Posted on March 02, 2022
When looking to buy silver bullion, deciding where to purchase the precious metal can often be tricky. Given the vast number of options to choose from, picking the right place to buy bullion from can become confusing and overwhelming. We are here to make that decision simple by providing a guide on choosing the best places for you to buy silver bullion.
Before choosing where to buy silver, you need to decide what kind of silver bullion you want to buy. If you are interested in rare silver coins, your options will be limited, considering these pieces are often difficult to find. (We define “rare silver coins” primarily by looking at the price. Suppose the price of a silver coin is significantly higher than its intrinsic silver value. In that case, we’d consider that particular item to be a collectible or rare silver coin rather than silver bullion.)
If your objective is to gain broad exposure to physical silver, you can opt for bars and ingots readily available at most precious metals dealers. Other silver bullion options include rounds and more commonly available coins such as the silver American eagle or Canadian maple leaf coin.
The specific type of purchase you want to make can also determine where you should buy your silver. Do you want to buy bullion in bulk, or are you just looking to get your toes wet and pick up a couple of individual pieces?
Depending on the size of your purchase and the seller’s stock, you may have to choose your seller based on the type of silver purchase. Perhaps you are looking for a sealed monster box, undoubtedly a popular choice, but it will only be available from certain sellers.
There are two main options for buying silver bullion–in person and online.
Local coin shops are a great way to buy silver bullion if you want to have the opportunity to see the silver before you buy it or if you prefer a more traditional face-to-face transaction. Buying from a local coin shop comes with a particular set of risks and challenges, which every buyer should be aware of.
One of the main problems associated with buying from local coin shops is the lack of selection. As brick-and-mortar businesses, local coin shops can only keep a limited amount of bullion in stock. In addition, the high overhead costs associated with running a physical location result in higher prices for buyers.
Finally, while most local coin shops will likely be honest businesses, there is always the chance that a company is not conducting its operation in the most ethical way. An excellent resource for verifying the legitimacy of a coin dealer is by looking for membership with a professional association, such as the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) or the American Numismatic Association (ANA).
Coin shows and auctions can be a supplement or alternative to local coin shops, offering the benefits of an in-person buying experience, along with some excitement around their novelty. Most coin shows and auctions take place periodically, so they can be exciting places to explore some unique products.
If you intend to buy in bulk, coin shows and auctions are unlikely to have nearly enough bullion to meet your needs. Coin shows and auctions are a wonderful place to buy bullion if you have a flexible schedule and enjoy collectibles. Still, it may be impractical for those investing in simpler silver bullion like bars and ingots.
The problems with buying bullion in person are that your selection is limited, you may stumble upon an unscrupulous seller, prices tend to be higher, and you can only make purchases at certain times. Face-to-face transactions are more likely to be small-scale as well. Silver is both less dense and less expensive per ounce than gold – at the time of writing, silver takes up about 150x as much storage space as an equal dollar amount of gold. Therefore it’s in a dealer’s best interests to prioritize their limited vault space with higher-value products.
It is nice to have the luxury of being able to see a product in person but remember that your face-to-face transaction comes at the expense of a higher markup and a smaller variety of bullion options to choose from.
Direct from private mints
Buying direct from private mints is a solid choice for finding high-quality silver bullion online. Note that most government mints, including the U.S. Mint, do not sell bullion directly to individuals. For example, you can only purchase silver American eagle coins from authorized bullion dealers. Proof silver coins can be bought directly from the U.S. Mint website, though we categorize these as collectibles (selling well over their intrinsic silver value) rather than bullion.
The vast majority of private mints will have very high standards for their silver bullion, though some mints are known for producing higher-quality products than others. The one obvious drawback of buying directly from private mints is that you are limited exclusively to what they produce and have in stock.
Online auction sites like eBay are an exciting avenue for buying silver bullion, though online auctions are not for the faint of heart. On the plus side, you have access to many different sellers and types of silver. Unfortunately, that means there is little or no oversight to ensure the quality of these products. When you buy from online auction sites, you risk buying fraudulent silver or has damage that may not show up in the photos.
Online bullion brokers are the best option available because they provide the most variety, along with high-quality standards, convenience, transparency, and reasonable pricing. Furthermore, it’s much easier to price-shop online than in person. When you buy from reputable online brokers, you have the luxury of choice at your fingertips 24/7 and can rest assured that you will be getting a fair price on a good product. You can have your order delivered directly to your door, too, which is an absolute convenience if you’re ordering dozens or hundreds of pounds of silver bullion.
Choosing the right online dealer is key to having a great online buying experience. When searching for an online dealer, the number one priority is finding one you can trust. Aim to find a business with dealer reviews that are positive and easy to find online. Other considerations to take into account include the broker’s selection, prices, and payment and shipping options.
Make sure your online bullion seller doesn’t have excessive “minimum orders.” BullionMax doesn’t impose minimum orders on customers because we know many folks begin a relationship by placing small test orders. Only if their chosen dealer delivers quality products and good prices and delights them with excellent service do they consider larger purchases.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to the right online bullion broker, but dealers like BullionMax set the gold standard for buying silver online. We establish trust with customers and offer hundreds of silver bullion products at great prices, with free shipping over $199.