Buy Silver Coins Online – a Guide

Posted by on November 17, 2011

There are a number of places to buy silver coins online, whether you are shopping for numismatics or simply buying silver coins as an investment in silver.

“E-bay” is probably the best known Internet auction site and they also have silver coins that you can buy at a set price, in their “Buy Now” section.  “Amazon” also has a wide variety of coins available on behalf of other sellers.  They both have various safety precautions that will protect you from unscrupulous sellers.  Not only do they have an arbitration process, but if you paid for the item(s) through “PayPal” then you have another resource for arbitration.  They both have consumer grading systems where buyers rate the sellers' services.  Craigslist can be very sketchy.  I have seen enough misrepresentation and excessive over pricing of coins there that I would recommend only buying if you can actually see the coins in person and buy them on the spot.


The Internet does have immediacy and large volume to its advantage.  Including information on silver coins, from general facts to specific histories of series and specific coins. These can be found on the numerous sites, some of which include discussion forums.  There are also numerous sites that specialize in selling silver coins, numismatic coins, precious metals, bullion. Some have a very limited set of products, while others have a wide selection and many in between. 

American Precious Metals Exchange (APMEX) has a wide variety of new silver coins and silver rounds from around the world  - from national mints or private mints to choose from.  They also have a selection of ‘junk’ silver and a few numismatic coins.

There are a large number of Internet sites which sell off coins from their own supply.  Some of these dealers have a showroom that is opened to the public and if you are adventurous it may be worthwhile visiting in person.  Information (particularly of sales) conditions, frequency, buying prices and such can be gleaned. Even though there are numerous numismatic sites selling silver coins some of them are excessively overpriced!  Those with storefronts seem to be more competitive.  Using a standard price guide can help you and keep you from making such an easily avoidable mistake.  Sometimes patient prudence pays for itself.

Buying directly or through an auction is the best way of insuring your purchase.  Shops that are ANA members typically are more reputable however this is not necessarily so.  Going to coin shops, ANA and other local coin collectors’ events can help with not only learning from their own insights but may create opportunities to buy coins from private collectors.  They may have coins that they are not as interested in keeping any longer and maybe only too happy to part with them.  If they are very interested in immediate cash you might be able to make a deal to your advantage.  This is particularly true if they have changed their focus of collecting. This seems particularly true if they’re moving from lower grade coins to higher grade coins.  Don’t get me wrong numismatics collect money!  These relationships usually work if there is a turn of profit.

Numbers, numbers, numbers! How many? When and where? How many are known of? What conditions are these silver coins in?  There are a lot of well circulated silver coins out there that are still above the value of their silver content.  In general these older silver coins are inching up currently.  Are coins being sold for silver content that still have numismatic value or are more people turning to these less expensive coins to begin collections or fill in holes of series collections?  Since numbers of coins being reduced for silver content usually consists of numbers of ounces and not of series and mintage there might simply be a lot of speculative buying.  Speculative buying is always risky and that is the nature of collecting silver coins.
Usually sales are based on “The Red Book” value!  This is when learning the general nature of pricing and specifics is important.  There is also a wholesale price sheet, CDN (Coin Dealer Newsletter) or ‘grey sheet’, and a retail price will usually start at the wholesale price plus 25% of the wholesale price.  An older coin which collectors turn cold on or has been overvalued will drop, sometime significantly.  So it’s safer to choose a particular series and study up on it.

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