How To Sell Silver Bars: Insider's Guide to Where, Why, and How
Many people want to know how they can sell silver bars and do so while getting a fair price in the process.
So, what do you do? Where can you sell your silver bars and know you’re getting the best price for your bullion? Keep reading to learn more, or follow the link to sell your silver bars now at Gainesville Coins!
Let’s take a methodical approach to this and help you breakdown the following:
- what type of bars you’re selling
- why you’re selling your bars
- what you need to look for when selling your silver bars.
Degussa is a globally popular bullion manufacturer. Other name brand silver bars in the same tier within the industry are Johnson Matthey, Engelhard, Perth Mint, and RCM (Royal Canadian Mint). Photo: 5 kilo Degussa silver bar.
Know What Kind of Silver Bar You Have
A silver bar is a silver bar is a silver bar, right? Umm, no… While silver bars may seem, on the surface, to be one and the same, they really aren’t.
How Much Does Your Silver Bar Weigh?
One of the most important differences from one silver bar to the next is their size or weight. When it concerns bullion, these metrics really matter.
Right off the bat, you should know what your silver bars weigh; there should be a stamp or inscription on your bar describing its weight and purity.
Silver is usually measured in units of grams, ounces, and kilos. And while most silver bars weigh at least one ounce, there are some that weigh as little as one gram. In terms of the silver spot price, these will be worth a fraction of the one-ounce bar, which will sell for less than silver bars that weigh more, like say one kilo (that’s 1,000 grams).
The famous Swiss-based refinery and bullion brand PAMP Suisse is known better for its gold bars, but PAMP silver bars are also a popular investment. Photo: 1 oz PAMP Suisse silver bar.
Check the Silver Spot Price
Once you know what you have, you can get an idea of its current bullion value by looking up current silver prices and doing the math to divide or multiply based on what silver bar (or bars) you have and how many you would like to sell.
Determine What Brand Your Silver Bar Is
There may be additional factors in determining the amount your silver bar is worth. These include its brand, its date or vintage of production (older bars or those from defunct companies are often worth more), and whether it belongs to a popular series of art bars. All these variants can potentially trigger premiums over bullion melt values ranging from tiny to huge.
What’s Your Goal in Selling Silver Bars?
We know you want to make money from your silver bars – that’s most likely why you’re selling them. But why do you need the money, and why now? Don’t worry. You don’t need to tell us! But we do want to get you thinking a little bit…
You see, selling silver bars in a pinch because you need to cover an immediate bill, eradicate debt, or tackle something else like that absolutely makes sense. But if you’re flipping silver because prices have gone down, or you’re getting nervous because the market isn’t doing what you want it to, then think carefully.
Don't Sell Your Silver Bars in a Panic
We’re not going to tell you when you should or shouldn’t sell your silver bars. And we definitely don’t have a crystal ball that reveals when silver prices are going to go higher or foretell when the best time to sell silver is. Nobody has those answers…
But we do advise you to act with great fiscal prudence when selling your silver. While emergencies, debts, and tight times may compel you to sell what you must so you can get back above water again, selling silver as part of an investment strategy is best thought out very conscientiously. Make sure you’re not acting rashly just because silver prices moved south for a few days or weeks, or because someone on social media was hyping up falling bullion prices.
Sunshine Minting is one of the largest silver suppliers in North America. Their silver bars and silver rounds bear the distinctive brand logo. Image: Sunshine Minting 5 oz silver bars.
Consider Buying More Silver If Prices are Dropping
Remember, bullion prices don’t always just go up, nor will they fall forever. If silver prices are slipping but you don’t necessarily need the funds from those silver bars now, it may actually behoove you to buy more silver while prices are going down. Only do so if you have the discretionary money or allocated investment funds needed. Then you'll have more silver to sell when prices go back up.
If buying silver when silver prices are falling sounds counterintuitive to you, just remember the old Wall Street adage: “buy low, sell high.”
Where to Sell Silver Bars
No matter why you’re liquidating your precious metals, you need to know the best place to sell them. Here are several options:
The best place to sell silver bars is a professional bullion dealer or local coin shop. They will pay you for your silver bars on the spot and will offer competitive prices.
Selling your silver to a silver bullion dealer is a convenient and stress-free process. It is your best option, bar none.
It's also possible to sell your silver bars through an auction website such as eBay. This is a reasonable option if you have a vintage or collectible silver bar. However, if you have a bulk number of bars to sell, then those websites are probably not a good option.
Keep in mind that auction sites will take a percentage of the final sale price as a fee. This fee is usually 10% (or higher). Moreover, auction websites don't usually offer robust protections in the event that something goes wrong with the transaction.
Local Flea Markets
You can try your luck selling silver bars at flea markets, as well. This is commonly seen at most large flea markets, but you may need to search around to find the right booth.
Two major drawbacks of selling at a flea market are liability and liquidity. You are responsible for your own safety bringing a potentially high-value item to an informal setting like an open-air market. At a bullion dealer, your personal security is protected. A vendor at a flea market may also make you a lowball offer rather than paying a good price.
Choosing the Right Silver Buyer
Generally speaking, there are two options when you sell: 1) an in-person transaction; or 2) a remote transaction (by mail via phone or online inquiry).
Regardless of the method you choose, you need to make sure you’re selling to someone who is going to pay you a fair price and has the capital to back up that check they’ll cut you.
Hopefully by now you know what your silver bars are worth. You understand what you have and are aware of their value based on bullion and market trends (the latter being most important for rare, vintage, or other special types of silver bars). But where do you sell your bullion?
Choosing the right selling venue can seem confusing when there seem to be so many places offering to buy silver bars near you. Perhaps you’re finding similar opportunities online or in local marketplace websites.
A lot of folks will just go to the nearest silver broker or coin dealer and sell it to them. This is fine and convenient, but you may want to shop around and get the best offer that is close to at least the silver melt price of your bars.
Sell Your Silver Bars to a Bullion Dealer
If you have pieces you’re unsure about, such as vintage or rare bars, or you simply don’t know if you calculated the melt value of your silver bars correctly, choose a major bullion dealer who boasts years of experience, is interested in educating their buying and selling customers, has a multitude of good customer ratings online, and has connections to the industry’s leading organizations, like the National Inflation Association and National Coin and Bullion Association.
Dealers with these types of credentials are most likely to offer fair prices. They also don’t want to sully their good reputation by shortchanging their customers. Do your homework before you sell your silver bars (as you’re doing by reading this article) and choose your silver dealer carefully. Follow these steps, and you’re sure to have a positive experience when selling your bullion.
Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez is a journalist, editor, and blogger who has won multiple awards from the Numismatic Literary Guild. He has also authored numerous books, including works profiling the history of the United States Mint and United States coinage.
Read more precious metals guides from the bullion experts at Gainesville Coins: