Investing in the most popular silver bullion coins ensures that your investment currency purchases a highly liquid form of tangible money that has served as a proven store of value over time. Government-issued coins are legal tender, so you could use them as currency, for their face value, in a pinch—though you wouldn’t want to, given how much more they’re worth due to their precious metal content than is designated by their face value.
Silver is available in coins, bars and rounds. All feature a standardized weight (1 oz. being the most common) and are valued in price more or less equally per unit of weight. If you are a cautious investor, then you want to be certain that your silver holdings have a reliably accessible and dependable market. You don’t want there to be any risk factor due to a potential lack of buyers when you’re ready to sell. So, before taking a look at the bestselling silver coins, let us consider why an investor would choose coins over bars or rounds.
The biggest advantage that silver bullion coins have over rounds is their liquidity. Both come in a standard coin shape, both are available in similar sizes, and both are worth similar amounts per unit weight. They also may have equal eye appeal. However, coins are usually easier to turn into cash because they are more common and well-known around the world.
They are also legal tender in the country of origin, meaning they can be used as currency—although, for example, it wouldn't make much sense to buy a $1 item with a silver dollar, because despite its face value of $1, its metal content makes it worth many times that much.
Silver bullion coins are competitively priced, due to their mass production. Government- issued coins carry the backing of their government as to quality and purity, and are readily recognizable. Some also come with anti-counterfeiting measures built into them.
On the other hand, silver rounds are produced by private mints, most often in the 1 oz. size (which contains the same full ounce of silver as 1 oz. bullion coins). They may be part of a series that is continually produced. Or they may be one-off commemoratives celebrating specific world events (like the Olympics), with a limited mint run.
Generic rounds may be very attractive and can be a good investment because they usually carry a lower premium than government-issued bullion coins.
Commemoratives are different. Some of them may be touted to naïve investors as worthy of an exorbitant premium because of their “scarcity” or the significance of the event commemorated. But caveat emptor. Buyers rarely recover that premium when this type of coin is sold back into the marketplace.
We do sell selected generic rounds. They’re cheaper than bullion coins and we believe they may have a place in your portfolio. However, we only deal with mints in which we have the highest confidence. Unlike bullion coins, rounds come in smaller sizes, from 1/10 to ¼ and ½ ounce. We offer a full range of sizes, from the smallest up to 10 oz.
The biggest advantage to silver bars is that they carry lower premiums than coins because they have less intricate designs and are thus easier and less expensive to manufacture. They are less liquid than coins—for instance, if you take one to a local coin shop to sell, they may not want to buy it for any number of reasons. But bars can be an efficient and convenient way to store larger holdings by weight.
Silver bars from any reputable mint will have the manufacturer’s stamp on it, which is generally sufficient for verification when you sell. However, as noted, the sale of large bars could be a problem if they’re physically in your possession. You need to find a willing buyer who trusts you. It’s better if you buy and sell through a dealer, like GoldSilver, that has a guaranteed Buyback option. Even better, simply leave large silver bars within their “chain of custody,” so there will be no question of their authenticity. One easy way to do that is through our allocated storage program.
Some people might think that bars have greater purity. Not so. Most bars come in a purity of .999 fine (99.9%), the same as most coins. (And some coins, like the Canadian Maple Leaf, have an even greater purity—.9999 fine.) Both bars and coins contain the same amount of silver by weight.
We stock silver bars from a variety of mints and in sizes from one to 100 ounces.
So-called “junk silver” coins are misnamed. They’re anything but junky. They are simply those minted until 1964 in the US. Up to that point, they circulated freely in commerce throughout the country, and were the last precious metal coins to do so. Their accumulated wear gives most of them a less than brilliant look, hence the descriptor “junk.” Afterward, they were discontinued and replaced by coins using a cupronickel alloy. Unlike modern bullion coins and rounds, they are not pure, but are 90% silver. Thus they are priced accordingly in the market as per their metal content. Though not as popular as our modern bullion coins, they are valued by collectors and those who appreciate their history. We offer junk silver in the form of individual dimes and quarters, as well as 71.5 oz ($100 face value), 357.3 oz ($500 face value) and 715 oz ($1,000 face value) bags.
Silver bullion coins are most commonly found in the standard 1 oz. size, and are widely available and accepted around the globe. Other sizes include 30 gram, two ounce and 10 ounce. Beyond that, except for a few specialty items, you’re talking about bars.
The main advantage of the smaller sizes is their liquidity. If you need cash, most any dealer will buy your 1 oz. coins. But you might have trouble quickly moving that 10 oz. Maple Leaf.
Another factor to keep in mind is the premium. As with gold, what you pay for a coin is the spot price per ounce for silver on that day. Added to this is the premium charged by the mint and the dealer. In a sale, it works the other way; the premium is deducted from the price you receive.
The thing to remember is that premiums are sensitive to supply and demand. Generally, when demand is low, so is the premium, so that’s the best time to buy. When silver coins are flying off the shelves, or when supplies lag, the premium tends to escalate. In addition, premiums vary from dealer to dealer. Our premiums are among the lowest in the business, and we back that with our price match guarantee.
One last thing to consider is the ease of selling popular silver coins. They all have liquidity virtually anywhere in the world, so this is not normally problematic. However, some coins are easier to convert or sell in certain markets. For example, North American coins are usually easier to convert into cash in the US market than coins from other areas of the world.
With all of this as background, following are the best selling silver bullion coins. They have been listed in order of their popularity/demand in the market.
The contemporary American Silver Eagle features the classic obverse “walking Liberty” design, but should not be confused with the historical half-dollar on which it is based. It contains one troy ounce of .999 fine silver and carries a face value of one dollar (tho of course it is worth many times that).
The Eagle is the bestselling silver coin in the world. First issued in 1986, it is offered only in a 1 oz. version (although we also have available a 500 oz. “monster box”).
American Silver Eagles offer unsurpassed liquidity and are very popular in the US. They’re favorites due to their beauty, with Lady Liberty on the obverse and the American bald eagle on the reverse. They are also Individual Retirement Account (IRA)-approved investments.
The Canadian Maple Leaf is the second most-popular silver coin, and one of the most highly-recognized coins in the world. It has been a product of the Royal Canadian Mint since 1988. It has the highest purity of any silver coin at .9999 fine, and the 1 oz. size carries a legal tender value of C$5.
The design features radial lines emanating from the center of the coin, machined precisely within microns to ensure consistent die production and coin striking. The specific width and pitch of the lines create a light-diffracting pattern which makes the silver Maple Leaf unique among bullion products.
The coin is available with MintShield™, a proprietary surface protectant—transparent to the user—that is proven to significantly reduce the occurrence of white spots on silver bullion. The reverse may also feature an engraved security feature consisting of a textured maple leaf, micro-engraved with laser technology. A numeral is visible under magnification, denoting the coin’s year of issue. All of this is intended to represent the cutting edge in bullion coin security.
In addition to the standard 1 oz. size, silver Leafs are available in 500 oz. mint cases.
The silver Austrian Philharmonic coin features the same design as the gold Philharmonic, Europe's leading gold bullion coin. First minted in 2008, the silver Philharmonic has now taken its place as the highest minted and most well-known silver bullion coin in Europe. It is .999 fine silver and carries a face value of 1.50€. The obverse of the coin features the Great Pipe Organ in Vienna's Golden Hall, which houses the Philharmonic Orchestra. The reverse of the coin depicts an array of instruments from the world-famous orchestra.
In addition to single 1 oz. coins, we offer a 500 oz. mint case.
British Britannia silver coins are commonly traded in the UK, where they capture a major portion of the market, and less commonly elsewhere. They are legal tender, and have a face value of £2 sterling. The obverse features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and the reverse a depiction of the iconic Britannia figure, the symbolic protector of the British Isles.
Britannias minted in 2017 and later have a security feature consisting of a speckled radial sunburst which gives these silver coins a striking look that is very difficult to counterfeit.
First produced in 1997, the coin was originally minted to the “Britannia silver” standard (.986 fine) but was upgraded to pure silver (.999 fine) in 2013.
In addition to the 1 oz. Britannia, the Royal Mint also produces several 2 oz. versions in the “Queen’s Beast” series. Of these , we offer the Yale of Beaufort and Falcon of the Plantagenets coins in .9999 fine silver.
Other silver bullion coins are less frequently traded, but the investor may wish to acquire some, because of a special interest in a country or to add variety to his or her portfolio. All are 1 oz. and they include:
The Australian Kangaroo, .9999 fine and struck by the Perth Mint since 2016.
The Mexican Libertad, .999 fine, first issued in 1981 and prized by collectors for its beauty and lower mintages.
The South African Krugerrand, .999 fine with legal tender status but no face value.
There are any number of other silver coins that are available in the market in different forms and sizes. However, market participants generally prefer to look for the most-popular or widely used coins to trade, because they know they’re highly liquid—easily bought and sold.
Silver bullion coins are a safe and secure method for investing in physical precious metals. They have a rich history as one of the oldest forms of money in the world and have actually circulated as currency more often than gold.
They are one of the foundations of a diverse and stable portfolio.
We offer an unrivaled variety of silver coins to choose from, along with many other special online features, such as: our sell-back policy, under which we will buy back most bullion products, whether you bought them from us or elsewhere; provision for allocated and segregated secure vault storage; and the ability to purchase with cryptocurrencies.