Serial numbers are desirable when collecting and investing in art bars and art rounds. The vast majority of bars and rounds that carry a serial number are limited in mintage; there are exceptions such as the Engelhard bars.
Important to the value of the bar or round, the serial number verifies the mintage or the anticipated mintage. What I mean when I say “anticipated mintage” is that a mint issued 1,500 issues but demand at the time only accounted for a fraction of the number to be minted. Another words the mint will produce 1,500 bars but the actual demand, or number of purchases was only 908. The result of the mintage was bar 1 through bar 908, so the actual mintage is 908 bars.
Why do a bars or rounds have a serial number of 1,038 when the mintage was limited to 50 bars? The initial serial number of the run started at 1, 000. The mint determined the starting number of the bar or round. The actual serial number on the bar can be greater that the number of bars or rounds minted.
Serial numbers can appear on any surface of the bar or round. When checking for a serial number you need to look at all four rims of the bar or the rim of the round in addition to the front and back of the bar or round.