Most banks store gold in their underground vaults, although some keep their physical gold in foreign exchange reserves. For example, of its 612 tons, the Dutch central bank has 15,000 gold ingots, or 31 percent, of its available gold stocks; another 31 percent is in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Although some banks offer gold bars to customers, this is extremely rare. Banks that trade gold usually offer customers coins instead of ingots.
While there are banks that sell gold, the selection of assets for purchase is often limited to a select assortment of gold coins. Nowadays, fewer and fewer banks with physical gold are willing to sell without a prescription. If you're determined to buy gold at a bank, be sure to contact them beforehand to ensure they have the necessary supply to sell. Much of the gold in the vault arrived during and after World War II, as many countries wanted to store their gold reserves in a safe place.
Gold traders are experienced in what they sell and are often licensed to sell you these gold assets. After the verification process, the gold is moved to one of the 122 compartments of the vault, where each compartment contains gold held by a single account holder (meaning that gold doesn't mix between account holders). Stocks in the gold vault continued to rise and peaked in 1973, shortly after the United States suspended the convertibility of dollars into gold for foreign governments. Because of their intricate designs and, in some cases, their rarity, gold coins may have value to collectors in addition to the value of the gold they are made of.
The market value of a gold ingot depends on its weight, level of purity and the current market price of gold. The New York Federal Reserve charges account holders a management fee for gold transactions, even when gold enters or leaves the vault or when their property is transferred (it moves between compartments), but otherwise charges no fees for storing gold. We also provide gold accounts to certain trading companies that facilitate central banks' access to the London gold market. Buying gold at a bank requires physically visiting a location and then transporting the gold and precious metals to a storage facility.