How Heavy is a Gold Bar?

One of the most common questions that pops up among new precious metal investors and those unfamiliar with bullion trading is: “How heavy is a gold bar?” This is a pretty simple question but still requires a semi-complex answer. Gold is one of the most dense precious metals next to platinum and palladium. The small size of many gold bars can be misleading because of this high density. Below we’ll go over all you need to know about the weight and density of gold, as well as the most commonly traded sizes of gold bars to help you better understand how heavy a gold bar is.

Good Delivery Gold Bars

good-delivery-gold-barMost large financial institutions, bullion traders and central banks trade with what are called Good Delivery Gold Bars. These are large bricks of gold bullion that weigh approximately 400 troy ounces or about 28lbs. The exact weight of one of these bars can vary between 350 and 430 troy ounces in accordance with the LBMA guidelines, and will be at least 99.5% pure (0.995 fine). This information is stamped on the bar of course. The large amount of gold contained in these bars (worth about $500,000 at the time of this post), makes them ideal for these institutions to hedge their assets or stock holdings.

A troy ounce is slightly different from a standard ounce. One troy ounce equates to about 31.1035 grams, while a standard ounce is just 28.35 grams. This may not seem like much, but with a good delivery bar the difference would equal about 1,000 grams. In today’s markets that would be over a $40,000 USD discrepancy in pricing. For this reason the spot price of gold is always displayed in troy ounces.

Privately Traded Gold Bars

2-gram-austrian-mint-gold-barThough many financial institutions use the large good delivery gold bars as a means of trading, most individual investors purchase smaller gold bars. While you can still buy a good delivery gold bar as a private citizen, they are often beyond the financial reach of most investors.

For this reason, the most popular privately traded gold bullion includes bars that are much smaller in size compared to the good delivery bars. The most common gold bars include 1 gram, 2.5 gram, 5 gram, 10 gram, 100 gram, with kilogram (1,000 gram) bars being the largest. Besides these weights, 1 troy ounce and 10 troy ounce bars are also available to the investing public. These bars are usually 99.9%-99.99% pure, but this is not a requirement.

Density of Gold Bullion

For you to better understand how heavy a gold bar is, you should also know a little bit about the density of gold. Gold is one of the most dense naturally occurring metals/elements in the world. It has a density of 19.3 g/cm3. In comparison, silver’s density is almost half that of gold, at just 10.49g/cm3 and copper is 8.96g/cm3. This means that even a small amount of the yellow metal (such as the 1 oz gold bars) are very small in size, even though they weigh quite a lot.

The image to the right does a good job of visualizing gold’s density vs many other metals. In the image, 1 cm3 of Aluminum is placed on a weighing scale with 1 cm3 of gold. As you can see, even though the same size of each metal is placed on the scale, the gold is much more dense and therefore weighs more.