Demand For Gold "CombiBars" Soaring

Tyler Durden's picture


One of the biggest complaints about gold - always a parallel currency to paper, and soon to be serial, once the world shifts to a post-paper currency reality in which faith in infinitely creatable electronic paper money is finally destroyed - is that it would be an impractical medium of exchange, as the traditional denominations are so large one would be unable to trade one ounce (and certainly one bar) for every day needs. This is also one of the main reasons various retail investors prefer silver over gold. All this may be changing courtesy of Swiss refiner Valcambi which has created a CombiBar, a credit-card sized, 50 gram block of 99.9 gold, which is precut, and which can easily be broken into one gram pieces which can then be used as forms of payment in an emergency. And since one gram of gold has roughly the value of two ounces of silver, it is a far more practical lowest common denominator unit of exchange than the traditional one ounce minimums in broad circulation.

More on this novel, and practical, use of gold from Reuters:

Swiss refinery Valcambi, a unit of U.S. mining giant Newmont Mining Corp., wants to bring its “CombiBar” to market in the United States and build up its sales presence India – the world’s largest consumer of gold where the precious metal has long served as a parallel currency.


"The rich are buying standard bars or have deposits of phsyical gold. People that have less money are buying up to 100 grams," said Michael Mesaric, CEO of Valcambi "But for many people a pure investment product is no longer enough. They want to be able to do something with the precious metal."


Mesaric said the advantage of the "CombiBar" - which has been dubbed a "chocolate bar" because pieces can be easily broken off by hand into one gram squares - is that it can be easily transported and costs less than buying 50 one gram bars.


"The produce can also be used as an alternative method of payment," he said.


Valcambi is building a sales network in India and plans to launch the CombiBar on the U.S. market next year. In Japan, it wants to focus on CombiBars made of platinum and palladium.

Will the golden chocolate bar soon replace the one ounce gold coin as the most favored denomination?

The CombiBar is particularly popular among grandparents who want to give their grandchildren a strip of gold rather than a coin, said Andreas Habluetzel head of the Swiss business of Degussa, a gold trading company.


Other customers buy gold for security reasons.

Whatever the final outcome, demand is soaring:

Elsewhere, demand is particularly strong among Germans, still scarred by post-World War One hyperinflation, when money became all but worthless and it took a wheelbarrow full of notes to buy a loaf of bread.


"Above all, it's people aged between 40 and 70 that are investing in gold bars and coins," said Mesaric. "They've heard tales from their parents about wars and crises devaluing money."


“Demand is rising every week,” Mr. Habluetzel said. “Particularly in Germany, people buying gold fear that the euro will break apart or that banks will run into problems.”

Naturally, there are those who are desperate to infuse skepticism toward the new product. After all, one can't print gold, and any form of money that takes away wealth dilution power from the central banks (i.e. printing money), is implicitly disastrous for the status quo.

Stephan Mueller, who manages bank Julius Baer’s $6-billion gold fund, said one problem with using gold as a method of payment is that people have to take its value on blind trust.


“Gold is a useful store of value,” Mr. Mueller said. “However I doubt whether it will succeed as a method of payment.”

True- is is much better to have value in a EUR paper bill, collateralized by such non-blind trust items as Greek geta and Kalamata olives.

One thing is certain: after a record November, December sales of gold in the US Mint have already surpassed the total from 2011, and are set to be third most active gold purchasing month in 2012, recent violent paper smackdown of gold notwithstanding. Perhaps the US population has finally learned that all increasingly more frequent smackdowns of paper gold by central banks and other authorities do, is to make gold more affordable for more people, for longer. And increasingly more are taking advantage of precisely this, not of hopes of striking it rich overnight and then converting hard money once more into worthless paper equivalents.

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GetZeeGold's picture



Kinda like a silver piece of eight.....only for gold.

CPL's picture

You know something is coming when officials are stamping the equivalent of the new hundred dollar bill to avoid the tungsten scams the central banks have unleashed on clients and other banks.

max2205's picture

Gold chicklets , yum

Manthong's picture

Ah.. a new meaning to the panhandlers plea..

Hey man -  got any spare change?

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

What will they think of next, Gold nano particles imbedded in cotten fibers?

Good bye paper death and theft ponzi scam.

Matt's picture

Looks like an opportunity for someone to make an "ice-cube tray" style holder with lid to hold individual "chiclets" of gold and silver.

Texas Ginslinger's picture

Stephan Mueller, who manages bank Julius Baer’s $6-billion gold fund, said one problem with using gold as a method of payment is that people have to take its value on blind trust.


He's kidding, right..??


Jreb's picture

I was thinking gold covered Kit Kats... mmmmm..... Kit Kats....

Taterboy's picture

As soon as the rappers start using these as teeth, I'm in.

Svener's picture

So how does one buy this or any gold for that matter? I would like to add small amount but don't know where or how to buy gold coins.

prodigious_idea's picture

Very helpful.  Thank you.  Temporalist could learn something from you.

Tango in the Blight's picture

Silver CombiBars are also available, they come in 100 x 1gr.

kliguy38's picture

I'm burying a tin can of USD right now in my backyard to save up for my retirement in 20years!!! Cuz Ben sayz its gonna be OK

francis_sawyer's picture

PVC pipe... & then scatter BB's all over the place

spentCartridge's picture

... and some tin cans, so they can go rusty :)


... and a few nails.


From a personal experience point of view, metal detectorists rarely dig deeper than their second or third 'hit' when excavating a potential target hole. Ringpulls, nails, bean canz etc. all work very well.


So do spent cartridge cases ;)


Merry Christmas ...

Tango in the Blight's picture

Beware, the more sophisticated metal detectors can detect silver or gold.

Eg this one:

spentCartridge's picture

So can mine.


I have had it for three years.


All I can find are ring pulls and old 'coke' cans and rusty nails. One or two old bird gauge spent shells.



Tip ~ half fill the bottom part of your pvc tube with gold, top her up with cement. Then, dig the hole (about a meter deep is good), then auger an even deeper, thinner hole. Insert pvc gold/cement loaded tube into the augured hole. Pack in some dirt, drop in a few stones, some more dirt, an old bean/beer can, top off with some 'naturally sourced' endemic geologic material, spill a few nails, pack some more dirt, cast a concrete cap (without shuttering) over the augured hole, perform similar (but more large scale operations) on the original (about one meter deep) hole, spread some more nails, bbs, beer cans, pop off a few caps (spent brass always fucks with a metal detector), fill with remaining spoil, take access spoil OFF SITE, sprinkle some rust (I get mine from work, I scrape the Fe off of our stocked piling) and then make like Ray Mears and hide / brush your tracks.




Don't use an iphone or your PC to log where your stash is via GPS or any other 'consumer' geolocate device. Use a REAL FUCKING COMPASS and draw your own map.


Take note of unmovable, natural topography just in case there really is a pole flip & ones' compass becomes useless / uncalibrated to the new paradigm ...

Urban Redneck's picture

Fiat don't rust, but it does mildew...  The last time checked the safe I keep the best of my collection of spare crappy cotton linen blend in- the desiccant had worn out, and I had to launder my money (literally).

yogibear's picture

The tin can may be worth more than the USD. Bernanke will QE us into the poor house.

sessinpo's picture

Until the point when some nation decides to back its currency by PMs, then PMs crash. Why hold physical when currency is backed by a PM? Isn't a gold standard what many on ZH want?


Yea, I'm presenting some logic here. It's up to you to decide whether to look at things logically and factually or be emotionally married to ANY type of asset, including PMs.

Bluntly Put's picture

Until the point when some nation decides to back its currency by PMs, then PMs crash. Why hold physical when currency is backed by a PM?

Umm, trust is earned. Given the amount of fabricated economic information pumped out by government agencies in order to maintain this status quo strangling the financial systems, its hard to believe anything from any source. So if some sovereign were to claim their currency is backed by gold, they would also be claiming some reserves, claims are paper and paper has been shown to be questionable at best fraudulent at worst.

Besides, as long as the standard unit of account is fiat in nature (reserve currency) I seriously doubt a rouge nations currency backed by gold could survive, how would they manage the continual flucuation in golds price in relation to the standard unit of account?

I suppose if they began offering bills of credit that matured into gold bullion they could circumnavigate that problem, but I'm also sure they wouldn't last long without some kind of need to be invaded or something sinister like that.

viahj's picture

OK, you have a stash of USD and i have a stash of PMs.

the USD collapses and "some nation decides to back its currency by PMs".  how are you going to get you hands on that new curency, by exchanging worthless USD or PMs?  that is the definition of "storage of wealth"

IPA's picture

You could "back" the currency in gold, but more importantly the government would need to allow free exchange between the two by normal people.

yogibear's picture

A fast way to desolve the old debt is to devalue the currency.

flattrader's picture

A good solution.  No doubt you'll be paying a premium.

I am stilll buying used/junk gold bands and necklaces which are easily recognized by the majority of Americans who would have anything I might want to trade for in a SHTF scenario.

flattrader's picture

I understand that.  You must be Italian.

knukles's picture

Or the Jolly Green Giant

BattlegroundEurope2011's picture

is tungsten malleable?


Dr. Sandi's picture

Not really. It would be hard to pass off tungsten in one of these little chips o' gold.

But the whole article is still a shameless puff piece.

Shame, shame Tylers.



....Now this from Mantool Erectile Dysfunction clamps.

GetZeeGold's picture



Mantool Erectile Dysfunction clamps


Don't knock it....those things really work.

vato poco's picture

And much better looking and user friendly than those old-fashioned clip-ons, as well.

duo's picture

I doubt you would be able to break it if it was Tungsten.  It think the same thing would be true of Pd and Pt.  They are pretty hard.

Manipuflation's picture

I still think having US or CDN silver dimes on hand, in quantity, is a good idea too.


francis_sawyer's picture

Yeah... I mean what we're talking about here is 'currency'...

Save your wealth in gold bars... & keep silver coins on hand for currency... (nickles ~ if you can't afford silver or the prices are small)...

Anybody who can't afford gold ought to start with nickles & work their way up...

CuriousPasserby's picture

I like the 1892 - 1916 Barber dimes since that sell at nearly scrap value, and being over 100 years old would be less likely to being called in by the government.

sampo's picture

I'm still waiting for the 50 x 0,1 gram silver combibars.

newdoobie's picture

Stagecoach silver builion

AgAu_man's picture

U want silver dimes? The math fits: at $31.10 for 31.1 gr./oz, that is $1.00/gr. I'd be happy with silver half dollars and dollars, and golden $100 coins that would be allowed to compete with FRNs. But that would be a one-sided match, so TPTB will not allow it. Not until they have One Coin To Rule Them All, in their NWO regime.

BrigstockBoy's picture

Maybe Tobler can package it in with a chocolate bar, kinda like Willy Wonka. And have a contest for central banker to the world.

texas goldfinger's picture

Easy to counterfeit.  Only fools would accept them.

GetZeeGold's picture



Maybe.....but all you have to do is snap off a piece to find out.

LoneStarHog's picture

What happens when silver surpasses the price of gold? Hmmmmm?

lakecity55's picture

I don't think that will happen until there is proveable less fizz silver than gold.

But, it could happen.

Merry Christmas

tmosley's picture

That is already the case.  1/3rd as much above grouns silver as there is gold, and that is quite generous, in my estimation.

TWSceptic's picture

No there is more silver both above and in the ground. It's just that for investors there is less silver bullion available than gold. If the price of silver would go up, more silver would enter the market because more people would sell their silverware etc. Also recycling would kick in. There is no way that silver will become more expensive than gold, ever.

IPA's picture

my fiances mom busted out her real silverware set just last Friday, I got all giddy. Never eaten with real silver before. Dam this fork is like $50