Silver Coins for Collecting and Investing

Posted by on October 25, 2011

Welcome to SilverCoins.Ag.  This article is an introduction for the novice collector and investor of silver coins.  If you are thinking of collecting silver coins, investing in silver coins, or want to buy silver coins online, there are three different categories of silver coins to consider:

1)  Numismatic silver coins are ‘rare’ silver coins that collectors deem, for various reasons, to be worth more than there silver content. Over time, these can be the best coins to invest in.

2)   Junk silver coins refer to silver coins minted for currency whose silver content make them more valuable than their ‘numismatic’ value.

3)   Bullion or Rounds are fine (99.9% or.999 to 99.99% or .9999) silver and look like coins. But, since they are not issued as currency, they are not technically "coins".  As far as investing in silver as a precious metal these are the best coins to invest in.


Numismatic Silver Coins

1885-O Morgan Silver Dollar

1885-O Morgan Silver Dollar

 

Numismatic coins have a long history.  Caesar Augustus was known to have given various old and foreign coins as gifts.  Petrarch, a 14th Century Italian scholar would be asked by vine diggers to buy old coins or identify the nobles on the old coins they had dug up.  Numismatics was considered to be the “Hobby of Kings”.  In 1355 Petrarch gave Emperor Charles IV a collection of Roman coins.  One of the first books on numismatic coins was ‘De Asse et Partibus’ published in 1514 by Guillaume.

Junk Silver Coins

Examples of Junk Silver Coins

Examples of Junk Silver Coins

 

Silver coins minted for circulating currency are not pure silver.  In general silver is considered to be too soft to for functional items.  Sterling silver is an alloy, usually silver and copper, with a minimum of 92.5% silver by weight to be considered ‘sterling silver’.  Most US silver coins minted before 1964 are 90% silver by weight and are either ‘numismatic’ or ‘junk’ silver coins.

Silver coins which had been minted for use as currency will never fall below their stated value i.e. a silver dollar is worth $1.00, a dime $0.10, etc… and they spend as such.  However when sold as collectible,  The silver content (which is subject to current market price) is compared to its market value which is based on what other collectors are currently willing to pay for it.  This separates “Junk” silver coins from “Numismatic” silver coins.  A numismatic silver coin’s value depends on many factors some of which are: when and where they were minted, and the condition of the silver coin.   Some of the more popular US silver coins are the Morgan Dollar and the Mercury Head Dime.

Silver Bullion Coins

Proof version of a Silver American Eagle BULLION silver coin.

Proof version of a Silver American Eagle BULLION silver coin.

 

Silver coins which are called ‘bullion’ or ‘rounds’ are of the purest of silver 99.9% to 99.99% by weight or '.999' to ‘.9999’ and often called ‘fine’ silver.  There are a wide variety of commemorative silver coins issued for the collectors as numismatic coins.  These are priced above current silver prices in order to raise funds and awareness for a specific purpose.  For example the United States has released a 2011 Medal of Honor commemorative silver dollar.  It has a surcharge of $10 for each coin sold which is given to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.

Then there are those sold and traded as a precious metals investment and are subject to the current market value of the metal.  Many countries issue these silver coins for investors: the United States has a 1oz Silver Eagles (this is also a true one dollar coin besides being sold for a silver investment); Canada has a 1oz Canadian Maple Leaf; Austria has a 1oz Philharmonic round; China with a 1 oz Chinese Lunar Series; Australia has 1oz Kookaburra,… there is a wide variety of weights and designs from these and other countries.

-Stephen Halkovic

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