Degussa Rothschild Collection

Degussa

ROTHSCHILD

COLLECTION

THE GLITTER OF A GREAT COLLECTION

EXHIBITION

9 JUNE TO 4 AUGUST 2016

DEGUSSA GENEVA


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.

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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

mineral resources.

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

Degussa.

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.

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DOUGHNUT BARS

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

Hong Kong


TWIN-COIN BARS

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 BARS

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

Thailand

300 g each bar

Ishifuku

Japan

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BAHT BARS

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

gold.

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

hammers).

28.87 baht honeycomb bar

Loo Chang Huat

Thailand

20 baht bas-relief bar

Tang Toh Kang

Thailand

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TOLA BARS

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

Degussa

Singapore

10 tola bar

Bangkok Assay

Thailand

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CUSTOM BARS

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

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

be worn.

50 g bar

Rothschild bank

United Kingdom

1 g bar

Degussa

Germany

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TAEL BARS

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

Southeast Asia.

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

quantities.

5 tael biscuit bar

King Fook

Hong Kong

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

King Fook

Hong Kong

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KILO BARS

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

Degussa

Brazil

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

and 2000s.

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.

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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

LG Metals

South Korea

18.75 g gold toad

LG Metals

South Korea

100 g gold bone

Degussa

Brazil

37.50 g gold pig

LG Metals

South Korea

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LEAF BARS

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

fixed price.

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

Kim Thanh

Vietnam

7,4 g Leaf bar

Kim Thanh

Vietnam

75 g bar „Balinese Girl“

Singapore Mint

Singapore

50 g Koban bar

Tokuriki

Japan

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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

Banespa

Brazil

5 g octogonal bar

Degussa

Germany

10 g heart-shaped bar

Ary

UAE

1/2 oz bar cycling

Degussa

Germany

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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

Tanaka

Japan

1 g calendar card

Tanaka

Japan

1 g christmas card

Mitsubishi

Japan

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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

Madrid.

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.

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ZURICH

Bleicherweg 41 · 8002 Zurich

Phone: 044 403 41 10 · zuerich@degussa-goldhandel.ch

GENEVA

Quai du Mont-Blanc 5 · 1201 Geneva

Phone: 022 90814 00 · geneve@degussa-goldhandel.ch

DEGUSSA-GOLDHANDEL.CH

FRANKFURT · Kettenhofweg 29 · 60325 Frankfurt

Phone: 0049-69-860 068 100 · frankfurt@degussa-goldhandel.de

MADRID · Degussa Metales Preciosos S. L.

Calle de Velázquez 2 · 28001 Madrid

Phone: 0034-911-982 900 · info@degussa-mp.es

SINGAPORE · Degussa Precious Metals Asia Pte. Ltd.

22 Orchard Road 01-01 · Singapore 238885

Phone: 0065-6804 5080 · info@degussa-pm.sg

LONDON · Sharps Pixley Ltd. (Member of the Degussa

54 St James’s Street · London SW1A 1JT

Phone: 0044-207 871 0532 · info@sharpspixley.com

Group)

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