Skip to content


Bar.  (1) An ingot of metal. Bars of precious metal are usually marked with weight, fineness and some symbol of authority or ownership. After processing to remove all impurities, the pure metal is poured into molds, forming cast ingots. The markings – weight, fineness, processor, sometimes a serial number – are applied by driving punches into the surface. They are intended to preclude the assaying and weighing at every transaction.

Two types of bars were formerly issued by U.S. mints and assay offices – certificate bars and commercial bars. Certificate bars are large 400 troy ounces (12.4 kg or 438.9 ounces) – the kind of gold bars in Fort Knox --and are seldom desired by industrial users. Commercial gold bars range in smaller sizes. Silver bars range in size from 10 to 1000 ounces.

Coined bars are struck on a coining press, have a prescribed weight, usually in multiples of grains or ounces (as a 1000-grain or a one-ounce) and were a popular collecting fad beginning in the 1970s. Such coined pieces were called art bars and were, in effect, bullion medals.

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

NNP is 100% non-profit and independent // Your feedback is essential and welcome. // Your feedback is essential and welcome.