Friday, January 18, 2008

Silver Bars

Silver was once the commercial currency of the world alongside gold. Changes in government attitudes have resulted in paper replacing silver as a currency. But this has not diminished the value of silver. Far from it. It is more valuable now than it ever was.

The inflation of the early 1970s prompted investors to protect their assets by investing in silver. In order to accommodate this sudden demand many small refiners began churning out .999 fine silver products such as silver bars.

When the mid 1970s arrived refiners such as Engelhard and Johnson Matthey were manufacturing one hundred ounce silver bullion bars and could hardly keep up.

What are Silver Bars
Silver bars come in many shapes, sizes and of course, weights. As well as silver rounds, silver bars are the best way of investing in silver. All bars are manufactured by refineries of course, and you can buy anything from 5 grams bars up to and over 5 Kilo bars or one ounce up to 1000 ounces.

Every silver bullion bar is marked with the weight, purity and the refiner hallmark. 1000 ounce bars generally weight between 930 to 1080 ounces or around 70 pounds. Not something you can pop into your pocket to take home and show your friends. They are mainly for serious investors and companies interested in preserving and storing their assets and are generally stored in bank vaults around the world.

The principle manufacturers of silver bars include:
Royal Canadian Mint
Pan American Silver
Johnson Matthey
Perth Mint
As well as the one thousand ounce trade bars they also manufacture the one hundred ounce bullion bars that offer silver bullion investors a silver product with a low markup over spot and a bar that can easily be carted around. These are reputable sources and the bars are known in the industry as a reliably pure bulk product.

They are an excellent way of accumulating silver and storing it. The premium is much less than on silver coins and the value of course will continue to grow.

Silver Bar Investment
According to the Northwest Territorial Mint. "Bars of silver do offer an important investment advantage: they carry a low premium over spot silver. Silver bars are also recognized around the world as a trading medium and are therefore very liquid."

Silver bars can be stored in bank vaults, which they often are, or even in your own home or office, although, for the larger bars, that is not recommended. Silver bullion bars are able to be used in an IRA account according to the IRS and can make an excellent addition to a retirement fund.

Silver has been on a steady uptrend for some years and this is due, in part, to the economic uncertainty of our times but also, significantly, to the general shortage of silver in the market place. Most silver produced is used in industry and photographic paper manufacture and only a small percentage in jewelry or silver investment. The amount of silver being mined is less also. However the investment portion is growing steadily as more and more people and businesses see the advantage of storing assets in silver.

It could be said that silver bars have emerged as a popular silver investment because they are uniform in size, easy to handle and convenient to store. But the overriding consideration is likely that silver is seen as a valuable, convenient and worth while future investment.

What Silver Bars to Buy
The one thousand ounce silver bullion bar is considered the industry standard and usually used for trading and storage, but can also be taken for personal delivery, although this is not particularly recommended. Each bar is hallmarked to certify weight and purity. The actual weight, however, can vary by up to ten percent above or below the 1000 ounces. With bars sold to individuals the price is adjusted according to the actual weight.

The one hundred ounce bar is usually reserved for individual purchases. The big advantage with these is the low premium over spot making it a viable purchase for the individual investor. One hundred ounce bars are easy to transport and deliver and can still be sold for spot anytime.

The various bars available include:
One ounce
Ten ounces
One hundred ounces
One thousand ounces
As well as from one gram up to 5 kilos
The larger the bar you can afford to buy the lower the premium on a bar of course. The premium covers the manufacturing costs, admin and profit for the mint or dealer. When taking delivery of the larger bars it is prudent to ensure the shipping is secure and insured.

Where to Buy Silver Bars
Four brands dominate the western silver bullion market: Johnson Matthey, Engelhard, Wall Street Mint, and Sunshine Minting and silver bars are available from these manufacturers for purchase. They will supply silver bullion bars from the 1000 oz down to one or ten grams in some cases.

You can also go to a silver dealer such as or who deal in silver bullion bars

One can also go to gold and silver coin dealers. They often sell silver bars as well.

It is possible to buy silver bars at auction as well. On eBay, for example, you can find silver bars for sale. Here you will fine bars from one gram up to 100 ounces. Rarely you would find a 1000 ounce bar. There is plenty for sale here and the bidding on the larger bars is lively. One needs to be sure that the bar for sale is genuine and has not been "altered" in anyway. It is a good idea to pick a Power Seller with at least 99 percent positive feedback. Also it is wise to ensure the seller has a returns policy if the bar is not up to scratch.

Engelhard and Johnson Matthey Silver Bars are probably the most popular however, and one hundred-ounce .999 fine silver bullion bars have become the popular way for investors to buy silver. 100-oz silver bars are uniform in shape, which means they are easy to stack and store.

Storing Silver Bars
A 100-oz silver bar weighs only 6.86 pounds and so are easy to tote around and store.

All 100-oz silver bars are .999 fine, which means that silver bullion investors are able store a great deal of wealth in a small space. Additionally, as 100 oz silver bars are acceptable trading units, they are just as easily sold as they are bought.

With the decreasing supply of silver and the uncertainty about the world economy, silver bars look set to become one of the prime investment resources of the future.

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