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How Much Does a Gold Bar Weigh?

Catherine Tramell
Catherine Tramell

Last updated 23. october 2021

When discussing pure gold or gold investment, a gold bar or bullion comes to most learned people’s minds instantaneously. And because bullion bars are produced to a standard, or there’s a minimum purity requirement (set very high) in place, you can be sure of a recognized gold bar’s “unadulterated” composition.

gold bars

From thin rectangular sheets to chunky bars, the size or form-factor of gold bullion varies. But how heavy are those gold articles? And is all that weight pure gold? If yes, to what extent is a gold bar pure? Also, what is the heaviest or largest gold bar ever made? Are those made in multiples and publicly circulated?

This article will answer all of your questions and throw light on pertinent and/or nearby topics to help you understand the subject comprehensively. The topics include:

  • Weight of a gold bar and the units of measurement
  • The manufacturing industry of gold bars and the average weight range
  • The “good delivery” bar, and much more.

If you’re wondering what makes us the authority on the topic, we’ve been professionally dealing with gold bullion for decades. We are not just privy to the business side of gold, but our curiosity has led us to want to learn more about the metal at its chemical or compositional level.

How Much Does a Bar of Gold Weigh

Let’s get to answering the most important questions: How much does a gold bullion bar weigh? Or how much does a gold bar weigh in pounds?

Gold bars come in different shapes and sizes. There is no standard gold bar size. And, as a result, the weight of a bar-shaped gold could be all over the place. A troy ounce or even a gram of gold is technically a gold bar or brick. In other words, gold bars can weigh anywhere between a gram (0.0322 troy ounces) to hundreds of troy ounces.

Troy Ounces: What are They?

Gold’s weight is calculated in troy ounces or ounces, conforming to the avoirdupois weight measurement system. One troy ounce is 31.1 grams. An avoirdupois ounce is 28.35 grams. In troy ounces, avoirdupois ounce (or just “ounce”) is 0.911 troy ounces. In other words, an ounce gold bar and a troy ounce gold bar do not weigh the same.

There is also the troy pound and avoirdupois pound (or just pound). Considering the above, it’s pretty safe to assume a troy pound is heavier than a pound. That, however, isn’t the case due to how the two are defined or ascertained.

A troy pound essentially is 12 troy ounces. A pound, on the other hand, is 16 ounces (as per the metric system). In other words, a troy pound is 373 grams. An avoirdupois pound is 453.5 grams.

The Heaviest Gold Bar

The heaviest gold bar doing the rounds is a 550-pound (250 kg) gold bar made by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation. The massive gold bar is showcased for the general public to see in the Toi Gold Museum since 2005.

However, the 550-pound gold bar or “gold brick” is an anomaly or only one of its weight and size. It’s certainly not indicative of the nominal weight of a gold bar — be it trading gold bars, minted gold bars, gold bricks, etc., made by companies.

How are Gold Bars Made?

Since gold bars can be of different sizes and weights, the making processes of those various forms can be all over the place.

Casting Method

The larger gold bars are usually made using a bar-shaped mold, called an ingot. The molten metal is poured into the ingot. Once the burning-hot gold cools down, the solidified gold is taken out.

The mold-produced gold bar or cast bar is usually more prominent and has an uneven surface and sides. Those imperfections, however, lend the bar a uniqueness that’s hard to replicate. They look more “antique”, wherein lies the charm of a large gold bar.

Cast bars are not as meticulously produced as minted gold bars and cost less to make. Though the thousand-year-old technique has evolved over the years, it’s still no match to the precision with which the minting method works.

Minting Technique

A smaller gold bar doesn’t require purpose-designed molds. It is usually stamped or minted using proper rolled gold sheets.

Minted gold bars are a lot more polished or well-finished. The minted bars are made using gold blanks pre-cut to churn out gold bars in a unique shape and size. Not to mention, minted bars are slightly more expensive and complex to make.

A minted bar is handled with a bit more care than cast bars. They usually come in some protective cover to mitigate tampering or damage. Security features such as a hologram may also get implemented into the packaging.  

When comparing gold bars made with the casting and minting methods, the casted bars are usually the larger ones and weigh more. Generally, bullion bars that weigh a kilogram or less are made through minting. Gold bars bigger than that are typically cast.

Gold Bar Manufacturers

Some of the most traded gold bars worldwide are courtesy Perth Mint, Credit Suisse, Johnson Matthey, Valcambi, Emirates Gold, Engelhard, etc. The weights of their gold bars usually fall within a specific range.

Perth Mint, for instance, makes gold bars weighing anywhere between 5 grams to up to 10 ounces (approx. 283 grams). Similar is the approach taken by other minting firms. The 400 oz (11.4 kg or 25.1 lbs) gold bar made by the Royal Mint consists of 400 troy ounces of gold with a fineness of 999.9.

Considering current and past manufacturing trends, it’s safe to say 5, 10, and up to 35 ounces (around a kilogram) are the standard sizes in which gold bars are made.

The “Good Delivery” Bar

As mentioned above, there is no absolute standard gold bar size. However, some sizes of gold bullion are traded internationally a lot more than gold bars of other sizes and weights. And they may be considered “standard weight” as a result.

One such bullion is the super-sized 400 oz bar. The gold bar weighs 365 troy ounces and meets the “good delivery gold bar” specifications or standards.

What is “good delivery”, by the way?

Good delivery bars are made of highly pure gold and have a much larger footprint than your typical bullion bar. The 400 oz bar mentioned above meets the necessary specifications or falls within the stipulated size and weight range – 384 to 472 oz. Good delivery bars are typical in major global markets – such as Hong Kong, New York, London, Tokyo, Sydney, etc.

The gold reserves of central banks, governments, and the International Monetary Fund have these gold bars stored in secure and recognized bullion vaults so that the bullion maintains its respected status. The general public rarely manages to get its hands on the bar.

Prices

Though gold prices are relatively stable, they are not constant – even if the gold article is of the “good delivery” kind. The current prices of gold bars you own depend on the spot price of the metal. The aforementioned 400 oz gold bar’s price is roughly $750,000.

Specifications

As per LBMA (London Bullion Market Association) rules, only gold bars meeting the weight, gold content, or minimum purity required threshold, and specific other requisites can qualify as “good delivery”. The following are the requirements a gold bar should conform to:

  • 99.5% (at least) pure or fine gold
  • Weigh 11 to 13 kg (350 to 430 troy ounces)
  • Stand 25 to 45 millimeters (0.98 to 1.77 inches)

The year of manufacture, refiner’s hallmark, fineness, and the serial number of the bullion should be clearly marked on the gold bar.

The serial number accords a certificate of authenticity to cast bars or minted bars, which bring down incidences of counterfeit or theft. Even a small bar or the most miniature gold bars worth a few hundred dollars generally get the serial number treatment.

The weight of the bar, on the other hand, is usually not marked since bullion dealers check the gold’s heft anyway. Moreover, the weight could slightly alter due to the sampling or handling of the article by different stakeholders, rendering the inscription erroneous or misrepresentative.

Kindly note the requisites mentioned above are for gold bars. For silver bullion, the minimum specifications to meet would vary.

Non-Good Delivery (NGD) Bars

It’s entirely possible for a gold brick to look like it meets the requirements above but not qualify. Those gold bricks get marked as NGD so that they are distinct from a gold brick that meets those requirements.

Conclusion

Though relevant or a pivotal figure to be on top of, how much do gold bars weigh or a gold brick weigh is not as crucial as its actual gold content. The precise amount of gold in the bar ascertains its resale value, besides defining other metrics key to the commercial market.

Though the 400 troy ounce bar is a lot more tradeable and globally recognized, you need not buy a massive or the largest gold bar when out there buying gold. If you’d like to invest in precious metals, you might as well begin your journey with a gold IRA and take it forward from there. IRA-approved gold bars and coins are usually purer than the standard gold bar held in vaults. Some are valuable beyond their melt value — thanks to their historical significance and/or increased desirability. To learn everything about gold IRAs, click here.

The Most Valuable Gold Coins FAQs

How to ascertain the quality of the gold jewellery?

If you adhere to the above guidelines when you invest in gold or buy the metal – for instance, choosing the right jeweler – you shouldn’t encounter jewelry quality concerns. But to be sure and not take the jeweler’s word or go blindly with their reputation, look for some quality mark on the piece signifying the metal’s karat numbers, authenticity stamp, etc.

What should you choose between gold vermeil/gold-filled or pure/solid gold jewellery?

If you are buying gold jewelry for everyday use and don’t want to spend a lot of money, gold vermeil or gold-filled pieces are your best bets. If you are considering plated jewelry, you must know that it’s the least durable and can be hypoallergenic too – issues which both vermeil and gold-filled do not present.

Solid gold or pure gold jewelry is the real deal and should be your family heirloom pieces. Not to mention, they are a lot more durable than gold-filled and vermeil.

How to identify fake gold jewellery?

As mentioned above, gold is a resilient metal. That means it won’t tarnish. Therefore, check for discolorations in your piece at the time of purchase. Another clear indication of fake gold is shade variation. Even the slightest of inconsistencies is a red flag. 

If everything looks good, do the scratch test, provided the jeweler is okay with that. If that’s not an option, do the magnet test.

Gold is non-magnetic, and if it sticks to the magnet, the jewelry is fake. Kindly note, aluminum and copper do not attract magnets too. Therefore, let the magnet test not be the be-all and end-all of your testing.