Know your silver

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Gold might be the popular precious metal that investors speak of but, silver comes in as a quite hero. Because of its affordability, it is an easier asset to acquire especially for people who are new to the precious metal market. Besides it’s affordability, silver is also very diverse. The metal is used to make a wide variety of products that include the usual coins, rounds and bars but also cutlery, tableware and even silver statues. Investing in silver makes for an interesting portfolio that some might even call unconventional. If you are thinking of diversifying your investment portfolio, you have a lot of diverse products besides coins that you can consider.

If money really is an object, and you want to get your feet wet, you might want to forget high priced silver bullion coins and buy silver rounds. Silver rounds are produced by the same mints that make popular silver bullion coins and have the same visual appeal as bullion coins. There are some notable differences but the biggest difference is in the premiums that are charged. Premiums on silver coins are higher when compared to silver rounds because of the intricate designs that are on bullion coins. Silver bullion coins may also have an official face value assigned by the government mints that produce them, and they hold legal tender status. Silver rounds on the other hand do not have a face value and therefore, hold no legal tender status.  Unlike most silver bullion coins, silver rounds are produced in fractional weights and in 1 oz.

Besides bullion coins and silver rounds, some sovereign mints and private mints produce and sell silver bars. You can buy cast or hand poured ingots or the highly refined minted ingots. Minted ingots are long cast bars that are run through minting presses that stamp elegant designs and cuts them out into specific sizes.

Silver bars have been part of the precious metal investing for centuries. Like silver rounds, they have lower premiums. And because there are so many mints and private refineries that price silver bars this means there is a great variety of them around. They vary in design with different mints putting their own brands and different imagery.

Like a lot of programs producing silver rounds, there is often no cap on the amount of silver bars that are made available to the general public. They also come in a variety of finishes. The two primary types that are sold are cast poured of hand poured silver bars.

The classic silver bar is created by pouring silver into a cast mold and leaving it to cool and harden. Different refineries/ mints will have different cast designs and different ways to cool the poured silver.

You can buy silver bars in a range of different weights. Mints and refineries can decide to weigh and mark their silver bars either in grams or in troy ounces.  Weights could range from 1 gram to 5 kg or 1 oz to and 100 oz depending on the mint.

When shopping for silver you will come across different types of mints and refineries producing different kinds of silver products. Most of the silver coins, rounds and bars come from private refineries and mints around the world.  However, silver bullion coins are largely by government mints and state-owned mints like the Perth Mint in Australia. The highlight of the silver market is without question, silver coins. These are struck in either bullion or proof form. Notable silver coin programs around the world include:

The America Silver Eagle

This popular coin was launched By the United States Mint in 1986. It is the official silver bullion coin of the US and bears the “Walking Liberty” design created by Adolph Weinman in 1916 in its obverse. In 2015, the US mint sold a record breaking 47 million American Silver Eagle coins.

Canada has its own official silver bullion coin, the Silver Maple leaf coin which was introduced by the Royal Canadian Mint in 1988. It was the first coins to have .9999 purity.

The Royal Australian Mint is Australia’s official government mint, however, the Perth Mint is the oldest Mint in the country. It is owned by the Western Australia state government. This means that silver bullion produced by the mint like the Silver Kookaburras, Silver Kangaroos, etc. have legal tender or that they are guaranteed by the Australian central bank.

Other popular silver bullion coins from around the world The Silver Britannia, the Mexican Silver Libertad.


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