When mankind was still struggling to figure out a way to overcome disputes when bartering items, a few ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks, Romans, and Lydians, started regulating quantities of stamped silver and gold coins and assigning them a certain value.
Anthropologists will suggest that a well-defined and established form of currency is an indicator of a strong society. Commodity money could be used in exchange for goods, for paying debts, as a standard of value, as a store for wealth, and as a unit of account.
Nowadays, fiat currencies have become the norm where precious metals, such as gold and silver, no longer influence their value. But commodity silver is still traded around the clock and across the world as a tangible asset and as a means to diversifying an investment portfolio.
What are Silver Bars?
Although less known than gold bars, silver bars still constitute a sizable portion of the bullion market. Their low investment cost (in comparison to other bullion) can pose as a great entry point for new investors looking to dip their toes in the physical precious metal market.
Private and government-owned mints across the globe produce investment-grade silver bars (with .999 purity levels) in a variety of sizes. Silver bullion bars can be either poured or minted silver bars.
A poured silver bar is produced by pouring molten silver into molds to form a cast, sometimes called a silver ingot. It is usually heavier than minted bars and carries very simplistic marks on its surface, usually just the refiner’s logo, the metal content, and purity.
Minted bars are cut from stocks and printed with a design, much like a silver bullion coin. They undergo a more extensive process of milling into the precise thickness and stamping.
Silver Bullion bars are priced in bulk and, therefore, the more you buy, the more you save. Also, a silver bar derives its value mostly from its weight and purity, unlike a silver coin, or other silver collectibles, that may have numismatic, rarity, or historic significance value attributed to them.
What is the buying process?
First of all, if you are new to investing in silver bullion, it’s important to point out that silver is considered by experts to be, overall, a long-term investment. By looking at the silver spot price, it’s noticeable that it holds its value for decades and tends to perform well when interest rates are low. Nevertheless, silver is also an industrial metal, which means that industry demand, high or low, tends to affect its value.
Still, buying silver online can be as simple as any other online shopping, as long as you plan your purchase ahead. We have prepared a few steps as a general guideline to help you through the process.
Step 1 - Plan your purchase
Many experts will suggest that silver as a bullion investment is a means to diversify a portfolio and protect one’s wealth against inflation and fiat currency devaluation. Silver has been used as a currency for millennia and has proven to be a great store of value. On top of that, silver has a low entry point when compared to gold or platinum, and could constitute a good option for those looking to ease their way into the physical silver market.
On our website, you can find an interactive chart with current and historical silver prices that will help you better plan when to make your purchase.
Silver spot price. Interactive chart from March 2020 to April 2021.
To put it simply, the silver spot price is the standard price of a certain weight in silver for a specific moment in time. It fluctuates during the day due to derivatives being traded on markets such as LBMA, NYMEX, and COMEX.
A silver dealer will add a small percentage (called a premium) over the spot price when selling the bullion (referred to as the ask price). As mentioned before, silver bars usually carry lower premiums than silver coins.
Step 2 - Plan your investment size
Once you’ve established you want to purchase physical silver and the right time to buy, analyze how much of your investments you would like to allocate to this asset. Sensible analysts would suggest assigning 10~15% to tangible assets such as gold and silver. However, there are no universal rules. It all comes down to your goals and your assessment of the business cycle. It will also depend on your own investor profile.
Still, a silver bar is substantially more affordable than a gold bar and has a wide variety of sizes to meet any silver investors’ desires, from 1 troy ounce to even 1,000 troy ounces for industrial use, although we do recommend our customers to stick with smaller bars for personal investments, up to 10 oz, 1 kilo or even 100 oz for larger investors, given the fact that they are easier to liquidate, transport and store.
Step 3 - Choose your product and lock in the price
Keep in mind that the silver spot price is more volatile than gold’s and it will fluctuate every other minute throughout the day, so choose the desired bullion product that meets your investment size, add it to your cart and proceed to lock in your price.
In fairness to our customers, at SD Bullion, when you reach the “payment” section of your checkout, prices will lock in for 5 minutes in order to retain the agreed-upon price before the transaction is finalized.
Again, for practical purposes, we recommend personal investments to stick with smaller sizes. 1 troy ounce is usually the most popular among new silver investors. 1 oz silver bars are easy to stack and store at your own home if needed.
Finding the best price
As we have mentioned before, silver bars are charged by volume, which means the more you buy, the more you save on premiums and maximize your investment in terms of silver content per dollar invested.
Learn how to compare the prices for different sizes according to the silver spot price per troy ounce (or 31.1 grams) in order to find the best bargains.
You can also check our article on How to buy Silver at Spot Price
Where to buy silver bars
You can purchase your silver bullion bars through a brick-and-mortar shop or online. However, do keep in mind that local dealers tend to charge higher premiums for their products in order to be able to surpass their business costs. They usually have fewer customers than online retailers and higher maintenance costs.
Even if you include shipping, online shopping for precious metals, such as bullion bars and bullion coins, might be the more affordable option. However, make sure to shop from reputable online dealers.
At SD Bullion we are proud to have earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau for 8 years in a row. We also have over 50,000 positive reviews from our customers. We believe in doing business the old-fashioned way and we offer you the lowest prices guaranteed with industry-leading customer service, fast and discreet shipping (which can be free in orders above $199). Make sure to browse through our products in stock and get to know our prices and services, if you are not yet one of our regular loyal customers.
Silver bars vs silver coins vs silver rounds
When you decide to invest in physical silver bullion products, you might be overwhelmed by the range of possibilities. In this section, we will try to cover the most popular means of physical silver investment in order to help investors reach a better-informed decision.
Silver bars, as mentioned already, are usually shaped like ingots and mostly produced by private mints, although the British Royal Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint and the Perth Mint in Australia also produce them for personal or company investments.
Likewise, silver rounds are bullion with no legal tender status or face value attached to them, in spite of being shaped like coins. They are usually round-shaped for practical reasons (stackability, transportation, etc), or in order to replicate a historical coin design (in which case the silver round should be marked with the word “replica” or “copy” in order to differentiate it from the original coin).
Finally, silver coins can refer to 90% silver (pre-1965 circulating silver coins, also known as junk silver or 90% constitutional silver, i.e. the Morgan silver dollar) or to a silver bullion coin (like the American Silver Eagle or the Silver Maple Leaf), uncirculated and produced for investment by national mints around the world, such as the US Mint. All these coins are legal tender and carry a face value, but they are usually traded for their silver bullion content.
In addition, some historic, numismatic coins (which should not be confused with silver bullion coins produced nowadays), such as the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, are considered to be collectible coins and can be worth millions of dollars to collectors and investors due to their historic significance.
If you are planning on investing purely in physical silver bullion content, the silver bar could be your best choice. It has a lower premium in comparison to a silver coin and is still very liquid.
More on this topic: Silver Coins vs Bars? | Silver Bars or Coins? | Which is Best?
What are the best types of silver bars to buy?
First of all, investment-quality silver bars should contain .999 levels of fineness (or 99.9% pure silver), no matter the size and weight.
Also, if you are planning to buy physical silver as a means to fund your self-directed IRA, make sure to check on the product description if they are IRA approved.
Finally, when it comes to brands, some refiners are more regarded than others and, therefore, their products are easier to liquidate for being more sought-after by investors. The same goes for government-owned mints. Products from these manufacturers might be slightly less affordable than lesser-known private mints, but they are easier to resell and you will also be able to get a slightly better price for them during the buyback process.
Let’s take a look at some of the most trustworthy mints from the world:
This American privately owned mint from Idaho, founded in 1979, is known for its incredible work refining silver. They are an official supplier of silver planchets to the United States Mint. Their logo is a soaring eagle with a blazing sun in the background.
Scottsdale is a prominent mint from Arizona. Their emblem is a lion’s head wearing a crown, majestically embellishing their bullion products. They produce silver bars and stacker silver rounds in a variety of sizes. They also produce legal tender coinage for a variety of countries, such as the Cayman Islands, Samoa, and Congo.
Another private mint from the US specialized in silver bullion. They have been in business since 1949 serving the wholesale and retail markets. Their logo is the company’s name, SilverTowne, where the letter “T” is replaced by a pickaxe. They produce the Proclaim Liberty silver bars, in partnership with SD Bullion.
Perhaps the most renowned precious metal refiner in the world, PAMP - Produits Artistiques Métaux Précieux (artistic precious metals products) is based in Ticino, Switzerland, but their products are traded by dealers and investors worldwide. Their signature design is a rendition of Lady Fortuna, the Roman goddess of fortune and personification of luck. She holds on her extended open palms a cornucopia, overflowing with richness.
National mints are owned by sovereign governments and usually are the official producers of circulating coins for the country, along with investment-grade bullion coins. Nonetheless, a few national mints in the world, namely the Royal Canadian Mint, the Perth Mint, and the British Royal Mint also produce gold and silver bars. Because their quality is widely recognized and they carry the weight and respect of their country’s name, their products also tend to be more sought-after than lesser-known private mints.
Popular silver bar sizes
Silver bars are usually available in larger sizes when compared to gold bullion bars because of their low cost. The most popular size is the 1 troy ounce, but remember that the larger the bar, the more you save on premiums.
Here is a list of the common silver bar sizes produced by refiners and sold here at SD Bullion:
A novice silver investor usually sticks with the smaller sizes, 1 oz, 5 oz, or even 10 oz, depending on how much they want to invest. A larger silver investor could consider the kilo silver bar or even the 100 oz silver bars if they are seriously thinking about building a large silver investment portfolio. 1,000 oz silver bar is more difficult to sell and transport, especially because shipping is wildly more expensive, and we usually only recommend those for industry use only.
Selling silver bars
If you are planning on liquidating your assets or are worried about how you will do it in the future, the process is usually pretty simple. Just make sure to look for a reputable dealer.
SD Bullion offers a fair, easy, and transparent buyback process. Get to know our prices and proceedings by clicking here or get in touch with our support team via our live webchat or on the phone at 1(800)294-8732.
By finalizing your sale with us, we will send you a purchase order with the address to where you can ship your precious metals. Our inventory team will provide a quick, yet thorough authentication process and, once payment is authorized, you will receive it within roughly 1-3 business days.
Although silver bars constitute a larger volume when compared to gold bars for the same investment value, they are still fairly simple to store by yourself at home or at some other safe location.
A safe box can be helpful, but not mandatory. You can also store your silver bullion bar at other concealed locations in your home. Just remember that the first rule of keeping physical bullion in your own house is to be discreet about your holdings. Think about who you are sharing the information with and also how much you are telling them.
We have prepared a video with an overview of general ways you can store your precious belongings at home. Make sure to check it out.
Silver bar Q&A
What are the benefits of having silver bars?
Investing in silver bars can be seen as a sensible way to diversify your portfolio and protect your wealth as a hedge against inflation. Silver has been used as a currency for millennia and usually performs remarkably well in times of economic crisis.
What is the silver spot price?
The silver spot price is the standard value of silver for a certain amount of that precious metal. In the long haul, the spot price varies in respect to basic supply and demand laws, but it will also oscillate during the day according to derivatives being sold at mercantile markets, such as NYMEX, COMEX, and LBMA.
How much is a silver bar worth?
The silver bar value comes straight from its .999 fine silver content, so, overall, it depends on the weight of the bar and the silver spot price. For instance, a 10 oz silver bar will be worth roughly around 10 times the spot price of 1 troy ounce of silver. That also varies according to dealer premiums.