This physical silver bullion guide explains how to buy silver, where to buy it and the best physical silver coins and bars for most investors. We will show you how to determine the best price from online silver dealers, provide a description of the most popular products for experienced investors and discuss silver investment pricing in an easy to understand manner.
If you’ve been waiting to buy silver bullion online because it seems too complex, relax. Buying silver is easier than precious metals forums and dealers make it seem. This guide will show you the best silver to buy for you, and help you feel comfortable buying through an online silver dealer.
|Image||Type of Silver||Physical Silver Product||Description / Rationale||Best Price Found|
|1 Oz Rounds||1 Ounce Buffalo Design Rounds
1 Ounce Sunshine Mint Rounds
|• Private or Name Brand Mint
• Pure .999 Silver
• Popular Designs
Low Cost 1 Oz
|1 Oz Bars||Rand 1 Oz. Silver Bars (Snake)||• New .999 Fine Silver
• Clean, Low Premium Silver Bars
• One Ounce Bar Convenience
• See Also 5, 10 and 100 oz. Bars
• Lower Cost than Silver Coins
|10 Oz Bar||NTR 10 Ounce Silver Bars||• New Pure Silver Bar from NTR
• Better Value than 1 Oz. Bars
• See Also 10 Oz. Snake Bars!
|1 Oz Coin||Austrian Silver Philharmonics||• Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) 2013
• Lower Premiums, No 1099
• Very Beautiful, Quality Coin
Lower Cost Coin
|1 Oz Coin||Canadian Silver Maple Leafs||• Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) 2013
• Trusted Coin, Lower Premium
|1 Oz Coin||American Silver Eagles
2013 Eagles Slightly Delayed
2011 Eagles Shipping Now
|• Brilliant Uncirculated (BU)
• Highly Trusted, Beautiful Coin
• Commands Higher Premiums
Prices in the table are meant to illustrate the relative difference between silver bullion coins, bars and rounds. These prices are updated throughout the day and are linked to the specific product page on the dealer web site, where you can find additional details, larger pictures, pricing at different volumes and premiums for credit card orders. –
Get the Best Price When Buying Silver: Compare Premium Over Spot with Shipping
There is only one way to get the best price for silver and that is to compare dealer prices at the time of purchase. Silver is generally priced at a premium over the current spot price. To understand how much you are paying, look at the current silver price per ounce, then compare that to the total cost for an ounce of physical silver under consideration. The difference is the premium over spot that a dealer is charging. To insure optimal pricing, compare your total intended silver purchase price, with quantity discounts, shipping charges and credit card or wire fees included. The result may be a lower total cost per unit for a given dealer, even when the initial “per ounce” premium over spot price appears higher in a simple price table.
Reputable silver dealers will tell you right up front how much premium over spot you are paying – or at least make it simple enough to calculate. They will also tell you how much they are currently paying customers who are selling the same product back to them. Depending on the product in question, you can pay anywhere from less than a $1.00 over spot, to many times that for more rare or in-demand products, or coins with a particular numismatic (collector’s) value. Of course, like most things, higher volume purchases can occur with a much lower markup or premium. Further, if you pay with a credit card, you can expect to pay more as well.
In some cases, a lower premium over spot may come at a different kind of cost. Poor service, slow delivery, incomplete or incorrect orders and other types of hassles (or loss) may be the cost of doing business with a less trusted or less reputable dealer or individual. Convenience, confidence, service and selection should all be factors in what you are willing to pay.
Higher volume equals lower price almost everywhere. You will need to visit dealer web sites to see what kind of discount you can expect to receive on the purchase of a 20 American Eagle Mint Tube or a 500 Canadian Mapleleaf Monster Box, versus an individual coin in the table above.
Watch Out for the Shipping Trap on Price Comparison Tables
Some dealers will price their silver bullion at a seemingly low premium over spot, but then get you on the back end with a higher than average shipping charge. This hits small order buyers as especially hard. You must pay attention to shipping charges. Do not make the mistake of only checking a dealer’s price per ounce, or an advertised premium, when comparing silver dealers.
Many dealer comparisons or advertised price quotes do not tell the whole story. When you consider shipping charges as part of the total price comparison, the final story on who has the better price may be different than a comparison table may have originally indicated. A 20 coin tube of Silver Eagles with a $15.00 higher shipping charge is ultimately priced with a $0.75 per ounce incremental premium. That’s a 2.5% higher cost per coin, and comparison tables do not always take this into consideration.
Where to Buy Physical Silver Online: Compare Silver Dealers
Where does one buy silver online? Bullion dealers include APMEX (American Precious Metals Exchange), Gainesville Coins, JM Bullion, Morgan, US Gold Bureau, Liberty Coin, Kitco, Golden Eagle Coin, American Bullion, Pinnacle, Monex, Blanchard, Northwest Territorial Mint, Scottsdale and many others. Many advertise on this site.
While dealer comparisons may demonstrate the relative difference in price for a variety of silver investments, they do not necessarily take into consideration other factors like shipping or credit card charges, wire transfer discounts and minimum order sizes.
Dealer comparisons invariably leave out important details that impact the final price, so what appears to be best on the surface may very well not be the case. Ultimately, there shouldn’t be much difference between the better dealers and it may come down to personal preference. Some dealers do indeed charge excessive premiums over spot price, so don’t assume all dealers are priced the same.
You will need to visit multiple sites to truly compare the total acquisition cost for a given purchase, but you will soon narrow your choices down to a few favored sites. The best way to get a feel for any given dealer is to start a shopping cart on each dealer site for an identical product. This will give you a feel for ordering and allow you to see the final price, with shipping charges, as well as any surprises that may present themselves before you actually confirm a purchase.
Be sure to consider estimated delivery time, dealer reputation and your overall comfort with the site and broker before buying.
Ultimately, market conditions will dictate the general price trend and how much you pay. However, like cars, computers and other goods and services, each dealer has different levels of overhead, operating costs and desired margins on sales. Some prefer high volume with lower margins while others may charge a heavy premium, especially for a lower quantity purchase.
Of course, there will also be less trustworthy or less reputable dealers that have no interest in providing good service or establishing long-term customers. These are the ones who will rip off the ignorant in an effort to make a quick dollar. Frankly, we wonder how these types of dealers continue to thrive.
Buying Silver Through a Local Shop vs. Online Dealers
You may wish to check prices with a local silver dealer, as many buyers report the ability to acquire bullion at a reasonable price this way without having to pay for shipping. Some buyers also like not having to worry about privacy issues or leaving a paper trail. Through a local shop, you may develop a relationship with the dealer which can result in good deals not always offered to every customer that walks in the door. Like any other purchase made through a traditional brick and mortar shop, the price may be a bit higher, but the absence of shipping charges and not having to deal with wire transfers, as well as the comfort of having your metal in hand at the time of purchase, makes up for this.
The downside of buying through a local dealer is that you are less likely to find an extensive inventory and less likely to be able to acquire larger quantities of brand new, uncirculated coins. If you are into the collector or hobby aspects, a local dealer may be desirable as this won’t matter. If you are simply seeking silver bullion at a good price, online dealers are more likely to offer what you desire, without shipping charges.
The Best Silver to Buy: Silver Coins, Bullion Bars & Rounds
Our first physical silver buying tip: Keep it simple! Stick with basic silver coins, rounds and bullion bars! When it comes time to cash in on your silver investment you want to be holding the most common, liquid, easy to understand silver products. If you are buying silver because you believe silver prices are set to surge due to supply shortages, skyrocketing inflation or the continued debasement of the U.S. dollar, then what you are looking for is simply ounces of pure silver at the best price. Don’t worry though, you can still buy beautiful coins and rounds that are fun to accumulate and still achieve your investment objective, without overpaying or acquiring an encyclopedia of knowledge.
Our silver table allows you to see the differences in price for various silver bullion coins, rounds and bars which can help you determine which silver investment is best for your particular case. Below, we provide a basic description of each type of silver product and the advantages to owning each.
What is Silver Bullion?
Bullion refers to precious metals in their purest form, which is used to make coin metal alloys. The U.S. Silver Eagle, for example, is considered to be a bullion coin because the alloy from which the coin is minted is 99.9% pure silver.
This guide lists specific bullion silver products that most silver investors own. We believe that there is no need to make things complicated. By no means is this an exhaustive list of options, but it is a good starting point for a new silver investor that would like to begin stacking physical silver quickly.
The most popular physical silver bullion products bought by experienced investors can guide the first-time physical silver buyer well. While there are many subjective factors that determine the best silver for you, our intent here is to keep things simple so that you can get started quickly. Generally, the best silver to buy is that which gets you the most pure silver for your dollar. To achieve this, you must minimize the premium that you will pay over spot silver prices, regardless of how or where you purchase your silver.
Silver coins are produced by the mints of sovereign nations. Government issued silver coins command the greatest confidence amongst silver investors and are quite liquid for this reason. Silver coins are always a great place to start. Due to their popularity and the confidence they invoke, silver coins get a higher premium price over spot than silver bullion or privately minted silver rounds, but they make a very good starting point for the novice silver buyer.
Brilliant, Uncirculated Condition (BU) silver coins provide a high level of confidence and security for the first-time silver buyer and will likely command a higher premium when selling than more generic silver rounds. The most popular silver coins include American Silver Eagles and Canadian Silver Maple Leafs, at 99.99% purity. Silver coins minted by governments around the world and popular with collectors include Austrian Silver Philharmonics, Chinese Silver Pandas, Australian Silver Kukaburras and Mexican Silver Libertads.
The beautiful Silver Eagle is the most recognized and trusted silver bullion investment and gets the highest bid prices for silver bullion in North America. Buy tubes of 20 Silver Eagles to minimize premiums and to receive the best prices. Silver Eagles can be purchased individually, mint tubes of 20 coins or even sealed green “monster boxes” from the mint, which will contain 500 coins in 20-coin mint tubes. The higher quantity purchases will reduce the cost of your silver investment.
Silver bullion bars allow you to buy pure, physical silver in a format that can be conveniently stacked in a safe. For the first-time silver buyer, we suggest narrowing your choices to keep things simple. Common sizes for retail investors include 1 oz, 5 oz, 10 oz, 1 kilogram (32.15 oz) and 100 troy oz bars. Trustworthy brands for silver bars include Johnson Matthey, Engelhard, Sunshine Minting and SilverTowne.
It is also possible to buy generic silver bars at a lower premium, but if you watch the bigger dealers, you can often buy better known brands or bars at special prices, leaving little reason from an investment perspective to buy lesser known (or unknown at the time of purchase) generic silver bars. While you can often find good deals on secondary 10 oz silver bars, which may be a more convenient and cost-efficient way to store wealth, 1 oz. bars may be easier to sell (or use for barter) in more extreme economic meltdowns.
Silver bullion rounds are also a a good way to buy silver at a lower cost. It is only minimally more complicated, provided you purchase rounds from a well-known mint and a trusted dealer. Silver rounds are issued by a myriad of private mints and look like coins, but they are not legal tender. Rounds come with a wide variety of designs, each unique to the mints that produce them. Buffalo design silver rounds are especially popular.
Think of rounds as a hybrid between coins and bars. Their purity is .999 fine silver and they can be found in weights ranging from 1 troy oz. to 100 troy ounces. Both purity and weight should be stamped on the round. Rounds, like bars, provide more silver for your investment dollar than coins due to their lower premium. 1 troy ounce rounds are the most common, but 5 oz. rounds can be found. The premiums on silver rounds should be small since they have little in the way of numismatic value.
Silver rounds are commonly issued to commemorate specific events, and are often popular with collectors, or as gifts. Other rounds are simply issued as an alternative, convenient means for storing silver, just like silver bars. Trustworthy, well-known brands include Sunshine Minting, U.S. Assay, A-Mark, Silvertowne, Engelhard and Johnson Matthey. There are countless other mints that produce generic silver rounds, many that are no longer in existence.
Perhaps the most popular silver rounds for silver investors are the ubiquitous Buffalo Design rounds, found at the larger and more popular online dealers. The Buffalo design rounds frequently carry the lowest possible premiums.
Your First Silver Purchase
Buying physical silver bullion as an investment is not complicated once you understand your basic choices. When you realize that you do not need to become an expert on coins in order to invest in silver, your confidence increases dramatically. Whether to buy government coins, bullion bars or silver rounds is a personal choice, and any difference in premium will likely continue to exist at resale, so there is no need to sweat the details.
With the proliferation of online dealers and a plethora of review sites for local dealers and coin shops, finding a good source to buy your silver, at a good price, should not be difficult. Be confident that your first purchase will go smoothly and make an initial purchase. An American Silver Eagle is a good start. Ultimately, saving a nickel or dime on your silver purchase will not serve you, if the time invested to do so causes you to miss a $2.00 move in the price of silver.