Definition of Silver Coins
Silver coins are flat, rounded coinage made of pure silver bullion, or of a silver-based alloy.
They have been used for thousands of years as a currency, by the Vikings, the Roman Empire, the Greeks, the list goes on.
The Lydian Lion is widely accepted as the world's oldest coin, minted sometime around 600 BC.
Modern silver coins, in turn, usually contain 99.99% pure silver and are struck by sovereign mints that give the silver bullion coins guaranteed weight and purity, not to mention legal tender status within the country of emission and, generally, a face value.
Each country has its own national mint, or, in some cases, they delegate the issuing of its coinage to a private institution.
The most renowned government-owned mints include the US Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint, and the British Royal Mint, among others. They are respected for their long history of high-quality products, such as the American Silver Eagle or the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf.
The Troy ounce is the standard unit of weight used In the precious metals market. Therefore, these sovereign silver coins are usually 1 Troy oz (or simply 1 oz), which converts to 31.07 grams. However, some institutions, like the Chinese Mint, are now using the international measurement system with grams.
In this article, we hope to shed some light on what really constitutes a silver coin and what are the best silver coins to invest in 2024. We will look at some important aspects of the precious metals market and the benefits of this type of investment, as well as analyze what silver investors should consider before purchasing silver coins.
Hedge against inflation:
Silver has been used for centuries as a form of currency and wealth preservation.
It works differently from fiat money, such as the U.S. dollar. The dollar is a form of currency issued by the government and does not rely on any physical commodity such as silver or gold but is backed by the authority of the respective Mint's government.
So, if people lose faith in fiat money, it will no longer hold the same value.
On the other hand, silver coins have their value backed by the price of silver itself, which is a physical commodity with intrinsic value based on a long history of application in many fields, such as technology, jewelry, and wealth protection.
Therefore, silver can be a valid option for those who are looking for ways to diversify their investment portfolio.
Popular silver coins are recognized and respected globally and are acceptable to the majority of investors. They can come in different sizes, making it possible for silver collectors to buy and sell to liquidate their assets according to their needs.
High-quality coins usually gain more value as they age. In addition, the designs themselves are a work of art. Thus, some silver coins enjoy at least a semi-numismatic value.
That is why sovereign silver coins usually carry higher premiums than bars of silver, for instance.
If you are new to the precious metals market, you might feel overwhelmed by how to buy silver coins. Below we list some of the factors to consider before choosing which ones to invest in.
Purity: Silver coins can be found in different purity levels and different silver alloys. The composition of the coin will impact on how durable and resistant to wear the coin will be. And it will also affect its price, which will change according to the silver spot price.
Design: Coin designs play an important part when it comes to choosing a coin since they will mostly represent historical figures or icons. These can be special series or represent classical designs.
Availability: Sometimes, the mintage of the coin will reflect on its price as well since a rare coin will make collectors more willing to pay more for it.
The lowest mintage for the American Silver Eagle bullion coin is the 1996 issue, with a mintage of 3.6 million.
Authenticity: Not all bullion coins come with an authenticity certificate, but sovereign mint silver coins will have their authenticity backed by the mint institution itself. Each institution adds its own anti-counterfeiting measures to its coins. For instance, the Royal Canadian Mint is famous for its Bullion DNA technology, which individually identifies each coin they release.
Investment Bullion Coins:
Silver Bullion coins are produced for the purpose of investment. They are often designed at a face value which makes them considered legal tender, and some of them can even be used in Individual Retirement Accounts. Besides, due to manufacturing costs, they are charged a price above the silver spot price.
Proof coins, on the other hand, have a higher level of detail and are usually minted in smaller quantities for collectors. They undergo a more complex minting process that includes burnishing the blanks and especially polishing the dies to create a cameo effect. In other words, the design elements receive a frosted look, and the background a mirror-like luster.
Silver rounds are privately minted, non-legal tender, silver bullion coin-like pieces of .999 fine silver. They are available in varied sizes and designs. Because they are not government-guaranteed, silver rounds will usually carry lower premiums than sovereign silver coins.
Junk Silver Coins:
Junk silver refers to lower-quality coins that have relatively little numismatic appeal to coin collectors but are rather valued, within the silver market, for their silver composition. Junk silver coins can be bought at low markup levels and come in different denominations, like dimes, silver quarters, and half dollars.
First, let us understand some basic differences between silver and gold when it comes to investment:
Many private investors consider gold a safe, long-term investment due to its historical value. It tends to be stable when compared to other precious metals. In fact, in times of crisis, gold will most likely perform well (even possibly outperform bonds and stocks).
Even though Silver is more volatile than gold, it is more affordable. The gold/silver ratio is a value comparison between 1 ounce of gold and 1 ounce of silver. As of January of 2024, the gold/silver ratio is fluctuating at around 87, meaning one would have to purchase 87 ounces of silver to match 1 ounce of gold.
In addition, silver draws a considerable demand from the industry for its use in a variety of industrial sectors such as in the making of electronics, solar panels, and even in vehicles. Therefore, when industrial demand is high, you can expect silver prices to go up.
Now that we have understood the value and importance of silver coins in a diversified investment portfolio, we list below 12 of the best silver bullion coins available in the bullion market in 2024.
12.Koala Silver Coins
Available in 1 oz, 10 oz, and 1 Kilo, Koala Silver Coins from the Perth Mint product have been produced since 2007 and gained collectors' hearts through their exclusive designs, which change every year.
The reverse shows different depictions of the native marsupials of Australia, the koalas, in their natural habitat. The reverso also brings data regarding weight, metal content, purity, and the series name.
The obverse of the coin features the monarch of the British Commonwealth. 2023 was possibly the last year the coin featured Queen Elizabeth II, which passed away in September of 2022. The 2023 issue celebrated her reign by inserting the dates 1952-2022, the period she held the throne. The collection is expected to release a new effigy of King Charles III, the new King, in 2024.
This coin may be an interesting option for those who look for a collectible beautiful coin with a high purity level, with the plus of being an IRA-approved, and legal tender product.
Composition: .9999 fine Silver (99.99% silver)
Weight: 1 troy ounce. (31.11 grams)
Face Value: 1 AUD
11. Krugerrand Silver Coins
There are many African silver coins worth collecting, including the Somalian Silver Elephants from the African Wildlife coin series. However, the one that takes the cake in the continent is, no doubt, the South African Silver Krugerrand.
The golden version of the Krugerrand was released in 1967 and has been produced in silver since 2017.
The Gold Krugerrand is the longest-running modern bullion coin distributed internationally, and its iconic design captures the struggles and natural beauty of South Africa, in the same spirit as the Somalian Silver Elephant Series did.
The name of the coin comes from a mix of the words "Kruger", the last name of the South African Republic’s former Boer president, Paul Kruger, and the word "rand", the official unit of currency in South Africa.
The reverse shows a springbok, the South African national animal. On the obverse, there is an effigy of Paul Kruger.
Composition: .999 fine silver (99,9%)
Weight: 1 troy ounce (31,1 grams)
Face Value: 1 rand
10. 90% Silver ” Junk”
As we have previously explained, “Junk silver” is a term that refers to pre-1965 US dimes, quarters and half-dollars issued by the U.S. Mint with 90% silver content, when the US dollar was backed by silver.
Nowadays, with the advent of the fiat US Dollar after the Coinage act of 1965, these coins still hold legal tender status for their face values, however their intrinsic value (the precious metal content) is way higher.
The main reason people buy and hold old US Constitutional Silver Coins for the long term is the fact that their silver content has shown to be a hedge against fiat currency devaluation and purchasing power loss.
Silver tends to retain its value over the long term, these are suitable for investors who want to save a portion of their wealth in private, tangible, and legal tender silver coins.
Composition: .900 fine silver (90% silver and 10 % copper)
Weight: 0715 troy ounces of fine silver (a total weight of 2.5 grams)
Face Value: ten cents.
9. Australian Silver Kookaburras
Every year since 1990, the Australian Perth Mint releases a new depiction of the Kookaburra bird, native to Australia. This is the oldest-running silver coin program from the Perth Mint, which is the oldest facility in operation installed by the Royal Mint in Australia.
The obverse depicts Jody Clark’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, which stamps the 2023 edition of the Kookaburra Silver coin. As it is with the Koala Coins, King Charles III’s bust is expected to debut in the 2024 issue. The reverse side showcases the Kookaburra, a native bird of Australia.
These coins are suitable for investors looking for IRA-approved coins and highly numismatic collectibles. They also come in four different sizes:
One troy ounce: Face Value AUD$1
Two troy ounces: Face Value AUD$2
Ten troy ounces: Face Value AUD$10
One kilogram: Face Value AUD$30
Composition: .9999 pure silver (99.99%).
Weight: 1 troy ounce (31.1035g)
Face Value: $1 AUD
8. Chinese Silver Pandas
A product from the Chinese Mint since 1983, it is one of the oldest silver coins ever produced and they are IRA-approved.
The obverse of the Chinese Silver Panda coins displays the giant pandas in their natural habitat, and the imagery changes every year, which make them a lovely collection. The coin’s description regarding weight, metal content, and fineness - “30 gr Au .999” - is aside, and the face value of 10 Yuan is usually above the image.
The reverse stamps the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Chinese characters, meaning “The People’s Republic of China,” arches over the temple, and the year of mintage is on the bottom.
One interesting fact about these coins is that the Chinese Mint uses the international metric system, so rather than Troy ounces, these coins are weighed in grams.
Composition: .999 fine silver (99.9%)
Weight: 0.965 troy oz (30 grams)
Face Value: 10 Yuan
7. Australian Silver Kangaroos
Launched in 2016, the Australian Silver Kangaroos bullion version contains 99.99% purity levels. This makes the Australian Silver Kangaroo the first silver coin by the Perth Mint with such high levels of silver in regular annual editions.
Since Australia is a nation of the British Commonwealth, this sovereign coin’s obverse depicts the former Queen Elizabeth II, using her famous George IV State Crown. The reverse features a hopping Kangaroo, and the design is based on Stuart Devlin's original idea for the Australian Copper Penny.
The effigy of King Charles III is expected to debut on this coin in the 2024 issue.
An option for those looking for high-purity silver coins with beautiful designs, the coin features an authentication feature in the form of a laser-engraved privy mark. This feature is designed to make counterfeiting much more difficult.
Composition: .9999 fine silver (99,99%)
Weight: 1 Troy Ounce (31.10 grams)
Face Value: $1 AUD
6. Austrian Silver Philharmonics
The Austrian Silver Philharmonics is one of the most beautiful coins you will ever come across. This masterpiece of European coins, launched in 2008, features the same award-winning Thomas Pesendorfer design in both gold and silver versions.
Considered legal tender within Austria, this popular silver coin is fully backed by the Austrian Mint, an institution that has a long history dating back to 1194 and is one of the world's most renowned and longest-running institutions. It is also the only silver coin of this list that is denominated in euros.
The obverse depicts the Musikverein, the Great Organ of the Golden Hall in Viennas’s concert hall.
The reverse of the philharmonic silver coin shows an array of concert musical instruments, the cello, violin, harp, french horn, and bassoon.
Composition: 0.999 fine silver (99,9%)
Weight: 1 Troy Ounce (31,10 grams)
Face Value: €1.50
5. Morgan Silver Dollars
The Morgan Silver Dollars feature two important symbols of American pride: the Bald Eagle and Lady Liberty.
The Morgan silver dollar is, without a doubt, one of the most famous and highly collected U.S. coins of all time. Also Known as the "King of America's coins," it was massively produced in 90% silver from 1878 until 1904 and in 1921, then once more in 2021 (but with a 99.9% silver purity intended as a collectible item).
Morgan silver dollars are suitable for those looking for a coin that honors an essential piece of America's monetary history. The design was replaced in 1921 for the Peace Silver Dollars.
Composition: .999 silver (99.9% pure silver)
Weight: 0.77344 troy ounces of silver (gross weight of 26.73 grams)
Face Value: 1 USD
4. Mexican Silver Libertads
The “Casa de Moneda” or Central Bank of Mexico fully guarantees the Mexican Libertad silver coin for its .999 fine content.
Legal tender and IRA-approved, the Mexican silver Libertad is typically available in bullion and proof versions.
The obverse version displays the current seal in the center, surrounded by the ten previous seals. They all feature an Eagle in battle position, defending the nation against foreign domination.
The reverse design features the Angel of Victory, the Monument of Freedom located in Mexico City. The angel is a feminine figure of the nation with arms and wings open, with two folk mountains, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, in the background.
Composition: .999 fine Silver (99.9% silver)
Weight: 1 troy ounce (31.11 grams)
Face Value: despite not displaying face value, Silver Libertads are legal tender based on the silver spot price.
3. British Silver Britannias
Besides being a symbol of the British realm, Silver Britannia Coins are the official silver bullion coin of Great Britain and bear some of the nation’s most iconic symbols.
The reverse design features Britannia holding the Union Jack Shield and a trident referring to Great Britain’s naval history.
The new obverse design depicts his majesty King Charles III, a Martin Jennings' creation. The Latin inscription at the borders read “CHARLES III - D - G - REX - F - D - 2 POUNDS - 2024,” which translates to ‘Charles III, by the Grace of God, King, Defender of the Faith.’
Composition: .999 fine silver (99.9%)
Weight: 1 troy ounce (31.10 grams)
Face Value: £2
2. Silver Maple Coins
The Canadian Maple Leaf coin has some of the most advanced security features in the bullion industry, fully insured by the Canadian government.
Like with all the other coins from nations of the British Commonwealth, the Silver Maple Leafs display the nation’s monarch on the obverse. For the first time since its inception, the 2024 issue will not display Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, but Charles III, the newly crowned King.
The reverse features the iconic Canadian silver maple leaf, a national symbol. “CANADA” arches on top, and the coin’s information is in English and French, the official languages: “9999,” “FINE SILVER,” “1 OZ,” “ARGENT PUR,” and “9999.”
Silver Maple Leafs are also eligible for IRAs and display some of the most detailed designs in the market, a testament of the high expertise of the Royal Canadian Mint.
The 2024 silver maple leaf edition premiers King Charles III's effigy, which consists of a left-profile bust.
Composition: .9999 fine Silver (99.99% silver)
Weight: 1 troy ounce. (31.11 grams)
Face Value: $5 CAD
1. Silver American Eagle
The U.S. Mint first launched the American Eagles Program in 1986 with both gold and silver coins.
The American Silver Eagle coin is one of the world’s most recognized silver bullion coins and has its authenticity backed by the United States government. Since its release, this exceptional coin has become a symbol of excellence in craftsmanship and design.
Both verses of Silver Eagles embody the American Spirit by representing some of the country’s most important ideals.
The famous Walking Liberty design present in the Silver Eagle series was created by Adolph A. Weinman for the Walking Liberty half dollar in 1916. The reverse went through changes in 2021, but the obverse remains pretty much the same.
The obverse depicts Lady Liberty covered by the flag, with the word LIBERTY surrounding her figure.
Since 2021, the reverse of this famous silver coin showcases an eagle about to land, carrying oak branches in its talons.
This coin is the official Silver bullion coin of the United States Mint, one of the few Silver bullion coins guaranteed for weight, content, and purity by the U.S. government.
Besides being IRA-approved, the advantage of purchasing an American eagle lies in its popularity and prestige, which made it the most popular American bullion coin.
Composition: .999 fine Silver (99.9% silver)
Weight: 1 Troy ounce (31.103 grams)
Face Value: $1 USD
From an investors’ perspective, silver coins can be an effective way of diversifying one's portfolio as physical silver, just like physical gold, can be used as wealth protection against eventual economic downturns.
The decision to invest in silver coins should align with your individual financial objectives, considering that every investment avenue carries its own advantages and associated risks.
What to Look for When Buying and Selling Silver Coins?
Some of the standards when purchasing silver coins should be: the authenticity of the coin, whether it has its quality backed by an official mint; on this same line, the coin's reputation should also make it desirable and valuable to a buyer. Also consider its purity in silver, how much precious metal content is in it together with the current silver spot price.
What is the most reliable silver coin?
The most popular and prestigious silver bullion coin within the silver market is the American Silver Eagles series. Their purity, weight, and silver content are fully backed by the U.S. government.
Are 1 oz silver coins a good investment?
Silver coins are often used as a portfolio diversifier and can be used, just as any other precious metal item, as a form of wealth preservation in times of uncertainty. Some silver coins possess legal tender status and can also be used to fund IRAs.
Should I buy Silver Rounds or Eagles?
It depends on your investment goals: silver rounds tend to be more affordable since their price is mainly based on their precious metal content. Silver Eagles tend to have slightly higher premiums because of their high popularity in the market, which makes them one of the most liquid options when it comes to silver investments.
What's the best silver to buy coins or bars?
Silver coins are usually charged an extra premium due to their manufacturing costs, while silver bars tend to be cheaper because they are easier to produce. On the other hand, silver coins tend to be more liquid, which means you can sell them a lot faster than a silver bar.
Is it worth buying 90% silver coins?
When it comes to coins, there is always the premium and the numismatic value that adds up to the actual silver content. 90% silver coins, on the other hand, will usually not have any collectible value, so they tend to carry lower premiums over the silver spot. Thus, depending on your investment goals, acquiring 90% junk silver coins can be a sensible way to diversify your investment portfolio.