When you buy silver it is recommended that you buy pure silver. That is silver which is 99.9 percent pure and above.
Some silver is not pure silver, such as sterling silver for example. Sterling silver objects are usually stamped with either the word "Sterling" or .925 percent or the Lion Passant mark as part of the Hallmark. Sterling silver is usually cutlery, candle sticks or candelabra for example, but not coins or bars.
Sterling silver is an English term for silver that applies to a silver alloy containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. This is quite different to fine silver which is a minimum of 99.9 percent pure. In fact no coins or bars should be described as sterling silver
In silver coins and bars one is looking for the fine silver, not the sterling silver.
Sterling silver originated in England round about the 13th Century, although some historians believe that it comes from the Old French esterlin. Yet another theory is that the word originated in Germany from the word easterling which meant the grade of silver using in the local currency. Be that as it may, for the purposes of owning and investing in silver one wants the best and purest silver one can buy.
One also has to watch ‘theme’ coins as these are not always pure silver either. Many are around 95 percent silver and some have additives such as other metals or colors to enhance the theme. These sorts of coins are more suitable for hobbyists and collectors than for the serious investor.
An exception is the early silver coins of the US which were not pure silver but which had only 90 percent of silver content up to 1964 when the value of the silver in the coins was dropped to 40 percent until 1970 from when silver was no longer used in silver coins.
These sorts of coins, also known as junk silver, can be very useful as a ready made medium of exchange if and when the future economy results in high inflation and it takes a bucket full of dollars to buy a loaf of bread, as has happened in the past. A bright silver coin is usually well accepted in lieu of a mass of paper!
So other than the junk silver coins above, it is a very good idea to preserve some of one’s assets and buy pure silver to be stored away.