Posted on April 27, 2022
Silver bullion is high-purity, physical silver that can come in a variety of shapes, ranging from bars to government-minted coins and “rounds.” Silver bars – like rounds – have no face value in any currency and are generally used as an investment in physical silver.
Owning silver bars is one of the most popular ways to gain exposure to silver’s price, but it’s crucial for buyers to understand the nuances of silver bullion bars.
We’ll break down how to buy silver bullion bars, including what your options are, where to buy these bars, and the key considerations to take into account.
Silver bars offer a couple of unique advantages over silver coins and rounds. First, bars come in a much wider range of sizes than silver coins or rounds, from as little as one gram to as much as 1,000 ounces. Buyers have the luxury of choosing small bars, large bars, and everything in between, making it easier to acquire and sell incrementally.
Another distinct benefit of silver bars over other types of bullion is the price. Silver bars usually have the lowest pricing of any investment-grade bullion, with the lowest possible premium over silver’s spot price.
There are a vast number of options for buying silver bullion bars, which can make choosing the right silver bars seem like a challenge. Silver bars come in various sizes and can be produced by any of dozens of private mints worldwide.
For most buyers, size and brand are the two main factors when evaluating silver bullion options. Some common weights of silver bars are 1 oz, 5 oz, 10 oz, and 100 oz (and 1 kg). There are much smaller weights (1 gram) and much larger weights (1,000 oz) available, but the five listed above are by far the most common.
Many investors seek to diversify the weights of their silver bar collection. Size diversification can be an effective strategy for anyone looking to use silver bars to barter, or to liquidate the minimum necessary quantity of silver to complete a transaction. (You don’t want to need to “break” a 100 oz silver bar when you only need $200…)
Instead of trying to chop a 10 oz silver bar into equal pieces, investors can choose Valcambi CombiBars, which are bars that you can easily break off into uniform pieces. Anyone with a significant investment in physical silver might consider adding a few Valcambi CombiBars for this versatility.
The bar’s brand–determined by the refiner or assayer–is usually what makes certain silver bullion bars more popular than others. Some of the most sought-after brands are:
The brand and size are often the first things that come to mind when considering silver bars. Nevertheless, there are certain other considerations that you should always take into account before making your purchase.
As with every purchase, the price can make or break the deal. One thing to keep in mind with silver bullion is the premium over spot price, rather than just the overall price. Smaller silver bars usually have higher premiums over the spot price, whereas buying larger bars or buying in bulk can mean lower premiums over the spot price. For example, here’s a snapshot (in April 2022) of three common silver bar weights and their premiums over spot price when buying just one of each:
Although you can increase your savings by buying the lighter weights in bulk, generally speaking, the larger the bars, the lower the premium.
You should always factor the shipping cost into the purchase price of silver bars. Some online dealers like BullionMax offers free shipping on orders over $199.
Silver bars should come in packaging that is protective and always be shipped discreetly. Your investment could be at risk of damage or theft without the appropriate packaging. Before making a purchase, buyers should verify what type of packaging a seller is using.
Insurance is an absolute must for anyone purchasing silver bullion bars, both during shipping and for as long as you own the silver.
Due to silver’s relatively low value per ounce and its lack of density compared to other precious metals, storing silver bullion requires a bit more planning compared with gold, platinum, and palladium. A sizable investment in silver bars can quickly occupy a lot of space, which means you’ll need to reserve a space in a depository or have a home safe large enough to protect your bullion.
Silver bullion bars can be purchased in person at local coin and collectibles shops, though inventory tends to be limited and varied. Many people take to the internet in their search for bullion bars.
The internet is home to eBay and other risky auction sites where private sellers can list their bullion for sale, in addition to the more reliable way to buy bullion online – from reputable dealers.