If you are considering owning physical gold, the most economical method is almost always going to be the gold bar. The gold bar price will generally include a small markup above and beyond the metal’s value. But the markup for a gold bar will almost always be less than that associated with other forms of physical gold. Coins, for example, will generally have a numismatic value associated with them. While you will, in theory, receive that numismatic value when you sell the coin, you will also have to pay that numismatic value when you buy. In short, the value of the investment is dependent upon something other than the intrinsic value of the gold. A gold bar price, on the other hand, will not be dependent upon these external factors.
Therefore, owning a gold bar is the most direct way to invest in physical gold. The value of your investment is always the same as the gold bar price, which is always almost the same as the published value of the gold.
There is sometimes reluctance to consider investing in gold bars, because of the perception that the minimum investment is huge. When people think of “gold bars”, they think of the large bricks stored in Fort Knox, and very few individual investors would ever be able to afford the gold bar price of such a huge quantity of gold. Indeed, gold bars are available in even larger sizes, as large as one tonne (1000 kg). But what most investors don’t realize is that gold bars are available in much smaller sizes, as small as 50 grams. When one realizes this, the gold bar is a much more obvious investment. Even small investors, or investors adding to their existing physical gold stocks, can easily add small investments, but still have the assurance of knowing that they own genuine gold bars.