Buyer Beware: Fake Gold! – Top 5 Best Mints for Gold Bullion


J.B. Maverick has over 17 years of experience as an active trader. He is a former commodity futures broker and stock market analyst.




Buyer Beware: Fake Gold! – Top 5 Best Mints for Gold Bullion
Buyer Beware: Fake Gold! – Top 5 Best Mints for Gold Bullion


Millions of gold buyers have been burned by buying fake gold bullion. This article will show you how to avoid becoming one of them.

Crooks and con artists are always quick to take advantage of hot trends. And one of the hottest trends these days is consumers buying gold. Therefore, it should be no surprise that gold buying scams are on the rise. Buying phony gold is a problem that’s so widespread in China – the world’s biggest physical gold market - that it’s become a major story in the world of gold investing.

Chinese consumers are buying up gold at about the same record pace as China’s central bank, which is the biggest gold buyer in the world. In 2023, Chinese consumer demand for gold jewelry alone soared by approximately 10%, up to more than 600 tons. In comparison, US consumers were a distant third (behind 2nd place India), only buying a little more than 100 tons of gold jewelry.

The Chinese citizenry snaps up gold in every possible form of jewelry, coins, and bullion. In the same way that individuals in the West might deposit a few dollars out of every paycheck into a savings account, people in China regularly set aside part of their weekly income to buy more gold. One-gram gold “beans” that sell for around $70 US are a popular purchase among Chinese citizens earning only low to modest incomes. One of the hottest discussion topics on Chinese social media is about how to steadily accumulate gold.

The Problem of Fake Gold

Among the most avid gold buyers are Chinese Gen Z-ers. The percentage of this population group regularly purchasing gold has skyrocketed from just 16% in 2016 to approximately 65% in 2024. However, this ever-growing appetite for gold has given rise to several fake gold scams being perpetrated by some retailers of gold jewelry and bullion.

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Unfortunately, these Gen Z buyers of gold aren’t sophisticated investors, which makes them vulnerable to fraud. To their horror, many Chinese gold buyers who scratched down into bars of gold bullion they’d bought have found that their gold bullion, rather than being solid gold, was actually nothing more than a bar of copper (or some other cheap, industrial metal) that was only overlaid with gold. The same problem has been found with retail sales of gold coins and jewelry.

The problem of fake gold isn’t limited to China. It regularly crops up all across the globe. Fake gold bars have been sold by online dealers, local retailers, and flea market vendors. And the victims of phony gold scams aren’t only unsophisticated investors. Worse yet, investors often find that they have little to no remedy for their losses. The retailer who sold an individual fake gold may have been a victim of fraud themselves, unaware that they were selling phony bullion, having bought a large amount from some dealer who seems to have vanished without a trace.

So, how can you protect yourself from becoming a victim of fake gold?

How to Protect Yourself from Buying Fake Gold

It’s easy enough to protect yourself from buying fake gold. First, you should only purchase gold from one of three sources: 

  1. A widely-respected, trusted mint/refinery
  2. A trustworthy Gold IRA company
  3. Precious metals dealers or retailers, whether online or local stores, that are well-established and that have a spotless reputation – and that operate with a guaranteed return policy – It’s easy enough to check out reviews of gold bullion dealers online, so there’s no excuse for not doing it

While you might find a good deal sometimes, and while most of the sellers are perfectly honest, it’s still risky to buy from online auction websites such as eBay. And you certainly don’t want to be buying your gold from some flea market vendor whom you know nothing about, and who will be long gone by this time next week.

Second, only purchase gold bullion bars that are minted by a well-known, well-respected minter. Buying gold bullion is usually a sizeable investment. For example, one 10-ounce bar of gold, with just a 5% premium markup over the spot price, will set you back around $25,000. Therefore, you want to always take care to make sure that you’re buying the genuine article – pure, solid gold – and that both the purity and weight of your gold bullion bar are as advertised. The best way to ensure the safety and quality of your investment in gold bullion is to buy gold that’s produced by one of the world’s recognized top refiners.

Top 5 Best Mints for Gold Bullion

There are several minters/refiners of gold and silver bullion bars and coins that have been around for decades and that have “solid gold” reputations as trustworthy producers of precious metals bullion products.

The best mints are big on transparency and on certifying the authenticity of the gold and silver bullion bars that they make. Along with the minter’s official stamp, all of their products are normally clearly imprinted with the bar’s weight and purity.

The following are our top five best mints to buy gold bullion from – three are official government mints and two are highly respected private mints:

  1. The Royal British Mint
  2. The Perth Mint
  3. The Royal Canadian Mint
  4. Pamp Suisse
  5. Asahi Refining

The Royal British Mint

The Royal British Mint, the official government mint of the United Kingdom, dates its origin all the way back to the year 886. Its illustrious history includes several historic landmarks in the currency world. For example, in 1663, the mint introduced the production of machine-struck coins, which was a major technological innovation at the time. The Royal Mint is noteworthy for the advanced anti-counterfeiting measures it has developed for the coins and bullion that it produces, such as micro-engravings and extremely complex designs.

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In addition to the gold and silver bullion bars that it mints, the Royal British Mint has produced several coin series – including the Gold Britannia, Silver Britannia, and Sovereign Gold coins – that are very popular with investors. It mints 9999 fine gold bullion bars in sizes from one gram to one kilogram. Each bar is stamped with a unique serial number. Design elements, such as the classic Britannia image, enhance authenticity and increase investors’ desire to have some Royal Mint gold in their vaults. Gold bullion from the Royal British Mint is accredited by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and considered highly liquid and tradable in the worldwide precious metals market.

999 fine silver bars are minted in a variety of sizes up to one kilogram. Among the most popular silver bullion bars are the one-ounce and 10-ounce bars.

The Royal Mint offers a very unique Signature Gold program that is designed to make gold investing more accessible to more investors. The program enables small investors to buy fractional shares of a 400-ounce gold bar that is stored by the Mint in its vaults. Purchasers can sell back their shares to the Mint at current market prices, at any time.

The Perth Mint

The Perth Mint is the official mint of Australia, and a favorite among gold and silver investors. It mints a wide variety of gold and silver coins and bullion bars. The Perth Mint distinguishes itself from many other government mints by also manufacturing a large selection of attractive gold, silver, and diamond jewelry.

Although independent now, when the Perth Mint was founded in 1899, it was originally a colonial branch of the Royal British Mint.

Among the mint’s most popular products are the Kangaroo, Kookaburra, and Koala bullion coin series. The Perth Mint prides itself on staying on the cutting edge of technology, utilizing processes such as laser engraving to produce very high-quality bullion and coins.

Ever the innovator, looking to distinguish itself from the competition, the Perth Mint has actually trained kangaroos to serve as sales clerks in the on-site precious metals shop that it operates. (Nahhhh – that’s not true – I just made that up. But, admit it – you were getting excited, thinking about going there to see kangaroos running the shop, weren’t you? – Hey, I would be, too!)

The mint produces gold bullion in sizes from one gram to one kilogram, and silver bullion in sizes from one ounce to 1,000 ounces. Gold bars have a purity of .9999; silver bars, .999. Every bullion bar has a unique serial number, is stamped with purity and weight, and is issued in tamper-resistant packaging, thus, offering enhanced security for investors. Gold and silver bars minted by Perth incorporate attractive design elements, such as the Perth Mint’s iconic logo and kangaroo images, making them desired by both investors and collectors.

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In addition to the regular selection of gold and silver bullion that the mint offers, it also produces occasional, limited-edition commemorative bullion bars that celebrating particular events or themes.

The Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint was established in 1908. In addition to minting the official Canadian coinage, it has expanded its product line over the years to include a wide selection of bullion bars and coins, minted of gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

Royal Canadian Mint products are noteworthy for the mint’s innovative technology and for being produced with advanced security features, such as laser-engraved micro-text (whatever that is). Among the achievements that have raised the Royal Canadian Mint’s profile among gold investors worldwide is its 2007 minting of the world's first 100 kg .99999 pure gold bullion coin.

Canadian Maple Leafs, produced in gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, are all popular bullion coins with investors.

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The Royal Canadian Mint's bullion bar offerings include gold and silver bars in sizes ranging from one ounce to 1000 ounces, in .9999 purity. Every bar is certified for quality and purity in accord with international bullion market standards. Bullion bars are marked with individual serial numbers, stamped mint marks, and a variety of designs.

The mint produces both regular gold and silver bullion, along with limited-edition commemorative bars that typically note significant national historical events.

Pamp Suisse

Founded in 1977, Pamp (Produits Artistiques Métaux Précieux) Suisse is among the most prestigious private mints in the world, located in – where else? – Switzerland. It produces a large collection of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium bullion bars and coins.

Pamp Suisse is recognized for the intricate designs that it stamps onto its products, the consistent purity and quality of its bullion, and for incorporating advanced security measures, such as its proprietary Veriscan® technology, used to verify that gold bullion bars are solid gold, all the way through.

The mint’s strict quality controls ensure that each bar adheres to precise purity and weight specifications. The exceptionally high quality of PAMP Suisse bullion products has garnered for the mint accreditation by the Swiss Federal Bureau governing precious metals, and certification by major global commodity exchanges.

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Gold and silver (as well as platinum and palladium) bullion bars are available in sizes from one gram to one kilogram. The unique designs that decorate Pamp Suisse bullion bars (such as the “Lady Fortuna” design, shown in the middle of the image above) make them highly sought by investors and collectors alike. (Where else can you get a “Lunar Rat” bar of silver?)

Each bullion bar is individually serial-numbered, features the Pamp Suisse logo, and comes with a “Certificate of Authenticity”.

Collectibles minted by Pamp honor various historical events, characters, or themes, and rank among the most unique bullion bar designs, including – 

  • A one-ounce silver coin that is shaped and colored to look like a Fender guitar
  • A “Willy Wonka golden ticket” five-gram gold bar
  • A Laughing Buddha five-gram good luck gold bar
  • A “Superstar Barbie” one-ounce silver coin
  • A 1.5-ounce silver roulette wheel spinning coin (my personal favorite, as I’m an inveterate casino gambler)

Pamp Suisse’s minting industry innovations and awards are numerous. It was the first minter to engineer premium quality colorization of bullion bars and coins. Pamp was also the first mint to offer hangers for wearing its bullion pendants.

Pamp Suisse states on its website, “A testament to our high-quality standards and industry-wide reputation, MKS PAMP is one of only three refineries worldwide designated as ‘Referee’ by both the London Bullion Market Association and the London Platinum and Palladium Market (LPPM). MKS PAMP is the world’s most accredited refiner and fabricator of precious metals…the only refinery in the world to simultaneously hold ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 17025, ISO 45001, and SA 8000 accreditations”.

The widespread recognition and respect that Pamp Suisse products enjoy among precious metals investors gives them added liquidity and value.

Asahi Refining

The other private bullion mint on our list is Asahi Refining. Asahi is a Japanese company that produces gold, silver, palladium, and platinum bullion bars and coins at multiple international facilities, including two refineries located in North America.

Asahi, like Pamp Suisse, enjoys a sterling reputation for both quality and innovation. It was founded in Tokyo in 1952, but rose to the forefront of precious metals refining when it acquired the gold and silver refining business of the prestigious British firm, Johnson Matthey. It now mints products that serve investment, jewelry, and industrial metals markets.

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Asahi’s gold and silver bullion bars are accredited by both the London Bullion Market Association and the COMEX exchange in the US. Its gold bullion bar offerings range in size from one gram all the way up to 400 ounces. Silver bars come in various sizes between one and 1,000 ounces. Asahi bullion bars are imprinted with the Asahi logo, the bar’s serial number, and its weight and purity (fine gold 9999; fine silver 999). Popular silver bullion coin designs include dragons, buffalos, Christmas trees, and the Statue of Liberty.

Asahi is a member of the International Precious Metals Institute (IPMI), the Responsible Jewellery Council, and the Tokyo Commodity Exchange.

Top 5 Best Mints for Gold Bullion – Summary

Gold and silver bullion bars represent a great way to invest in physical precious metals. One advantage of investing in bullion is that it’s typically offered for sale at a lower premium over spot prices, as compared to gold or silver coins.

But just imagine that you thought you had 100 ounces of gold, worth nearly a quarter of a million dollars, only to find out that you actually just had 100 ounces of copper with a thin gold overlay, only worth about $300.

Don’t become a victim of fake gold!

When buying gold, you want to be absolutely sure that you’re getting what you’re paying for – pure, solid gold. The best way to purchase safely and with confidence is to only buy gold bullion that’s produced by a trusted mint, whether an official government mint or a private one. And only buy from either the mint itself, a trustworthy dealer, or a reliable Gold IRA company. You can sleep peacefully at night over your hoard of gold if it’s stocked with products from any of the top 5 best mints for gold bullion covered in this article. Each one offers its own unique products, with attractive designs.

Buying the products of minters such as Pamp Suisse or the British Royal Mint does more than ensure that the weight and purity of your gold bullion bars are as advertised. Because their bullion products are recognized and sought after by investors worldwide, it also gives you an investment in gold that’s more liquid, easily tradeable in the global gold market.

Note: Gold and silver bullion dealers frequently offer sales on various products. Therefore, it’s a good idea to shop around a bit in order to get the best available price on specific gold or silver bullion bars. And once you’ve found a dealer you like buying from, check their website regularly to help make sure that you don’t miss out on any great sales promotions that they may be running. Most dealers also offer discounts for buying larger amounts of gold or silver, so you may want to consider saving up to buy a five-ounce bar rather than a one-ounce bar.

  • J.B. Maverick


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