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Silver Bullion Coins
In addition to private minting facilities, national governments also produce silver bullion products. These government mints produce highly pure silver coins that are given a face value, are inscribed with the year of issue, and bear the name of the country of origin. These three considerations distinguish government-issued coins from non-monetary forms of bullion.
Though they are government-issued and designated as legal tender, the intrinsic value of silver bullion coins generally far outweighs their ascribed face value. As a result, they are traded on the basis of their silver content. The standard weight for bullion coins is normally one troy ounce, although the Perth Mint (Australia) and the Royal Canadian Mint, among others, now offer a variety of sizes. The weight and purity of silver coins are always backed by the full faith and credit of the government that issued them.
There are numerous reasons why silver bullion coins are traded all over the globe; chief among them is that they are easily identifiable. An astute precious metals investor will immediately recognize a Silver Eagle or Silver Maple on sight. Whether you intend to buy or sell these coins, experienced international traders are aware that these coins contain pure silver. Bullion coins are backed by a government guarantee, making them rather liquid, or easy to exchange.
Silver bullion coins are a popular investment choice not only for their silver content, but also for their potential numismatic appreciation due to factors such as low mintage and rarity. Interest in a certain design or demand for a particular year of issue can render bullion coins collectible. Complete sets of certain government bullion series, especially those in proof finish, sometimes become desirable to coin collectors. This collectible potential means that semi-numismatic bullion coins will often command higher premiums when resold on the secondary market.
The first thing that comes to mind when most people think of “bullion” is a smooth, shiny bar. Indeed, bars are the most common form of bullion silver. They command some of the lowest premiums over spot for any bullion product and enjoy widespread popularity.
Most silver bars are rectangular-shaped so they can be neatly stacked. This makes storage and transport far easier, facilitating the exchange of bullion across long distances. Silver bars (also known as ingots) have been traded in this manner for hundreds of years--partly in observance of tradition, and partly because it is the most efficient means for doing so.
Silver bars also offer the widest variety of sizes to choose from, giving the customer plenty of options. The standard sizes which are traded most frequently are 1 oz, 10 oz and 100 oz sizes. Meanwhile, even larger bars up to 1,000 oz are available, but due to their large size, they are most commonly used in institutional transactions rather than individual investments. For instance, the size of a London “Good Delivery” silver bar, generally used by large banks and commodity exchanges, is expected to fall between 900 and 1,050 troy oz (about 23-34 kilos) in weight, and will not be accepted if it is less than 750 oz. Depending on the customs of the specific country or locality, silver bars may be measured in grams or kilograms rather than troy ounces, although the troy ounce remains the international standard.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, many private refineries produce silver bars in fractions of an ounce for those who want to start with a modest investment. Smaller, more affordable bars are also useful if you want to divvy up your bullion to distribute as gifts or as a form of payment. Just recently, the renowned refiner Valcambi SA has unveiled a new product called the Combibar, a divisible bullion bar that can actually be snapped apart into convenient minibar pieces weighing just one gram. These detachable minibars offer unprecedented flexibility for the active silver bug, and they're ideal for emergency purposes, especially if you want to travel with some usable silver in preparation for the worst case scenario.
Silver rounds are essentially the same as bars; they simply come in a different shape. Like silver bars, rounds also come from private mints, are available in many sizes, can be purchased for low premiums, and are designed for easy stacking. More importantly, both bars and rounds contain the same investment-grade silver, making silver rounds a convenient choice for inclusion in an IRA.
The shape of rounds alludes to coins, most likely for the sake of familiarity. In practice, however, silver rounds are more similar to bars, as they are exchanged on the basis of their underlying metal content and come in a variety of sizes. The standard size for rounds is 1 troy oz. Think of rounds as having the same basic properties as bars, except their appearance more closely resembles that of coins. Rounds also have the advantage of costing lower premiums than most coins.
Many popular silver rounds even borrow classic coin designs—such as the Silver Buffalo Design, Walking Liberty Design, and Morgan Dollar Design. These rounds harken to fondly-remembered coins of early-twentieth century vintage: the Buffalo Head nickel, Walking Liberty half dollar, and Morgan dollar, respectively. Rounds can offer the opportunity to compile beautiful, historic, and meaningful artwork while still accumulating pure silver at a bargain price. Gainesville Coins offers a large selection of silver rounds that are Made in the U.S.A., struck at ISO:9001-certified mints, and are eligible for inclusion in your precious metals IRA.