05 March 2014

US deep storage gold reserves bar list made public

Warren James (the guru of ETF bar list analysis) was tipped off by a reader that the US government had a bar list of its deep storage gold reserves on its website, see Victor's tweets here for details and links. Warren's initial comments are:

"Have already perused the bar numbers - a stack of Rand/Matthey/Rothschild bars there but no match (obviously) for the bar signatures we have in ETF data and happy to say that the sequences are consistent with the data we have. They are (again as you might expect) really old bar sequence numbers. Talking, early Rand number sequences. I gave them both the observation that the spreadsheet seems to have been built up from some older documents - there seem to be some OCR errors, which I assume were from earlier typewritten lists."

He will no doubt come out with a full analysis in due time assessing its internal consistency (as he has done for the ETF bar lists). In the meantime below is a quick analysis of the type of bars. I'm just looking here at the number of bars but have identified clear groupings of bar types. First the raw data:

My choice of purity and bar size categories was driven by clear clusterings in the data. The key categories are:

So 8 bar types account for 85% of the bars. No suprise that few meet the LBMA standards for weight and purity, given the source (1930s confiscation, ie coin melt) of most of the gold.
Not suprised to see 100oz bars given that is Comex futures standard, but the 36% is not standard and clearly coin melt source.

Significant is the fact that 55% of all the bars are 90% (+/- .1%) purity and 13% are 22ct (current US Eagle purity). Unusual is the circa 840oz and 1070oz bar sizes, very heavy.
Note that the LBMA standards are post 1987, hence the bars which are close to LBMA weight and/or under purity are reflective of a general industry standard to 90%+ purity circa 350oz size bars prior to 1987, but this was later firmed up later by the LBMA to the currently 350oz-430oz 99.5%+ standard.

I think that the sub 2 percent purity cateory is an error. There are 714,993oz of gross weight recorded for this category and if we assume the purity is more likely around 90%, then this spreadsheet understates US gold reserves by 640,000oz!
A lot more to come from this data but just wanted to draw attention to this data ASAP and look forward to further analysis and comment by Warren and others.


  1. Nice! For anyone looking at this for the first time I should clarify the bar numbers I'm referring to start on Page 117 of the Hearing document "112-41.pdf", which shows bars from refiners such as Engelhard, Hardy & Harman and Asarco + others (separate format from the standard melt number). Those are the only bars which work as a 'signature', since the 'melt' bars (bricks) will often be stamped with the same number.

  2. Thanks Bron & Warren for the info.

    It's refreshing to get this type of information from you both that's not laced with blame, anger and crude vitriol against bankers because of a subscription based agenda that youy don't have to cater to on here.

    Arrogance,stupidity and a blatant charade of constant doom, fear is something the other sites are best left to.

    At some point the sheep lined up at the angry doomer sites will realize that all they're doing is supplying the owner(s) with enough cash so that they can vacation,gamble, buy gold/silver and play the markets with subscriber money.

    Nice set-up, but will it last?

  3. Bars of gold in deep storage cold
    Stacked to the ceiling, some sequence numbers old
    Purities vary so we are told
    Leased or allocated, all will be sold

    So document with spreadsheets but don’t get too jolly
    'Though you can succeed, 'tis more frequently folly,
    To Focus your faith on banksters with b'guess and b'golly.
    And try not to forget the sleeping giant whose fistful of dollars,
    Will muddle the minds both of dunces and scholars.

  4. I have an FOI request pending with the RBA for a bar list.

    Last response was to advise of a time extension for further consultation (probably to build a case against releasing the information). Will be using the availability of this data to make a case for the RBA to release their data if they push back.

  5. Just a point: coin bars ceased to be good delivery in 1954 when the London Gold Market reopened. So it was a long time before1987.

  6. Bron & Warren,
    Thanks for the post, two questions:
    1. Does the bar list have a date or based on the points you've made about the categories we're assuming that the list is for gold delivered to storage pre 1987 at least?
    2. What weight did you come up with for the total (699,515 bars)

  7. There are 2 bar lists, one is US Treasury Gold supposedly held at the Fed in NY, the other is everything else, ie Fort Knox, Denver and West Point. The bar list at the Fed is I think sometime around 2011. The main bar list for the 699,515 is I think last updated 2008 and last saved mid 2011. Download xls and look at file properties.

  8. Gentlemen,
    The list is (ahem) paper is it not?
    But I'm sure all those bars are really there, exactly as the paper says it is.
    I heard Another man once say, "This paper is not what it says it is", but surely this does not apply here.

  9. The list is (ahem) paper is it not?
    Yes, their spreadsheets are original and not bought
    But I'm sure all those bars are really there,
    Yes, with serial numbers stamped with care

    But are those bars really phyz?
    Exactly as the paper says it is?

    I heard another man once say,
    Most of those bars were taken away?
    And "this paper is not what it says it is"
    Does this mean the gold is really miz?

    Gold destroyed?-the answer is no
    Some read “Oz”, others say “Kilo”

    But surely this does not apply here?
    Yes, all shipped east to the far from the near
    So move along and have no fear
    And don’t call me Shirley..

  10. On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

    Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,

    And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;

    Round many western islands have I been

    Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.

    Oft of one wide expanse had I been told

    That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;

    Yet did I never breathe its pure serene

    Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:

    Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

    When a new planet swims into his ken;

    Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes

    He star'd at the Pacific — and all his men

    Look'd at each other with a wild surmise —

    Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

  11. The most important thing I learned from Tyler Durden (probably the only thing ;) is... "Wheres the trade ticket?" At first I didn't understand. Now I understand...

    Now, you have the trade ticket(s). You have no excuse.. But to analyse!

  12. Too bad there will still be many doubters. Glad the list is getting some press. Thanks Bron, Warren, and Victor!

  13. Lets see .. paper that says there's gold in them thar vaults/hills/safes/**Whatever**

    I suppose you've heard of cottonmouth too?

  14. This info is useless, as it is already 2 years old and there have been SIGNIFICANT market events in 2013 alone that clearly demonstrate the very real disconnect between the paper gold market and the Physical market. Comex is irrelevant and has not delivered physical metal since May of last year. This information from a dotgov website should be used as toilet paper. Regards.

  15. What a ridiculous and misinformed comment. This info is highly useful. I don't think the comment is really worthy of a detailed response.

    The Fort Knox Bars were shining
    Like a national avatar
    But now they follow the trade route
    Across the ocean
    To the mouth of Hong Kong Harbor
    They’re going to China, China
    In The Great Big Far East
    They’re going to China
    Poured bars and coin bars with serial identities
    And they’re all going to China

    The slow boat to China is nine years old
    It’s a rusty old bucket,
    Untie the rope and it will leave
    But I've reason to believe
    The gold will be received
    In China

    She comes back to tell me it’s gone
    As if I didn't know that
    As if I didn't know our gold has fled
    As if I'd never noticed
    The way she brushed her hair from her forehead
    You see, losing gold
    Is like a window in our heart
    Everybody sees we're blown apart
    Everybody sees it’s all sold

    It’s going to China
    In the Great Big Far East
    It’s going to China
    Poured bars made from coin with lower purities
    And it’s all going to China

    In the gold in the slow boat
    Are holes and empty pockets
    I'm looking at holes and empties
    But I've reason to believe
    Tungsten will be received
    In China

    There must be bankers in New York City
    Who call themselves “the human trampoline”
    And sometimes when they’re falling, flying
    Or tumbling in turmoil I say
    Oh, so this is what they mean
    They mean they’re bouncing into asphalt
    You see losing gold
    Is like a window in our heart
    And everybody sees we're blown apart
    Everybody sees it’s all sold

    It’s all in China, China
    It’s staying in China
    For reasons I cannot explain
    There's some part of me wants to see

    We’re advised we can’t defend
    Every cry for every audit
    Or maybe our gold has obligations now
    Maybe I've a reason to believe
    Our gold will be received
    In China

    Oooo--In China, in China, China
    It’s going to China

    1. Haha. Very good. Sung to the tune Graceland?

  17. You like that eh? Thanks.---Yep Graceland.
    Welcome to the east
    There's no turning back
    Western’s paper feast
    To the “sleeping beast”

    Acting on our worst behavior
    Turn your back on western culture
    Everybody wants to see the gold

    It's their own design
    It's our own remorse
    Help us to decide
    Help us change it’s course

    Of freedom and of pleasure
    Nothing ever lasts forever
    Everybody wants to see the gold

    There's an eastern vault where the light won't find it
    Holding gold while the west comes tumbling down
    When it’s here, close the door behind it

    So glad its almost made it
    So sad we had to gave it
    Everybody wants to see the gold

    I can't stand their lame decision
    Paired with a lack of vision
    Everybody wants to see the gold
    Say that you'll never never never never need it
    One headline why believe it ?
    Everybody wants to see the gold

    All for freedom and for pleasure
    Nothing ever lasts forever
    Everybody wants to see the gold