Silver Coins vs Rounds

When buying Silver Bullion new buyers are often faced with the question of whether to buy a "Silver Round” or a “Silver Coin”.

What are the differences between the two?

Silver Coins vs Silver Rounds

Are there important differences?

Yes, indeed there are.

Here we explain some important differences between the two versions of modern silver bullion products

Silver Coins are Struck by Government Mints

Every silver coin we carry in our inventory is by industry definition struck and guaranteed by a government mint.

Government Mints which produce modern silver coins include:

Silver Coins are Typically Legal Tender

Governments determine what is legal tender, and only governments can print a face value on their coins. Any citizens who test this fact typically end up in prison.

Coins usually have explicit legal tender values and carry a stamped legal tender face value on the coin itself.

Don’t get confused as most silver bullion coins have low legal tender face values which have little to almost nothing to do with their real market price for the silver bullion content.

Take a 5 oz America The Beautiful coin for instance. It contains a legal tender face value of a quarter dollar or 25¢.

Yet no one in their right mind is trading 5 oz of highly collectible silver bullion issued by the US Mint for a smaller legal tender cupronickel quarter (legally 25¢ too). Yes, the ones you might find in your pocket change vs 5 oz of silver bullion have the same value... legally in this case.

You can learn more about why governments almost always give bullion coins low face values, it has to do with Gresham's Law.

Silver Rounds for More Ounces Overall

Private silver rounds are by industry definition, produced by private silver mints.

Popular private silver mints generally have much lower price premiums than competing government silver coins (generally more expensive per ounce).

For example, the Sunshine Metals Inc. will sell their silver rounds in bulk for likely less than ½ the premium that most government mints sell their government-guaranteed silver coins.

If you are all about getting the most weight for your fiat currency, then silver rounds are going to be a good option.

Silver Collectibility and Potential Product Appreciation

Are you hoping to hold products which may appreciate in collectibility value?

Lower mintage silver coins are probably the best option.

Look for high-quality silver coins with reasonable premiums and low mintages if possible.

Many of the Perth Mint silver coins have become highly collectible as many of the coins they strike have hard-limited mintage populations.

Silver Coin performance during Financial Crisis

Pay attention to the far left side ⬅ of the following Silver Coin price premium charts.

We want you to understand of how each respective silver coin product was priced during the fall of the 2008 Financial Crisis.

No silver rounds in high volumes performed as well at the time.

The silver round market is indeed so tiny it typically mimics under the price premiums for government minted silver coins.

Over the following chart's near 10 year timeframe, there were also slight silver bullion product shortages in 2013 and 2015 respectively hence their rise in price premiums.

But we'll focus on the financial crisis as we are likely gearing up for another ahead (growing global debt levels, undermined confidence, unfunded liabilities).

In late fall 2008, silver spot prices hit a low of $9 oz yet... millions of,

American Silver Eagle Coins - sold at about 80% over spot ($16 a piece)

Silver Coins vs Rounds American Silver Eagle Coin Premiums SD Bullion SDBullion.com

Canadian Maple Leaf Silver Coins - sold at about 45% over spot ($13 a piece)

Silver Coins vs Rounds Canadian Maple Leaf Silver Coin Premiums SD Bullion SDBullion.com

Austrian Silver Philharmonic Coins - sold at about 40% over spot ($12.50 a piece)

Silver Coins vs Rounds Austrian Philharmonic Silver Coin Premiums SD Bullion SDBullion.com

90% Silver Coins - sold at about 40% over their silver melt price

Silver Coins vs Rounds 90% silver coin Premiums SD Bullion SDBullion.com

Silver Selling Privacy Concerns

Is selling privacy on 1,000 oz or more of silver bullion important to you?

See today's current IRS 1099B specifications if you’re confused. Scroll to the second half of this IRS Silver Selling Privacy page for those details.

If privacy on large silver bullion sales to bullion dealers is important to you perhaps buy silver coins over silver rounds (even silver bullion bars as they are also treated like silver rounds in large volume sales to silver bullion dealers).

Other Silver Bullion Buying Considerations to Consider

There are many additional factors to consider all the varying product choices in the silver bullion market.

There really is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to choosing and buying silver bullion products.

It is best to get your information from silver bullion buyers and sellers who actually do so in real life. Avoid merely middlemen commissioned sellers without a passion for the products, or worse potentially scam selling you into overpriced or even dangerous products you should never buy.

Luckily silver bullion product choices are highly variant and broadly high quality at the moment.

We are here to help you with any questions you might have about your silver bullion choices along the way.

Write down your questions as you perform you research and give our high trained team a call for expert answers.

Meantime have a look at these general bullion buying tidbits and thoughts to help you determine what might be best for your needs.


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James Anderson
James Anderson
Senior Market Analyst & Content

A bullion buyer years before the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, James Anderson is a grounded precious metals researcher, content creator, and physical investment grade bullion professional. He has authored several Gold & Silver Guides and has been featured on the History Channel, Zero Hedge, Gold-Eagle, Silver Seek, Value Walk and many more. You can pick up Jame's most recent, comprehensive 200+ Page book here at SD Bullion.

Given that repressed commodity values are now near 100-year low level valuations versus large US stocks, James remains convinced investors and savers should buy and maintain a prudent physical bullion position now, before more unfunded promises debase away in the coming decades...