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In a highly unstable economy, precious metals like silver and gold offer the reassurance of imperishable value. Although gold and silver prices may fluctuate, fine silver coins will always have intrinsic worth, both as a source of silver and as objects of numismatic value.
Should you buy silver? If so, how do you select the best silver coins to buy, and how do you avoid silver scams? Find out all this and more below from the silver experts at The Oxford Gold Group.
The 9 Best Silver Coins to Buy
While you can find silver bullion coins all over the globe, here we will focus on a few of the most popular and tradable silver coins in North America. Most of these are called sovereign silver coins since a government mints them.
1. American Silver Eagle
The Silver American Eagle is a leading choice for many silver investors. American Silver Eagles are the only silver bullion coins in the world that have their content and weight under U.S. government regulation. This authority stamp gives the American Silver Eagle a significant advantage over privately minted silver rounds.
These well-known coins are easy to recognize, unlike many foreign silver coins. The Silver American Eagle also offers considerable numismatic value due to limited quantities: older American Silver Eagle coins fetch a premium well above the spot price.
2. Silver Canadian Maple Leaf
Like the American Silver Eagle, the Canadian Maple Leaf is a trusted, government-issued silver coin. Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins are visually appealing, easily recognizable, and exceptionally pure silver coins with .9999 fine silver content.
The Maple Leafs are beautiful coins with the advantage of gaining numismatic value more quickly compared to Silver Eagles. This is especially true for years with low mintage numbers, which may get extra attention from collectors interested in the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coin.
3. Morgan Silver Dollar
Morgan Silver Dollars are legal-tender, government-issued historical coins. The U.S. government minted Morgan Silver Dollars between 1878 and 1904, and again in 1921. The Morgan Silver Dollar is an 0.86-ounce coin with a 90% silver and 10% copper content.
Although most silver investors prefer coins of at least .999 silver, good-quality Morgan Silver Dollars carry enormous worth for coin collectors due to their limited numbers and historical value.
4. Silver Libertad
Mexican Silver Libertads are attractive silver bullion coins from Mexico, issued by the oldest coin mint in the Americas. This one-ounce coin contains .999 silver.
Although Mexican Silver Libertads are highly attractive, they typically command steeper premiums compared to Silver Eagles and Maple Leafs. Some investors may also consider the Mexican Mint issue as less trustworthy than the Silver Eagle and Silver Canadian Maple Leaf, which may make Libertads less marketable.
5. Junk Silver Dimes
Silver dimes are U.S. government-issued coins dating from 1837 to 1964. These ten-cent coins contain 90% silver and 10% copper, like Morgan Silver Dollars. Each silver dime contains about 0.0715 troy ounces of silver.
Although you can often buy junk silver for melt value, dimes may also count as collectibles with premiums far beyond the silver spot price. Silver dimes may be worth purchasing as smaller coins with higher liquidity.
6. Silver Quarters
U.S. silver quarters issued prior to 1964 have a silver content identical to silver dimes and the Morgan silver dollar: 90% silver, 10% copper. Silver quarters all weigh 0.1808 troy ounces, or 6.25 grams.
Like other junk silver coins, quarters may be worth more than their face value, as many of them may appeal to coin collectors.
7. Austrian Silver Philharmonic
This striking .999 silver Austrian Mint coin weighs one troy ounce and has a face value of 1.5 euros. Each coin features Vienna’s Golden Hall on one side and an array of philharmonic instruments on the other.
Minted since 2008, the Silver Philharmonic is popular with silver investors, numismatists, and fans of Austrian heritage.
8. Silver Britannia
The Silver Britannia is a well-known and highly tradable silver bullion coin. This coin offers both pure silver content and deep historical meaning, depicting Queen Elizabeth on one side and Britannia, the iconic female symbol of Great Britain, on the other.
From 1997 to 2012, the British Royal Mint issued the Silver Britannia with a purity of .0958, but switched to the standard .999 purity in 2013. The face value of this one-ounce coin is 2 GBP.
9. Fine Silver Round
Although silver rounds are not technically coins (nor sovereign), they offer excellent value to investors looking to get more silver for their money. While silver rounds have no collector value, they command a lower premium than sovereign or legal tender coins and are typically more tradeable than bars.
How To Buy the Best Silver Coins
With so many choices of silver coins to buy, how do you pick the best? Aside from private traders who focus on selling rare or collectible coins, you have two main silver coin sources: online sellers and mints.
Buying directly from mints can cut down on the premiums on collectible coins. However, a mint will only sell coins of one type and only from the current, and sometimes the previous, year. With online sellers, you can typically enjoy a wide range of coins from around the world.
Generally, when buying silver coins, pay attention to the following criteria:
- Spot price vs. premium. The more you pay per coin, the more difficult it will be for you to recoup the cost. Rare and historical coins often fetch extremely high premiums. Sovereign bullion coins and rounds from reliable mints usually have lower premiums and a predictable value.
- Security. Buying a rare coin inevitably involves speculation on the coin’s future value. The numismatic market is complex, unpredictable, and only loosely connected to investing in silver per se. A standard silver bullion coin offers comparatively predictable value closely tied to global silver prices.
- Tradability. At some point, you may wish to liquidate your investment in silver. If you decide to sell your silver coins, you’ll want to find buyers easily and collect a reasonable price. While a rare coin may bring a lucky windfall, it can be more difficult to find buyers or source a profitable offer for a collectible coin. Sovereign coins will always attract buyers and fetch offers near the spot price.
Bottom line: Sovereign silver coins will give you the highest purity, most uniform prices, and best marketability. Whenever you or your heirs decide to sell them, you can do so easily. You will probably recoup your investment even if you don’t make a profit.
Why Invest in Physical Silver?
Many good reasons exist to buy silver and other precious metals, especially in times of inflation and economic uncertainty. Here are just a few considerations that make silver a clever investment at the moment:
- When stocks and bonds fall, the prices of tangible assets tend to rise. Therefore, silver will be worth more during stock market crashes, financial recessions, or political crises.
- Silver preserves its intrinsic worth when a fiat currency like the dollar drops in value. Although silver prices may fluctuate, silver will always remain valuable and tradable.
- Like gold and other precious metals, silver is a “safety net” investment for tough times. However, silver is also an important metal in many industries, including solar and electric electromotive. Therefore, with rising demand, silver prices might enjoy higher growth compared to gold.
Of course, no investment, including silver, is risk-free. The silver market has shown some sudden price moves in the past, and valuations may vary between investment and industrial uses. Investors who count on silver’s industrial importance may suffer losses if other metals replace silver in various applications.
Finally, unlike stocks and real estate, silver has a limited appreciation potential. You may only profit on your silver if you buy it low and sell it when prices peak.
Selling Your Silver
To get the highest profit for your silver, you should sell it when market demand is at its highest. However, the silver market can be volatile, and it’s hard to predict when prices may go down or up.
Stock market fluctuations, inflation, wars, and other events that lead to a financial crisis often make the prices of precious metals tick up. The supply and demand balance will also influence silver market prices.
If you consider selling your silver, don’t let short-term fads or panic sway you. Consult a reliable financial advisor to make sure you don’t lose on your sale.
How to Spot Fake Silver Coins
Fake silver is usually not a concern if you buy your coins or rounds from a reputable source or directly from the mint. However, if you buy junk silver online or from smaller local dealers, you can identify genuine coins by:
- Security stamps. Genuine coins often come with security markings like micro-sized letters or holographic images. These are especially common in newer coins, as mints implement advanced anti-counterfeiting technologies.
- International stamp ratings. A fine silver coin will have a marking showing its silver content, e.g., .999.
- Comparison to authentic coins. Compare the coin’s markings to similar genuine coins. For example, if you buy a Canadian Maple Leaf, make sure it’s identical to other Maple Leafs. If you notice any differences, the coin may be counterfeit. Be especially careful with older coins.
- Neodymium magnets. You can use these strong commercial magnets to identify a genuine silver coin. The magnet shouldn’t stick to real silver.
- Ice. Silver is one of the most heat-conductive metals. If you hold a silver coin in your hand for a few seconds and then place an ice cube on the coin, the ice will start melting instantly. Ice placed on a nearby surface will melt more slowly.
- Test kits. You can use appraisal kits to test a silver coin. However, keep in mind that these kits typically contain acids that may damage silver.
Silver vs. Gold Coins
Investing in silver and gold has several elements in common. Both metals are tangible assets that can withstand stock market shifts, socio-political crises, and rising inflation. However, they have key differences.
- Silver is more affordable. While gold currently trades at over $1,750 per ounce, the spot price of silver hovers around $20 right now. Silver is a lot more affordable, and potentially more profitable. That’s why understanding the best silver coins to buy is important.
- Gold storage is easier. Since metals are a tangible investment, you will need to store them somewhere. If you have a limited sum to invest in precious metals and choose to buy gold, your holdings will be more compact and easier to transport. Additionally, silver tarnishes with time, which may slightly influence its resale value.
- Gold is less volatile. Gold is a more stable investment, less prone to market fluctuations. Silver involves wider supply and demand swings, varying industry uses, and greater price shifts.
- Gold is more liquid. If you decide to sell your metals, it can be harder to find a buyer for silver compared to gold. People tend to trust gold more, especially during uncertain times.
- Gold is a safer hedge. Compared to gold, silver has greater potential to appreciate in value with industry demand. However, its prices may also fall more sharply with a recession or industry shifts. While gold also has some industrial uses, it’s more of an investment metal and serves as a more stable hedge against economic curves.
Investing in metals doesn’t need to be a silver vs. gold choice. Silver, gold, and other precious metals can all be valuable commodities when currencies and stocks lose their worth. Although gold is arguably a safer bet, especially for beginner investors, silver is also an attractive investment option that may protect you against stock market fluctuations and rise in value with industry demand.
Claim our free guide to learn more about investing in metals.
The Oxford Gold Group: Your Trusted Silver Coin Source
Are you looking to add precious metals to your investment portfolio? The Oxford Gold Group is a trustworthy source of pure silver coins and bars, as well as gold, platinum, and palladium. Call us at 855-265-8037 to hear more about our fine silver offers.