While gold bars come in a variety of sizes, the “standard” gold bar weighs about 28 pounds or 400 troy ounces. However, the weight also depends on how the gold bar was manufactured: cast or minted. Cast bars are generally cheaper and don’t have the same purity standards that minted gold bars have.
Gold has been used in trade and commerce for centuries. Since the advent of international standardizations and national gold reserve regulations, the way gold bars are produced, stored, and traded has changed significantly. Gold’s yellowish glowing brilliance makes it an alluring metal for use in jewelry, and its resistance to corrosion makes it an exceptional metal for long-lasting electronics.
Many people are familiar with this precious metal because of the gold bars portrayed in movies. Are these bars as heavy as the movies make them out to be? Is there such a thing as a standard gold bar? If so, how much do standard gold bars weigh? This article considers the manufacturing process of different types of gold bars today, various international standards regulating the gold market, and what gold bars weigh in various sizes.
Different types of gold bars
Depending on the manufacturing process, gold bars are generally classified into two types: cast gold bars (or bricks) and minted gold bars. These two types of gold bars have distinct characteristics as well as varying price ranges due to manufacturing techniques and end product quality.
Understanding the differences in the manufacturing processes can also help to understand how gold bar weight can vary slightly depending on how its produced. Here is a brief description of how both cast and minted gold bars are manufactured.
Cast gold brick
The first step in making a cast bar or brick of gold involves making a mold for the molten metal to be poured into. The mold helps to ensure that the gold bars being formed are made in a conventional shape, size, and approximate weight. Next, the gold is liquidized by heating the precious metal to at least 1,948 degrees Fahrenheit and is poured into the mold. Once cooled, it’s removed from the mold and generally stamped with a serial number from the manufacturer.
Cast bars have a tendency to look more natural than other manufactured gold bars and generally have unique characteristics that can help to identify and differentiate one bar from another. Cast bars are easier to manufacture, and therefore, make them more economical. At the same time, the manufacturing process makes the exact weight somewhat approximate.
Minted bars of gold
Minted gold bars, which tend to be preferred among investors, are more common than cast bars. This radiant-looking, pristine bar has a manufacturing process that is more time-consuming and, therefore, generally more expensive than gold cast bars.
Since minted bars are manufactured to precise dimensions, the weights are more exact. If there are any imperfections or deformities, the bar is reprocessed until the imperfections are completely gone.
Bars by weight
When picturing a bar of gold, many people imagine them being about the size of a brick, like what’s often shown on television or in the movies. This promotes the idea that all gold bars are exactly alike. In reality, gold bars are available in many different sizes and weights, as the metal is a form of bullion (gold in bulk before coining, also called a gold ingot).
Each market (e.g. COMEX in New York, SGE in Shanghai, TOCOM in Tokyo) has its own rules and regulations for accepting gold bars. Some of these market regulations include specifications for mass tolerances, dimensions, markings, and even chemical composition. Hence, a gold bar accepted by one exchange may be rejected by another and can vary slightly in size or quality depending on the market it was bought from.
The following are descriptions of the most common sizes of gold bars by weight. Some bars may even be compared to everyday objects to help better understand what each one weighs.
- Small bars. Gold bars can come in very small sizes. One example is the 5-gram small bar, which weighs about as much as a grape. A 20-gram gold bar, which is only slightly larger, weighs in at about as much as a AA battery.
- Medium bars. If you were to purchase a medium size gold bar of 1.6 troy ounces, you’ll have purchased a gold bar weighing approximately as much as an egg. A somewhat larger medium bar of ten ounces would weigh approximately as much as a grapefruit.
- Large bars. Finally, large bars are likely most familiar. These are generally the ones depicted in movies. Larger gold bars weigh about 400 troy ounces or about 28lbs., roughly the weight of an average mountain bike.
What does the world’s largest gold bar weigh?
Standard gold bar (a.k.a. “Good Delivery” gold bar)
Standard gold bars, also known as “Good Delivery” gold bars, are names used for an internationally accepted trading standard. This standard is regulated by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and is in conjunction with their self-published standards entitled the Global Precious Metals Code (GPMC) and Good Delivery Rules (GDR). (Source)
This classification of gold bar weighs 400 troy ounces and is recognized internationally by many nations as the standard gold bar. The dimensions of this bar are 4.9 centimeters (1.92 inches) high, 21.8 cm (8.58 in) long, and 7.7 cm (3.03 in) wide. (Source)
One-kilogram gold bars (also named gold kilobars) are one of the most manufactured and traded gold bars internationally. Since one-kilo bars are smaller than standard gold bars, the price is significantly less per bar. Because of this, these bars are more popular among institutional and private investors as well as jewelry manufacturers and other industries.
According to International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard 24018:2020, each kilobar shall have a minimum mass of 1,000.00 kilograms and a maximum mass of 1,000.10 kilograms. To meet this standard, the bar must also be 100 mm to 120 mm (3.94 to 4.72 inches) in length, 47 mm to 56 mm (1.85 to 2.20 inches) in width, and 7 mm to 13 mm (0.26 to 0.51 inches) in thickness. (Source)
How heavy is gold?
Technically, gold has an atomic weight of 196.967 g/moL (this represents the molar mass, or the approximate weight of one atom). But for most of us, this number doesn’t describe weight in a way we would understand.
Let’s try it a different way. The denser a material is, the more it weighs. A gallon of water, for instance, weights about 8.3 pounds. Pure gold is 19.3 times denser than water and weighs around 160 pounds per gallon. So the next time you lift a gallon jug of water, imagine if it weighed as much as a person. That’s about the weight of gold. (Source)
What are troy ounces?
You’ve likely noticed the description “troy ounces” throughout this article. Troy ounce is a specific unit of measurement used to determine the weight of precious metals. This is a different unit of measurement than the standard system of measuring liquid or dry ounces that we use in everyday life.
According to the United States Mint, each gold bar contained in Fort Knox weighs approximately 400 troy ounces or 27.5 pounds. A troy ounce is about 10% heavier than the avoirdupois ounce (or standard U.S. ounce) and is the standard measurement of most precious metals. (Source)
How does someone invest in gold?
Investing in gold becomes very popular when stock markets become volatile. A common way many people invest in gold is by buying gold bullion bars. Often though, investors of gold do not only restrict themselves to the purchase of gold bars. These investors also invest in gold through exchange-traded funds or, at times, they buy stocks in gold mining companies. You can also invest in other precious metals this way.
If you’d like to start investing in gold, you may want to reach out to one of the investment advisors below.
How much does gold cost?
Gold prices (or the spot value) fluctuate regularly, but as of September 2022, Gold COMEX prices closed at $1,709.10 per troy ounce. (Source)
How much does a 24-karat bar of gold weigh?
When it comes to gold, karat (also spelled carat) is a measurement of how pure the gold is rather than how much it weighs. This increment of measurement should not be confused with the unit of measurement used to weigh gems, also called carat. One karat gold is only one twenty-fourth (1/24) pure, whereas 24-karat gold is totally pure (24/24). Therefore, without the gold bar’s size, it’s impossible to say how much a 24-karat bar of gold weighs. (Source)
How much is a gold bar worth today?
Depending on the size of the bar and the current market value (since the price of gold fluctuates), you can expect the range to be anywhere from $1,700 for a small one troy-ounce bar to over $700,000 for larger standard bars. More about gold bar prices here
- Gold bars come in a wide variety of different weights, purities, and sizes.
- There are two main ways of manufacturing gold bars: casting and minting.
- The weight of a gold bar is measured in troy ounces.
- The approximate weight of a standard gold bar is 400 troy ounces or 27.4 lbs.
View Article Sources
- About Good Delivery — London Bullion Market Association
- Precious Metal Investments — Arizona Corporation Commission
- Consumer Alert: Tips for avoiding investment and bullion product and precious metal scams — Minnesota Department of Commerce
- Fort Knox Bullion Depository — United States Mint
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