Umicore Gold Bars
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Umicore Gold Bar
Umicore gold bar - 999.9 fine. Minted, 100 grams
Umicore Precious Metals Refining, a division of Umicore SA, is a gold refiner and manufacturer of gold bars in Hoboken, near Antwerp, Belgium. The company has a long history which can be traced back to 1805, however the company only began to use the name 'Umicore' in 2001. Previous names include Métallurgique Hoboken, Usine de Désargentation and Métallurgie Hoboken-Overpelt. The company now known as Umicore has been accredited in the LBMA as a gold bullion manufacturer since around 1930, being on the first list of "accredited melters" issued in 1934. Umicore now has over 17,000 employees globally. 
Umicore has refineries and gold bar manufacturing plants in Hoboken (Belgium), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Pforzheim (Germany) and Vienna (Austria), of which the first three are LBMA accredited. In addition to gold bars, the company creates other gold products, including for the electronics, dental, jewelry and coin industries.  Umicore also produces bullion bars in other precious metals, for example palladium bullion bars at 999.5 purity and silver bullion bars at 999 purity.
In 2003 Umicore acquired Degussa AG precious metals, and issued Degussa branded gold bullion bars until 2005. 
Umicore is one of several recognized and established brands of gold bullion bar currently seen in the world of investments. Gold bullion bars have several potential advantages as assets - one being that gold is a highly liquid commodity, easily exchanged at the current market rate. Branded bullion bars are recognized globally and can be exchanged worldwide. Another potential advantage of gold is that it is considered a strong "hedge" against inflation and has been seen to perform relatively well in high inflation scenarios.  Hence the surge of interest in gold at times when faith in paper money has been challenged.
Umicore Minted (Pressed) Gold Bar Sizes
The range of Umicore minted bars, introduced in 2006, includes the following sizes:
100g (55 x 31 x 3.2mm)
50g (46 x 26 x 2.3mm)
20g (39 x 22 x 1.3mm)
10g (31 x 18 x 1.0mm)
5g (24 x 14 x 0.9mm)
2.5g (24 x 14 x 0.5mm)
1g (15 x 8.5 x 0.5mm)
1ozt (42 x 24 x 1.7mm) 
All the Umicore minted bars are manufactured at 999.9 purity.
Prior to 2006, the bars were manufactured bearing the names Societe Generale Metallurgique de Hoboken (1926-1964), Hoboken Metallurgie (1964-1970), Metallurgie Hoboken Overpelt (1970-1990) and Hoboken 9999 (1990-2006). 
Umicore Cast Gold Bar Sizes
In Europe, Umicore's range of cast gold bars includes: 400 oz ("good delivery"), 1000g, 500g and 250g. However, since 2006 the LBMA-accredited Umicore Brasil Ltda has manufactured what are agreed to be the smallest cast gram bars, its full range including bars at 1000g, 250g, 100g, 50g, 25g and 10g. The diminutive 10 gram bar measures just 17.1 x 10.3 x 4.3 mm - and it's incredible to think that this small gold chip has a gold value of over $500 in 2012. As with the minted bars, all the Umicore cast bars are manufactured at 999.9 purity. 
Purchasing Umicore Gold Bars
Umicore gold bullion bars are readily available through gold bullion dealers both physical and online - for example through amsterdamgold.com. Want to buy a "Good Delivery Bar"? Amsterdamgold even offer the spectacular "Good Delivery Bar" through their web site, as a tax-free investment commodity! The bar, weighing around 400 oz or 12.5 kg, is described as newly poured and in the original packaging. The option is available for direct storage of the bar, however the serious investor may wish to take delivery - or even pick up in person - for the ultimate in "tangible asset ownership". Umicore good delivery bars are a highly liquid commodity, being tradeable at a professional bullion trading organization "without requiring further analysis".  However, be sure you have a cool 516,085 Euros in ready funds (June 2012), and quite possibly some provenance as to how the funds were obtained, before you hit that "Add to cart" button....
Umicore Gold Bars - References:
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