Why Buy Silver
Silver is often chosen as an investment vehicle because it is a physical means of storing of wealth.
As a tangible asset, it can function as a “safe haven,” meaning it retains its value better than paper money
in the event of an economic disruption or political instability. For this reason, it has proven over time to
be a viable hedge against the effects of inflation on the dollar. Moreover, silver offers investors a way to
diversify their financial portfolio by adding precious metals to their holdings, in addition to stocks, bonds
and other paper assets.
Due to its low price relative to gold, platinum and palladium, silver lends itself to being purchased in
larger quantities. The more affordable price attracts investors who want to procure a significant amount of
precious metal at once. Silver is a commodity that appeals to the majority of investors because it can be
obtained on almost any budget.
Silver is sold in coins, bars, and rounds, each of which come in several different sizes.
Coins are a very popular form of silver and are widely traded among both collectors and investors. Silver
coins must be government-issued legal tender that are inscribed with the year of issue and conform to exact
specifications of weight, purity, size and design. This standardization gives collectors and investors the
peace of mind that their precious metal is authentic, and also ensures that their bullion will be readily
recognized and more easily exchanged. Silver coins have their precious metal content backed by the full faith
and credit of the issuing government.
In addition, silver coins sometimes obtain a numismatic value (or collectible value) above their intrinsic
worth (or melt value). This collectible premium may be due to low mintage for a particular issue, or high
collector demand for a specific design. Some coins may be graded by a third party grading service, and sealed
in a protective casing (known as a “slab” in the industry). Coins slabbed by major grading services such as
NGC or PCGS typically come with higher premiums, since their condition and authenticity have been expertly
“Junk silver” is probably the most inexpensive means for accumulating silver coins. This term refers to U.S.
dimes, quarters and half dollars minted before 1965, when circulating coinage was made from 90% silver. These
non-collectibles are sold very close to the price of their metallic content and often come in large bags
containing a mixture of dimes, quarters and half dollars. Old silver dollars are usually worth more than their
melt value, and are not considered “junk silver.”
Silver bars are sold solely for their precious metal content rather than any historical or collectible value.
Bars are typically 0.999 fine (99.9% pure). They are produced by a number of private refineries, and are either
individually cast or minted in large sheets and then cut. A variety of sizes are available, ranging from one troy
ounce to 1,000 troy ounces. Regardless of size, silver bars maintain the high level of purity mentioned above.
Compared to other forms of precious metals, bars usually offer the lowest premiums over the intrinsic worth of
the metal content. Larger sized silver bars are usually sold at a lower premium per ounce than smaller ones.
This makes bars an attractive option for the cost-conscious investor.
Silver bars usually have their weight and purity stamped directly on the bar. As an added assurance, some bars
even come with an assay card or a certificate of authenticity from the refinery, that verifies the weight and
fineness of the bar.
Silver rounds may look similar to coins, but they are not legal tender. Instead of a face value, they often bear
inscriptions of their weight and purity. Rounds are purchased for their bullion value in the same manner as bars.
Some rounds carry classic designs that were originally featured on old coins. This can certainly add to the confusion,
but most of these type of rounds will have the word COPY on the front or back.
Many popular rounds, such as those from Sunshine Minting, carry original designs. Rounds are made in a wide
variety of sizes, down to as small as 1/10 of an ounce. This affords the buyer a great deal of flexibility to
trade, invest, or liquidate their silver incrementally as they see fit.
Bars and rounds produced by ISO certified refiners are eligible for inclusion in a self-directed Individual
Retirement Account, or IRA.
To learn more about purchasing silver, visit our Learning Center.