Glossary Of Bullion Terms

Glossary Of Bullion Terms

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1 TROY OUNCE: One of the most common units of measure for precious metals. 480grains = 31.1035grams = 1.09711 avoirdupois ounces = 1 Troy Ounce.


ACID TEST: A means of determining the fineness of gold through the use of nitric acid and aqua regia.

ACTUAL GOLD CONTENT: The amount of pure gold that exists in an object when all the alloys have been subtracted. Abbreviated as AGW.

AG: The chemical symbol for silver.

ALLOCATED (STORAGE): This term refers to the practice of storing specific types and kinds of precious metal products in a particular segregated account for the specific benefit of a particular accountholder. This is as opposed to Unallocated Storage.

ALLOY: A mixture of two or more metals. Metals such as silver, nickel, copper and zinc are frequently mixed with gold to improve its hardness and durability, making it more resistant to nicks and scratches.

AMERICAN (GOLD or SILVER) EAGLES: Bullion products struck by the U.S. Mint. Since their debut in 1986, these coins have become this country's most popular gold bullion coin as well as being instantly recognizable and accepted worldwide. Although these coins have legal tender status, the intrinsic bullion value far exceeds the face value of these coins. The American Gold Eagles were struck in a traditional coinage alloy of 91.7% pure gold (22 karat), each coin contains a full measure of pure gold, plus additional silver and copper as alloy. The American Gold Eagles are available in One Ounce ($50.00 Face Value), Half Ounce ($25.00 Face Value), Quarter Ounce ($10.00 Face Value) and One-Tenth Ounce ($5.00 Face Value) sizes. The American Silver Eagles are the official silver bullion coin of the United States. These One Troy Ounce silver bullion coins each bears a nominal $1.00 Face Value and each is struck out of .999 Fine silver. Both the American Gold Eagle and American Silver Eagle bullion coins are guaranteed by the United States government to have the correct weight and purity.

ARBITRAGE: simultaneously buying and selling a commodity in different markets to take advantage of price and/or premium differentials.

ARGENTUM: Latin for silver.

ASK: the price at which a dealer offers to sell.

ASSAY: a test to ascertain the fineness and weight of a precious metal.

AU: The chemical symbol for gold which is derived from "aurum", the Latin word for gold.

AURUM: Latin for gold.

AUSTRALIAN KANGAROO: Australia's gold Nugget bullion coins (now Kangaroos) were introduced in 1986 as a .9999 fine bullion coin. Each year the design has been changed and since 1989, there have been various depictions of kangaroos. Coins are shipped individually encapsulated in a square plastic case.

AUSTRIAN 100 CORONA: Late 20th Century restrike of a popular 19th Century bullion gold coins. Each coin contains .9802 ounce of pure gold.

AUSTRIAN PHILHARMONIC: Austria's .9999 gold Philharmonic bullion coins were first minted in 1989, and quickly became Europe's most popular gold bullion coin. These coins are often considered the most beautiful of all bullion coins. On the obverse is the Great Organ in Vienna's Concert Hall. The reverse depicts a harmonious design of musical instruments.

AVOIRDUPOIS: The system of weights and measures, most commonly used in the U.S. and Great Britain in which 16 AV oz. = 1 pound. It is used for most solid objects, but not for precious metals and gems. One avoirdupois ounce equals 28.35 grams or 437.50 grains.

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BACKWARDATION: A market condition in which prices for future deliveries are quoted lower than are prices for a nearer delivery date.

BAR PREMIUM: The "bar premium" is the amount that an investor pays that exceeds the world spot price for the actual metal content of the bar. This bar premium covers the cost of manufacturing the precious metal into a recognized form, shipping it to another location and the selling dealer's profit.

BASE METAL: Also known as pot metal is a mixture of non precious metals. It is frequently used as a base for gold-filled, gold plated or rolled gold plate coverings.

BEAR MARKET: Describes investment markets such as stock markets or metals markets in which prices are, or are soon expected to be, in decline. The opposite of a bear market is a bull market.

BID: the price at which a dealer is willing to buy.

BLANK PLANCHET: A plain metal disc made for coinage or bullion items which has not yet been struck with an obverse, reverse or edge design.

BRITISH SOVEREIGN: British gold Sovereigns have been struck periodically since 1489. For centuries, this coin was the measure by which all other gold coins were judged. Its exact weight of .2354 Troy Ounces has been the standard to which other gold coins were compared. Each coin is 91.7% pure (22-karat) and have been produced by various mints all across the British Empire - such as London, Ottawa, Bombay, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

BU: Brilliant uncirculated, is used to describe a coin in new condition. It is for a coin that has no wear, but it may have light handling marks or other imperfections.

BULL MARKET: Describes investment markets such as stock markets or metals markets in which prices are, or are soon expected to be, on the rise. The opposite of a bull market is a bear market.

BULLION: The term is used to describe 1. Gold, silver, platinum or palladium coins which closely follow spot prices and have little or no numismatic value (such as restrikes) and 2. the form in which metal is shaped such as bars, ingots or wafers. The most commonly traded gold bullion pieces among individual investors in the United States weigh 10 oz. or less.

BULLION COIN: A precious metal coin whose market value is determined by its inherent precious metal content. They are bought and sold mainly for investment purposes. They may be produced by a sovereign mint, with a denominated face value but will be considered as bullion because they trade at a price relative to its intrinsic value.

BULLION PRECIOUS METALS: include gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. These metals are traded based on their intrinsic metal value and typically are delivered in a specific trading shape, such as a wafer, bar, ingot, round or coin.

BUSINESS STRIKE: The method of manufacture used by the mint to strike coins for everyday use. This differs from the proof method of manufacturing, which is used to strike coins for collectors.

BUST: The head, neck, shoulders and upper chest of an image generally depicted on the obverse (front) of a coin.

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CALL: The right, but not an obligation, to buy a commodity or a financial security on a specified date in the future at a specified price.

CANADIAN MAPLE LEAFS: Modern bullion coins struck by the Royal Canadian Mint. Canada's Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins were minted at the Royal Canadian Mint, and were the first .999 pure gold bullion coin (as opposed to a bar or ingot) when they were released in 1979. They were designed to be the main competitor to the South African Krugerrand, which was the only gold bullion coin available at that time. Today, they are struck to an even finer purity of .9999 ("four nines," or 99.99% pure gold).

CARAT: (with a "c") A measurement of weight which is generally used in reference to gems, especially diamonds. It is equal to about 3.086 grains Troy or 0.2 grams. It is not to be confused with KARAT (with a "k") which is a measurement of the fineness of gold.

CASH: Typically refers to US Dollars, though may refer to any locally available commonly circulating currency, usually made of paper.

CASH MARKET: A market in which delivery and payment have to be made within two working days of the transaction date.

CENTENARIO: See Mexican Peso

CENTRAL BANK: The entity responsible for establishing a nation's monetary and fiscal policy and controlling the money supply and interest rates. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve System, which is managed by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, is often referred to as the central bank.

CENTRAL DEVICE: The main design found on either side of a coin.

CHINESE PANDA: China's began striking gold bullion coins in 1982. The "Pandas' were the first 'premium' priced .999 bullion coin, featuring a different panda portrait each year. They became hugely popular as collectibles by the late 1980's, due to their low mintage figures. Each coin is individually sealed in a vinyl pouch at the China Mint.

CLOSE: The official end of a trading session.

COIN OF THE REALM: A legal tender coin issued by a government meant for general circulation.

COIN: A stamped piece of metal of a known weight and fineness issued for commerce.

COMEX: One of the world's major commodities futures exchanges where gold and silver are traded. It is a division of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). The COMEX is located in New York City.

COMMEMORATIVES: Legal tender coins or medallions, usually minted of gold or silver, struck to commemorate themes, events, places, or people.

COMMISSION: The fee charged by a broker for the execution of an order.

COMMODITY POOL: a venture, usually a limited partnership, in which investors contribute funds for the purpose of buying commodities.

CONTANGO MARKET: a normal futures market in which prices are higher in the succeeding delivery months than they are in the nearest delivery month. It is the opposite of backwardation.

CORONET: A small crown or tiara worn by Liberty in some of the early U.S. coins.

CORRECTION: A movement in the price of something after a sustained movement in an opposite direction. For example, a decline in prices following a rise in a market would constitute a correction.

COVER: to offset a short futures or options position.

CU: The metallurgical symbol for copper.

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DELIVERABLE BAR: A precious metal bar with a weight, fineness and hallmark approved as a tradable unit on a commodity exchange, such as the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). To retain its status as a deliverable bar, the bar must only be handled by LBMA approved companies or agents.

DELIVERY: The exchange by which an underlying commodity, cash, or other delivery instrument is tendered and received by the contract holder.

DERIVATIVE: a financial instrument derived from a cash market commodity, futures contract, or other financial instrument. Derivatives can be traded on regulated exchanges or over-the-counter. Futures contracts, for example, are derivatives of physicals commodities, and options on futures are derivatives of futures contracts.

DEVICE: A design found on a coin. Frequently it is the bust or profile of a person who symbolizes a particular country at a particular time in history or a country's coat of arms or insignia.

DIE: An engraved metal object used to strike or stamp the design of a coin into a blank metal planchet.

DORE BULLION: An impure alloy of silver or gold named for the Dore furnace used at mining facilities that produces it.

DOUBLE EAGLES: U.S. $20 gold coins used as legal tender between 1850 and -1933. Double Eagles contain .9675 troy ounces of pure gold. Early $20 coins had the portrait of Miss Liberty' on the obverse. From 1908-1933 they had Augustus St. Gaudens' Standing Liberty design. This design was appropriated, with modifications, for the various sizes of the modern Gold American Eagle bullion coins.

DRAGON: Australia's Dragons Bullion Coins. The year 2000 version of Australia's Lunar Coins is the "Year of the Dragon." Australia's Lunar Calendar series began in 1997 as a 'premium' priced .9999 bullion coin.

DUCTILITY: An ability to change shape drastically without breaking. The capacity of a metal to be hammered into a thin sheet or drawn into a fine wire is an example of ductility.

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EAGLE: U. S. $10 face value gold coins used as legal tender between 1795and1933. Each contains .4837 ounces of pure gold. An eagle is also the generic term for the modern gold and silver bullion coins issued by the U. S. Mint since 1986.

EDGE: The third side of a coin, not the obverse or the reverse. The edge of a coin may be reeded, lettered or plain.

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FACE VALUE: The monetary value of an investment coin, which does not necessary correspond to its actual worth. For example, the face value of a gold American Eagle one-ounce coin is $50, but its actual worth is tied to the spot value of its gold content - a much higher value.

FIAT MONEY: Paper money made legal tender by law, although not backed by gold or silver.

FIELD: The open area or background on a coin.

FINE GOLD: The purity or fineness of a gold coin or gold bullion item. Pure gold would be 24- karat, or .999 fine gold.

FINE SILVER: The purity of fineness of a silver coin or silver bullion item. Pure silver is 99.9% or higher pure.

FINE WEIGHT: The metallic weight of a coin, ingot, or bar, as opposed to the item's gross weight which includes the weight of the alloying metal. Example: a 1-oz Gold American Eagle has a fine weight of one troy ounce but a gross weight of 1.0909 troy ounce.

FINENESS: The purity of a precious metal measured in 1,000 parts of an alloy: a gold bar of .995 fineness contains 995 parts gold and 5 parts of another metal. Example: the American Gold Eagle is .9167 fine, which means it is 91.67% gold. A Canadian Maple Leaf has a fineness of .999, meaning that it is 99.9% pure.

FOOL'S GOLD: Iron pyrite is often mistaken by novices for gold. Although its color resembles gold, its properties are very different from gold. It is hard and brittle while gold is soft and malleable.

FORWARD TRANSACTION: Purchase or sale for delivery and payment at an agreed date in the future; similar to a futures contract, except that forward transactions are not subject to the standardized procedures and regulations of a commodities futures exchange.

FRENCH FRANC: A French Franc was that nation's monetary unit prior to 2005, when it was replaced by the Euro. One of the most common coins denominated in Francs was the French 20-franc gold "Rooster" coins, which were struck from 1899 to 1916. Each of these coin sis 91.7% pure (22 karat) pure and contains .1867 troy ounce of pure gold.

FUNGIBLE: Fungible products are those precious metal products having the exact same specifications of weight, fineness and maker. They are said to be fungible because they can be substituted for one another without any difference in current value, total weight or product quality.

FUTURES CONTRACT: An agreement made on an organized exchange to take or make delivery of a specific commodity or financial instrument at a set date in the future.

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GOLD: A precious yellow metallic element that is resistant to oxidation and is highly ductile and malleable. Gold has long been used as a store of wealth and a standard for currencies worldwide. For centuries, gold has been used in coinage, jewelry, and in countless industrial applications.

GOLD COLOR: Variations in the alloys used with gold create different colors of gold such as yellow, green, red and white. The most common alloys used with gold are: silver, copper, zinc, and nickel. Silver and zinc tend to give gold a greenish hue, copper a reddish cast and nickel a white color.

GOLD EAGLES: Modern gold bullion coins. American Gold Eagle coins are products of the U.S. Mint, and since their debut in 1986 have become this country's most popular gold bullion coin. Struck in a traditional coinage alloy of 91.7% pure gold (22 karat), each size contains a full measure of pure gold, plus additional silver and copper as alloy.

GOLD ELECTROPLATE: Process by which 24 karat gold is deposited on another metal electrolytic ally. The plating must be at least seven millionths of an inch thick.

GOLD FLASHED: A gold coating which is less than seven millionths of an inch thick. It is sometimes called gold washed.

GOLD NUGGET: This describes raw or placer gold which has been washed out of the rocks generally into river beds where it has been beaten by the water and rocks into a "nugget" shape.

GOLD PLATE: A common term for electro-gold plating.

GOLD STANDARD: The term to designate the monetary standard of a country when all the paper money it issues is backed by a sufficient amount of a reserve holdings of gold coins or bars.

GOLD/SILVER RATIO: The number of ounces of silver required to buy one ounce of gold at current spot prices.

GOLD-FILLED (GF): A process by which a layer of at least 10 kt. gold has been mechanically bonded to another metal (usually a base metal). This layer usually constitutes at least 1/20th of the total weight of the metal in the piece. Items are marked G.F. preceded by the karat fineness of the veneer. For example if a bracelet is marked 1/20 10 kt. G.F. and weighs one Troy ounce it is possible to determine the pure gold content by performing the following calculation. Pure gold content = 1/20

GOOD DELIVERY: The specification that a bar of precious metal must meet in order to be acceptable for delivery at a particular exchange.

GOOD DELIVERY BAR: a bar of gold or silver that is acceptable for delivery against a metals contract.

GRADING SERVICE: an independent company that grades numismatic or bullion coins. Generally, graded coins are encapsulated in plastic, a procedure called "slabbing." PCGS and NGC are the two dominant grading services in the United States.

GRAIN: The earliest known unit of weight and was originally one grain of wheat or barley. It is equal to 0.0648 grams Troy and 24 grains are equivalent to one pennyweight. There are 480 grains in a Troy ounce and 437.5 grains in an Avoirdupois ounce.

GRAM: The basic unit of weight of the metric system A metric unit of mass and weight. A gram equals approximately 1/32 Troy oz. and is used in Troy weight as a measure of gold. (31.1035 grams = one troy ounce.)

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HALF EAGLE: U. S. $5.00 face value gold coins used as legal tender and issued from 1795 to 1929. They each contain .24187 ounces of pure gold and were almost identical in size to the nickel 5c coin.

HALLMARK: A stamped impression on the surface of a precious metals bar that indicates the producer, serial number, weight, and/or purity of metal content.

HEDGE: An offsetting transaction (e.g. the purchase or sale of a future contract or option) designed to lessen the impact of adverse movements in the value of assets.

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INTRINSIC VALUE: The actual value of the precious metals contained within a bullion bar or coin.

INVERTED MARKET: A situation in which prices for future deliveries are lower than the spot price. Also known as backwardation.

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KARAT: Measurement of purity used in showing the fineness of gold, scaled 1 to 24. One karat is 1/24 pure gold. 24 karat is pure gold.

KILO BAR: A bar weighing one kilogram (32.1507 troy ounces).

KILOGRAM: 1,000 grams (32.1507 troy ounces).

KOALA: Australian platinum bullion coin which has been minted since 1987. It is.995 fine.

KRUGERRAND: South African Gold Krugerrand coins were the world's very first coins struck solely as bullion items. They were introduced in 1967 and dominated the gold bullion market in the U.S. from 1974 through the early 1980's. They are struck in 22 karat gold (91.7% pure), each coin containing a full measure of pure gold, plus additional copper as an alloy.

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LEGAL TENDER: Coin or currency identified by a government to be acceptable in the discharge of debts.

LEGEND: The inscription on a coin.

LIQUID MARKET: A market characterized by the ability to buy and sell with relative ease.

LIQUIDITY: The quality of being readily convertible into cash.

LONDON FIX PRICE: This bullion pricing standard is set each day in London by the members of the London Bullion Market Association. The "fixing price" reflects the price at which buy and sell orders from the firms' customers' are in balance. The London Fix is an internationally recognized benchmark price for that particular moment in time. There is a morning (A.M.) price fix as well as an afternoon (P.M.) price fix.

LUSTER: A frosty appearance on the surface of a coin, usually an uncirculated coin.

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MAPLE LEAFS: Modern gold, silver, and platinum bullion coins minted by the Royal Canadian Mint. Canada's Gold Maple Leaf coins are struck by the Royal Canadian Mint, and were the first .999 pure gold bullion coin (as opposed to a bar or ingot) when they were released in 1979. They were first minted in order to compete with the South African Krugerrand. Today, they are struck to an even finer purity of .9999 ("four nines," or 99.99% pure gold).

MARKET VALUE: The price at which a coin or bullion item trades.

MEDALLION: A round piece of metal resembling a coin but not a "coin of the realm." It bears no denomination and is not recognized as legal tender. A medallion may be issued by a government or private mint. The Engelhard 1-oz silver prospector round is a privately-minted medallion.

METRIC TON: 1,000 kilograms or 32,151 troy ounces.

MEXICAN 50 PESO: A large and beautiful gold coin, first issued in 1921, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mexico's independence. The Mexican 50 Peso coins that you locate in the bullion coin market normally are restrikes, minted from 1943 onward. Each coin weighs 1.2057 troy ounce and is .900 fine.

MINT: The place where a coin or bar was manufactured.

MINT MARK: A letter or symbol stamped on a coin to identify the minting facility where it was struck.

MINT STATE: Describes a coin in uncirculated condition.

MODERN ISSUES: Current issues of coins, whether struck for circulation or for sale to investors or collectors.

MONEY ORDER: Order for the payment of a specified amount of money, usually issued and payable at a bank or post office.

MS-60: The lowest grade of Mint State, or uncirculated, coins. Using the Sheldon Grading Scale, coins are grade from 1 to 70, with 70 representing a perfect coin. . Coins grading MS60 or higher are uncirculated; coins grading below MS60, are circulated.

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NATIONAL FUTURES ASSOCIATION (NFA): Futures industry trade association which promulgates rules of conduct and mediates disputes between

NGC: Acronym for Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America, one of two major coin grading services in the United States.

NOBLE: Modern platinum bullion coins, which have been issued by the Isle of Man since 1983.

NOMINAL FACE VALUE: Nominal value given to legal tender coins sold for their metal content. Example: the 1-oz Gold Eagle carries a $50 face value but sells for the value of its gold content plus a premium of 5% to 8%.

NON-FUNGIBLE: Non-Fungible precious metal products are those which do vary in fineness, weight or maker and therefore cannot easily be substituted for one another. These differing factors will all affect the market value of the products.

NON-SEGREGATED STORAGE: Non-Segregated storage occurs when various precious metal assets are stored together without concern for any differences between them.

NUGGET: Modern gold bullion coin minted by the Perth Mint of Perth, Australia. They all have a .9999 fineness.

NUMISMATIC COINS: Coins whose prices depend more on their rarity, condition, dates, and mint marks than on their gold or silver content, if any.

NUMISMATICS: The study of coins, currency and metallic art.

NUMISMATIST: Coin collector.

NYMEX: The New York Mercantile Exchange, a future exchange where platinum and palladium are traded.

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OBVERSE: The front of a coin. The device on the obverse usually consists of the image of one or more people or which contains the principal design of the coin.

OFFER: A motion to sell a commodity at a specified price. It is the same as the Ask. It is the opposite of the bid. The Offer price is the price at which a dealer offers to sell a commodity.

OPTION: the right, but not an obligation, to buy or sell a commodity or a financial security on a specified date in the future at a specific price.

OUNCE: A unit of weight. In the precious metals industry, an ounce means a troy ounce equal to 31.1035 grams.

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PALLADIUM: A rare silver-white metal of the platinum group. Palladium resembles platinum chemically and is extracted from some copper and nickel ores. It is primarily used as an industrial catalyst and in jewelry.

PANDA: China's Panda gold coins began in 1982 as the first 'premium' priced .999 fine bullion coins. Each coin features a different panda portrait each year. They became hugely popular as collectibles by the late 1980's. Each coin is individually sealed in a vinyl pouch by the Chinese Mint.

PCGS: acronym for Professional Coin Grading Service, one of the two major coin grading services in the United States.

PD: The chemical symbol for palladium

PENNYWEIGHT: an American unit of weight for gold in which one penny weight equals 24 grains or 1/20 of a troy ounce.

PHILHARMONIC: Austria's .9999 Gold Philharmonic coins were first minted in 1989. They quickly became one of Europe's most popular gold bullion coins. The obverse depicts the Great Organ in Vienna's Concert Hall and the reverse depicts a symphony of musical instruments.

PHYSICALS MARKET: a marketplace in which the physical product is traded, as opposed to a futures market where "contracts" are traded and physical delivery of the product may or may not take place.

PLANCHET: A blank piece of metal used as the "host" for stamping a coin or medallion.

PLATINUM: A chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Pt and atomic number 78. A heavy, malleable, ductile, precious, gray-white transition metal, platinum is resistant to corrosion and occurs in some nickel and copper ores along with some native deposits. Platinum is used in jewelry, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts, dentistry, and automobile emissions control devices. Platinum coins and bars are now very popular investments.

PLATINUM AMERICAN EAGLES: These are modern Platinum bullion coins minted by the U.S. Mint. These coins were first released in 1997, they are made of .9995 Platinum and were struck in One Ounce, Half Ounce, Quarter Ounce and One-Tenth Ounce denominations.

PREMIUM: The additional cost of a coin or bullion item, over and above the spot price of the precious metal contained in the coin. The premium includes the costs of fabrication, distribution and a minimal dealer fee. Rare coins carry an additional premium called numismatic value which is based on scarcity, quality, demand and intangible factors. This is generally seen as the difference between the Bid Price and the Ask Price of a particular precious metals product.

PROOF: Refers to the manner in which a coin was minted NOT to its condition. Highly polished dies and special plainchants are used to produce coins with a mirror-like finish. A proof strike is very different from a business strike and proof coins are generally made for collectors not for normal use.

PT: The chemical symbol for platinum.

PUT: an option that gives the owner the right to sell a commodity or a financial security on a specified date in the future, as a specified price.

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QUARTER EAGLE: U. S. $ 2.50 face value gold coins, issued as legal tender between 1795 and 1929. These dime-size coins contain .121 ounces of pure gold.

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RALLY: an advancing price movement following a decline in a market.

RESTRIKES: Are "new" coins made from "old" dies which is why they are referred to as "new mintings". Restrikes generally have the same specifications as the original coins of which they are copies - this includes the same dates, composition, and dimensions. Restrike coins are officially produced by a government mint and they are usually not legal tender. Government mints pick one date as the "restrike date" for a particular coin. For instance, the restrike date for the Austrian 100 Corona is 1915. Restrikes are considered bullion coins because such a large number were made that they have no numismatic value. In fact, the original coins made from the dies used for restrikes have no numismatic value because there is no way to tell them from the copies

REVERSE: The back of a coin. The device on the reverse of a coin usually consists of a country's coat of arms or an insignia.

ROLLED GOLD PLATE (RGP): Jewelry which consists of LESS than 1/20 of 10 karat to 14 karat gold by weight. For example, a RGP bracelet weighing 1 Troy oz. might be

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SEGREGATED STORAGE: Segregated storage of precious metal products occurs when assets are stored together for a specific intent, such as, they are all held in the same sub-account. These assets are stored separately from all other items within the depository location,

SHORT SALE: The sale of an asset for future delivery without possession of the asset sold.

SILVER: A chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Ag (from the traditional abbreviation for the Latin Argentum) and atomic number 47. A soft white lustrous transition metal, silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal and occurs in minerals and in free form. This metal is extensively used in coins, jewelry, tableware, and photography. It is a chemically active metal and naturally changes color, or tones, when exposed to air and certain elements.

SILVER AMERICAN EAGLES: These are modern 1 Troy Ounce silver bullion coins, struck by the United States Mint. They are struck from .999 fine newly-mined silver from the United States The weight and fineness of each of these coins is guaranteed by the United States government.

SLABBED COINS: Coins encapsulated in plastic for protection against wear. Generally, "slabbed" coins are graded by one of the two major independent third-party grading services - PCGS or NGC.

SOLID GOLD: Solid Gold is a term often used to describe gold jewelry. Although the Federal Trade Commission rules do not state what constitutes something that is "solid gold," it is generally applied to jewelry items which are not hollow and contain at least 10 kt. or finer gold.

SOUTH AFRICAN KRUGERRAND: South Africa introduced the world to the first bullion gold coin - the Krugerrand. Gold Krugerrands were introduced in 1967, and they dominated the world gold bullion markets. They are struck in 22 karat gold (91.7% pure), each coin containing a full measure of pure gold, plus additional copper as an alloy.

SOVEREIGN: British gold coin with a face value of one pound sterling and a gold content of .2354 of a Troy ounce. British Gold Sovereigns were struck worldwide at the height of the British Empire. Each is 91.7% pure, which is 22-karat.

SPOT: Term which describes one-time open market cash transaction price of a commodity, where it is purchased "on the spot" at current market rates. Spot transactions are in contrast to term sales, which specify a steady supply of product over a period of time. The price for the physical delivery of bullion bars, usually 100-oz bars of gold or platinum and 1,000-oz bars of silver.

SPOT GOLD PRICE: The constantly fluctuating price of gold in unfabricated form. The closing spot price varies with markets located in numerous cities and countries throughout the world. It is recommended that one follow the spot gold close from one particular source in order to consistently gauge the fluctuations in the world markets. Commonly quoted gold markets, or market-makers, include: New York City, Chicago, Handy and Harmon, Engelhard, Republic National Bank, London, Zurich, Paris, Frankfurt, and Hong Kong. Note that when buying gold in the United States, the price will generally be based on the prices in New York or Chicago.

SPOT MARKET: A market in which delivery and payment have to be made within two working days of the transaction date.

SPREAD: The difference between the buying price and the selling price of an object at the same time on the same day by the same person. If gold is purchased at $390.00 per ounce, and sold at $400.00, the spread is $10.00.

STERLING SILVER: Silver of a fineness of 92.5% pure.

SYMBOLIC FACE VALUE: Nominal value given to legal tender coins, which are valued or sold for their metal content. For example: the 1-oz Gold American Eagle bullion coin carries a $50 face value but sells for the value of its gold content plus a premium of 5% to 8%.

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TOLA BARS: Gold bars, from India, are often measured in Tolas, the most popular of which is the 10-tola cast bar (3.75 troy oz). Although manufactured in Europe, Tola bars are traded primarily in the Middle East, India, Pakistan, and Singapore. A unit of weight of India is equal to 180 grains or 0.375 troy ounce (11.7 grams).

TROY OUNCE: A unit weight equal to about 1.1 ordinary or avoirdupois ounces. The word ounce when applied to gold, always refers to troy ounces.

TROY OUNCE: A measure of weight. A Troy ounce is different from the ounce most Americans are accustomed to (the Avoirdupois ounce). There are 12 Troy ounces in a Troy pound, and one Troy ounce is equivalent to 1.333 Avoirdupois ounces. So, if you buy one pound or twelve Troy ounces of gold, don't expect it to weigh in at one pound on your bathroom scale, because it won't. One troy ounce equals 31.1035 grams or 480 grains. One troy ounce equals 1.09711 avoirdupois ounce.

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UNALLOCATED (STORAGE): Unallocated storage happens when the depository storing the precious metals stores all similar types of precious metal products together without respect for the particular individual owner. The accountholder owns a balance that is stated in ounces rather than in specific products.

UNCIRCULATED: A coin in new or unused condition, sometimes said to be "Brilliant Uncirculated" or BU The term is often used interchangeably with Mint State

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VERMEIL: Gold plating on another metal - usually silver.

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