New vs. Secondhand

One of the first questions many new gold investors have is whether they should purchase their gold bars new or secondhand. There are both benefits and drawbacks of each. Your choice depends on your investment strategy and philosophy.

Shiny Gold Bars

New gold bars are nice and shiny. If you like to show off your gold investment, these are the way to go. They have not been handled by multiple collectors along the way, and you will receive them in the same state as the day they were minted. Free from scratches or other marks, they look brand new.

While wear does not affect the inherent value of the gold they contain, if you prize gold bars that are worthy of showing off or displaying, you may wish to avoid secondhand gold purchases. If the appearance of your gold bars is important to you, you’ll want to buy new bars.


By purchasing directly from the mint that produced the bars, you can rest assured that they are authentic. There is no middle-man, making it less likely that your gold bars have been switched with counterfeit bars at some point along the way. Most gold bars come with a certificate from the mint attesting to their authenticity.

However, this tends to be among the more expensive ways to purchase gold bars. Mints tend to have higher prices than dealers who specialize in gold bars and are able to operate with lower per-bar profits. Often, you can find better deals by buying bars that are a year or two older from a dealer offering secondhand gold bars.

Secondhand bars may not be as shiny, due to wear or oxidation occurring after they were minted. This wear does not impact the amount or value of the precious metal contained inside the bar. However, some investors may be willing to pay more for gold bars in good cosmetic shape – making new, undamaged gold bars a wise investment.

Often, you can find cheaper prices when buying secondhand gold bars. However, this is not always the case. For example, online gold dealers tend to carry new products and have competitive pricing thanks to reduced overhead. Secondhand bars are usually available from local coin dealers and pawn shops, who buy them from other collectors or investors, whereas most of the products carried by an online dealer come directly from the mints.

Assays and Certicards

Especially if you are purchasing secondhand gold bars, insist on Certicards or assay certificates to guarantee the gold contents of the bar. Assay certificates are frequently issued by the mint when the gold bar is released for sale in order to guarantee its precious metal content.

In many cases, the gold bar is sealed inside a protective plastic case, along with a Certicard to guarantee its gold purity. With recent examples of counterfeit bars containing tungsten plated with gold, it is more important than ever to ensure that you are buying pure gold bullion by insisting that your purchases include the original assay certificate or certicard, whether you are buying new or secondhand bars.