Jeff Clark, Senior Precious Metals Analyst, GoldSilver
FEB 28, 2018
One of the more common questions we get about silver, and maybe one you’ve wondered about yourself, is, “Is there a reason I should buy physical silver other than Silver Eagles?”
Yes: Diversification. And the reason you may want to diversify is because not all silver products serve the same purpose. For example, some forms of bullion…
There are other distinctions, but the point is that diversification of your silver holdings can assure that you have the right form of bullion for the right purpose. It can help assure that you fully participate in the bull market. It could potentially keep you from getting wiped out if the only form of bullion you hold doesn’t perform the way you expected. It can even give you the opportunity to outperform the silver spot price itself.
If you don’t own any physical silver, I can tell you there’s nothing quite like it. Pure silver isn’t just visually captivating; it’s mankind’s oldest form of money. In fact, silver has been used as currency more often than gold. You can sense why when you hold a silver bullion coin in the palm of your hand.
And since the silver price acts like gold on steroids, it’s almost certain to reach new all-time highs in the next crisis. We can’t tell you exactly how high it’ll go, but the potential exists for it to be one of the greatest investments in modern history.
If you want to make sure you participate in the next silver rush, and would like to consider ways to diversify your holdings for both safety and profit, we present our 50 Shades of Silver list to help you decide how to round out your holdings.
A sovereign coin is basically one produced by a government mint and is considered investment-grade silver. They have several advantages over other “bullion” coins.
First, they come with a guarantee of both purity and content, and also have a face value. Those values are mostly symbolic at this point, since silver sells at much higher prices today, but it does mean the sponsoring government guarantees it will always accept the coin at its face value.
A sovereign coin is your starting point, because it will always track the price of silver. Nothing more, nothing less. It contains no other metals and is not subject to the whims of the rare-coin market. That’s good, because the last thing we’d want as investors is to watch the price of silver soar but not see our coin’s value track it, which can sometimes happen with a numismatic coin. That’s not a worry with a sovereign bullion coin.
A sovereign coin is also IRA-eligible. Those rules can be tricky—and costly if you stick the wrong product in your retirement account. You don’t have that worry if you buy the sovereigns from our list below.
Last, a sovereign coin is highly liquid, meaning it’s easy to sell. If you need to convert to currency, you won’t hear something like “we don’t buy those.” Almost any dealer in the world will buy them from you.
Lots of advantages. Here are your choices…
The US Mint produces the Silver Eagle coin, which has a purity of .999%, and comes with a face value of $1. They’re guaranteed by the US government, and the design does not change from year to year. They are ideal for US investors, and provide excellent diversification for all investors due to their worldwide acceptance.
[Click on the link to get more details about each product.]
2. 1-Ounce Silver Eagle, Common Date . This simply means you’ll let us choose the mint years for you. We fill your order from the lowest priced stock of coins available. The years will vary—they may be mixed or all the same. The advantage here is that they’re less expensive than specific or current year coins, yet still contain one ounce of silver.
3. Silver Eagle Mint Case . A case of 500 one-ounce silver Eagles, also known as a Monster Box, is the lowest-cost way to buy them. A sealed mint case contains 25 tubes of 20 coins, along with an audit slip signed and dated by a US Mint representative. This is the #1-selling product at GoldSilver.
The Royal Canadian Mint has been in production since 1908, and produces a beautiful one-ounce silver coin. Their purity is .9999%, with a face value of $5 Canadian, both higher than Eagles. They’re backed by the Commonwealth of Canada, and the design does not change. They are ideal if you live in Canada, yet have wide popularity around the world and thus offer excellent diversification for any bullion investor.
4. 1-Ounce Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, Current Year . This beautiful coin is one of the most advanced bullion coins on the planet: It comes with the Royal Canadian Mint’s anti-counterfeiting technology called Bullion DNA (Digital Non-destructive Activation), which captures images of the coins, encrypts them with an algorithmic signature, and stores them in a secure database, allowing authenticity to be verified in an instant. GoldSilver is an authorized Bullion DNA dealer for the Royal Canadian Mint. Silver Maple Leafs also now come with MintShield™, a surface protectant that significantly reduces the occurrence of white spots on silver bullion. Check out the video in the link for these advanced features. All this and the premium is usually lower than for Eagles. You simply can’t go wrong buying the new silver Maple Leaf.
5. 1-Ounce Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, Common Date . Like the Eagle, choosing a random year coin is less expensive than the newest issue.
6. Silver Maple Leaf Mint Case . This 500-coin case comes with 20 tubes of 25 coins each. It is the cheapest way to buy Maples Leafs, and is usually a few hundred dollars less than a mint case of Eagles.
The Austrian Mint in Vienna has been striking coins for over 800 years, and has sold over 80 million Silver Philharmonics since they were first minted in 2008. These one-ounce coins have a purity of .999 fine silver, are backed by the Republic of Austria, and have a 1.50-euro face value. It is Europe’s #1 bullion coin and is very well-known across the globe.
7. 1-Ounce Austrian Silver Philharmonic, Current Year . This beautiful coin is less expensive in North America than the Eagle but costs more than the Maple Leaf. Hold this coin in your hand and you can imagine sitting in the Golden Hall (the coin’s front) listening to Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, or Haydn.
8. 1-Ounce Austrian Silver Philharmonic, Common Date . This coin offers an excellent bargain; it’s currently over $1 less than the newest-year coin!
9. Silver Philharmonic Mint Case . Like other monster boxes, this case contains 500 ounces of pure silver, packaged in 25 tubes of 20 coins each.
The Perth Mint is one of Western Australia’s biggest exporters, and one of its most popular exports is now the Silver Kangaroo coin even though production only began in 2016. It is .9999 pure silver, and is legal tender in Australia, with a face value of 1 Australian dollar. The design of the Silver Kangaroo does not change from year to year (though the Gold Kangaroo's does). Also noteworthy is that the Silver Kangaroo has a spectacular high-relief design, making it very eye-appealing. And like the Maple Leaf, it comes with an authentication feature that makes it difficult to counterfeit.
10. 1-Ounce Australian Silver Kangaroo . The 2018 release is the third annual mintage of the Silver Kangaroo. It is one of the least expensive silver coins—only the Maple Leaf currently has a lower premium.
11. Silver Kangaroo “Mini” Case . Perth is the only mint that offers a 250-ounce “mini” monster box, making it more affordable than the 500-ounce cases offered by other mints, yet giving you a break on the price. It comes in 10 tubes of 25 coins each, and since it’s smaller is easier to store.
The Royal Mint in England has been striking coins for over 1,000 years. The Silver Britannia is an official bullion coin of the United Kingdom and contains 1 ounce of .999 fine silver. Silver Britannia coins are legal tender in the UK and have a face value of 2 pounds sterling. Britannias minted in 2017 and later also have a security feature consisting of a speckled radial sunburst that is very difficult to counterfeit.
12. 1-Ounce Silver Britannia . This coin has a deep history, and has a reasonable premium over spot. Britannia coins come in sealed tubes of 25 coins each. You can also buy a sealed monster box of 500.
There are a few coins manufactured by government mints that for various reasons are not eligible for IRAs. But the coins are still backed by their respective governments, still considered sovereign coins, and thus very safe to own.
13. 30-gram Chinese Silver Panda Coin . This is the only government produced coin that does not contain a full ounce of silver; 30 grams = 0.9645 troy ounce, and is the reason it’s not IRA eligible. But the Panda is the official bullion coin of China and is legal tender with a face value of 10 yuan and is backed by the People’s Republic of China. Its purity is .999 fine silver, and has been minted since 1986, the same year the US started making Eagles. What’s appealing about these coins is that the design changes every year—it’s fun to see what the new coin will look like each year, and I buy some for that very reason. This does drive up the cost, though, so Pandas are more expensive than other sovereign coins.
14. 2-Ounce British Queen’s Beasts Unicorn Silver Coin. This is one of the few two-ounce coins produced today. The Unicorn is the 4th release in the 10-coin Queen’s Beasts series from the Royal Mint. It is .9999 fine silver and fully backed by the British government. Read about the mythical “Unicorn of Scotland” in the link.
There are two primary reasons you should consider buying some silver bars. They’re less expensive than coins, and they’re ideal for professional storage. I love silver coins, but I can get more ounces with bars. And if I’m using storage anyway, which is what we recommend for the bulk of your physical holdings, then I might as well buy less expensive bars.
There’s another consideration for using bars for storage. A 100-ounce silver bar weighs 6.85 pounds; 10 of them weighs 68.5 pounds. (You can get an idea of the problem in this fun article and video). Because the weight of silver is so much greater than the same dollar amount of gold, professional storage becomes the ideal way to hold your silver after you have a meaningful stash at or near home. Bars were actually made with stacking in mind, which explains their general shape (the same is true with gold bars).
There’s one silver bar I recommend you avoid, however, and that’s the 1,000-ounce size. First, these big boys weigh 68.5 pounds each, so aren’t easy to move around. Further, they tend to require an assay for resale, which entails cost and takes time. That’s not just inconvenient; it could keep you from using the proceeds for something you really need on short notice. Last, these large bars have been the target of counterfeiters in the past, which is one reason they tend to require an assay.
One way to avoid the assay requirement is to buy for storage and never take it out. If it remains in the “chain of custody” it is less likely an assay will be required for resale (though it may still be required, depending on the buyer).
Generally speaking, the bigger the bar the lower the premium. But I recommend you buy different sizes, both small and large denominations. Why? Because you want options: If you want to sell some silver to buy groceries, for example, you don’t want to be forced to sell a large bar. On the other hand, if you’re buying a car or vacation home with your silver, you would be better off selling large bars, not hundreds of little ones.
All this said, the most popular size in the world is the 100-ounce silver bar. It’s hard to go wrong buying these, and like coins, sovereign bars are IRA-eligible. One thing to note about bars is that unlike coins, they are generally undated.
Here are your best choices:
15. 100-Ounce Royal Canadian Mint Silver Bar . As we said above, the Royal Canadian Mint in Canada is one of the premier precious metals mints in the world. This is their flagship bar, sometimes called an RCM Silver Bar, and is .9999 pure silver (sometimes referred to as “4-9s”), one of the purest silver bars you can buy. It also bears a unique serial number stamped on its face.
16. 100-Ounce Johnson Matthey Silver Bar . Johnson Matthey is a British refinery that’s been around since the 1800s. These bars are .999 pure and are stamped with the Johnson Matthey logo. The primary reason to consider them over RCM silver bars (see below) is the lower premium; they’re $15 less as of the day I wrote this report.
17. 100-Ounce Asahi Silver Bar . The reason to consider this bar is because it is currently the cheapest 100-ounce silver bar on the market. It is still .999 pure, IRA-eligible, and comes with a certified guarantee of metal weight and purity. Asahi has been in business for over 200 years, and is an approved refiner of both the LBMA and COMEX.
18. 100-Ounce Republic Metals Corporation (RMC) Silver Bar. RMC is located in Miami, Florida, and is considered one of the leading and most reputable mints in the industry. This .999 fine silver bar comes adorned with the Republic Metals logo, purity, weight, and a unique identifying serial number.
19. 1-Kilo RMC Silver Bar . These 32.15 troy ounce bars are .999 pure, have low premiums over spot, and are IRA-eligible. This is the most popular kilo silver bar in the industry and is the only brand GoldSilver offers in this size.
20. 10-Ounce Royal Canadian Mint Silver Bar . Like the 100-ounce, this is the purest silver bar you can buy: .9999 pure. Premiums are slightly higher for this reason (though still lower than coins). Each bar comes stamped with the weight, purity, prestigious Royal Canadian Mint logo, and a unique serial number.
21. 10-Ounce Asahi Serialized Silver Bar . This silver bar comes with an individual serial number for added security. The front of the bar also includes its purity, weight, and the Asahi Refining logo. And it’s one of lowest-premium bars you can buy.
22. 10-Ounce Silver Bar, Our Choice . These bars come from our available inventory (i.e., are pre-owned). By letting us choose the bar for you, however, the premium will be lower than buying brand new. Yet they’re all from recognized hallmarks, are .999 pure or higher, and are IRA-approved.
23. 10-Ounce Non-IRA Silver Bars. These bars include the Buffalo, Eagle, American Flag, Prospector, Morgan, and Walking Liberty. They are manufactured by miscellaneous private mints, and all are .999 pure. They are not approved for IRAs, but generally have lower premiums than the mints listed above.
24. 5-Ounce Silver Bars. This may surprise you, but most of the big refineries don’t produce a 5-ounce silver bar. But you can still get them, and they include the Morgan, Walking Liberty, Buffalo, Eagle, Sunshine Mint, and Prospector. They all have low premiums, though are not permitted for IRAs.
25. 1-Ounce Asahi Serialized Silver Bar. Like the bars above, Asahi is a world-renowned hallmark. And each one-ounce bar comes with .999 purity and an individual serial number for added security. At the time of this report, the premium on this silver bar was 5% less than on a silver Eagle coin.
26. 1-Ounce Non-IRA Silver Bars. These lower-premium bars include Walking Liberty, American Flag, Eagle, Buffalo, Prospector, Morgan, and Sunshine Mint.
27. 1-Ounce Silver Bar, Our Choice . Probably the cheapest way to buy silver bars, yet they all come from highly recognized hallmarks and are IRA-eligible.
Silver rounds are technically not coins, because the word “coin” implies it has been produced by a government. “Rounds” are manufactured by private mints, so don’t have a government guarantee or face value. They still contain a full ounce of silver, and in most cases a high level of purity, but they’re not government-backed.
However, they do have a distinct advantage over sovereign coins: lower premiums. More ounces for your currency. In most cases you won’t fetch a higher resale price, though there are exceptions, which we cover below.
Here are the silver rounds you might want to consider adding to your stash, starting with GoldSilver’s very own products…
28. 1-Ounce Pegasus Silver Round. GoldSilver produces several of its own silver rounds each year, and this is our flagship product and best-selling round. Its purity is .999 fine silver, and comes with a striking design that embodies the message of freedom that Mike Maloney desired in his own creation. Check out the videos in the link, as well as this article on the meaning behind all GoldSilver rounds to see if you like the messaging Mike has stamped on all his rounds. All this and the Pegasus comes with a significantly lower premium than a Silver Eagle.
29. 10-Ounce Pegasus Silver Round. This beautiful edition is ideal for gifting, as it comes in an acrylic case for display, packaged in an elegant gift box. What a great way to introduce real money to your kids, grandkids, or others!
30. Silver Starter Kit. Our featured Silver Starter Kit includes 20, one-ounce silver Pegasus Rounds (our choice of year) in a custom blue lock-in top and shatter resistant tube; Mike Maloney's best-selling book, Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver; and a DVD of episodes 1-3 of Mike Maloney’s Hidden Secrets of Money hit video series (only available in this kit).
31. 1-Ounce Silver Bull Round. Mike created the silver Bull to offer investors a super-low premium round. The Bull is available only at GoldSilver and is the maximum value silver round we’ve ever produced. Read the fascinating message behind the Bull in the link.
There are other choices for silver Rounds, too, starting with…
32. SilverTowne Mint 1-ounce Silver Rounds. SilverTowne is a popular Mint in the USA. These Rounds are all .999 fine silver, and premiums from the SilverTowne Mint are known to be very low.
• 1-Ounce Morgan Dollar Silver Round: Fashioned after the original Morgan Dollar.
• 1-Ounce Buffalo Silver Round: Modeled after the original Buffalo Nickel.
• 1-Ounce St. Gauden’s Silver Round: This is a replica of the same design used in the US Mint’s Gold Eagle coin, which was created by Augustus St. Gauden.
33. 1-Ounce Sunshine Mint Silver Round. The Sunshine Mint in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, produces this .999 silver round that incorporates Counterfeit-Proof Technology into the reverse of every Round. If a decoder lens is used on the security feature, the word “Valid” appears. This Round is also one of few that is IRA-eligible, yet it comes with a low premium.
34. 1-Ounce Republic Metals Corporation (RMC) Silver Round. As we said above, Republic Metals in Miami, Florida is one of the leading precious metals manufacturers in the industry. This .999 fine silver round is IRA-eligible and comes with a low premium, but also with a catch: The minimum order is 300 Rounds.
35. 1-Ounce Highland Mint Silver Buffalo Round. .999 purity, low premium, and IRA-eligible, which is the primary difference between it and the SilverTowne Buffalo above.
These rounds commemorate a specific person or event. All of the following are .999 fine, but not eligible for IRAs. They are all part of the Golden Age of History silver collection from the US Mint.
36. 1-Ounce JFK Silver Round. A commemorative copy of the iconic 1964 JFK half dollar.
37. 1-Ounce Peace Dollar Silver Round. A design inspired by the real United States Peace Dollar minted in the 1920s and 1930s.
38. 1-Ounce Seated Liberty Silver Round. Inspired by the coins first minted in 1840s America.
Silver Rounds that contain less than one ounce are also available. As with all fractional products, premiums will be higher. That’s because it costs the mints just as much to produce them, but the product sells for less.
So why buy fractional Rounds, especially when silver is much more affordable than gold to begin with?
Well, maybe your budget is small, or you’re just starting out—and in that case owning some silver is better than owning no silver. Or maybe you believe, like us, that the silver price will be much higher someday and thus make smaller denomination coins more useful. Or maybe you want the liquidity at a lower price level—you want some small denominations to make smaller purchases and don’t want to sell one-ounce coins. Lastly, they can be an inexpensive way to gift silver.
Remember, these coins weigh less than an ounce, so are easy to transport and could be very convenient should the time come when silver is more widely used as currency. Here are your three choices:
39. Half-Ounce Silver Round. The most popular half-ounce silver rounds include these:
• ½-Ounce Sunshine Mint Silver Round: A .999 fine silver round that features their Mint Mark SI™ anti-counterfeiting technology, making your investment more secure and easily authenticated. This is probably the most secure half-ounce round you can buy, though it does have a higher premium than the others.
• ½-Ounce Silver Buffalo Round: This .999 fine silver round features the design of the Buffalo Nickel, and has a low premium.
• ½-Ounce Morgan Silver Round: .999 purity based on the classic Morgan Dollar; also has a low premium.
• ½-Ounce Walking Liberty Silver Round: .999 purity and low premium.
40. Quarter-Ounce Silver Round. These quarter-ounce silver Rounds all come in .999 purity and have similar premiums. Their designs are identical to the ones above:
41. Tenth-Ounce Silver Round. These small Rounds are .999 fine silver and very light, roughly the size of a US dime. Keep in mind that these small fractional coins will have substantially higher premiums than a one-ounce Round. Their premiums are similar but the Walking Liberty is slightly lower.
In addition to the 2-Ounce Queen’s Beasts Unicorn Round above, the SilverTowne Mint makes a…
42. 5-Ounce Prospector Silver Round. The attractive feature of this coin is not just that it contains 5 ounces, but also that it’s made specifically for stacking: it has a distinctive interlocking design to make stacking and storing easier. This .999 fine Round is emblazoned with the SilverTowne logo, along with the highly recognized donkey and prospector. Not eligible for IRAs, but sells at a competitive premium.
In addition to the 5-Ounce SilverTowne Round just above, a number of 1-ounce silver rounds are designed for stacking. These rounds have a grooved outer rim that locks together with the round above and below. Stack 'em high, they won't fall over! All have .999 purity, and the premiums are very low.
In our view, most investors should avoid rare or numismatic coins. They come with additional risks that bullion doesn’t have, and it’s easy to overpay (i.e., get ripped off). Unless you want to become a collector and are willing to educate yourself in that market, we recommend bypassing this area.
But there are notable exceptions. There are 3 criteria that determine if a coin or round could someday fetch a higher value than silver itself. GoldSilver has produced several of these coins in the past, and here’s our brand-new issue:
46. Athena Silver Round. This stunning silver round is available only at GoldSilver, and in our view is the most beautiful round we’ve ever struck.
This .999 silver round is the 5th release in our Modern Ancient Series, this one reimagining the classic Athena coin that circulated in ancient Greece. Read the background in the link.
You can also get the 10-ounce Athena Silver Round, perfect for display in home or office, or for gift giving.
Because of the limited mintage and low premium, this coin offers one of your best opportunities to profit above and beyond underlying gains in the silver price. It is an excellent way to position yourself for greater profits yet still pay a low premium upfront. You can see examples of how our limited mintage Rounds have risen in value more than the silver price near the end of our article, “Should I Buy Collectible Silver? The 3 Criteria to Look For.”
47. Pre-Circulated Coinage. These coins were made with 90% silver until 1965, so have circulated through the US monetary system and thus show some wear. The appeal, however, is that they are no longer being made, and are fewer in number than “junk silver” coins (see below).
• $1 Face-Value Kennedy Half Dollars. This coin is now very scarce, and so commands a higher premium. One unit = 2 coins.
• $1 Face-Value Mercury Dimes. One unit consists of 10 pre-1965 Mercury dimes made of 90% silver for a total face value of $1.
• $1 Face-Value Quarters . One unit includes 4 pre-1965 quarters made with 90% silver for a total face value of $1.
Circulating coinage in the US was made with 90% silver until 1965, at which point the US Mint began to decrease the amount of silver used, and today no pure silver is contained in circulating coins. These coins are called “junk” because they have circulated through the economy, and thus show various degrees of wear.
Each junk silver bag below consists of coins made of 90% silver, all dated before 1965, with each $100 face value bag containing approximately 71.5 ounces of silver.
Junk silver’s ideal use would be in a barter situation. Don’t assume that will never occur; in the depths of the Great Recession of 2008/09, some gas stations advertised that they accepted junk silver for payment. Junk silver also typically has very low premiums. Potential downsides to junk silver are that it may be a tad harder to sell (some investors may not want it) and will likely fetch a low premium.
48. $100 Face-Value Junk Silver Bag. These 90%-silver coin bags are filled with either quarters or dimes that total a face value of $100. The denomination of a bag is based on our current inventory at the time of your order, and will contain only one single denomination of coins (quarters or dimes), not a mix. Each $100 face value bag will contain approximately 71.5 ounces of silver.
49. $500 Face-Value Junk Silver Bag. These bags contain a total face value of $500 of quarters or dimes (not a mix), which means it will likely contain 5,000 90%-silver dimes or 2,000 90%-silver quarters, for a total of approximately 357.3 Note that on the website, the previous two Face-Value Junk bags have a hyphen between 'Face' and 'Value' while the $1,000 bag does not.ounces of silver.
50. $1,000 Face-Value Junk Silver Bag. These bags contain silver quarters or silver dimes from a variety of years whose face value totals $1,000. Each bag will be filled from available inventory at the time of your order, but typically you’ll receive all silver dimes or all silver quarters, for a total of approximately 715 ounces of silver.
50 ways to diversify your silver holdings. Now you can make sure you have the right form of silver, for the right purpose, for the right time, for a diversified hard-asset portfolio.
If you believe that…
…then buy silver now.