Let’s start with the basics and go from there so you will know how to buy silver bullion with confidence.
To ensure you have clear title and control of purchased physical silver, you should either hold and store it yourself … or buy it through an allocated silver program which includes secure storage at a depository.
Please do not confuse unallocated silver programs with allocated ones. Typically those who buy unallocated silver do not directly own the metal, nor do they have unhindered control over the silver bullion.
Read about the Perth Mint's unallocated and allocated programs to better understand the essential differences.
The two common formats (shapes) you will encounter when you buy silver bullion are rounds and bars.
Silver rounds issued by governments are called coins since they typically have legal tender values (i.e. silver dollars).
Private-minted silver rounds do not carry legal tender values so they are simply called rounds.
Silver bullion bars come in different shapes including rectangular, square and oval.
As illustrated below, there are two silver classifications -- pure and alloy. A silver alloy includes an additional metal(s) like copper that was added during manufacturing to make it more durable.
Pure silver products must be 99.9% (or better) silver bullion to qualify as pure. Anything less is a silver alloy.
Click on the links below for listings of pure silver coins and bars.
Each category (coins, bars & rounds) has both types (alloy & pure) as seen in the graphic.
Click here to learn how the value of silver coins is determined.
Let’s start with government-issued circulated alloy silver coins that have varying silver weights but fall short of the pure silver fineness standard.
Central governments including Australia, Canada, UK and the USA used to issue legal tender alloy silver coins for circulation because of their enhanced durability.
However, the use of alloy silver coins for commerce was phased out by the ruling authorities in those nations during the 20th century.
Generally dealers will package and ship large orders of junk silver in bags.
So if you buy junk silver, you should expect to receive a bag of silver coins in the mail.
The silver content in coins of this type ranges from 35% to 92.5%.
An alloy coin, bar or round that is 92.5% silver is considered sterling silver. That's right -- 92.5% is the magic number.
Now that we have reviewed silver bullion at a high level, let’s switch gears and discuss some important selection criteria like …
Naturally you want to own silver bullion that is authentic. So selecting a trusted brand is essential.
When you buy silver bullion coins the silver quality and weight are backed by the issuing government.
Also the threat of buying counterfeited silver bullion coins is less since government law enforcement agencies can aggressively pursue offenders who duplicate legal tender coins.
Private mints and refineries submit to assay certifications to authenticate silver purities and weights of silver bars and rounds.
Jump to the counterfeit silver bars section to learn more.
It’s prudent to familiarize yourself with credible brands (logos) and assay marks when you buy silver bullion.
Then you will know your silver has an accepted seal of approval in the precious metals marketplace.
The current silver spot price per troy ounce of silver is used by dealers as a reference point when pricing their products. Jump here to learn how precious metals dealers determine silver bullion prices.
Like any good shopper, you want to get the most silver bullion for your money. An easy way to find the best value is to calculate the silver cost per troy ounce of each product you are considering.
Simply divide the product’s price by the number of silver ounces contained in the silver bullion coins, bars or rounds. Silver weights are not stamped on junk silver coins. Click here for details on the silver content in coins.
Before you buy silver bullion, it’s a good idea to consider the ease of selling it at some point in the future. So try to narrow your search to coins or bars that are popular in your region of the world.
I would be hesitant to buy off-brands that are not widely accepted and trusted by silver bullion enthusiasts.
A benefit of buying silver bullion coins, rounds and small bars is you can liquidate your precious metals in small amounts.
However, smaller bars and coins are usually a little more expensive to purchase on a per ounce basis.
Still, it makes sense to have some lower-value precious metals so you can use your metals efficiently should it be necessary.
Finally, it’s a good practice to buy silver bullion from dealers with a solid reputation. It’s easy to check the ratings of Canadian and US silver bullion dealers (online or local) with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.Buy silver bullion online from Silver Gold Bull ... serving Canada and the US.
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