Bullion

Bullion is gold, silver, or other precious metals in the form of bars or ingots. Typically, bullion is used for trade on a market. The word "bullion" comes from the old French word bouillon, which meant "boiling", and was the term for the activity of a melting house.[1]

The value of bullion is typically determined by the value of its precious metals content, which is defined by its purity and mass. To assess the purity of gold bullion, the centuries-old technique of fire assay is still employed, together with modern spectroscopic instrumentation, to accurately determine its quality to ensure the owner receives fair market value for it. It is also weighed extremely accurately.

Retailers may sometimes market ingots and bars of base metals, such as copper, nickel and aluminium, as "bullion", but this is not a widely accepted definition.

As investment

Gold Bars
Gold bars, the typical form of bullion

The specifications of bullion are often regulated by market bodies or legislation. In the European Union, the minimum purity for gold bullion, which is treated as investment gold with regards to taxation, is 99.5% for gold bullion bars and 90% for bullion coins.[2]

Investors may choose to purchase physical gold bullion for several reasons - to attempt to hedge against currency risks, inflation risks, geopolitical risks, or to add diversification to an investment portfolio.

London bullion market

The London bullion market is an over-the-counter market for wholesale trading of gold and silver. The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) coordinates activities of its members and other participants in the London bullion market. The LBMA sets and promotes quality standards for gold and silver bullion bars. The minimum acceptable fineness of the Good Delivery Bars is 99.5% for gold bars and 99.9% for silver bars.

Coins

Bullion coins are contemporary precious metal coins minted by official agencies for investment purposes. Historically, most currency was in the form of bullion coins, silver and gold being the most common metals. Some bullion coins have been used as currency throughout the 20th century, such as the Maria Theresa thaler and the Krugerrand. However, modern bullion coins generally do not enter common circulation despite having legal tender status and a nominal face value. Some modern bullion coins are produced as both business strike and collectible proof and uncirculated versions, such as the gold and silver American eagle. Business strikes typically are sold at prices commensurate with their precious metal content, whereas collectible versions are sold at a significant premium over their actual bullion value. In some cases, the grade and mintages of business strike coins can affect their value, so they are considered numismatic rather than bullion items.

Uses

A range of professional market participants is active in the bullion markets, such as banks, fabricators, refiners, and vault operators or transport companies, as well as brokers. They provide facilities for the refining, melting, assaying, transporting, trading, and vaulting of gold and silver bullion.[3]

Besides the direct bullion market participants, other professional parties such as investment companies and jewelers use bullion in the context of products or services which they produce or offer to customers. For example, shares of the world’s largest gold exchange-traded fund, the SPDR Gold Shares, represents ownership in vaulted gold bullion.

Private individuals use bullion primarily as an investment or potential store of value. Gold bullion and silver bullion are the most important forms of physical precious metals investments. Bullion investments can be considered as insurance against inflation or economic turmoil and may not entail direct counterparty risk.

Compared to numismatic coins, bullion bars or bullion coins can typically be purchased and traded at lower margins and their trading prices are closer to the values of the contained precious metals.

See also

References

  1. ^ Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Bullion - Definition and More, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bullion
  2. ^ Council Directive 98/80/EC of 12 October 1998 - Special scheme for investment gold: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31998L0080:en:HTML
  3. ^ A Guide to the London Precious Metals Markets: http://www.lbma.org.uk/assets/OTCguide20081117.pdf
America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins

The America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins comprise a series of silver bullion coins with a face value of a quarter dollar. The coins contain five troy ounces of silver, making them the largest silver bullion coins ever issued by the United States Mint. The design of the coins duplicates exactly—though enlarged—each of the America the Beautiful Quarters. They have been issued since 2010 and will continue to be issued until at least 2021. The coins are available for sale during the year in which their corresponding circulating coin is issued. The coins are distributed by the United States Mint's network of authorized bullion dealers, and may be resold at the discretion of the Director of the National Park Service.

American Gold Eagle

The American Gold Eagle is an official gold bullion coin of the United States. Authorized under the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985, it was first released by the United States Mint in 1986. Because the term "eagle" also is the official United States designation for pre-1933 ten dollars gold coins, the weight of the bullion coin is typically used when describing American Gold Eagles (e.g., "1/2-ounce American Gold Eagle") to avoid confusion. This is particularly true with the 1/4-oz American Gold Eagle, which has a marked face value of ten dollars.

American Palladium Eagle

The American Palladium Eagle is the official palladium bullion coin of the United States. Each coin has a face value of $25 and contains 99.95% fine palladium. It was authorized by the American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010 which became Public Law 111-303 passed during the 111th United States Congress. The Palladium Eagle uses the same obverse design as the Mercury dime, Liberty wearing a winged hat, while its reverse design is based on Weinman’s 1907 American Institute of Architects (AIA) medal design.A bullion version sold directly to the United States Mint's authorized purchasers was released on September 25, 2017 and a proof version priced at $1,387.50 was released on September 6, 2018. Both offerings were met with a strong response; the 2017 bullion version sold out the day of release and within five minutes, sales of the 2018 proof version were suspended pending verification of the existing 14,782 of 15,000 maximum orders. Secondary market sales for the proof version were also strong on September 6th with many listings selling at a $600 premium over the Mint's asking price.

American Platinum Eagle

The American Platinum Eagle is the official platinum bullion coin of the United States. In 1995, Director of the United States Mint Philip N. Diehl, American Numismatic Association President David L. Ganz, and Platinum Guild International Executive Director Jacques Luben began the legislative process of creating the Platinum Eagle. After over two years of work, the 99.95% fine platinum coins were released by the United States Mint in ​1⁄10, ​1⁄4, ​1⁄2 and 1 troy oz denominations. In late 2008, the fractional denominations were discontinued, leaving only the one ounce denomination. The Platinum Eagle is authorized by the United States Congress, and is backed by the United States Mint for weight, content, and purity.

Proof versions of the coins are intended for coin collectors and sold directly to the public whereas the bullion versions are sold only to the Mint's authorized buyers. The proof American Platinum Eagles are unique in the fact that they are the only U.S. bullion coins that have a yearly alternating design. Bullion versions are minted with the same design every year. While minted, the uncirculated Platinum Eagles matched the proof designs and were struck on burnished coin blanks with a "W" mint mark signifying West Point, further distinguishing them from the bullion versions.

American Silver Eagle

The American Silver Eagle is the official silver bullion coin of the United States.

It was first released by the United States Mint on November 24, 1986. It is struck only in the one-troy ounce size, which has a nominal face value of one dollar and is guaranteed to contain one troy ounce of 99.9% pure silver. It is authorized by Title II of Public Law 99-61 (Liberty Coin Act, approved July 9, 1985) and codified as 31 U.S.C. § 5112(e)-(h). Its content, weight, and purity are certified by the United States Mint. In addition to the bullion version, the United States Mint has produced a proof version and an uncirculated version for coin collectors. The Silver Eagle has been produced at three mints: the Philadelphia Mint, the San Francisco Mint, and the West Point Mint. The American Silver Eagle bullion coin may be used to fund Individual Retirement Account investments.

Bullion, California

Bullion is a former settlement in Placer County, California. Bullion is located 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Michigan Bluff.The Bullion post office operated from 1904 to 1915.

Bullion, Yvelines

Bullion is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.

Bullion coin

A bullion coin is a coin struck from precious metal and kept as a store of value or an investment rather than used in day-to-day commerce. A bullion coin is distinguished by an explicit statement of weight (or mass) and fineness on the coin; this is because the weight and composition of coins intended for legal tender is specified in the coinage laws of the issuing nation, and therefore there is no need for an explicit statement on the coins themselves. The United Kingdom defines investment coins more specifically as coins that have been minted after 1800, have a purity of not less than 900 thousandths and are, or have been, legal tender in their country of origin. Under United States law, "coins" that fail the last of these requirements are not coins at all, and must be advertised as "rounds" instead. Bullion coins are usually available in both gold and silver, with the exceptions of the Krugerrand (note in 2017 the first silver Krugerrand was minted) and the Swiss Vreneli, which are only available in gold. The American Eagle and Canadian Gold Maple Leaf series are available in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.Bullion coins are typically available in various weights. These are usually multiples or fractions of 1 troy ounce, but some bullion coins are produced in very limited quantities in kilograms or heavier.Bullion coins sell for a premium over the market price of the metal on the commodities exchanges. Reasons include their comparative small size and the costs associated with manufacture, storage and distribution. The amount of the premium varies depending on the coin's type and weight and the precious metal. The premium also is affected by prevailing demand.

The ISO currency code for gold bullion is XAU. ISO 4217 includes codes not only for currencies, but also for precious metals (gold, silver, palladium and platinum, by definition expressed per one troy ounce, as compared to "1 USD") and certain other entities used in international finance, e.g. special drawing rights.

Claude de Bullion

Claude de Bullion (13 October 1569 – 22 December 1640) was a French aristocrat and politician who served as a Minister of Finance under Louis XIII from 1632 to 1640. He was a close ally of Cardinal Richelieu.

Coins of the United States dollar

Coins of the United States dollar were first minted in 1792. New coins have been produced annually since then and they make up a valuable aspect of the United States currency system. Today, circulating coins exist in denominations of 1¢ (i.e. 1 cent or $0.01), 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and $1.00. Also minted are bullion (including gold, silver and platinum) and commemorative coins. All of these are produced by the United States Mint. The coins are then sold to Federal Reserve Banks which in turn are responsible for putting coins into circulation and withdrawing them as demanded by the country's economy.

Gold as an investment

Of all the precious metals, gold is the most popular as an investment. Investors generally buy gold as a way of diversifying risk, especially through the use of futures contracts and derivatives. The gold market is subject to speculation and volatility as are other markets. Compared to other precious metals used for investment, gold has the most effective safe haven and hedging properties across a number of countries.

Gold bar

A gold bar, also called gold bullion or a gold ingot, is a quantity of refined metallic gold of any shape that is made by a bar producer meeting standard conditions of manufacture, labeling, and record keeping. Larger gold bars that are produced by pouring the molten metal into molds are called ingots. Smaller bars may be manufactured by minting or stamping from appropriately rolled gold sheets. The standard gold bar held as gold reserves by central banks and traded among bullion dealers is the 400-troy-ounce (12.4 kg or 438.9 ounces) Good Delivery gold bar. The kilobar, which is 1000 grams in mass (32.15 troy ounces), is the bar that is more manageable and is used extensively for trading and investment. The premium on these bars when traded is very low over the spot value of the gold, making it ideal for small transfers between banks and traders. Most kilobars are flat, although some investors, particularly in Europe, prefer the brick shape. Asian markets differ in that they prefer gram gold bars as opposed to Troy ounce measurements. Popular sizes in the Asian region include 10 grams, 100 grams and 1,000 gram bars.

Gold coin

A gold coin is a coin that is made mostly or entirely of gold. Most gold coins minted since 1800 are 90–92% gold (22 karat), while most of today's gold bullion coins are pure gold, such as the Britannia, Canadian Maple Leaf, and American Buffalo. Alloyed gold coins, like the American Gold Eagle and South African Krugerrand, are typically 91.7% gold by weight, with the remainder being silver and copper.

Traditionally (up to about the 1930s), gold coins have been circulation coins, including coin-like bracteates and dinars. Since recent decades, however, gold coins are mainly produced as bullion coins to investors and as commemorative coins to collectors. While modern gold coins are also legal tender, they are not observed in everyday financial transactions, as the metal value normally exceeds the nominal value. For example, the American Gold Eagle, given a denomination of 50 USD, has a metal value of more than $1,200 USD.

The gold reserves of central banks are dominated by gold bars, but gold coins may occasionally contribute.

Gold has been used as money for many reasons. It is fungible, with a low spread between the prices to buy and sell. Gold is also easily transportable, as it has a high value to weight ratio, compared to other commodities, such as silver. Gold can be re-coined, divided into smaller units, or re-melted into larger units such as gold bars, without destroying its metal value. The density of gold is higher than most other metals, making it difficult to pass counterfeits. Additionally, gold is extremely unreactive, hence it does not tarnish or corrode over time.

List of henchmen of James Bond villains

The James Bond novels and films are notable for their memorable villains and henchmen. There is typically one particularly privileged henchman who poses a formidable physical threat to Bond and must be defeated in order to reach the employer. These range from simply adept and tough fighters, such as Donald 'Red' Grant, to henchmen whose physical characteristics are seemingly superhuman, such as Oddjob.

Precious metal

A precious metal is a rare, naturally occurring metallic chemical element of high economic value.

Chemically, the precious metals tend to be less reactive than most elements (see noble metal). They are usually ductile and have a high lustre. Historically, precious metals were important as currency but are now regarded mainly as investment and industrial commodities. Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium each have an ISO 4217 currency code.

The best known precious metals are the coinage metals, which are gold and silver. Although both have industrial uses, they are better known for their uses in art, jewelry, and coinage. Other precious metals include the platinum group metals: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum, of which platinum is the most widely traded.

The demand for precious metals is driven not only by their practical use but also by their role as investments and a store of value. Historically, precious metals have commanded much higher prices than common industrial metals.

Royal Mint

The Royal Mint is a government-owned mint that produces coins for the United Kingdom. Operating under the name Royal Mint Ltd, the mint is a limited company that is wholly owned by Her Majesty's Treasury and is under an exclusive contract to supply all the nation's coinage. As well as minting circulating coins for use domestically and internationally, the mint also produces planchets, commemorative coins, various types of medals and precious metal bullion. The mint exports to an average of 60 countries a year, making up 70% of its total sales. Formed over 1,100 years ago, the mint was historically part of a series of mints that became centralised to produce coins for the Kingdom of England, all of Great Britain and eventually most of the British Empire. The original London mint from which the Royal Mint is the successor, was established in 886 AD and operated within the Tower of London for approximately 800 years before moving to what is now called Royal Mint Court where it remained until the 1960s. As Britain followed the rest of the world in decimalising its currency, the Mint moved from London to a new 38 acres (15 ha) plant in Llantrisant, Wales where it has remained since.

In 2009 after recommendations for the mint to be privatised the Royal Mint ceased being an executive government agency and became a state-owned company wholly owned by HM Treasury. Since then the mint has expanded its business interests by reviving its bullion trade and developing a £9 million visitor centre.

Thomas Hart Benton (politician)

Thomas Hart Benton (March 14, 1782 – April 10, 1858), nicknamed "Old Bullion", was a United States Senator from Missouri. A member of the Democratic Party, he was an architect and champion of westward expansion by the United States, a cause that became known as Manifest Destiny. Benton served in the Senate from 1821 to 1851, becoming the first member of that body to serve five terms.

Benton was born in Harts Mill, North Carolina. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, he established a law practice and plantation near Nashville, Tennessee. He served as an aide to General Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812 and settled in St. Louis, Missouri, after the war. Missouri became a state in 1821 and Benton won election as one of its inaugural pair of United States Senators. The Democratic-Republican Party fractured after the 1824 and Benton became a Democratic leader in the Senate, serving as an important ally of President Jackson and President Martin Van Buren. He supported Jackson during the Bank War and proposed a land payment law that inspired Jackson's Specie Circular executive order.

Benton's prime concern was the westward expansion of the United States. He called for the annexation of the Republic of Texas, which was accomplished in 1845. He pushed for compromise in the partition of Oregon Country with the British and supported the 1846 Oregon Treaty, which divided the territory along the 49th parallel. He also authored the first Homestead Act, which granted land to settlers willing to farm it.

Though he owned slaves, Benton came to oppose the institution of slavery after the Mexican–American War, and he opposed the Compromise of 1850 as too favorable to pro-slavery interests. This stance damaged Benton's popularity in Missouri, and the state legislature denied him re-election in 1851. Benton won election to the United States House of Representatives in 1852 but was defeated for re-election in 1854 after he opposed the Kansas–Nebraska Act. Benton's son-in-law, John C. Frémont, won the 1856 Republican Party nomination for president, but Benton voted for James Buchanan and remained a loyal Democrat until his death in 1858.

United States Bullion Depository

The United States Bullion Depository, often known as Fort Knox, is a fortified vault building located adjacent to the United States Army post of Fort Knox, Kentucky. The vault is used to store a large portion of United States official gold reserves and occasionally other precious items belonging or entrusted to the federal government. It is estimated to hold roughly 2.3% of all the gold ever refined throughout human history.

United States Mint

The United States Mint is a unit of the Department of Treasury responsible for producing coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce, as well as controlling the movement of bullion. It does not produce paper money; that responsibility belongs to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The Mint was created in Philadelphia in 1792, and soon joined by other centers, whose coins were identified by their own mint marks. There are currently four active coin-producing mints: Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point.

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