The gold bar, in books, films and plays, has come to symbolise the ultimate store of wealth. More than precious stones or piles of banknotes, this has become the visible manifestation of personal and national fortunes.
When did the gold bar first appear?
The gold bar in its modern, standardised form started to appear in the 18th Century. The Bank of England, guardian of the Gold Standard was setting sizes and purity requirements from the early Victorian period.
Gold bars in popular fiction
In the years since, gold bars have loomed large in popular culture, whether threatening to take Michael Caine and his fellow felons to the bottom of a ravine in The Italian Job (1969) or bankrolling a life of debauchery in Ian Fleming’s James Bond story Octopussy (1966).
Fleming also, of course, gave us Goldfinger, the 1959 novel filmed in 1964, about a plot to attack Fort Knox, the US army base that houses the country’s bullion depositary, and which has itself become synonymous with unimaginable wealth.
Gold bars are everywhere in popular fiction. By contrast, there is only one famous story purely about paper money - Mark Twain’s 1893 tale The Million Pound Bank Note.
Gold bars and conspiracy theories
Bullion bars have fuelled conspiracy theories, and claims of hidden stores of vast wealth left behind by defunct regimes which are awaiting discovery are plenty - from ‘Nazi gold’ supposedly stacked in concealed railway wagons, ‘the Tsar’s gold’ lurking in the vaults of the Bank of England, gold belonging to China’s pre-1949 nationalist government, to a cabal of bankers from 1920s Wall Street.
Own your own slice of the story
With gold bars ranging in size from 1g to 400oz, The Royal Mint offers everyone the opportunity to invest in gold, regardless of your budget.
One of the most convenient ways to invest in gold is through The Royal Mint’s DigiGold™ service, which allows buyers to spend as little as £20 to purchase part of a 400oz gold bar, which is held safely in The Royal Mint’s purpose-built storage facility, The Vault™. DigiGold™ customers are spared costly security and insurance arrangements, but although their gold never leaves The Vault™, it has their name on it. Additionally, anyone wishing to sell their gold can do so through The Royal Mint and their fair and transparent pricing system. Nevertheless, for some, the allure of actual, physical ownership of a gold bar, however small, is irresistible.
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