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Silver Art Bars

Updated on March 12, 2017

One Ounce Silver Art Bar

Johnson Matthey (JM) Mint Stamp
Johnson Matthey (JM) Mint Stamp | Source

Why the Interest in Silver Art Bars and Bullion?

I had always been interesting in searching for, finding, and collecting silver coins. I get this interest from my father, who is still a collector of all coins. When he was a younger man, he and his brothers found a small trove of old coins in a box in the remains of a house that had burned down. They were bored and started picking through the rubble of this house. It had been destroyed a long time before the boys explored it.

Inside the box held an odd assortment of coins. The coins were loose and tarnished from the smoke and heat of the fire. Still, my father and uncles found a treasure and took the tin box home with them. Since that day, my father has found other similar treasures in odd places. Today, he is much more organized and has actual collections of coins. He is currently working on his Lincoln copper penny collection. He was missing just one coin, the 1972 Lincoln penny minted by the San Francisco mint. I found one for him on eBay this week and have ordered it.

It was not until recent years that I have started collecting silver art bars. I know we have all seen the large silver and gold bullion bars in the movies. Those have always intrigued me, but I had no real notion to attempt to purchase any. Until last year.

I was researching silver products last year on a mint distributor web site when I ran across the PAMP Suisse lady Fortuna Art bar. I then began researching more on PAMP silver art and normal bullion. This research started my enthusiasm for silver art.

Ohio Precious Metals (OPM) Mint Stamp
Ohio Precious Metals (OPM) Mint Stamp | Source

Why is Silver a Favorite?

Why is silver a favorite amongst collectors? I believe there are several reasons.

First, the cost to the collector to locate and buy silver products is lower than gold and platinum. Silver currently has been hovering around $17 to $20 a troy ounce. This is called the 'SPOT" price for the precious metal. The term spot is generally defined as meaning the amount buyers will pay for the silver, gold, or other commodities, at the time of purchase. These purchases are considered cash purchases made at that time of day. The buyer will not receive the product immediately, it normally takes days to weeks for delivery. So the spot price is the actual cash price paid compared to the market price of the same product on the day the buyer receives it.

A quick note about the troy ounce. This unit of measurement originated in Troyes, France. One troy ounce is actually to 31.1034~ grams. I mention this as some precious metal bars are sold by the gram too.

A second reason I believe silver is popular is that this precious metal is easily available in the United States. There are eighteen states that have silver mines. Nevada brought attention to silver mining in 1858 with the discovery of the Comstock Load. This discovery started the silver rush of 1859. We have read more about the gold rush of 1849, but silver had a major rush as well ten years later.

A third reason silver is so popular is the number of uses it has. In addition to the popular usage of silver in minting coins for currency, silver nitrite and silver halides are used widely in photography. It is also used in jewelry and electronics. Silver has properties that make it a good fit for electricity and heat transference, so it is used in both simple and complex industrial electronic devices. Consider how a simple switch works. You flip the switch on, it is making contact to transfer electricity.

An interesting note is that silver paste is currently used in solar panels be of its reflective nature. Silver is also used in mirrors for this same reflective behavior when polished.

Silver has also been used in medicine. Silver has been used as an antibiotic for over a thousand years. It can kill types of bacteria and is still used to help heal wounds. It can also be ingested in very small amounts in colloidal form.

Lastly, silver in the form of jewelry, coins, bars, and rounds are very easy for individual collectors to purchase,store, and resell. Precious metals have been shown to be good investments when held over time, so many collectors also are collecting silver products for an investment vehicle.

Collect Silver?

What is Your Favorite Silver Format?

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Where Can You Buy Silver Bars and Bullion?

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, silver products are actually very easy to obtain in the United States. I have purchased my products from the following resources:

1. Mint distributors. I have personally purchased silver and gold products from two popular mint distributors: JM Bullion and the American Precious Metals Exchange (APMEX). Please note that the online sites for these distributors provide toll free phone numbers for those collectors not wanting to use online, or internet, resources. You will also notice a pattern in which you will pay less for the precious metal when your method of payment is cash or check. The credit card fees are transferred to the customer like many other retail outlets have done. I have used both methods of payment and am very comfortable paying with a check to make my total cost of ownership as reduced as possible.

2. Online auction and marketplaces. Online shopping provides a good outlet for purchasing silver products. You can find Silver Bars on ebay and Amazon. They normally have a good selection when I check them.

3. Coin dealerships, jewelry stores, and pawn shops. If online buying is just not for you, try your local shops for available products. They may even order the product you want for you.

Silvertowne Mint

Silvertowne Mint Eagle Design
Silvertowne Mint Eagle Design | Source

Can I Buy Silver in My IRA?

I wanted to add a quick note on Individual Retirement Accounts and investments involving precious metals.

Can I buy Silver in my IRA? The answer is yes. Is there a catch? There always is.

You can buy certain silver coins and bars. These are limited to the following coins: American Silver Eagle, Canadian maple Leaf, Australian Koala. Silver bars must be 99.9% pure silver and accredited as such.

The catch? You cannot possess the silver investment yourself. You have to pay a trustee to store the product for you. Your IRA provider will have that information for you. Please be cautioned that the annual storage fees may outweigh the long term financial benefits you are trying to achieve in your goals.

What is the Silver Standard?

Considering silver was once used in its varying forms as currency all across the globe, a standard had to be met to ensure fairness. This is known as a "monetary standard".

The standard were are referring to here as it related to silver represents the "millesimal fineness" of the silver alloy used in coins, bars, jewelry, and manufacturing.

The millesimal fineness is the accepted system or method used to identify the purity of precious metals by parts per thousand. This is used for silver, gold, and platinum.

To help you understand this a little better, an 18 carat gold piece of jewelry is equal to 75% gold and 25% other alloys. If it were 24 carat, it would be 999 pure gold, or three nines.

Fine silver is commonly known as 999, or three nines. Ultra-fine is 999.9, or four nines.

Please see the chart below for more examples.

What Are The Different Silver Standards?

Country / Standard
% Pure Silver
% Copper and Other Alloys
Fine Silver
.1% Trace
Britannia Silver
4.16% Copper and Other
Mexican Silver
5% Copper and Other
French 1st Standard
5% Copper and Other
91 zolotnik Russian Silver
5.21% Copper and Other
Sterling Silver
7.5% Copper and Other
Coin Silver - US
10% Copper
84 zolotnik Russian Silver
12.5% Copper and Other
Scandinavian Silver
17% Copper and Other
German Silver
20% Copper and Other

Geiger Edelmetalle Security Line Series of Silver Bars


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    • Robilo2 profile image

      Lori Robinson 20 months ago

      Thanks Jason!

    • Jason Matthews profile image

      Jason Matthews 20 months ago from North Carolina

      I must admit, this is a unique topic about which I previously had no understanding. Thanks for sharing useful information about silver art bars. I especially appreciated learning about the different silver standards and where bars can be purchased. Nice hub!