The Top 10 Best Silver Coins to Buy for Investment
Despite its use to denote second place in sporting competitions, silver is an excellent first choice when it comes to investing in precious metals. Silver has been used as currency since about 600 BCE. In fact, the oldest coin ever discovered was crafted between 610 and 600 BCE and was made of electrum – an alloy of gold and silver.
Due to its many uses in tech and medicine – as well as its collectability in the form of coins, rounds, and bars – silver represents a solid investment. Additionally, silver is more affordable than gold, making it more accessible to first-time investors.
Bullion coins are minted and stored for investment purposes. Their value is based on the weight of the precious metal used and is therefore variable. The U.S. Mint does not sell these coins to the general public; investors must purchase them through dealers.
Proof coins are created with specially treated-metals; they come in protective packages with certificates of authenticity. These coins are rarer and of better quality, making them valuable for collectors and investors both.
Junk silver is made up of silver coins minted before 1965 when U.S. currency was minted with 90% silver. While of little value to coin collectors, junk silver coins can be melted down for their silver content.
Tracking the "spot price" of silver is a must if you intend to invest. The spot price is the current trading value of silver which, with the addition of the premium (minting costs plus profit for the dealer), will affect the final price of your coin.
Based on this information, here are the best silver coins to buy.
Silver American Eagles
Released each year, the Silver American Eagle contains 1 ounce of .999 fine silver. It is one of the only coins backed by the American government as far as weight, content, and purity.
First minted in 1986 at the San Francisco Mint, the Silver American Eagle is available in both proof and bullion, except for the 2009 edition. Minting was moved to the Philadelphia Mint in 1993, and then to West Point in 2001.
The striking Lady Liberty design on the obverse is based on Adolph Weinman's 1916 "Walking Liberty" artwork. The reverse side of the coin has a Shielded Eagle, which was designed by M. Mercanti. This stirring imagery makes the Silver American Eagle easily recognizable and a must-have for any numismatist or investor.
Silver Canadian Maple Leaf
First minted in 1988, these beautiful coins contain 1 ounce of .9999 Canadian mined silver, whereas most other silver coins only contain .999. The silver content of the Maple Leaf is purer than that of the American Silver Eagle, and the Canadian government backs its quality. The Silver Maple Leaf is available as bullion or proof.
The Silver Maple Leaf is legal tender and has Queen Elizabeth II's profile on the face of the coin. The reverse side shows Canada's symbol, the highly recognizable maple leaf, which has been the focus of this coin's design since the initial release.
With the addition of the world's best anti-counterfeiting technology, the Silver Canadian Maple Leaf is highly collectible and a sound investment. Radial lines, laser mark micro-engraving, and "Bullion DNA" allow dealers and collectors to verify the authenticity of their coin immediately.
Morgan Silver Dollars
Morgan Silver Dollars are one of the most widely minted, circulated, and collected silver coins on the market. These coins are 90% silver and 10% copper, and the United States minted hundreds of millions of them between 1878 and 1921.
A left-facing Lady Liberty lies on the obverse of this coin, surrounded by 13 stars. The reverse features a somewhat gaunt-looking eagle — the origin of the coin's nickname of the "Buzzard Dollar." If you intend to collect or invest in the Morgan Silver Dollar, keep a close eye on the number of tail feathers on the eagle. Some of the 1878 coins have eight tail feathers, and others have seven. Coins with seven feathers are rarer.
Morgan Silver Dollars were struck in multiple mints from Philadelphia to New Orleans to Denver. The mint that struck the coins can also affect the value of the Morgan. The coins from New Orleans, for example, tend to be of inferior quality, whereas the coins from Philadelphia were well-struck and therefore have a higher value.
As with all coin purchases, ensure you are an informed buyer. Money Metals Exchange is an excellent educational resource for beginners and expert investors and numismatics alike.
Peace Silver Dollar
While some mention Morgan Silver Dollars and Peace Silver Dollars side-by-side, the two are quite different. The Peace Silver Dollar circulated from 1921 through 1928, after minting of the Morgans was complete, and then again from 1934 to 1935. They were initially struck in high relief and to celebrate the United States' victory in World War I. However, in 1922, manufacturers lowered the relief to decrease wear-and-tear on the dies.
The obverse of these beautiful coins displays a distinctly feminine Lady Liberty with blowing hair and a radiant crown. The reverse bears a bald eagle resting on a mountain with an olive branch at its feet. Understandably, the high relief versions of these remarkable coins are much rarer and may provide a better investment purchase than the lower relief releases. However, both coins offer substantial investment value.
Austrian Silver Philharmonic
The Austrian Silver Vienna Philharmonic, or “silver Phil," was first struck in 2008 based on a design by Thomas Pesendorfer. Minted in Vienna, the Austrian Silver Harmonic contains .999 pure silver. It is the first coin of its type to have a face value based on the Euro.
The coin's face displays the organ in the Musikverein, the concert hall where the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic performs. The reverse shows a harp, cello, violins, a French horn, and a bassoon with the words Wiener Philharmoniker, which means Vienna Philharmonic.
These coins can be used as legal tender in Austria and are worth 1.50 Euros. The Austrian Mint does not release the number of coins they mint each year, but the amount varies based on demand. It is estimated that more than five million of these silver Phils were released in the first five years, making these coins imminently collectible and well worth the investment.
Silver dimes, circulated pre-1965 in the U.S., are considered junk silver by many investors. These coins, which you can sometimes find amongst your pocket change, are 90% silver and are often sold to be melted down.
Identifiable by their issue year, their silvery luster, and the tell-tale silver edge (modern dimes have a stripe of brown through their center when viewed edge-on), these coins contain approximately 0.0723 troy ounces of silver each.
Three distinct designs make up the majority of silver dimes: the Barber, the Mercury, and the Roosevelt. Due to the wide availability of these silver dimes and their easily-graded value, they make a reliable investment purchase.
Much like the silver dimes, silver quarters are identified as junk silver and are sold for their metal content rather than their face value.
Struck from 1932 through 1964, these circulated quarters have three designs as well: the Liberty Head, the Standing Liberty design, and the more modern Washington quarter. These silver quarters also lack the copper stripe along their edge and are a safe purchase for investors.
Mexican Silver Libertads
Mexican Silver Libertads are one of the newer silver coins on this list. Guaranteed by the Mexican Mint, the Silver Libertad contains one ounce of .999 fine silver. Although there are multiple designs and denominations (from 1/20 ounces to one kilogram), the one-ounce coin is the standard and has always had the highest market demand.
The Mexican Mint strictly limits the number of Silver Libertads released, averaging less than one million coins per year since 2008. Strikings from 2000 and beyond show a winged woman from the Mexican Independence Victory Column on the front and an eagle on a cactus consuming a snake on the back.
First released in 2018, nearly 50 years after the release of its highly popular gold counterpart, the one-ounce Silver Krugerrand is a product of the South African Mint. The face of Paul Kruger, president of the South African Republic from 1883 through 1902, resides on the front of this silver coin, while a dynamic image of the springbok, South Africa's national symbol, graces the back.
Distinct from the 50th Anniversary Silver Krugerrand printings, which were higher premium mintages aimed at collectors, these more widely available one-ounce coins promise to be as sound as the Silver American Eagle or the Canadian Maple Leaf.
The Royal Mint has released the British Silver Britannia every year since 1987. Coins minted from 2013 onward are struck in .999 silver and backed by the government. While the Silver Britannia can be used as legal tender, it is only done so at the nominal face value.
Britannia, a woman of strength, serenity, and beauty, stands on the face of this coin, holding a trident, shield, and olive branch, while Queen Elizabeth II graces the back. The design was updated in 2013 by the original artist, Philip Nathan.
Silver Britannia coins are minted in varying amounts and are available from the Royal Mint. They are the only coins on this list that are free from the capital gains tax.
These ten coins are the best silver coins to buy, whether you’re an investor or a collector. If you want to protect your assets from devaluation, Money Metals Exchange can help you make smart investments in silver and other precious metals.