Silver rounds have been used for centuries as a currency and in trade, as well as for coin creation. Throughout history, civilizations all around the world have accepted silver as a form of payment and exchange. Some of the oldest coins known today date back to well before 400 B.C. Silver has been money for as long as history has been recorded.
Interest in silver rounds has spiked in the last 3 decades amongst investors. As gold diminishes in its abundance, the attention has turned to silver. Since the introduction of silver rounds as a monetary form, method of payment, or method of purchase, investing in silver rounds has grown.
Silver Rounds vs Silver Coins
Silver rounds and silver coins are similar in size and design. However, a silver round is produced by a private mint, not a government mint, which produce coins and other products. Legally, global government mints are the only mints allowed to produce a "coin.” Rounds are commonly seen as commemorative releases; they are often stamped on both sides of the silver round with no more than the mint’s brand. Unlike silver coins, silver rounds do not have a face value.
In short, silver rounds are produced by private mints, and are often used to make silver coins. Silver rounds are most commonly produced only in 1 oz. and smaller varieties, unlike silver bars, which are available in larger 5 oz., 10 oz., or higher weights. As the price of silver increased, fractional rounds gained popularity. These varieties of rounds weigh less than 1 oz., including 1/10th oz., 1/4 oz., and 1/2 oz. sizes.
The design of a silver round will vary depending on the mint. In addition to each unique mint design, silver rounds should include the weight and purity. The purity of a silver round should be .999 (99.9% silver) or better.
Private mints hold an important place in the silver industry, providing various services which make the market function better. Private mints allow people to purchase non-collectible, non-numismatic silver bullion at a fairly low premium above the spot price of silver. Private mints include APMEX, Silvertowne Mint, Sunshine Minting Inc., Heraeus Precious Metals, Northstar Mint, World Wide Mint Inc. and Ohio Precious Metals LLC. These mints also serve as outlets for both domestic and internationally minted government coins. Their experience with the silver market, as well as their abundance of minting resources, make them ideal outlets for various government mints’ large annual releases of silver coins.
Private mints produce silver rounds that contain 99.9% pure silver. Usually, there is a small amount of another metal present in silver rounds, most commonly copper. Mints introduce this other metal to silver rounds for durability, as well as to maintain the rounds in proper form and sheen. Regardless, the rounds are still quite high in pure silver content.
Investing and Cost
The cost of 1 oz. silver rounds typically hovered around a few dollars over the spot price per ounce of silver. The smaller the quantity or size of silver rounds, the higher the relative price over the spot price of silver. Much like purchasing a larger or heavier bar of silver, purchasing a higher quantity of 1 oz. silver rounds will allow for a higher discount per ounce of silver.
Investing in silver bars is the same as investing in silver rounds; it is simply a matter of preference. There is no inherent difference between these two silver bullion investing options, so long as it is pure silver. There are various reason to invest in silver depending on individual needs. Perhaps the most common reason is to hedge against uncertainties throughout the world economies. Some people purchase coins over rounds because of the design, significance, or historical value of the coin. Others purchase rounds over coins because they are more interested in the silver, and not in a coin’s design or a specific government mint.
Sunshine Minting Inc. (SMI) is a very prestigious mint among private mints, founded in 1979. The mint is located in Coeur d'Aline, Idaho, home of one of the most abundant reserves of silver in North America. This private mint is the chief supplier of silver planchets for the United States Mint. The rounds created by Sunshine Minting eventually are produced as the U.S. Mint’s widely known 1 troy ounce Silver Eagle coins, as well as the America The Beautiful quarters.
Sunshine Minting Inc. produces a wide range of silver bars and rounds. This mint also undertakes various custom minting jobs for private business, corporations, and marketing companies. Precious metals produced and stuck by the mint range in weight from 100 ounces to just 1 gram. Sunshine Minting Inc. also provides a storage facility for precious metal safekeeping.
Sunshine Minting’s silver rounds feature a unique security mark known as the MintMark SI. This unique feature prevents against potential counterfeiting. The technology embeds a mark into the silver round (as well as many other Sunshine Minting products). This mark is only visible with a special SML lens. Many people and institutions prefer minted products from Sunshine Minting specifically for this technology feature on its products.
"Fungible" Silver Rounds
Silver rounds carry on this tradition in a unique sense; they are not produced or backed by a government, they are minted privately, and accepted because they are "Fungible". Fungible means that one item may be exchanged for another because fundamentally they are both the same. For instance, if two mechanically identical Corvettes are produced on the same day, and one is black and one is red, they both have the same value though they will be intrinsically the same, but visually different. Such is the case with silver rounds. As long as the silver purity and weight are the same, the design minted into the round is truly inconsequential to the value of the silver contained in the strike.
ITM Trading offers a variety of silver rounds for several reasons, including the low price of acquisition over the spot price of silver, the inherent bartering ability of a silver round, and because silver is highly liquid worldwide. Your silver rounds can be stored and collected to grow in value over time alongside the price of silver, or used as money in economies that accept physical silver. Some people even buy silver rounds as a means of preparation for an economic collapse. If the dollar loses its value, silver will still carry purchasing and trading power.
Silver rounds are a great way to start adding precious metals to your portfolio. Owning silver rounds is also suggested to those who own old or rare coins. They make wonderful gifts and are highly affordable for just about any budget. Owning a silver round, rather than a silver coin, is like owning the original silver before a mint has the chance to put its mark on the silver round.