One ounce gold

C.Hafner: One ounce of gold in bar form © Own image

What is an ounce?

Basically, ounce is a unit of measurement of mass, indicated by the unit oz (from Italian "onza") and used mainly in Anglo-Saxon countries.

Today, the unit of measurement ounce is known in German-speaking countries mainly in connection with precious metals. However, this troy ounce (oz.tr.) is not to be confused with the "common ounce" (28.35g) or the liquid ounce (29.57cm3), as used for soft drinks or perfumes.

The weight of one troy ounce, 1 oz.tr. is equal to 31.1034768 g.

Originally, the designation comes from the Latin "Unica", which describes "one twelfth". Since the Romans did not use the decimal system, but the duodecimal system with the number 12 as a base, 1/12 was a common and practical subdivision. Today, the common ounce is still used as a unit in everyday life in some English-speaking countries, but only the "common ounce" with 28, 3495 grams.

The troy ounce - colloquially known as the "gold ounce" - on the other hand, corresponds to an apothecary ounce (1 oz.ap.), which also weighs 31.1034768 grams.

How many grams does an ounce weigh?

So we hold: one troy ounce weighs 31.1034768 grams. In the case of precious metals, however, only the actual precious metal content (fineness / carat) of a piece is used.

For pieces made of pure gold (24 carat - fineness 999.9), such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the 1 ounce coin then actually weighs exactly 31.103 grams. For coins with lower fineness, such as the 1 ounce Krugerrand coin, the total weight naturally differs. Since the Krugerrand 1 ounce consists only of 22 carat gold (fineness 916.67), the added 2.827 grams of copper are added to the 31.103 grams of fine gold, so that the coin weighs 33.93 grams.

How much is 1 ounce of gold worth?

The value of an ounce of gold is oriented by the LBMA Gold Price of the London Bullion Market Association. Here you can find the current value:

The current gold price
is loaded.

0,00  / kg

Previously, for almost 100 years, the international price of gold was determined by gold fixing in a back room of the Rothschild banking house in London. Representatives of the five bullion banks of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) determined the price of one ounce of gold in U.S. dollars from supply and demand twice a day. The Rothschild Bank in London was a founding member and for a long time the leading bank, which had its permanent seat on the committee until 2004.

However, the tradition of gold fixing came to an abrupt end in 2015 after serious circumstantial evidence was presented by studies proving manipulation of the gold price and subsequently some participating banks were sentenced to heavy fines.

This non-transparent system, which is no longer in keeping with the times, was replaced by a computer price determination system based on real transactions. The price determination still takes place twice a day according to the old tradition. However, due to the high volatility of the gold price, it is now common for traders to use the second-by-second gold spot, which corresponds to the current exchange price.

This LBMA gold price is the basis for worldwide trade. For coins and bars, the production and manufacturing costs are added to the gold price. For scrap gold trading, smelting and recycling costs must be added to this. For these reasons, the prices for gold coins, gold bars and scrap gold differ from each other.

How big is an ounce of gold?

A 1 oz gold coin is usually already quite a large coin. Thus, the 1 oz Maple Leaf has a diameter of 30mm, the somewhat thinner 1oz Vienna Philharmonic even 37mm. Thus, the Philharmonic is from the diameter about as large as a former 100 Schilling coin

Vienna Philharmonic 1 Ounce 100 Euro
Vienna Philharmonic EUR | 1 Ounce | Div. vintages | Gold coin 2.285,70 

How big is a 1oz bar of gold?

When people think of gold bars, they often have the massive bars from movies like James Bond or Die Hard in mind. In fact, gold bars are usually traded in much smaller units. Most good-delivery manufacturers start with gold bars weighing 1 gram.

Argor Heraeus Gold Bar 1 Ounce
Argor Heraeus | 1 Ounce | Gold Bar 2.272,60 

A 1g gold bar from the Austrian Mint, for example, measures about 15.0 x 8.7 x 0.5 mm, making it barely larger than a nano SIM card. A 1 oz gold bar from the manufacturer Argor Heraeus measures 40.4 x 23.3 x 1.8 mm. So about the size of a postage stamp.

1kg gold bar in size comparison with an iPhone
1kg gold bar in size comparison with an iPhone // © Gold&Co

And even a 1 kilo gold bar is much smaller than many imagine it to be.

A 1 KG cast bar of the Austrian Mint, for example, has dimensions of about 117.0 x 51.5 x 9.0mm. So it is smaller than an average smartphone.

Because different precious metals have different densities, 1 oz bars of gold, silver, platinum or palladium naturally differ in size from each other. A 1 oz silver bar is significantly larger than a 1 oz gold bar

Bars with 1 ounce in size comparison: platinum, gold, silver & palladium // © Gold&Co
400oz gold bar
400 oz gold bar // © Gold&Co

If you would like to hold a really big gold bar in your hands, as you know them from the movies, you can stop by the Money Museum of the Austrian National Bank.

There, visitors can lift a 400oz gold bar, or 11.3398 kilograms of pure gold.

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