Junk Silver Coins & Alternatives for Silver Stackers

Posted on March 02, 2023

The physical precious metals market is a weird one, and silver sometimes feels as if it's trying to be the weirdest out of that group. You probably know that investment-grade silver bullets are a thing. Then we get to "junk silver" coins, or what is increasingly coming to be known as formerly junk silver.

What's the deal with these coins? The term is more derogatory than it should be, even for what they once represented: silver coins whose face value does not exceed their silver content. Plus, being only 90% silver, they also aren't eligible for IRA placement.

But as these things tend to go, supply and demand won't have it. If 90% silver coins are going to stop being issued for decades, but demand is going to remain over that time... you get the current junk silver coin market, with premiums of over 80% spot. Hey, it's like the premium is trying to match the silver content.

What really wasn't meant to be a collectible is now becoming one. What that means for the silver stacker is that the supposedly affordable entry into the physical market is now more akin to a shiny proof American Eagle. So, we're here to give you some tips on what bargain silver to buy based on what kind of investor you might be deep down. Getting in touch with your inner silver bug and all that.

For the almost-numismatists: Silver Bullion Coins

You want silver coins. You want to sort of kind of be part of the numismatists sphere. But you aren't paying extra for what's essentially the same thing to you. In this case, the silver bullion coin is perfect for you.

It might not have numismatic value now, but it could obtain one later. After all, weren't junk silver coins plain old pocket change not too long ago? Still, being the priciest item on this list on an ounce basis, there are some shopping tips you might make good use of.

Buying in larger amounts obviously gets you a discount, least in our case. Sales aren't a thing in the precious metals market that often, but they're not entirely absent, either. For example, you might find the best deals around the end of a year or the start of a new one. And, if possible, don't wait for a crisis that depletes the inventory of even the most dedicated retailer.

For the all-rounder: Silver Rounds

Silver rounds occupy a spot almost exactly between that of a silver coin and a silver bar. They have the design of the former and the ounce pricing of the latter.

The problem is, they're almost frowned upon by uptight numismatists. They aren't really recognized as something with numismatic value, despite the oftentimes just as intricate of a design as goes into the making of a silver coin. Branding and all that.

If clout among numismatists isn't important to you and you want what is essentially a better-looking silver bar, and you don't mind being constrained mostly to 1oz pieces, these will be ideal.

For the true silver stacker: Silver Bars

It doesn't get more value than silver bars. They are as close to spot price as a physical silver item can be. The larger the bar, the lesser the premium.

What are the downsides? Well, they're a little bland. Bars are perfect for those who want truly investment-grade silver. That means the purpose of the bullion is to store and increase wealth, not to look good. Sure, a silver bar looks nice and shiny, but it doesn't compare that well to our American Eagle. That said...

For the utilitarian: Valcambi CombiBars

CombiBars are, as the title says, a utilitarian's dream. Even a bar of a relatively small size, such as the 100g version, lets you tear off up to a hundred pieces of silver.

Do you envision a reality where the hardest of hard money will become currency? Where stores will have an assaying kit to assess the bullion that the customer is paying groceries with? If so, these bars are perfect for you.

Of course, that's hardly a prerequisite for wanting to own a CombiBar. As all things with utility, it has a lot of uses. A silver bar that can be natively split into very small pieces for a variety of reasons is obviously appealing for a variety of reasons. That's why the CombiBar fetches a considerable premium over spot, one that its buyers hardly mind paying for.


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