Gold bars are a common item used by gold investors, but not all bars are created in the same manner or have the same value per ounce. Most gold bars from legitimate sources are classified by their method of manufacture: cast and minted. There are about 30 internationally accredited manufacturers of small cast bars while the market for standard minted bars is supplied by 25 mints, and dominated by a handful of manufacturers in Switzerland.
When dealing with cast or minted bars, the manufacturer typically records the assayed purity of the gold content which is expressed in units per 100, 1,000 or 10,000. Most gold bars minted today tend to be 99.99% gold, but this can vary somewhat by mint.
Since mints need to be certified, bars from reputable mints are very easy to value by simply calculating their weight by the purity and the value of gold at that particular moment in time.
The other component of the gold bar market is that of rough gold bars. Refiners, jewelers, and other organizations that melt and pour gold often keep the gold in bar form and these often find their way to the open market. Since these gold bars are not produced by a certified mint, one can only speculate as to the actual gold content and will not know its true value until the metal has been refined or undergone analytical testing.
Arch Enterprises purchases both certified and rough gold bars.