THE GLITTER OF A GREAT COLLECTION
9 JUNE TO 4 AUGUST 2016
GOLD MAKES HISTORY
Gold is as ancient as the Book of Genesis which mentioned
the land of Havilah which was abundant with the precious
metal. Similarly, in ancient India the Vedas texts stated that
the incarnation of the Creator himself, Brahma, was born
out of a golden egg. It was, almost certainly, the first metal
known to human beings, who were most likely attracted by
it glistening among the gravel in old river beds.
5’000 years ago, Egyptian hieroglyphics made frequent
reference to it. It was first worked into sacred ornaments
and jewellery being associated with the almighty Sun, and
thus was used for the crowns of its kings. Nothing shone
brighter. However, the turning point was when it became
legal tender as early as 6th century B. C. during the reign
of Croesus, King of Lydia.
Control of the gold mines became a matter of great importance
for early leaders bringing with it both wealth and
power. Since then it has captured the imagination of adventurers
with extraordinary legends about treasures as
famous as the Golden Fleece, King Solomons Mines or
even El Dorado. Alchemists throughout history have sought
to emulate King Midas in transmuting base metals into gold
– without success – while achieving breakthroughs in
chemistry, such as liquid distillation and melting techniques.
Within financial markets, the gold standard became the
norm in the 19th century to limit the amount of
money banks could issue and thus to prevent inflation. In
1910, Nathan Mayer Rothschild and other bullion traders
established the London Gold Fixing Market, which set the
benchmark price for gold which endures to this day.
Bretton Woods established the link between gold the
dollar until 1971. Nowadays, gold still provides protection
against inflation while remaining as alluring today as it did
in the times of the Egyptians, Sumerians and Greeks;
its chemical properties include it being ductile, conductive,
hard to forge and even has significant antioxidant
properties that protect it against the passage of time. In
short, it endures.
THE GLITTER OF A GREAT COLLECTION
Their surname is a by-word for wealth. The Rothschild
banking dynasty were of German ancestry and were
behind many of the most important financial events of the
19th century: the construction of the rail transport
network in France, the digging of the Suez Canal, the
operation of the Spanish mines in Río Tinto to name a few.
They even funded the independence of Brazil and the
founding of Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe). Their
focus stretched all the way to Australia, thanks to its large
Following the extensive family collector tradition, the
Australian branch of the NM Rothschild & Sons bank
started acquiring bars of great historical and cultural
significance back in 1993. It managed to amass more than
one thousand items, which were recently obtained by
The „Rothschild Collection“ includes bars from 145 leading
gold manufacturers from 35 different countries. It has a
total weight of 230 kg of pure gold and at current market
prices has a value of around CHF 10 million. The Rothschild
collection is part of the Degussa collection that includes
more than 1’200 unique pieces. The oldest item is dated
from 4’000 B. C.
In addition to the Collection, Degussa has also acquired
other important artifacts including a variety of bars and
gold pieces from the Bronze Age, the Roman Empire and
the Late Middle Ages. There are also fascinating treasures
to be seen which were recovered from shipwrecks such as
Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha which was
sunk by a hurricane off the coast of Florida in 1622.
What makes it special is both its diversity while providing a
comprehensive example of the art of manufacturing gold
bars from around the world. Degussa is pleased to be able
to exhibit these items and share their profound interest in
precious metals. The story of gold is a narrative that goes
back to the dawn of civilization.
Doughnut bars were manufactured in Thailand since the
early 1970s, although today they are also manufactured in
Hong Kong. The doughnut is a traditional Chinese shape
for coinage. The hole enables many bars to be securely
stacked together on wooden rods or bound together with
string. Popular weights are the 1 tael (Hong Kong) and
2 baht (Thailand).
The Rothschild Collection has four doughnut bars from
three different manufacturers.
Circular 1 Tael bar
Sung Hung Kai
The bars, known as Twin Coin bars or twin coins, started
to be manufactured in Thailand by Yoo Long Kim Kee who
was the first known refiner to manufacture cast gold bars
to a precise weight by injecting gold under pressure into
an enclosed mould.
Yin-Yang gold bars where produced by the Japanese
manufacturer Ishifuku from 1993 until 2001.
The pair of innovative kidney-shaped bars depicts the Yen
religious symbol representing the harmony of opposites.
2 baht bar
Yoo Long Kim Kee
300 g each bar
The baht is a Thai unit of weight. One baht is equivalent
to 15.244 g or 0.4901 oz. Cast baht bars are manufactured
in Thailand in many different shapes. These traditional
shapes resemble those in Hong Kong due to many Thai
bar manufacturers having a Chinese ancestry. The official
stamps on baht bars are among the most decorative in
the world. Evocative designs include elephants, Chinese
dragons, Thai headdresses and the phoenix.
Honeycomb bars are manufactured by blowing
air onto the surface of the molten gold as it
cools. The cracked surface enables the buyer
to confirm that the bar is made entirely from
Honeycomb bars were widely traded in Thailand
until the 1970s.
In Thailand, bars with manufacturer’s marks
in bas-relief are still issued.
The marks, carved into the base of the bar
mould, are formed when molten gold is poured
into the mould. This traditional method
of marking cast bars eliminates the need for
conventional marking tools (dies, punches and
28.87 baht honeycomb bar
Loo Chang Huat
20 baht bas-relief bar
Tang Toh Kang
The tola is an Indian unit of weight which is in widespread
use throughout Southeast Asia. The most popular cast
tola bar weighs 10 tolas, equivalent to 3.75 oz. They have
smooth, rounded edges and no serial numbers.
For more than 50 years, the Indian gold market relied
heavily on the import of these small bars (alongside the
recycling of old gold) for the fabrication of jewellery. Most
were manufactured in Switzerland, UK, South Africa and
Australia, and until the late 1990s, most were imported into
Dubai and Singapore prior to their re-export to India.
In 2003, however, the era of the 10 tola bar came to an
end, when the Indian government applied an import tax on
tola bars that was higher than on gram-denominated bars.
The 1 kg bar, which is often cut into small tradable pieces,
is now the main bar imported into India.
10 tola bar
10 tola bar
Accredited refiners such as Degussa often produce bars
with the names of the banks trading them. Indian financial
firms are currently the main clients of this type of product.
Minted bars are normally cut from a cast bar that has been
rolled to a uniform thickness. The cutting is usually done with
a die to create blanks that have the required dimensions and
weight. All the surfaces are smooth and even. Markings are
normally applied by a minting press. Although most minted
bars are rectangular, they are also manufactured round,
square, oval, etc ; sometimes even with a hole so they can
50 g bar
1 g bar
A tael is a Chinese unit of weight. In Hong Kong, one tael
is equivalent to 1.20337 oz or 37.429 g and its gold purity
is normaly 99 %. Gold bars, denominated in taels, were
traditionally traded in Chinese speaking countries and
where there were Chinese communities, especially within
In recent times, the bars have been traded mainly within
Hong Kong and Taiwan. Cast tael bars have been
manufactured in Hong Kong in three traditional shapes:
‘biscuit’, ‘doughnut’ (or round) and ‘boat’.
Biscuit bars were manufactured mainly
in Hong Kong by refiners or issuers
accredited to The Chinese Gold & Silver
Exchange Society (founded in 1910).
They are still traded in significant
5 tael biscuit bar
Gold bars in boat formats
have been manufactured
in Thailand, Hong Kong
and China. The traditional
“boat” shape has been
used for silver and other
Chinese coinage since as
far back as the Han dynasty
(206 B. C.).
5 tael boat bar
The cast kilo bar (1000 g) is the world’s most widely
manufactured and traded small gold bar.
They are popular among fabricators and large investors
because they normally trade at a low premium above
the prevailing value of their fine gold content.
1 kilo bar
While almost all kilo bars now have a fat ‘international’
shape, ‘traditional’ kilo bars in the shape of a brick, were
still being manufactured by some refiners in the 1990s
Today Degussa bars are certified by the London Bullion
Association LBMA and can by held in the Bank depot
account as of the Swiss Valor number.
MODEL AND DECORATIVE BARS
Designs of model bars range from animals, trees and
towers to national symbols and even celebrities.
In 1991 LG Metals South Korea issued a traditional range of
gold “model bars” in the form of pigs (a symbol of wealth),
toads (good fortune) and turtles (longevity). Denominated
in dons, a Korean unit of weight, 1 don = 3.75 g. They are
normally traded at a relatively low premium above the
value of their gold content. They are popular as gifts of
“money” at weddings and anniversaries.
Degussa (Brazil) manufactured
a range of innovative gold bars
in an unconventional “bone”
shape in 1982.
11.25 g gold turtle
18.75 g gold toad
100 g gold bone
37.50 g gold pig
From the 1930s until the 1970s, unusual “gold leaf” bars
were widely manufactured in Vietnam. The standard bar
weight is approximately 15 g, although they were also
sold in lengths of 2 1/2 bars that weigh approximately
37.5 g. Their thinness makes them extremely portable,
easily placed inside shoes, sewn into the lining of clothes
or rolled into narrow tubes. Thousands of these bars,
smuggled by Vietnamese refugees were sold to gold
dealers around the world in the 1970s.
FINE ART & KOBAN BARS
The Singapore Mint issued two series of innovative minted
gold bars in 1994. The Balinese Girl (75 g) is one of
4 decorative “Fine Art” bars. The bars were issued at a
Tokuriki Honten (Japan) has manufactured attractive
“Koban”gold bars since the early 1960s, ranging from
5 g to 50 g. The bars commemorate the oval shape of
traditional Japanese coinage issued between the 16th
and 19th centuries.
15 g Leaf bar
7,4 g Leaf bar
75 g bar „Balinese Girl“
50 g Koban bar
COMMEMORATIVE & PENDANT BARS
Degussa produced a number of these bars during the
1980s and 1990s. Depicting sports events, cars, ships,
cities and special events like the Olympic Games were
popular. Today, these gold bars are collectors’ items which
often achieve a high premium over the spot price.
Tonnes of pendant bars are sold each year, mainly in the
Middle East. In 1978, Degussa was the first accredited
refiner to incorporate a hole in the bar to facilitate its use
as a pendant. Today, Degussa is expanding its wide range
of pendant bars.
Since 2012 Degussa is been producing them once again
with similar depictions primarily on 1 oz Silver bars with
images of leading cities.
1 oz bar dolphin
5 g octogonal bar
10 g heart-shaped bar
1/2 oz bar cycling
FINE GOLD CARDS
Fine gold cards were introduced by Mitsubishi (Japan) in
the late 1980s who developed multi-coloured printing
designs which could be applied to the smooth gold surfaces.
Although fine gold cards up to 1000 g have been made,
the 1 g card remains the most popular. While the main
market is Japan, tailor-made cards have also been
produced for other countries.
1 g card with the three wise monkeys
1 g calendar card
1 g christmas card
DEGUSSA AT A GLANCE
In 2010 we founded our company and
named it „Degussa“. A name, with historical
roots in gold going back to 1843.
Our business is deeply committed
and embedded in the precious metals
world and we remain close to the traditions
of the earlier times. As such,
Degussa has a wide range of precious
metals in the form of bars and coins.
You will find our products at our
branch in Zurich and Geneva.
Abroad we also have branches throughout
Germany, in London, Singapore and
We offer a comprehensive range of
precious metal bars and coins to meet
your needs. Degussa bars feature the
logo with the iconic Degussa logo
– the sun and moon – framed by a
diamond. These two celestial bodies
are ancient alchemical symbols for
gold and silver.
We also offer a special service to
you at our Zurich and Geneva office,
where we have available safe deposit
boxes for you to store your precious
metals after a purchase. This gives
you the opportunity to store your assets
safely and discretely outside the
banking sector. Of course, you are
free to keep jewellery, documents
and other valuables in your safe
deposit box too.
Bleicherweg 41 · 8002 Zurich
Phone: 044 403 41 10 · email@example.com
Quai du Mont-Blanc 5 · 1201 Geneva
Phone: 022 90814 00 · firstname.lastname@example.org
FRANKFURT · Kettenhofweg 29 · 60325 Frankfurt
Phone: 0049-69-860 068 100 · email@example.com
MADRID · Degussa Metales Preciosos S. L.
Calle de Velázquez 2 · 28001 Madrid
Phone: 0034-911-982 900 · firstname.lastname@example.org
SINGAPORE · Degussa Precious Metals Asia Pte. Ltd.
22 Orchard Road 01-01 · Singapore 238885
Phone: 0065-6804 5080 · email@example.com
LONDON · Sharps Pixley Ltd. (Member of the Degussa
54 St James’s Street · London SW1A 1JT
Phone: 0044-207 871 0532 · firstname.lastname@example.org