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Many first-time silver bullion buyers aren’t entirely sure what a silver round is, especially in relation to a legal tender coin. Simply enough, silver rounds are privately-minted bullion products that are similar in appearance to coins, but have no monetary value and are bought and sold based primarily on the intrinsic value of their fine metal content. When unsure of how to define them, it can be useful to think of them as silver medallions.
Rounds typically carry lower premiums than government-issued coins, partly due to their lower production costs, and partly because they lack the same technical rigor as government-issued coins. So long as they are not made to the same size and width specifications as an existing coin (a measure that prevents possible counterfeiting, especially with coin-operated vending machines), rounds may be produced in any size, thickness, or weight. These lower premiums add up when storing large amounts of bullion, which is why rounds are so popular with buyers who have no interest in numismatics but would like to invest in silver. Many dedicated silver stackers purchase them by the twenty-count, either in rolls or tubes, for easy storage.
While rounds are generally less expensive than coins, their low premiums over spot are comparable to most silver bars. In fact, you can purchase 100 generic 1-ounce rounds for only a few dollars more than a single 100 oz bar. rounds are also very easy to store, as they can be stacked and counted quickly. unlike large, bulk-sized bars, you can conveniently sell just a few rounds from your holdings at a time without having to melt them down and have them recast. this feature makes holding your money in the form of silver rounds even more attractive, as you have the flexibility to add or subtract from the precious metal holdings in small increments, as needed.
The similarities between rounds and bars does not, however, preclude them from offering something to exonumia collectors. Over the years, different private refiners have introduced their own recognizable silver round designs, such as the Engelhard Prospector or the Silver Trade Unit. These rounds with specific themes are often preferred by silver stackers who like bullion pieces with a potential numismatic value down the road due to their design. Although this happens far less frequently with rounds than it does with coins, there are some high-quality art rounds that eventually garner collectible appeal. for instance, various chinese lunar calendar designs have appeared on silver rounds, such as the year of the horse (2014) and the year of the goat (2015). in addition, various commemorative themes appear on art rounds, especially replicas of classic coin designs for example, the morgan dollar design, the peace dollar design, and the saint-gaudens design. with all the different kinds to choose from, there’s something for everyone!