 troy ounces.

Note: Occasionally, you’ll see gold products denominated in grams, rather than in troy ounces. This is true of Chinese products, especially. For example, while older Chinese mint coins did conform to troy weight measurements (manufactured in denominations from 1/20th troy ounces up to 1 troy ounce, since 2016, China has been manufacturing its Gold Panda coins in grams, from 1 gram up to 30 grams, or 0.9645 troy ounces.

it’s important to understand the units of measurement. It’s easy for novices to confuse a 20g gold bar with a 1 troy ounce gold bar. Know what you’re buying. Many a merchant has deceived a customer by exploiting his or her confusion about the different units of measurement involved.

“Good Delivery” Bars

Many times, when people ask about the weight of a gold bar, they are referring to a standard good delivery bar, commonly portrayed in movies. The term “good delivery” refers to a set of rules administered by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). The LBMA standardized the conventions for gold bullion settlements, specifying standard dimensions, weights, fineness, appearance and markings for gold bars used to settle transactions within the wholesale bullion market.

Only bars that meet the Good Delivery criteria are accepted for settlement of Loco London transactions, where the bars are physically held. The Loco London market doesn’t have brokers. All Loco London transactions occur directly between two parties. As a practical matter, it’s important that all bars are standardized

Related: Investing in Gold Bars - Beginner's Guide

A Good Delivery gold bar contains approximately 400 troy ounces of gold (12.4 kilograms, or 27.4 pounds). They must be manufactured to a minimum fineness of 995.0 parts per thousand. Silver bars contain between 750-1100 troy ounces of silver, depending on the date of manufacture, and made to a minimum fineness of 999.0 parts per thousand.

Ideally, the weights would be exact. However, gold, especially, is a soft and malleable metal. Over time, gold bars may lose some metal content due to wear and tear, handling, and sampling.

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Other Gold Bars

At 400 troy ounces, a Good Delivery gold bar would be far too big and expensive for almost all individual investors and collectors. So both government and private mints have made smaller denominations available for both bars and coins.

Related: Augusta Precious Metals Review - Inside Look at the Top Rated Gold IRA Company

You can buy a 1kg gold bar, which is approximately the size of an iPhone, all the way down to a 1-gram gold bar, which is around the size of a thumbtack. The 1g gold bar is the smallest denomination that caught on for private ownership and investment purposes, but they are available in ½-gram and even 1/100th troy ounce sizes.

How much does a gold bar weigh? 

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Here is a list of the commonly-available gold bar sizes and their weights in both grams and troy ounces:

Common Gold Bar Weights (in Troy Ounces and Grams)

  • 1/100th troy ounce
  • ½ gram (0.016 troy oz)
  • 1 gram (0.032 troy oz)
  • 2 grams (0.064 troy oz)
  • 2,5 grams (0.80 troy oz)
  • 5 grams (0.16 troy oz)
  • 10 grams (0.32 troy oz)
  • 20 grams (0.64 troy oz)
  • 1 troy oz
  • 50 grams (1.6 troy oz)
  • 100 grams (3.22 troy oz)
  • 5 troy oz
  • 250 grams (8.04 troy oz)
  • 10 troy oz
  • 500 grams (16.08 troy oz)
  • 1 kilogram (32.15 troy oz)

If you have the means, you can buy even larger sizes, too: The Royal Mint casts and sells a 400-ounce gold bar, which is at press time priced at £560,804.40, or $560,804.40 in U.S. dollars.

The World’s Largest Gold Bar

The largest gold bar ever manufactured was cast in 2005 by the Mitsubishi Materials Corporation of Japan. Weighing in at 251 kg (551 pounds), the bar is on display at the Toi Gold museum.

To get started investing in physical gold and silver bars, request your free investor guide below.

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About the author 

Ilir Salihi

Ilir is passionate about personal finance, investing, and digital marketing. He's written about precious metals and cryptocurrencies since 2013. When he's not publishing new content, he's spending time at home in Washington, D.C. with his family.

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