Author Topic: Silver bars vs coins  (Read 6443 times)

Offline mesta26

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Silver bars vs coins
« on: September 25, 2010, 01:52:49 PM »
I apologize if this has already been discussed, but a search turned up nothing.  I am hoping some of the more experienced members can help me here.  If I had to pick ONE way to put away some silver, should I go with bars or coins such as mercury dimes etc?  I am asking because I have been a coin collector for some time so I already have a small amount of silver coins, but no bars and was wondering if thats where I should focus on bolstering my stash.

Offline smuglydawg

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2010, 02:08:55 PM »
Good question

I have be told that it is better to have it coins and small units then to have a full bar. Easier to make payments with.

But if you could get a good deal on a bar it might be a good savings tool.

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2010, 03:12:23 PM »
Overall, I prefer coins over bars. Harder to counterfeit, more generally recognized, and smaller units. I like 1964 & before U.S. dimes, quarters, halves and dollars. (The dollars generally cost more due to collecting.)

I also like U.S. Silver Eagles & Mexican Onzas (each 1 oz. silver) and Canadian 90% silver dollars (0.60 oz. silver.)

When buying U.S. silver dimes, quarters & halves, you generally pay a multiple of face value. At the current spot of $21.48/oz., expect to pay around 15.5 x face value. Hence a dime would cost $1.55.

Offline MyBookie

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2010, 03:13:42 PM »
I like having pre-1964 silver and silver rounds.  I think bars are fine as a hedge against inflation, but they wouldn't be my choice in a SHTF barter scenario.

Offline QuiltingB

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2010, 04:51:46 PM »
Go with circulated silver coins.  I personally would be very hesitant to accept a bar in barter - I couldn't know to my satisfaction whether it was real or fake, plated or solid.  Circulated coins, on the other hand, are going to be pretty hard to counterfeit and, hopefully, just not worth the trouble of doing so.  This is my recommendation for SHTF.  If you are jsut planning on investing long term, and think you could find a legit buyer/dealer to sell them to if you decided to 'cash in', then bars might be OK.  Still, I only totally trust circulated coins, especially US and some Mexican.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2010, 05:36:46 PM »
Go with both. ;)
pre 65 coinage for bartering and easy recognition
Bars for stocking silver for a hedge against inflation. I wouldnt go any larger then 10oz bars tho.

Offline mesta26

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2010, 06:42:58 PM »
I am specifically at this point looking for a good SHTF currency, so I will take your guys advice and stick with coinage. Thanks guys!

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2010, 06:46:47 PM »
...If I had to pick ONE way to put away some silver, should I go with bars or coins such as mercury dimes etc?...
To answer directly your original question...

If I were to pick ONE and only ONE way to invest in silver, I would go with the mercury dimes for these reasons:

A) In my experience, this is the way I have most often gotten silver at or slightly below spot.
B) Most versatile for SHTF, hedging inflation, small denomination, etc.
C) Of the two types of silver dimes commonly available in reasonably good condition (mercury or Roosevelt) the mercury are the easiest to distinguish as silver as the Roosevelt type (silver from 1946 through 1964) looks just like today's dime. Also, the mercury (or as it is actually called by numismatists, the winged cap Liberty dime) does not have FDR's portrait on it. (I also prefer Franklin and Walking Liberty half dollars because they do not have JFK's portrait on them.)

Offline mesta26

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2010, 09:11:40 PM »
Thanks texdaddy, I hadn't thought about the ability for certain coins to be instantly identified as silver. My particular area of coin collecting is mercury dimes and franklins, so I'll just stick with my hobby and it can fill two jobs.

Offline Asclepius

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2010, 12:44:16 AM »
I buy a mix of both coins and bullion. However, I only buy bullion stamped with a reputable mint. There are many novelty silver rounds out there, but I choose not to buy them for reasons mentioned above. I consider bullion an investment silver, so if you are planning on using the silver for barter, I'm sure coins would be a better idea.

I bought a little bit of silver flatware, as was suggested in a different thread, but I did not have great luck with this route. You can never get a good idea of what you're getting in the ebay pics, and pawn shops charge too much. Plus, who wants to sell you something in exchange for a butter knife?

I bought a little bit of silver jewelry too. But it was tough to collect rings, bracelets, etc in any quantity that would be useful. Seems to be a pretty high premium on most jewelry too. I won't do that anymore.

My coin shop guy prices junk silver coins with a consistent mathmatical equation. $1 face value X 1 ounce spot price X 0.72 + his premium. I'm not exactly sure his reasoning behind this, or if comes out to any different than the other poster who buys it in multiples of face value, but the price seems right to me.

It has been a lot of fun making small purchases and learning as I go. I found a lot of information on this web forum. Thanks guys :)

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2010, 02:31:11 AM »
...My coin shop guy prices junk silver coins with a consistent mathmatical equation. $1 face value X 1 ounce spot price X 0.72 + his premium. I'm not exactly sure his reasoning behind this, or if comes out to any different than the other poster who buys it in multiples of face value, but the price seems right to me...
He does this because 10 silver dimes contain .723 troy ounces of silver. Likewise, 4 sliver quarters contain .7232 troy ounces of silver and 2 silver half dollars contain .7234 troy ounces. The old silver dollars contain a little more, .7734 oz. troy.

Offline TinCan

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2010, 03:32:00 PM »
He does this because 10 silver dimes contain .723 troy ounces of silver. Likewise, 4 sliver quarters contain .7232 troy ounces of silver and 2 silver half dollars contain .7234 troy ounces. The old silver dollars contain a little more, .7734 oz. troy.

I think that's correct, but I've noticed a number of the dealers (APMEX and Tulving specifically) are using .715 ounces per dollar of face as a benchmark, or 715 ounces of pure silver per $1,000 face bag.  I think their rationale is based on the average weight for coins showing an average amount of wear. My experience is that I've received heavily worn coins :o and BU coins ;D in the same bag, so I guess the average of .715 seems to make sense.

Offline chrisdfw

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2010, 12:54:14 PM »
I think that's correct, but I've noticed a number of the dealers (APMEX and Tulving specifically) are using .715 ounces per dollar of face as a benchmark, or 715 ounces of pure silver per $1,000 face bag.  I think their rationale is based on the average weight for coins showing an average amount of wear. My experience is that I've received heavily worn coins :o and BU coins ;D in the same bag, so I guess the average of .715 seems to make sense.

Correct from my understand the 715 accounts for wear on the circulated coins. Generally dollars and halves are circulated less than quarters and dimes.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Silver bars vs coins
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2010, 02:30:40 PM »

I bought a little bit of silver flatware, as was suggested in a different thread, but I did not have great luck with this route. You can never get a good idea of what you're getting in the ebay pics, and pawn shops charge too much. Plus, who wants to sell you something in exchange for a butter knife?


Don't even THINK about pawn shops. Better to just slit your wrists and be done with it! (Shudder!)


Careful attention to detail is required to successfully buy sterling silver flatware on Ebay. The fundamental rule is to bid on nothing that lacks solid evidence of weight, and therefore of the pure silver content.

If you do not know the Sterling silver weight (to the fraction of an ounce) any bid you make is just a galloping guess--and that is no way to come out ahead.

So an auction that offers ten troy ounces of sterling silver is one you can at least  figure out a good bid for.

An auction that offers "ten silver forks" is not.

An auction that offers "ten Sterling silver forks" MAY be something you can bid on--IF you look up the silverware pattern and find out exactly what those forks actually weigh.

I did that quite a bit. And I profited handsomely.

You CAN tell from an Ebay description (and pics) EXACTLY what is being offered--sometimes. Those times constitute the only times you even consider bidding.

Blurry picture? Vague description? PASS!  Good pics, precise disclosure? COOL: whip out the calculator and start running the numbers!

I have personally bought thousands of dollars' worth of Sterling silver flatware on Ebay. I did my homework, counted on my fingers, and never bid more than spot price for the pure silver content, MINUS shipping, taxes, and all other costs.

How did it work out? Almost flawlessly. I made a very few very small mistakes in the beginning as I raced up my learning curve.

After that, I couldn't quit smiling.

I never paid more than spot, almost always significantly less, and sometimes I came out WAY ahead.

Like the day I opened two shipments of silver, weighed them up and found that one had an extra thousand dollars' worth of silver in it, and the other an extra five hundred dollars' worth.

Sometimes the sellers can't count very well. Finding an extra hundred to two hundred and fifty in the silver weight got almost routine after a while.

Short weight? Got a few of those. Usually the seller coughed up the missing weight, or the spot value of it. No loss.

Fraud? Twice. Both times Buyer Protection fixed me right up.

Hell--I'm STILL smiling!

When it eventually comes time to sell my Sterling flatware, I may sell it at antique values above and beyond the silver content to anyone living the Good Life.

Or I may sell it all in a single lot to a major refiner like Handy & Harmon.

Or I may sell it one fork, spoon, butter knife, and/or cake turner at a time for the value of the silver content to anyone that accepts silver in trade for whatever I happen to need that day.

Because each piece of Sterling flatware is a marked ingot in a shape impossible to counterfeit, only the weight matters. Weigh it, do the math, and you have the exact pure silver content. No ifs, ands, or buts.

If I offer Sterling silver to someone who doesn't want it, I can always go sell the same flatware to a jeweler for the value of the silver (haggled up or down, and may the best haggler win) and come back with cash.

Or just move on to a more motivated seller.

The jeweler, BTW, would melt it down and cast it directly into Sterling silver jewelry--without having to "make" the correct alloy himself. That's a major convenience, so I would haggle for silver content PLUS about 5% for the right alloy.

That's not as good as "antique value", but it would be the ugly modern stuff that I sacrificed to the melting pot. The Good Stuff I would save for last.

Here are some numbers: When fine silver was at $8.50/troy ounce, I was averaging about $6.80/troy ounce (after all costs and NOT counting windfall quantities--those were just pure gravy!)

Now that same silver is "worth" $21.48/troy ounce as of today.

Will I pop open my safe deposit boxes and Sell, Baby Sell!?

No.

I didn't buy the silver to wheel and deal. I bought it as a hedge against inflation.

I'll sell it when I NEED to sell it. When inflation has turned the dollar the rest of the way into toilet paper, and no one will accept anything as currency except good gold and silver.

Or I'll sell it when there is no longer a serious threat of economic crisis. If I live that long.

If I die before I sell it, the value will accrue to my heirs--and I'll STILL be smilin'!

(Albeit somewhat stiffly.)