Monday, January 30, 2006

American Silver Eagle

The American Silver Dollar is perhaps one of the most widely known and popular coins available today.

The United States Mint makes proof versions of the American Eagle coins for collectors.

By ‘proof’ we mean that the coin was produced by a special minting process where the coin is ‘struck’ several times to create a soft frosted, yet detailed image on the coins. Each coin is inspected for any flaws or blemished and the placed in a special plastic capsule and mounted in a up market presentation case.

The coin has been considered to be one of the most beautiful coins ever produced.
On the obverse (head or front) is the original design by Adolph Weinman of the ‘Walking Liberty’ and the reverse displays a heraldic eagle by John Mercanti.

Each coin contains one troy ounce of 0.999 purse silver.

As per the US Mint, “An official Certificate of Authenticity accompanies each coin. American Eagle Proof Coins sell at a fixed price and can be purchased directly from the United States Mint. American Eagle Gold and Platinum Proof Coins are available in the following options: one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, one-tenth ounce and four coin sets, which contains one coin of each denomination. The American Eagle Silver Proof Coin is only available in the one ounce size. American Eagle Proof Coins can be purchased directly from the United States Mint.”

More information on the American Silver Eagle Can be obtained at American Silver Eagle.

The American Silver Eagle is truly a beautiful piece of work and at least one should be in every coin enthusiasts collection.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Mexican Silver Coins

Although the Aztec Empire was well known for it's gold, Mexico, also known as New Spain until the early 1800s, produced some of the most popular Mexican silver coins in use today.

Mexico also issues some of the largest silver coins in the world. The silver Libertad, for example ranges from one twentieth of an ounce up to 1 kilo of silver in weight. Banco de Mexico struck 1 kilogram pure silver Libertads in a limited edition of 1,100 Prooflike Brilliant Uncirculated coins, but these were not offered in the United States. However, since the second year of issue 2003, dated kilo Libertads are now available, only 3,000 Prooflike Brilliant Uncirculated coins will be produced

In 1996 the Winged Angel design was introduced and is based upon the Angel of Independence, an eight ton golden statue atop a tall slender column in Mexico City. The reverse of the kilo Libertad features the official state seal of Mexico surrounded by ten eagle designs that have been used through the centuries, including one depicted in the 16th century Mendocino Codex.

Mexican silver coins make great collections and a good collection can be an excellent future investment.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Silver Bullion

Silver bullion includes silver coins as well as silver bars. However the term is becoming more to mean silver bars and ingots than silver coins which are really a subject in themselves.

Silver bars and ingots, the very large commercial bars, come in a variety of sizes and weights. Usually all of them have a fineness of 999 pure. This means there are 999 parts per thousand of pure silver. One of the disadvantages of silver bars is that some countries charge a tax for purchases whereas they do not for coins. Perhaps because coins are usually legal tender and bars are generally purchased for investment purposes.

All silver bars should carry the weight, the fineness and the mint at which it was struck. Sometimes other information such as the assayer is stamped on the bar also.

Silver bars are available from 1 troy ounce up to 1 kilo and ingots can be up to 400 troy ounces. Ingots tend to be less polished and are basically rough bars of solid silver. They are used by jewelers and commercial companies using silver for industrial purposes.

Silver coins of course are very popular. Many hundreds are available and some collectors like to specialize in a particular coin such as the American Silver Eagle or the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, for example. Most major countries and some smaller ones produce silver coins including:
Byzantine (Ancient)
Italy (also Roman)
South Africa
South America
To name but a few.

A good browse on will net you heaps of sites that buy and sell silver bullion.

Always ensure, when the time comes to make a purchase, that you pick a reputable dealer and ensue that with each purchase you get a certificate of authenticity for your silver bullion.

History of Silver Coins

Man has recognized the qualities of silver for several thousand years. Based on evidence found on islands in the Aegean Sea, it is fairly evident that mankind has practiced the science of separating silver from lead at least as far back as 3000 BC.

Silver, Ag, has an atomic number of 47. This means it is the 47th element in the periodic table by atomic weight and contains 47 electrons. The atomic weight of silver is 107.8682, and it is in a solid state at 298 degrees Kelvin. Silver has a hardness rated between 2.5 and 2.7, and is therefore one of the most malleable of all metals. Silver is white, lustrous and, well, silver.

Silver has many uses in our society. Silver Bromide is used extensively in photography. Various alloys of silver have long been used for jewelery. Silver is an excellent conductor of both heat and electricity and is therefore used for various electrical applications and even cloud seeding. Up until about the 1930’s, silver compounds were used as a normal part of medicine, silver nitrate being the prevalent form.

Silver Iodide was used in babies’ eyes upon birth to prevent blinding as the result of bacterial contamination. Silver has always held a value above material and economic considerations also. Gifts of silver jewelery in many cultures are given as a symbol of trust, truth, excellence, wisdom and love.

The Origins of Silver Currency

Silver has been used as currency for many hundreds of years. The first currency of the modern Greek state was called the Phoenix. It was originally issued in 1828 in the form of a silver coin equal in value to the French Franc. Its official denomination was the lepton and 1 phoenix = 100 lepta at the time.

The name taken was that of the mythical Phoenix bird, and was meant to symbolize the rebirth of Greece. The myth of this bird derives from ancient Egyptian mythology. The Phoenix is a mythical sacred firebird said to live for either 500 or 1461 years. The male bird with beautiful gold and red plumage builds itself a nest of cinnamon twigs at the end of its life and then ignites it. Both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes and from the ashes a new, young phoenix would arise. Stories and the agreed upon life span may vary but the symbology of resurrection and immortality have prevailed throughout history

In Germany in the late 15th century one finds silver coins being used called the Talers. This word has been translated from the German into many other languages including English resulting in the words daler, daaler and eventually dollar. So the word dollar is not unique to the US. Silver was also used by James VI of Scotland who struck a 30-shilling coin between 1567 and 1571 generally called the Sword Dollar due to his depiction on the obverse (head) holding a sword.

Charles II of England (1660-1685) struck the Double Merk of 1578 and this was called the Thistle Dollar and Spain of course has issued crown size silver coins in the denomination of 8 reales.

Many of these early examples of silver coins can still be found in museums, private collections and, who knows, perhaps many more may be found on future treasure hunts down the track.

For those embarking on a hobby or investment of collecting silver coins, there are some fascinating coins to browse and collect.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Silver Nuggets

Silver nuggets are very rare. By silver nuggets I mean those wriggly bits of silver prospectors find on the surface when prospecting. Like gold nuggets, these are not found with mining but only by panning on the surface, usually in streams but sometimes in rocky outcrops or simply, but more rarely, on the ground.

There is a silver coin from Australia sometimes called the silver nugget but we don’t mean that. Silver nuggets is also a term used for silver used in the jewelery business for the creation of necklaces, earrings, pendants and so forth but we don't mean that either.

Many are prized for their interesting shapes.

These nuggets are so rare in fact that one would be better employed collecting silver coins, such as American Eagles, Morgans or Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins.

However, the value of silver is on the rise again so it is worth while collecting silver coins and silver bars. Silver coins are easily obtainable and inexpensive and have a beauty that makes it worth while collecting them for aesthetic reasons alone.

Silver coins can be purchased from most reputable dealers and usually come in one and ten ounce coins.

Most of the popular coins are 99.9 percent pure silver and it is recommended to get proof sets if possible as these tend to increase in value more.

Silver bars are also a worth while catch and purchasing the 1 kilo and over bars can be a profitable long term investment.

Silver nuggets may sometimes be found advertised in auctions such as eBay and other precious metal auctions. Always take care with these as, being so rare, it is actually very unlikely there is a genuine silver nugget for sale.

Whether you actually come across a genuine silver nugget or are happy to accumulate some very nice silver coins or bars, you are sure to have an interesting time with your collection.

Morgan Silver Dollar

The Morgan silver dollar is perhaps considered the most popular US silver dollar in existence, not just for the silver content or the beauty of the coin but also for its fascinating history.

Around a billion of the Morgan were minted in various mints around the county at different times. From New Orleans to Carson City and from San Francisco to Philadelphia where they are minted up to the present day. Relatively inexpensive, this was a coin that was introduced in 1878 mainly due to political pressure from silver mine owners to reinstitute silver dollars after production had been halted 5 years earlier. The lobbying was successful and the government of the day passed the Bland-Alluison Act resulting in the government purchasing millions of ounces of silver to turn into silver dollar coins.

The government contracted a young designer by the name of George T Morgan to design and engrave a new silver dollar. Morgan then engaged a young school teacher, Anna Williams, to sit for him so he could engrave her image as the "liberty Head" on the obverse of the coin. Anna became quite famous as a result of this sitting and her image being engraved on the nation's silver dollars. The reverse of the coin depicts an eagle resulting in the coin sometimes being referred to as the "buzzard dollar"

The coin is 38.1 millimeters in diameter, has a weight of 26.73 grams. Its composition is .900 silver, .100 copper and the silver weight is .77344 ounce of pure silver.

To add to the romanticism of the story, many Morgans were melted down in the 1960 as the price of silver rose and people were keen to cash their silver in. It has been estimated that there was only around 17-18 percent of the original strikes of the Morgan Silver Dollar still surviving today.

The in the 1970s a cache of 400,000 Morgan silver dollars were found in the home of the deceased Nevada eccentric, La Vere Redfield. They were eventually sold at auction to A-Mark Coins for 7.3 million dollars US. That was 18 dollars US per coin. Instead of selling these coins enmass, the dealer, in cooperation with other dealers, slowly trickled these coins onto the market, not only maintaining the price and value of the coins but also bringing into the market new collectors.

Then again another hoard of Morgan silver coins were found and distributed in the early 1980s. These were known as the Continental Bank Hoard and in that hoard there were 1.5 million silver coins

Morgan silver dollars have remained one of the favourite coins of collectors and will probably continue to do so for many years to come.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Silver Coin Prices

Silver coin prices are easily available by browsing the various dealers and auction houses online .

It is a good idea, before you buy any silver coins, to check out the prices of various coins and note any difference however.

Usually the common silver coins, such as the American Silver Eagle or the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, for example, are fairly standard. There are early rare silver coins which can sell for much more than the silver content of the coin.

Silver coins are 99.9 percent silver and produced at various private and governmental mints. Some overseas mints will sell silver coins directly to the public (The Australian Perth Mint is an example) but mints such as the US Mint only sells through reputable authorized dealers.

Most silver coins are one troy ounce silver and have a specific face value. But the silver content and rarity, due to limited issue, determines the value and price of the coin not the face value. The American Silver Eagle, a pure silver coin weighting one ounce has a face value stamped on it of one dollar, but is usually sold for the value of the silver plus a mark up and shipping costs. This can be anything up to twenty dollars for the one coin.

There are many silver coins. Just a few of the US available include:

Three Cent Silvers
Early Half Dimes
Seated Half Dimes
Early Dimes
Seated Dimes
Barber Dimes
Mercury Dimes
Roosevelt Dimes
Early Quarters
Twenty Cents & Seated Quarters
Barber Quarters
Standing Liberty Quarters
Washington Quarters
Statehood Quarters
Early Halves
Liberty Seated Half Dollars
Barber Half Dollars
Walking Liberty Half Dollars
Franklin & Kennedy Half Dollars
Seated and Trade Dollars
Morgan Dollars
Peace Dollars
Eisenhower, Susan B. Anthony &
Sacagawea Dollars

Then there are the silver coins produced by other countries such as Australia, Austria, South Africa, the UK and many others.

For the coin enthusiast, there are plenty to chose from, and collecting silver coins is sure to give endless enjoyment for both young and old.

Buy Silver Bars

Buying silver bars can be a good investment and are not too expensive to purchase.

There are varying types of silver bars available. From the small one troy ounce of silver up to 10 ounce and one kilo bars and more. All silver bars should be 99.9 percent pure or above.

Silver bars are produced by mints and refiners. Refiners usually produce silver ingots Silver ingots are the larger bars and tend to be rough and are used by jewelers and for industrial purposes. The smaller silver bars by industry and the public and the ten and one ounce bars as investments and collectibles. The size, weight and maker should be stamped on each bar.

Silver has become more popular recently and silver bars are a good investment for the future.

However, silver bars are probably not as popular as silver coins and the small one ounce bars are really only for collectors as the mark up and shipping costs outweigh the investment value. Ten and one hundred ounce bars are better for investment purposes.

Care is still required when you buy the ten ounce bars as it is possible to buy a counterfeit bar quite easily. With counterfeit bars, holes are drilled in the side and lead is poured in. Then the holes are covered with silver and it is almost impossible to tell this has been done.

One should always purchase bars from a reputable dealer who is prepared to authenticate the bars as genuine as this is important when one comes to resell them at a later stage.

Provided you spends some time doing your research there are some great deals out there and an astute collector can build up a nice portfolio when you buy silver bars.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Silver or Gold?

Silver or gold is a fascinating question and there are good reasons for investing in both metals in a variety of ways.

Gold is considered more valuable because of its rarity and also due to personal preference hence it's higher value per ounce than silver.

Gold generally runs at 55 times more valuable per ounce than silver. Yet silver is used in industry much more than gold and silver has more industrial applications than gold. It is also in shorter supply. Silver has actually almost tripled in value while gold double over the past few months.

Gold has been used as a transactional medium for many years but it is silver coins that have formed the basis of most exchange mediums. In other words more people have used silver for money than gold. Possibly due to the difference in value. Most purchases are of the smaller kind and using a one ounce gold coin to buy some bread milk and cheese is a lot different to carrying a one ounce silver coin.

In the coin collectors world it is very much a matter of taste, as well as affordability. Some people prefer gold, others silver. Silver coins are much easier to collect as one would have to, in theory, collect around fifty silver coins to one gold coin. For investment and storage purposes however, storing a one ounce gold coin is much easier than storing fifty one ounce silver coins.

Of course this applies to bars and wafers as well. The main difference of course is with coins is that some coins, due to their rarity and limited issues, can have an additional value not shared by bullion bars. The other difference here, as far as this is concerned, is the shape.

Investors on both sides will give you good reasons why either gold or silver is the bees knees when it comes to investing. The truth is, both are excellent investments and, when it comes to coins, both have some wonderful and beautiful coins that give great pleasure.

So whether you are a silver or gold collector, the mere fact of collecting and enjoying the coins and bars will likely give you much pleasure in the years to come.

Silver Rounds

Silver Rounds are basically silver coins. The word round was 'coined', so to speak, because the precious metal was formed into coins and could be stacked in rolls for easy handling and transport.

So wherever you see the word 'rounds' bandied about, you can take it to mean coins.

Silver coins come in all sizes from less than one ounce to 100 ounce and over.

Some examples of silver rounds are:

There are many more.

Basically the 1 ounce coin contains one ounce of pure silver and sometimes an alloy to give it more durability, usually copper. The silver content is usually refined to a purity of 99.9 percent or more.

Each country has their own unique design and beauty for their coins.

Silver round purchases should ideally be proof sets or at least Brilliant Uncirculated. They should come sealed against tarnish and have no nicks, scratches or other blemishes and should look perfect.

Silver coins should not be cleaned. This is a highly specialized activity and cleaning silver almost always results in a loss of value for that coin.

Collecting silver rounds can be a very pleasurable activity not only for the beauty of the coins but also for the knowledge that one is providing for ones future by collecting silver rounds.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Silver Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)

By now Silver Exchange Traded Funds will have been launched.

The idea with silver exchange traded funds, is that an investment in certificates backed by silver, essentially administered by brokers, are traded instead of the actual trading or buying and selling of real silver.

When the gold ETF was launched, it took off like a rocket and there has been considerable speculation that the silver ETF will do the same.

Around 1980 there was about 2.5 to 3 billion ounces of silver mined. Today above ground stockpiles of silver have dwindled to almost nothing and warehouse inventories are down to 100 million ounces, of which two thirds are already spoken for. Currently there are critical low reserves of silver and there is a potential for a serious silver shortage in the years to come.

Silver is absolutely essential for industry, being used in many things from keyboards to phones, refrigerators and thousands of other manufactured goods. Also silver production is mostly a by product of other mining such as lead, gold and zinc for example. There is little actual silver being mined and the silver consumption has been outstripping supply for over 14 consecutive years.

It is entirely possible that the launch of silver exchange traded funds is going to ride on the back of this deficit in silver supplies and this would help to boost the value of the ETFs.

Silver is always a good buy whether you are investing in silver coins or silver bars and it is considered that silver bullion is quite likely to rise over the coming months.

One of the issues to consider with ETF is that one may have tax issues which would not occur if one is simply purchasing silver bullion. That plus the endless brokers fees and other costs involved and the fact that whereas holding actual silver is more appealing to collectors and silver coins can always be counted upon to improve in value, movements in the value of certificates can be very volatile.

So when it comes to silver exchange traded funds, feel free to participate but tread carefully and, remember, there is nothing like actually possessing real silver bullion in the form of silver coins and silver bars.

Cleaning Silver Coins

Cleaning silver coins is very different to 'cleaning the silver.

Cleaning the silver is a very traditional activity in the wealthier parts of town and I am sure we have all seen movies where the servant is sitting at the kitchen table cleaning the silver.

But what about cleaning silver coins? How does one go about that?

In fact one does not! More coins are ruined and lose value by incorrect cleaning than by any other activity.

It takes a professional silver dealer to clean silver coins and even then they sometimes have a problem.

Silver coins are not improved by cleaning!

Chard, a well known coin dealer, states on their web page,Cleaning Coins, the following advice:

"The best advice we can give for most people about cleaning coins is ... don't!
We see far more coins ruined by cleaning than we see coins which have been improved by cleaning."

"Generally speaking coins can not be improved by cleaning them. It is certainly impossible to improve their condition by doing so."

"We first saw this advice in 1962 edition of Seaby's Standard Catalogue, and it still appears in the same book today, although it is now published by Spink."

"If You Have To Ask - Definitely Do Not Clean Them!"

"It's true that if you had to ask about cleaning your coins, how to, or whether to, then the best thing for you to do is nothing. Don't clean them. You will almost certainly not improve them, and you are much more likely to spoil them."

How Harmful Is Cleaning Coins?

Over 90% of the coins brought in to us by non-collectors are junk. Even so, junk has a value, and the value will be greater if the coins have not been cleaned. Assume someone brought us a box of 100 mixed coins which we were prepared to pay £10 for, if they had been cleaned we would be less interested, and may only pay £5, so cleaning would have halved the potential value for the owner.

Let's assume you found a mint condition 1869 penny with its original mint lustre. For this great rarity, we would be happy to pay close to £1,000. If you cleaned the same penny with "Brasso", we would be reluctant to pay more than £100 for it. You would have destroyed about 90% of the coin's value by cleaning it.”

So the moral of the story is, enjoy your silver coins just as they are, and that giving them a good clean is a definite no no.

Silver Eagle Coins

The US government launched the start of Silver Eagle Coins in 1986. Since that time the silver eagle dollar coin has become the most popular with collectors around the world eager to own a stack of these easy to purchase coins.

Many people consider the design to be one of the most beautiful ever struck. The obverse or head of the coin features the Walking Liberty design by Adolph Weinman and the reverse, or tail, of the coin is the heraldic eagle, designed by John Mercanti, which gives the coin its name.

Each coin contains 1 troy ounce of 0.999 pure silver and about 1.6 inches in diameter.

Many collectors add Silver Eagle coins to their coin collection on a regular basis as a means to supplement their investment portfolio and increase their net worth as well as just the enjoyment of collecting and owning such a beautiful set of silver coins.

Silver Eagle Proof Coins make the best investment choice of the silver eagles and the US mint produces a limited issue each year so they get snapped up quite quickly.

Proof coins are struck several times to produce a perfect coin and quality inspections are done on each coin produced. They are then sealed in a protective plastic bag and presented usually in a box. This of course adds to the cost but even with this, in the long term, they are still an ideal investment for the future.

Silver Eagle coins cannot be purchased from the US Mint directly but only through their authorized dealers. However there are many dealers around that stock and sell Silver Eagle coins.

One simply checks that the dealer is authorized and reputable and makes one’s selection with care.

When you receive your silver eagle proof coins you should always check to ensure that they are sealed and the seal has not been tampered with.

Then one can be sure of having a fine and valuable collection of Silver Eagle Coins to treasure and enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

What Silver Bullion to Buy

What silver bullion to buy is a question that many people ask.

The types of silver bullion available are:
Silver nuggets
Silver bars or wafers
Silver coins
Silver nuggets are very hard to come by and require an experienced eye to judge their true value. Of course there is the silver content and silver has a definite value per troy ounce. But silver nuggets are rare and that rarity will add to the value of the nugget. Judging how much value is the province of an experienced collector.

Silver bars, or wafers, are a better option as they are produced to specific standards and are marked on the bar. You can purchase from a 1 ounce bar up to 1000 ounces or 1 Kilo.

A silver bar should have stamped on it, the amount of silver content, the degree of fineness which should be 999.0 or more, and the name of the mint in which it was struck.

The smaller bars are proportionally more expensive due to mark up and shipping costs. Usually these are sold for decorative or aesthetic value. Even as jewelry. It is the 1000 ounce bars that are popular with collections for their investment value.

Silver coins are probably the most popular way of purchasing and collecting silver bullion. Not only is there an aesthetic appeal and beauty about silver coins there can also be an excellent investment value.

Such coins as the American Silver Eagle, the Canadian Silver Maple leaf and the Australian Silver Kookaburra are examples of very popular silver coins. These all contain 1 troy ounce of pure silver.

Because it is not expensive to purchase silver coins it is easy to build up a good quality collection with dates of issue and proof sets etc. This would be an excellent way to collect silver bullion.

So, in short, good quality silver coins, coin collections and 1000 ounce bars would be the answer to a silver bullion buyers question, what silver bullion to buy.

Friday, January 20, 2006

US Silver Dollar

The US Silver dollar is one of the most popular silver coins to be collected by coin enthusiasts around the world.

The US has been minting coins since around the 1790s and these have been mostly gold, silver and copper among other less valuable metals. But the silver dollar is by far the most that has been minted and is the most collected.

The American Silver dollar is usually 90% silver and 10% copper. This give the coin extra durability and strength. The silver content by weight is .7736 troy ounces but the last circulating silver dollar coins which were struck in the 1970s were only 40% silver to 60% nickel and copper. In the 1980s however, the US Mint started striking the Silver Eagle dollar coin and this was 100% silver giving a full troy ounce in each coin. This coin was not designed for circulation however as the silver content is around 5 times more valuable than the face value of the coin.

There are a number of different silver coins which have been minted in various locations around the US. The most popular has been the Morgan 1878-1921, Peace 1921-1935, and Silver Eagles 1986 to present day. They are relatively inexpensive and affordable by most people and easy to locate. About 1 billion have been minted so there are plenty available from reputable dealers.

It is a good idea to browse around as there are many types of silver dollars from the 1790s on up to the present day. Some are quite valuable and some are not very valuable at all. It can be a fascinating hobby studying the various silver dollar issues.

Always ensure you deal with a reputable dealer and get all the information and fact before you buy.

Do that and you will enjoy many happy hours of enjoyment collecting the US Silver Dollar!

Why Buy Silver Coins

Why buy silver coins indeed! Silver coins can be a very good investment and are not too expensive to buy unlike gold coins. Silver is currently in the 10 to 12 us dollar range per troy ounce so it is quite easy to purchase 10 ounce and even 100 ounce coins. Dealers will have a mark up of course and this as well as shipping should be taken into account. There is something to be said for the purchase of more valuable coins as the mark up and shipping is proportionately less of course.

Ideal silver coins to purchase include:

American Silver Eagle. Proof American Silver Eagles have been minted from 1986 through to the present day. They are 99.9 percent silver and with a weight of 1 troy ounce. All original proof American Silver Eagles are issued with paperwork to substantiate their authenticity.

Canadian Silver Maple Leaf. The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is also sold as a 1 troy ounce coin with 99/9% silver. Uncirculated coins are easily available but, again, if you can find proof sets these are more valuable and retain their value better.

The British Silver Britannia is another 1 troy ounce silver coin 99.9 percent fine and very popular, due perhaps to having the queen stamped on the coin. As with the other coins various years are available and the value of the coins depend largely on:

The condition of the coin, especially if it is an uncirculated coin.
The age and rarity of the coin
The demand and sometimes the beauty can affect the value even.

All the above coins can be an excellent buy and investment for the future provided the three points above are considered.

Shop around and get some experience in understanding the various coins available. What ever coins you get it is an exciting and sometimes profitable hobby to buy silver coins.

When Should You Buy Silver

As the value of precious metals such as silver fluctuate on a regular basis, it is a valid question to ask when should you buy silver.

The price of silver is currently on a rising trend from less than a dollar per ounce in the 1950s to over 12 dollars per ounce today. There was a sharp rise in the 1980s which then dropped down over the later few years and the price, until recently, has remained fairly stable.

When you should buy silver depends somewhat on the reasons for purchase. If you are purchasing silver coins simply for the beauty and as a collector with no though as to resale at some later date, then anytime is the time to buy silver.

But if you are buying as an investment for the future other considerations should be taken into account.

Today above ground stockpiles of silver have dwindled to almost nothing and warehouse inventories are down to around 100 million ounces, of which two thirds are already spoken for.

Silver is absolutely essential for industry, being used in many things from keyboards to phones, refrigerators and thousands of other manufactured goods. Also silver production is mostly a by product of other mining such as lead, gold and zinc for example. There is little actual silver being mined and the silver consumption has been outstripping supply for over 14 consecutive years.

In the silver market both coins and bars are extremely liquid. In a melt down situation where silver might be at a premium, coins would be easier to barter with. Silver is very popular yet the price is still low enough to make it a future viable investment and now would most likely be a good time to purchase silver particularly in the form of silver 1 troy ounce coins.

Silver, as well as being ideal for collectors, also have considerable industrial use. This should ensure the value remains stable in the long term.

Basically the best time therefore to buy silver is anytime. Especially if you buy on a regular consistent basis as any fluctuations in the value will tend to even out.

So when should you buy silver? Now is a good time!

What Silver Coins to Buy

If you want to know what silver coins to buy, then you have come to the right place.

There is a plethora of silver coins available from old to new to circulated, uncirculated to proof from all the major coin producing countries in the world.

What silver coins to buy will depend on the following factors:

How much you wish to budget for. The larger the amount of silver you can purchase the less mark up you have to pay the dealer. However it should be something that is within your budget. You can start small and build up over time. If you purchase silver on a regular basis any fluctuations in the value will tend to even out. Silver is tending to rise and will always retain its value. Also you can build up collections that improve well with age and the fact that it is a complete collection adds additional value too.

Do a study of the coins available. If you are inexperienced sticking to the traditional American Silver Eagles, Australian Kookaburra, Phoenix Dollar Silver coins and Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, all with established amounts of silver, would be a good start. An experienced numismatist can extend his choice further of course and, as you become more experienced you will be able to expand your select of coins also.

Select a reputable dealer to buy from. Especially if you are buying online. Ask such questions as:

Is there a fixed address and contact phone numbers?

How long have they been in business?

Have they an authorization from a Mint? Apart from the US Mint, who do not sell direct to the public, many mints around the word can sell you the coins they strike and the advantage here is that you know the coins are genuine and not fake. Once you have found one it is a good idea to stick to that dealer and build up a history or track record with them.

The best silver coins to buy are those that are authenticated and contain a guaranteed amount of silver. You can get coins ranging from 1 ounce up to 10 ounces of silver or more.

Some of the best silver coins to buy, especially when you are starting out are:

American Silver Eagles
Australian Silver Kookaburra
Canadian Silver Maple Leaf
Phoenix Silver Dollar

Once you have started off in this fascinating hobby and know what silver coins to buy, I am sure you will have many interesting, and at times, exciting hours in front of you.

Silver Coins

Silver coins are a very popular with coin collecting enthusiasts.

There are many different types of silver coins one can collect and which coins you chose will depend on your personal tastes as well as the reasons for collecting. It is a good idea to study the various silver coins available and their specifications before you buy.

Popular silver coins include:

The American Silver Eagle
The Australian Silver Kookaburra
Australian Silver Kangaroos
Australian Chinese Lunar Calendar Series
British Silver Britannia's
Canadian Silver Maple Leaves
Chinese Silver Pandas

All these coins are pure silver refined to 99 percent or better. It is a good idea to purchase proof coins rather than uncirculated, since proof coins retain their mint condition whereas uncirculated can possibility have scuff and other marks on the coins. Proof sets usually come packaged in a special plastic case to protect the surface of the coins. This protection should not be removed as it ensures the quality of the coin is unchanged and also serves as an authentication if the time ever comes to sell the coin.

Steer clear of the early nickels and dimes that contain silver. The silver content is usually never more than 40 percent and are not considered collectors coins anyway.

There are also dealers who will buy your silver coins. Read their terms and conditions before you sell to a dealer. Few of them will purchase coins unseen so you would either have to send the coin in or, at least, provide a decent photo of both sides of the coin including any original packaging if you have it. Get a quote from 2 or more dealers. You might be surprised how they differ and that way you can be sure to get the best price.

Collecting silver coins can be a fascinating as well as a profitable pastime provided one follows some sensible rules.

Silver Bars

Silver bars are very popular with silver and even gold collectors.

However, when purchasing silver bars or bullion there are a few points to be aware of.

Silver bars can be purchased from 5 grams bars up to and over 5 Kilo bars.

One needs to be careful when purchasing bars 10 troy ounce and over as it is possible, especially if purchased from auctions, to buy counterfeit or adulterated bars. It is possible to buy a bar in which holes have been drilled in the sides and lead poured in. The holes are then capped with silver making it almost impossible to tell the difference. It is rare for this to be done with the smaller bars as the profit is minimal for the work involved.

Therefore one should only purchase the larger sized bars directly from a mint or from an authorized and reputable dealer who supplies a certificate of authentication.

Some countries charge a tax. In the UK, for example, it is the VAT, which adds additional 'dead money' to the cost and makes it hardly worth while if purchased for investment purposes.

Generally speaking it is often better to purchase silver coins, such as the American Silver Eagle, or the Australian Silver Kookaburra, rather than silver bars as they are much easier to sell than the bars due to the apprehension regarding counterfeit and adulterated silver bars.

Nevertheless, if you prefer to collect silver bars, and are sensible about how you go about it, it can be a very rewarding and profitable experience.

Australian 2004 Silver Kookaburra

The Australian Silver Kookaburra was first struck in 1990 and the original 300,000 issue was heavily over subscribed at the time. Since then, the Australian Silver Kookaburra has continued to be a very popular coin with collectors.

The Australian 2004 Silver Kookaburra comes in 4 sizes, 1 troy ounce, 2 troy ounces, 10 troy ounces and 1 kilo. The 1 ounce coin is 99.9 percent pure silver and is legal tender in Australia. It has a face value of one Australian Dollar and a weight of 31.635 grams and retails for around 60 US dollars plus shipping.

There is also a square half ounce Australian silver Kookaburra (see picture above) which was struck a year later in 2005. The 1/2oz coin was been struck in the highly popular square-shaped format, resembling Australia's historic kookaburra pattern pennies of 1919 – 1921 and is also struck from 99/9 percent pure silver

The full specifications are given here

Size Face Value Weight Diameter Thickness Serrations

1 oz $1.00AUD 31.635 40.6 40.00 250

2 oz $2.00AUD 62.770 53.20 4.50 80

10oz $10.00AUD 312.347 75.50 8.70 120

1 Kil0 $30.00AUD 1002.502 101.00 14.60 160

One can also get a five coin proof set of all the coins from the Perth Mint.

As well one can purchase the Australian Silver Kookaburra from various coin dealers around the world.

Your silver coins should be stored in a cool, dry place that is preferably airtight, to avoid oxidation. Also avoid direct overexposure to artificial light or sunlight for long periods. Don't store directly on wood, which may often contains acids that can affect the silver's surface.

Proof coins from mints and dealers come in special pouches or boxes and they should be retained in their packaging without being removed. This helps to not only prevent tarnishing, but also, if and when the time comes to resell, helps to retain the value. If you buy a silver coin and there casing appears to be tampered with I suggest you return it.

If you Look after your Australian Silver Kookaburra coins, you can expect many happy years of use and also expect to retain the stored value you paid for them if not more!