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Precious metals, especially gold and silver have been regarded as a form of money and store of value for more than five thousand years. And today precious metals in bullion form are one of the most important parts of any investment portfolio. And silver is the most popular way of investing in bullion products.

Silver bullion is the basic commodity traded in the precious metals market along with gold, platinum and palladium. Silver is the least expensive and may be the most convenient way of buying precious metals.

Nowadays, a variety of ways to invest in silver bullion are available to investors of varying investment sizes.

Investing in silver bullion

Usually investors buy silver for one of the follow purposes: as an inflation hedge, as an investment (larger silver bars), or for survival purposes (fist of all junk silver coins). It is suggested to have 15-25% of investment portfolio be in precious metals, in the first place gold and silver but palladium and platinum too.

If you are investing $5,000 or less, I recommend you invest exclusively in silver, first of all in 1-oz silver rounds or junk silver coins because they carries the lowest premium over spot price. If you are investing more than $5,000 I recommend you to include in your portfolio also a few silver bars or ingots (especially the large bars like Engelhard or Johnson Matthey 100-oz bars). If you are investing more than $15,000 I recommend you buy a few gold, palladium and platinum bars and coins.

Owning silver is easy and convenient, and commissions on buying and selling silver are minimal. IRA participants can invest a part of their investment portfolio in silver including silver coins and silver bars.

The best way to invest in silver is to buy some physical metal like .999 pure silver bullion bars, silver bullion coins, silver bullion rounds or junk silver coins.

Any bullion products like silver bars or silver coins and rounds are very liquid and easy to sell.

Silver bullion prices

The prices of silver products depend on spot prices. Silver is a commodity that is traded 24 hours a day in the world’s market centres. There are a number of web sites which give live spot silver prices, including this page at the site at Silver bullion prices.

Silver prices may move up and down some over time, but they will never experience the sharp rises and declines that stocks and paper money are capable of. Although the prices may vary, silver has an intrinsic value that is immutable and permanent.

Different bullion products carry different premium over the spot price. Always try to find sellers who are selling bullion products as close to the spot price as possible. The more silver you are buying the less premium you should be expected to pay. If you are buying 1-oz bars, 1-oz coins or 1-oz rounds you are paying much more premium then for larger bullion products like 100-oz silver bars.

Investing choices

There are the follow choices of investing in silver bullion:

- Silver bullion bars;

- Silver bullion coins;

- Silver bullion rounds;

- Junk silver coins (in junk silver bags).

The most popular silver products are 100-oz silver bars, junk silver coins, popular bullion coins like American Eagles or Canadian Maple Leaf coins and 1-oz rounds. But each bullion product has unique features that appeal to different investors.

Silver bullion bars

Silver bars, called also silver ingots, are one of the most popular way of investing in the metal.

It is possible to buy the bars oringots in various sizes from 5 grams up to 1,000 ounces but 100-oz bars are the most popular with retail investors. 100-oz bars are often called investment bars.

100-oz bars are easy to handle, stack and store, and they carry very low premiums over spot silver prices compared to 1-oz coins, bars and rounds. The most popular brands of the bars are Johnson Matthey silver bars and Engelhard silver bars. Now 100-oz ingots dominate the silver bullion market. You can buy also [10-oz silver bars] or 1-oz silver bars, but you have to pay much higher premium for these smaller bars.

If you want to buy silver products with the lowest premium I recommend you to start with 100-oz silver bars.

Many different producers mint silver bars but I recommend you to stick to well-known and reputable brands: Engelhard, Johnson Matthey, US Assay and Wall Street Mint.

Silver bullion coins

The coins are probably the most popular way of purchasing and collecting silver.

If you want buy silver in a form of real money you can buy American Eagle coins or bullion coins from other countries like Canadian Maple Leaf coins, Mexican Libertad or the Australian Kookaburra.

The American Silver Eagle coins are more attractive than bullion bars or junk silver coins but they carry premiums usually several dollars an ounce higher that the premiums on junk coins, 1-oz rounds or 100-oz bars. Starting from 1986, more than 230 million of American Eagles have been sold.

Each Eagle is guaranteed in terms of weight, content and purity by the US government.

Maple Leafs are Canada's official coins, and they compete with the U.S. Mint's Eagles. While Silver Eagles are .999 fine, Maple Leafs are .9999 fine but American Eagle coins are more popular. But both American Eagle coins and Maple Leafs are very liquid bullion coins.

From silver Mexican coins the most known is Mexican Libertad. It is bullion coin minted by Mexican government.

Silver bullion rounds

1-oz silver rounds minted by private refiners are good low premium alternatives to 1-oz bullion coins. They look like coins but do not have legal tender status and face value.

Bullion rounds are usually cheaper then Eagles and they have lower premium over spot price.

There are lots of different 1-oz rounds on the precious metals market. The most known 1-oz round is Engelhard Silver Prospector. Wall Street Mint rounds, Sunshine Eagles and A-Mark rounds are also popular. You can find a lot of generic 1-oz rounds on the market too.

Junk silver coins (junk silver bags)

Investors wanting silver in a form that could be used as money or in barter situations but with the lowest premium over spot silver price usually prefer circulated pre-1965 US 90% silver coins, commonly called "junk silver coins".

Usually junk silver coins are sold in junk silver bags. Each junk bag with $1,000 face value contains 715 ounces of pure metal.

Junk silver coins are very liquid, are legal U.S. tender and has a very low premium over spot prices (as 100-oz silver bars).

Silver bullion collection

Silver bullion is very interesting for collecting. You can collect silver bullion bars, silver bullion coins and rounds.

American Eagles and Canadian Maple Leaf coins are the most popular coins among silver bullion collectors. And there are hundreds of other various silver coins, rounds and bars for your collection.

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