This blog is intended as a simple overview. In the precious metals industry, you have what’s referred to as “rounds” and “bars.” Silver bullion coins or “rounds” are most often 1 Troy Ounce /.999 Fine Silver. They are produced by numerous Mints and Refineries from all over the world. To name a few of the better known:

  • American Silver Eagles: produced by the United States Mint since 1986
  • Canadian Silver Maple Leaf: produced by the Royal Canadian Mint since 1988
  • Mexican Silver Libertad: produced by the Bank of Mexico since 1982
  • Chinese Silver Panda: Issued by the People’s Republic of China since 1989
  • JM Bullion Bars: produced by Johnson Matthey since the 1960’s

Then there are the so called “generics.” A generic silver round is simply one made by a lesser known mint or refinery of which there are dozens, such as the Sunshine Mint, Franklin Mint, Northwest Territorial Mint, etc. The main thing to concern yourself with is that they are clearly “Hallmarked” and stamped “.999 FINE SILVER” and also the weight, usually “ONE TROY OUNCE” on the front or back of the coin. However if they are only stamped on the side they are less desirable.

Depending on quantity, generics are bought and sold for a lower price–sometimes as little as $1.00 over spot. Many consider them to be a better investment because essentially they are the same in purity (.999 Fine) and weight. The better known bullion mentioned above command a premium, generally $3.00 to $5.00 over spot, depending on quantity and condition. Some are also produced an “Proofs” which are mostly sought by collectors, as opposed to investors. They are often valued at more than double the spot price.

Buying Silver: 101

  • Know your dealer.
  • Always take physical delivery.
  • Don’t pay premium.
  • Confirm weight and measurements.
  • Bullion is for investment. **Numismatics is for fun.
  • Avoid exotic coins, modern rarities, and anything you don’t understand.

Considering the current world wide economic stage, this may well be the best time ever to invest in silver! If you are considering making a purchase and have questions feel free to call me. I’m happy to share what I know.

Kurt Miller (425) 681-7118