Gold and Silver Investment Terminology

Author: Lawrence Chard - Director and Expert Numismatist

Published: 14 Nov 2018

Last Updated: 8 Jun 2020


A list of abbreviations and definitions used in this guide and other investment literature...

AGW - Actual Gold Weight. In line with Krause, we usually quote the actual fine gold content of most coins in troy ounces. The price per troy ounce is the most widely quoted price for precious metals. To convert gross weight in grams to actual intrinsic gold content: Gross weight in grams/31.1035 = Gross weight in troy ounces. Gross weight in troy ounces x Fineness (alloy) = actual fine content in troy ounces.

Au - Au is the chemical symbol for gold, a yellow metallic element, and comes from the Latin word aurum meaning gold.

Bullion - This is a term used to describe precious metals, bought or sold, at or close to the intrinsic metal value.

Coin - An object, usually a piece of metal, often a flat disc, used as money.

Gross weight in troy ounces x Fineness (alloy) = actual fine content in troy ounces.

Investment Gold - According to HM Customs & Excise: Investment gold (other than investment gold coins) is defined as “gold of a purity not less than 995 thousandths that is in the form of a bar, or a wafer, of a weight accepted by the bullion markets”.

Intrinsic Value - The value of the metal contained within the coin.

Margin - The difference between the spot price and the buying or selling price, usually expressed as a percentage.

Premium - The percentage over and above the current gold value at which an item trades.

Spot Price - The spot price is the price that gold will sell for on the spot, that very day. The spot price can refer to the current price of gold per ounce, gram or kilo. Typically, however, spot gold is quoted in price per ounce using U.S. Dollars.

Spread - The difference between the buying price and the selling price.

XAU - XAU is the ISO 4217 currency code for gold, denoting one troy ounce of gold.

Further Reading

You may wish to view all of our articles on our gold guide.

You may wish to view all of our articles on our silver guide.

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