Posted on April 20, 2022
Gold bullion rounds are a unique investment proposition that combines some of the characteristics of gold coins and gold bars, the two most common forms of gold bullion. Though lesser known than coins and bars, gold rounds can be an excellent addition to any gold collection.
Like all types of gold bullion, gold rounds are a reliable store of value and hedge against inflation. Whether you’re a veteran gold collector or a first-time buyer, it’s crucial to understand how to buy gold bullion rounds to get the most out of your investment. We’ll lay it all out for you here. Let’s get started!
Gold bullion is physical gold of a high purity level, such as coins, rounds, and bars. We differentiate between “bullion” and collectible gold based on one simple consideration: the value of gold bullion is in its weight and purity of the metal. Other factors, like rarity, popularity, and condition, simply aren’t major considerations.
Bullion rounds are disc-shaped pieces of bullion that look like and feel like coins. Unlike coins, bullion rounds are not official government currency and therefore do not have a face value because they. Gold rounds are nearly always issued by a private (non-government) refiner or mint. But sometimes they aren’t!
When an official government mint makes a gold round that doesn’t have a face value, it’s called a “medal.” (So when you see coin collectors discussing “U.S. Mint medals,” don’t get these confused with military decorations.)
The best options for buying gold bullion rounds are looking for those made by the top gold refiners. That’s right, no surprise here – the same companies that produce the most popular gold bars also are behind the top gold rounds.
Some examples include the 1 oz Valcambi or Argor-Heraeus gold round, Canada’s Scotiabank series, and any of the Lady Liberty gold rounds. Generally speaking, the selection of gold bullion rounds available at any given time won’t be as varied as gold bullion coins, so you may have to take what you can get when you're shopping.
The notable difference between gold bullion rounds and gold bullion coins is that coins are produced exclusively by government mints and have a face value, even though it’s an absurdly low face value. More importantly, though, a gold coin has the imprimatur of the nation that minted it. Even today, many people trust government-minted gold coins more than they trust other forms of gold bullion – and that trust is often reflected in the price.
On the other hand, gold rounds are coin-shaped but typically only worth their melt value and can be made by any mint or refiner. They’re sometimes as ornate and beautiful as government-issued gold coins, other times not much more than a refiner’s logo stamped on a disc of gold.
When they’re available, gold rounds also offer a lower premium over spot price than gold coins, meaning you get more gold for your dollar when buying rounds. For example, looking over our product history, I see the last time we stocked both a Valcambi 1 oz gold round and a 1 oz bullion gold eagle; the round cost $50 less. That’s a 2.55% savings per ounce of gold.
Gold rounds have nearly all the same qualities as gold bars, with the only real difference being the shape; rounds are round, while bars are rectangular. Gold rounds sometimes come sealed with assay cards, straight from the refiner or mint.
Gold rounds come in various sizes, though the 1 oz round is the most common. It’s also the largest you’re liable to find.
Other options include 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/2 oz, with rarer fractional round sizes available in as little as 10 g, 5 g, 1/25 oz (1.244 g), 1 g, and even 1/2 g.
Remember, though, this bullion-buyer’s rule of thumb: the lighter the weight, the higher the premium. That’s not always true, but almost always.
There are a couple of choices you have when buying gold bullion rounds. First, you have to decide if you want to buy in person or online. Buying gold bullion rounds in person entails visiting a coin store, pawnshop, or bullion auction.
But, brick-and-mortar locations have high overhead, so they generally charge more. And they have limited inventory, which means they’re generally unlikely to have gold rounds in stock when you stop by.
Most mints and refiners simply don’t sell bullion directly to the public. Instead, they rely on a network of dealers to handle this for them.
Gold rounds can also be purchased on the internet from bullion dealers, private sellers, and auction sites like eBay. But you risk being a victim of fraud– either by receiving counterfeit goods or a misrepresented item.
Since gold bullion rounds are not nearly as common or recognizable as coins, many buyers prefer purchasing gold rounds from reputable online dealers like BullionMax. Plus, you’ll receive the best pricing since we buy in bulk directly from the source (the refiner) and don’t have to pay for a fancy storefront (our office is a warehouse).
Buying gold rounds isn’t as simple as choosing a product and paying for it. Before purchasing gold rounds, you should consider other vital factors, like the price over spot, shipping, insurance, and storage.
Regardless of which gold bullion product you buy, you’ll have to pay a premium over the spot price of gold. Knowing the current spot price and calculating the premium over the spot price you’ll pay is an important consideration when buying gold bullion. Remember the rule of thumb we mentioned above! But don’t worry too much about it if, say, a 1 gram gold round is the most you can afford. (Unless you can save up another few weeks and buy a 5 gram round instead.)
Another cost you need to account for in your purchase is the price of shipping. While some online dealers like BullionMax offer free shipping on orders over $199, others charge varying amounts for delivery. Either way, be sure to factor the shipping cost into your investment.
Once you’ve purchased your bullion, you’re responsible for safeguarding your investment. Gold rounds should always be protected against unexpected losses, making insurance an absolute necessity. While insurance is crucial, it doesn’t cover all losses – so save your receipts, document your purchases, and triple-check your insurance policies to make absolutely sure you’re covered.
Gold rounds require proper storage, which means buying a home safe, using a precious metals depository, or storing them in a bank safe deposit box.
With so many gold rounds on the market, making a purchasing decision can be difficult. To help you, we've outlined some important considerations you should have when buying gold bullion rounds.
The first step in choosing gold rounds is to decide which rounds you want to buy. Smaller denominations may be best if you want to barter in an emergency situation. If you’re seeking a hedge against inflation and the lowest possible premium over spot, larger rounds are a more appealing option.
Price and availability can change by the minute, so when you’re ready to buy, make sure you can purchase the rounds you want and pay a fair price.
Once you know what you’re looking for, choose a seller or online bullion dealer with a strong reputation. Conducting research online and reading consumer reviews can help you find a trustworthy seller.
If you need to spend a minimum amount to qualify for free shipping, consider if it’s possible to combine two orders into one to save on costs. Shipping should also include appropriate packaging to secure your rounds and prevent damage and theft.
Store your newly-acquired gold rounds in a home safe, precious metals depository, or bank safe deposit box. Ensure you have insurance before your gold arrives, so you know it’s always protected.