Silver is not only used in modern industry, but is also bought and accumulated for investment purposes. In fact, it has been used for this purpose for over 5000 years now. Silver and other precious metals, such as gold and platinum, are considered a store of value. Silver has been used in currencies for a very long time, as well. It was first used as a form of currency all the way back in 700 B.C. From the ancient Greeks, to the ancient Romans, to the British, silver has been part of currency trading for ages.
Unlike paper currency that is issued by governments and central banks, silver is backed up by the physical metal itself — and it can be transacted anywhere in the world. In other words, it is a hard and tangible asset. This is what makes silver and other precious metals so attractive. In addition, silver has only a finite supply, which is why the laws of supply and demand are a key factor in precious metals investments today.
Silver spot prices are extremely important in the buying and selling of precious metals. The spot price of silver refers to the price per troy ounce traded on various Commodity Exchanges; it is updated every second during market hours. The troy ounce has been the standard measurement for precious metals since the 1800s in the US and much longer in other parts of the world. Silver prices, like the prices of other precious metals such as gold, are subject to volatile price swings. The prices of our silver products are determined by the current spot price of silver, in addition to our premiums for each product. The current silver spot price is determined by many factors, including but not limited to the state of the economy, futures market, OTC (Over the Counter) market, world events and strength of other currencies. At Silver.com, our up to the minute spot prices are provided by Xignite.com, a leading provider of market data cloud solutions.
Silver has many different uses both industrially and as an investment vehicle. Silver is a very interesting precious metal which has unique malleability, strength and ductility. It can endure extreme temperature changes, and its electrical and thermal conductivity make it extremely versatile in modern industry. The fact is, silver can accomplish things that other elements cannot come close to and, therefore, demand for it is likely to continue to rise. Silver is most commonly used today in electrical components, silver oxide batteries and various areas of radiography
The term silver bullion refers to pure silver in bar (ingot), coin, or round form. The term Bullion supposedly came from a French aristocrat named Claude de Bullion, while others have suggested that the term stems from the French word bouillon, which means “boiling” and was perhaps referencing a melting or minting house. Silver bullion products are manufactured to offer investors a convenient means of making investments in precious metals. Below we will take a look at some of the various types of silver bullion available today.
Bars come in various shapes and sizes and are made by different fabricators or mints from all over the world. Silver bars can offer investors a simple and easy way to accumulate varying amounts of silver in its purest form. Common silver bar sizes include 1 oz, 5 oz, 10 oz, 1 kilogram and 100 oz. Some of the more common producers of these silver bars are Johnson Matthey, OPM Metals, Engelhard, NTR Metals, Sunshine Mint, SilverTowne and the Royal Canadian Mint.
Silver bars may be purchased and stored at home, in safe deposit boxes or in other secure storage facilities, such as third party vaults. Silver bars are typically made from 99.9 percent pure silver, while some producers, like the Royal Canadian Mint for example, use .9999 percent fineness. Silver bars are always stamped with markings to note the purity, manufacturer and weight of the bar. Because of the small premiums over the silver spot price they typically carry, silver bars are one of the most affordable ways to invest in silver bullion.
Coins are another very popular way to invest in silver bullion. Silver coins, like bars, can offer investors a simple and convenient way to invest in the precious metal. There are many different types of silver coins available today produced by various governments throughout the world. Some of the most common bullion coins are the American Silver Eagle, Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, Chinese Silver Panda and British Silver Britannia. Silver bullion coins come in various sizes with the 1oz variation being the most popular. In addition, one can buy tubes or monster boxes of multiple coins for convenience at at reasonable cost over spot price.
Like silver bars, silver coins are often 99.9 percent pure. Some coins, such as the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, for example, can be as high as .9999 percent pure. Silver bullion coins do also carry a face value and, therefore, must be produced by government mints. For example, the American Silver Eagle has a face value of $1 USD. The American Silver Eagle seems to be one of the most popular and most trusted coins in the world.
A silver round is exactly what it sounds like. It is a round piece of pure silver. This form is similar to a coin, but unlike a coin it does not carry any face value. Because silver rounds cannot be used as legal tender, these bullion products may be produced by government and private mints, as well. Silver rounds come in various sizes, but like silver bullion coins the most common size is 1oz. Silver rounds carry the smallest premium over the spot silver price, making them a very good choice for investors looking to accumulate silver.
The mining of silver began some 5000 years ago and was first discovered and excavated in what is now modern day Turkey. The center of silver mining eventually shifted to Greece and later to Spain. The Spanish went on to become the major silver supplier to the Roman Empire and played a vital role in Asian trade along the spice routes. Following the Moorish invasion of Spain, mining slowed in the region and began to spread to other parts of Europe.
Perhaps the biggest factor in the growth of silver mining, however, was the Spanish discovery of The New World in 1492. Production in the Americas by far exceeded anything that had been done previously. Silver mining continued to grow and flourish, and eventually new discoveries were made in other parts of the world such as China, Canada, Australia and Africa. In the past century, the technological advances made by humans have helped drive silver production to new heights and are ever increasing its demand. In fact, global mine production of silver now averages 671 million troy ounces per year!
Buying silver bullion at low silver prices is not the daunting task that many seem to think it is — in fact, buying silver bullion has never been easier. There are, however, some basic guidelines that one will want to follow when looking to buy silver. Although this list is not all inclusive, it is a good starting point:
Am I in a financial position to invest in precious metals?
As with any investment, precious metals investments can lose value and investors can experience losses. Make sure you are comfortable with the risks associated with buying precious metals before investing.
What are my investment objectives and goals?
Why are you buying silver? Is it to hedge against inflationary risks or perhaps currency depreciation? Are you interested in simple silver bullion or are you looking for more collectable types of silver? Know what types of silver you are interested in and why before buying. This will also help make the shopping process easier.
Where will I store my silver?
Have a storage plan for your silver. Obviously, small amounts of silver may be stored at home in safes or other secure places. Safety deposit boxes may be used, as well. For larger amounts of silver, one may want to consider third party secure vault storage. Know the pros and cons of each method and have a plan for your silver before buying it.
Should I buy from a local dealer or online?
Buying from a local dealer and buying online may be two very different things. Brick and mortar coin dealers will often have significantly higher dealer premiums associated with their products. Online dealers, such as Silver.com, often have much lower overhead and move more inventory thus allowing us to offer bullion products for lower prices. To see what others are saying about buying precious metals online from us, you can read some customer reviews of Silver.com.