Silver is a precious metal that is widely used in a range of different items, including jewellery, coinage, collectable memorabilia and bullion. Some use silver and other precious metals as an investment option, which can offer protection from inflation and currency fluctuations, and for many the price and value of silver is a key factor in purchasing silver items. There are a number of different factors which can determine the price of silver. All of these silver items are available on eBay.
Types of Silver Items
There are a number of different types of silver items widely available, and the value and price of different types can be affected by different factors.
Bullion is a popular choice for those buying silver as an investment, with bars and ingots being a popular choice for this purpose. Due to the lower price of silver compared to gold and the exceedingly valuable and rare platinum bullion, silver can often be an easier and relatively more affordable type of bullion.
Silver can also be polished to an attractive shine, and this makes it a popular metal for us in bullion such as collectable coins, and gifts. Key factors in the price of bullion can include weight, fineness and condition.
- Silver coins are among the most widely available type of bullion and collectable coins. There are many different types of coin available, including those made for collectors, and rare and collectable items.
- The price and value of silver coins can be affected by fineness and condition, and unlike other types of silver bullion coins can also have value above that of the metal they contain, due to rarity of the particular coins. Proof coins, highly polished rare and collectable coins and slabbed that have been encapsulated into a plastic seal are examples of this type of coin.
- The region of origin can also be a factor in the value of a silver bullion coin. Among the most popular of these coins are the Gold and Silver Britannia coins from Britain and the silver, gold and platinum Eagle coins of the United States.
Jewellery is another popular form of buying silver, to be worn, given as a gift, or to as part of a collection of rare items. Many jewellery items are available which are made of silver, while other may be silver plated or only contain a limited amount of silver.
The amount and type of silver present in an item of jewellery can be a key factor in the price of the silver. Another factor in jewellery can be the other elements and materials which make up an item, as well as the fineness and amount of silver. Watches, earrings and necklaces are all widely popular types of silver jewellery.
Weight of Silver
Weight can be a key factor in the price of silver, and is commonly used as the main designation of bullion bars and ingots. Silver bullion is very commonly sold in ounces or grams. If the type of silver is known, it can be easy to use the weight to work out the value of a bar or ingot of silver.
Sometimes, silver bullion will be available in the form of nuggets or shavings of metal, and these will often be sold in containers by the ounce or gram. However, nuggets will not have the markings that larger bullion bars often have, which can make it difficult to identify the type of silver, and the origin of the bullion.
The fineness of a metal is a key indicator of price and value in a number of different types of silver item. The fineness of a silver item indicates the percentage of the item that is made up of the precious metal. .999 is generally considered to be the purest fineness of a silver item. The purest silver often carries the highest price. Different types of silver have different levels of fineness.
- Fine silver is silver with the highest level of fineness, at .999, and is often referred to as pure silver.
- Britannia silver is that which has a fineness of .958, and is an alloy with another metal, often copper. Silver Britannia coins are a type of coin originating in Britain.
- Sterling silver holds a fineness of around .925, or 92.5% silver. Sterling silver is an alloy which contains around 7.5% of another metal, often copper.
- Coin silver can have a range of fineness, usually from .800 to .900, and made up of from 10 to 20% other metals.
- Silver filled items are those which are made of another material and have been mechanically overlaid with a layer of silver, while silver plated items have been plated with a layer of silver with high fineness. These items are not considered to be bullion.
Bullion is categorised into different grades of quality. The primary factor in bullion grades is the amount of wear visible on the item, including the visibility of any markings or designs on bars, ingots and coins.
- Almost good bullion is the lowest grade of bullion, and this category encompasses bars, ingots and coins which have sustained a great deal of wear. Due to the lack of legible markings on bars and coins, it can be hard to discern the origin, fineness and other factors of bullion. ‘Junk silver’ coins are often included in this category, as they have no value over than the amount of precious metal present in them.
- Good bullion still has some visible markings present, and key information may sometimes be discernible. However, good grade bullion is often heavily worn. Good grade coins are not required to have rims, the raised parts around the edges of a coin.
- Very good grade bullion can be similar to good grade bullion, but must have largely intact markings. Coins must have surviving rims to qualify for this grade.
- Very fine and extremely fine bullion are a very high grade of bullion. They will feature fully intact and readable markings, which can make identifying coins and bars considerably easier.
- Uncirculated bullion will be almost perfect, with very little wear visible on bars and ingots. Coins which have never entered into circulation are also often referred to as uncirculated.
A good way to establish the price of silver is to research the item. Comparing silver to similar items in terms of weight, type, grade and fineness can give a good idea of the range of price a silver item may reach. It can be easier to establish the worth of silver if any markings are legible, as this can contain information such as the age and origin of an item.
This is of particular importance to coins, as the price of many silver coins can come from the rarity and age of a coin as well as the metal content. Furthermore, websites are available which contain information about silver prices, and some prefer to consult a third part expert to ascertain the value of silver.
How to Buy Silver on eBay
A wide range of silver bullion, including bars, ingots and coins, and jewellery can be found on eBay. The full listing of currently available silver bullion can be found under the Collectables & Antiques category. Silver bullion can be found in the Bullion/Bars section, under Coins. Items can be categorised by price, condition, and distance to seller, as well as by bullion type, metal type and the region of origin. It is also possible to sort available items between the Auction and Buy it Now buying options which offer flexibility in how silver can be purchased. Key information about an item, such as the type of silver or the weight of a bullion bar, is often prominently displayed in the item listing. This helps to quickly and easily identify whether a particular item meets any specific requirements. Further and more detailed information can be accessed on the item page, where information about the seller such as item reviews and feedback ratings can also be found. This helps to ensure that a purchase can be made with confidence. If further information is needed, it is also possible to ask the seller a question about the item on this page. If a specific silver item is required, it may be easier and more effective to make use of the search function available at the top of every page. Searches can be made to return results from within specific categories, or to cover the entire site. For more information on getting the most out of the search function, visit the Search Tips page.
A variety of silver items are available, from bullion bars to antique coins and jewellery. The price of the silver can be a key aspect of these items, particularly for those looking to invest in bullion. A wide range of silver bullion and other items can be found on eBay.