Jargon Buster

Gold Jargon Buster, gold terminology, gold terms, gold definitions, silver terminology

A – B

A mixture of two or more metals. Metals such as silver, nickel, copper and zinc are frequently mixed with gold to improve its hardness and/or change its colour.

Actual gold coins or bars which are specifically allocated to a particular investor. This presents a huge safety advantage over owning an electronic percentage of a huge bar with many other investors.

An analysis of a metal used to determine its purity. A series of assays can be run to determine the alloys in the metal as well.

The chemical symbol for silver with atomic number 47.

The chemical symbol for gold which is derived from “aurum”, the Latin word for gold.

British Numismatic Trade Association

The Britannia is the British one ounce gold or silver coin, first produced in 1987.

Brilliant Uncirculated, used to describe a coin in new condition. The same pristine condition as when it left the mint.

The Buffalo is the American one ounce 24 karat gold coin, first produced in 2006.

A market in which the primary trend is up.

Precious metals in bulk form which are traded are known as bullion. Bullion can come in the form of bars or minted into coins.

A coin with a symbolic face value whose market value is determined only by its inherent precious metal content.


C – G

A capital gains tax (CGT) is a tax charged on the profit realised on the sale of certain assets that were purchased at a lower price. The most common capital gains are realized from the sale of bonds, stocks, and property. There is no Capital Gains Tax (CGT) to pay when a UK resident sells British legal tender coins at a profit. This contrasts with many alternative investments that attract income or capital gains tax. Therefore an investor gets to keep all their profit, which further enhances returns.

See Karat

A “certified” gold coin is encapsulated in a tamper-proof, sonically-sealed, high security hard plastic holder, with a unique certification number and bar-code permanently sealed inside each coin capsule for the protection of the investor.

A useful physical asset whose value is based on its commercial use and scarcity.

A design found on a coin. Frequently it is the bust or profile of a person who symbolizes a particular country at a particular time in history or a country’s coat of arms or insignia.

An engraved metal tool used to strike or stamp the design on a coin.

How many individual elements a precious metals allocation consists of. It is deemed to have more divisibilty to hold 10 x 1 ounze gold bars than 1 x 10 ounce bar

The legal monetary value stamped on a coin.

The open area or background on a coin.

The purity of a precious metal measured in 1,000 parts of an alloy: a gold bar of .995 fineness contains 995 parts gold and 5 parts of another metal.

The metallic weight of a coin, ingot, or bar, as opposed to the item’s gross weight which includes the weight of the alloying metal.

The Eagle is the American one ounce 22 karat gold coin, first issued in 1986.

The amount of silver you can buy with the same money it costs to buy one ounce of gold at any given point in time based on their spot prices. So a ratio of 85 would mean that 1 ounce of gold would buy 85 ounces of silver.

A monetary system based on convertibility into gold; paper money backed and interchangeable with gold.


H – M

The value of a coin’s metal content.

A piece of silver with purity of less than 90%.

From the Greek word “keration”, meaning carob bean, the term karat is now used to indicate the proportion of gold relative to other substances within a metallic material. One karat is equivalent to a fraction of one twenty-fourth. Gold purity can also be quoted in thousandths, with 24-Karat gold referring to around 999 thousandths. The typical gold bar will have a minimum of 23.88 Karats (or 995 thousandths), and the minimum gold content required to mint any marketable gold coin is 21.6 Karats, or 900 thousandths.

The Krugerrand is the South African one ounce 22 karat gold coin, first produced in 1967.

Currency in specified denominations which you could use as payment. Legal tender coins have a face value (ie Britannia £100) but the gold content is far more valuable than the amount written on it.

The ease in which an asset can be turned into cash.

Twice daily bidding sessions in London of five major gold firms, at which the price of gold is “fixed” or set.

A shiny appearance on the surface of a coin, usually an uncirculated coin.

The Maple Leaf is the Canadian one ounce 24 karat gold coin, first produced in 1979.

The price at which a coin or bullion item trades.

The mintmark is a letter or symbol on a coin that identifies where that particular coin was produced.


N – Z

The Nugget is the Australian one ounce 24 karat gold coin, first produced in 1986.

Coins whose prices depend more on their rarity, condition, dates, and mint marks than on their gold content alone.

A collector and student of money, especially coins. Numismatic refers to coins of a more historical and collectible nature.

Obverse is the front of a coin, usually consisting of the image of one or more people. The reverse is the rear of the coin which often features a picture or design.

Ownership of gold or silver which isn’t tangible. Examples are Electronic Traded Funds (ETFs), mining shares, precious metals funds.

The Philharmonic is the Austrian one ounce 24 karat gold coin, first produced in 1989.

Real gold and silver which can be touched and held. Common forms are bars, coins and jewellery.

An arrangement whereby the investor’s precious metals are held by a third party and mixed in with those of other investors. It is common practise for pooled accounts to actually contain less precious metals than it should.

The additional cost of a gold or silver coin or bullion over and above the spot gold/silver price, including the costs of fabrication, and distribution. Rare coins carry an additional premium called numismatic value which is based on scarcity, quality, demand and intangible factors.

Each Proof coin is carefully inspected throughout the manufacturing process to make sure that only perfect specimens are issued. Proof coins are usually of limited issue, and often have employ different minting techniques to produce a highly polished mirror finish to the field (background) and a matt finish to the raised features.

Bullion coins that have not been certified or encapsulated

A safe haven asset is where people typically invest in times of political turbulence or uncertainty. Gold is known as the ultimate safe haven.

Your gold/silver coins or bars are kept apart from other investor’s precious metals. Just as importantly the gold/silver does not fall onto the balance sheet of either the dealer or the storage facility. This means that in the event of either another investor, the dealer, or indeed the storage company itself going bankrupt, your precious metals are fully protected and cannot be touched by creditors.

A Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) is a UK retirement plan offering the investor the widest possible choice of investments. Investors are able to obtain a discount of up to 50% through tax relief as gold bullion is the only commodity to qualify for a SIPP.

The Sovereign is a British coin weighing 0.2354 oz and was first produced in 1489.

The difference between the bid and ask price (ie the price where we would buy or sell the gold/silver).

A standard of silver defined by law as 925 parts pure silver per 1000 parts overall. Sterling silver is the principal standard in the UK and USA.

The standard weight in which gold and silver are quoted in the international market, weighing 31.1035g.

A tax added to certain products and services at sale. The percentage is currently 20%. There is no VAT to pay when you buy investment grade gold coins or bars. This is a great advantage over silver and platinum, both of which generally attract VAT. You’re now able to also buy physical silver through Physical Gold Ltd without being charged VAT.