Even though gold is touted as the premiere financial investment, silver is considered the thinking man’s choice. eBay has furthered this train of thought by bringing such precious metals to the public eye and making them available to everyone. Investing in silver coins presents a variety of options and it is important to help distinguish the difference in silver bullion offerings.
- Silver Bars – The most versatile form that silver bullion can take. In terms of weight they come in a variety of sizes between 5 grams and 1,000 ounces.
- Rounds – The most popular form of silver currently available from an investment standpoint. Similar to silver bars in the sense that it is simply molded silver in the shape of a coin but without the details that make it collectable.
- Scrap Coins – Not considered of value to collectors due to excessive damage, hence the term scrap.
Silver Bullion Variations
The variety of silver bullion forms on the market means that there is something for everyone. Amidst all the aforementioned, silver bullion coins stand prominent and are considered a smart investment by collectors. Their popularity means that shoppers can choose to buy either new or used.
- New – The most expensive version of silver bullion. Unique in design and limited in supply means that they are the ultimate acquisition for collectors. Considered valuable and offer a resale value that is far beyond its silver content. 1-ounce coins are common but due to the collectible nature they can be more expensive (pro-rata) to acquire than larger coins.
- Pre-owned – The primary version of silver bullion on eBay. Can be resold on online auction sites without VAT charges. However supplies can be limited. More affordable than its new counterpart but require closer inspection as damage to collectable coins have a detrimental effect on its resale value.
Silver bullion coins present intrigue to both investors and collectors alike. With a global market, different coins from around the world are regularly available to purchase. This presents the chance for collectors to add to their collections. Individual coins carry distinctive characteristics that make them aesthetically pleasing.
Types of Coins
Coin collecting is a vast and engrossing hobby with silver bullion coins taking pride of place in many collections. Some coin collectors place focus on buying only certain types of coins, whilst others solely purchase them as an investment. The reason for acquiring silver bullion coins is entirely subjective but it helps to have a goal in mind before entering such a competitive market. There are a large variety of coins that regularly crop up on eBay with some being more sought after than others.
- American Eagle – The official coin of the United States and a collectors favourite. It is a regular purchase for both enthusiasts and investors, often acquired in large quantities. Considered to be the most recognisable coin in the world by those in the field.
- Australian Kangaroo – Introduced by the Royal Australian Mint in 1993, this coin features a kangaroo as its key design point. The overall design changes annually, this means that the limited number that are produced yearly are sought after by collectors.
- Australian Koala – Similar to the Australian Kangeroo in the sense the coin focuses on a design based around an animal. First produced by the Perth Mint of Australia in 2007, the coin has gone on to become a fan’s favourite. It has a face value of one dollar however its silver value is much higher.
- Chinese Panda – The Chinese have always had an affiliation with silver bullion and produce the Silver Panda coin annually. The most common version of this coin weighs 1 ounce but some have been known to weight up to 1 kilogram.
- Mexican Libertad – First issued by the Mexican government in 1949, however its initial production run was short. It would be relaunched in 1979 with a new design that has since garnered the attention of coin collectors worldwide.
- Britannia – First issued by the Royal Mint in 1997 and has remained popular since. They have a face value of 2 pounds and weigh 1 ounce. The pattern of the coin is altered annually and features the image of Queen Elizabeth II.
- Canadian Maple Leaf – Carries a 5 dollar face value that means it ranks among the most expensive silver bullion coins in production. They are regularly issued by the Royal Canadian Mint and carry a high value amongst collectors. This is due to the amount of silver contained within the coin.
There are a wide variety of coins on the market, if you see one that comes in at a higher price than a round or bar it is safe to assume that it is rare. When pursuing silver bullion coins as an investment choose coins that contain a higher than average silver content. When collecting, value is secondary and shouldn’t take priority over personal design preference.
Coin Grading and Condition
Coin grading can be a confusing process due to its subjective nature. It is an important part of the field when it comes to determining the value of a silver bullion coin. The condition of a coin helps buyers figure out how well the coin has been stored and whether or not it is built for longevity. High-grade coins that have been well looked after are more appealing both financially and aesthetically.
All prospective collectors should take the time to learn how to determine the grade of a coin; even minor wear can affect the value of a unit. The following are the terms used to describe the grade of any particular silver bullion coin.
- Good – Refers to a coin that even though well worn is clean and contains a design that is still distinguishable.
- Very Good – Lettering on the design must be showing and be in unmarked condition.
- Fine – The main design is fully visible but may show signs of wear.
- Very Fine – Slight improvement on fine with detailed features around the edge of the coin being visible.
- Extremely Fine – Every detail on the coin is visible and it will be in near enough new condition.
The difference between grades is very minor and can be undetectable without close inspection. Investing in a magnifying glass is recommended, as it will help beginners get to grips with what constitutes wear and tear. The development of the grading system has taken place over many years but is still hotly debated in the industry. In spite of such controversy it is effective in its consistency despite its subjectivity. When buying silver bullion coins it is important to take condition into consideration in order to make an educated purchase.
How to Clean a Silver Bullion Coin
For household silver, shop brought cleaning products do the job and require little to no thought. However cleaning silver bullion coins is a process of an entirely different persuasion simply because the best advice is to not clean them.
- The condition of a silver coin doesn’t improve due to cleaning and liquid substances (chemical infused or otherwise) put coins at risk of permanent damage.
- More often than not cleaning will ruin a coin, as it will trigger a domino effect within the precious metal that cannot be undone.
- If a collector feels that a coin must be cleaned they can take it to a silver dealer but even they will be reluctant to touch it.
There are some silver dealers who will agree to clean silver bullion coins. In such instances buyers must be prepared to sign a waiver that will exonerate the silver dealer from any damage caused during the process.
How to Buy Silver Bullion Coins on eBay
Silver bullion coins are a great way for hobbyists to either start or further a coin collection. eBay has become a trusted resource for those looking to collect and invest by offering coins from all over the world.
- To start browsing what is currently for sale use the websites navigational panel to the left of the home page.
- Select collectables and antiques, enter the coins section before selecting bullion/bars and finally silver bullion.
- From there shoppers will be able to browse all current live listings.
When buying silver bullion coins from eBay shoppers will need to submit a bid, make a best offer or complete an immediate purchase via buy it now. Completing the checkout process with PayPal will allow shoppers to take advantage of the buyer protection program.
Learning how to identify and buy silver bullion coins can be a daunting process but with this guide it need not be. There are a wide variety of coins to choose from, of which most suit the needs of both collectors and investors. Purchasing silver is different from buying other items such as electronics or consumables. So understanding the online auction environment is important.
Those who are new to silver bullion should take time to familiarise themselves with the field and the products available. From there, shoppers can use this guide and eBay’s array of search tools to take their firsts steps into the world of silver bullion coins.