Regular Blogs from Physical Gold
Visit here regularly to view the latest blogs from Physical Gold. Each week we will be publishing numerous articles relating to gold, silver, precious metals and the financial markets. So, visit often to never miss out on the latest content!
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Here on the Physical Gold blog we be producing cutting-edge blog content relating to our areas of expertise which includes gold investment, silver investment, gold coins, silver coins, tax management, financial planning and general interest articles about gold and silver.
We will also be producing regular blog content about the latest news, both globally and local UK news too. This includes both economic and political news, basically anything which would be of interest to gold investors and coin collectors.
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Investors have always turned to precious metals like gold and silver when building their investment portfolios, which is why we have created this “How to Buy Gold and Silver” guide. Gold has always remained a popular asset class for many investors, due to its reliability as a store of wealth. Gold has performed well over the last 20 years and the spot price of gold has risen steadily, providing great returns in the short term.
Additionally, the yellow metal has provided an avenue for investors to hedge their risks during times of economic turmoil. Last year, we witnessed the price of gold reaching its highest ever peak due to the economic crisis across the world, triggered by the global pandemic. Silver has also risen steadily over the years, due to high industrial demand. Many investors invest in silver with the expectation that the white metal will generate higher returns in the future.
Deciding your objectives
When deciding how to buy gold and silver, it’s important to understand that both gold and silver are available as bars and coins. The choice of precious metal depends on your investment horizon and objectives.
Investors who are looking for steady returns in both the short and long term are better off investing in gold. Silver, on the other hand, has a volatile market that is suited for speculative investments. The price of silver is quite low when compared to gold. Therefore, it provides an easy entry for investors into the precious metals market and allows them to book their purchases at current price points in the hope of making quick profits in future.
The divisibility factor
Divisibility is an essential factor when it comes to investing in precious metals. The logic behind this is quite simple. Assuming that the price point is right, and it meets your objectives, you will want to make a sale.
Owning a large bar of gold (such as 1KG) and silver (1KG) will provide you that one chance and the sale is over. However, owning several gold and silver coins of different dimensions give you multiple opportunities to cash in at different price points in the market.
A question of balance
Divisibility and liquidity are, of course, important aspects of your portfolio. But we need to think ahead. Spreading your investments between gold and silver can provide much-needed balance to your portfolio. The current gold-silver ratio is 72:1, which simply means that silver is 72 times cheaper than gold. Therefore, you can buy large amounts of silver and wait for the price to rise in the future, providing your portfolio with balance and meeting your long-term investment objectives.
Ensuring the safety of your investments
You must be certain that the gold and silver products you are investing in are authentic, high-quality and carry the right price tag. Always buy your precious metals from a reputed online gold dealer. This is the only way that you can be sure about the authenticity and quality of your purchases. Moreover, an online gold dealer will normally ensure that your precious metals are sent to you through an insured delivery service.
Most reputed gold dealers will also provide you with an option for storage. If you select this option, your gold and silver purchases will be stored in a secure, LBMA approved vault. All of these are great reasons why you should buy your gold and silver from a reputed online dealer. Going down this route will also ensure that there is no risk of theft or robbery.
Connecting with a reliable broker
Any investor who is serious about buying gold and silver needs to get connected with a reliable broker. But who is a reliable broker and how can you find one An online broker usually has a far greater variety of bars and coins for sale. But it’s important to ascertain that the business is legitimate and has a transparent and reliable track record.
You can check if the broker is registered with an industry body like the BNTA or LBMA. Also, find out if they offer a guaranteed buyback scheme and check their reputation online. Once you have identified the broker of your choice, the next obvious step would be to discuss your investment objectives with them and draw up a plan.
Gold and silver can be sourced through online precious metals dealers, at auction or from areas specialising in precious metals. Hatton Garden in London features dozens of shops that sell gold and silver bars and coins. However, the choice of coins may be limited. The Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham offers similar services.
Know your gold and silver products
There are a few steps you can take to ensure that the gold and silver products you buy are genuine. Gold bars that contain investment-grade gold will always have a refinery stamp engraved on the face of the bar. It will also carry a number that denotes its purity. So, if the bar contains 24-carat gold with 99.9% purity, the bar will typically have a purity number of 999.9 on its face.
Turning to gold and silver has been a tried and tested vehicle for investors in the precious metals category. While gold has remained a popular and preferred asset class for most investors, silver has steadily risen in popularity in recent years. Most investors prefer to hold these precious metals in their physical form. So, let’s explore how to buy gold and silver UK-wide.
Once you’ve decided to put your money in the market, it’s important not to get swayed by irrelevant offers. You should always evaluate your purchases by calculating how they can contribute to the balance, liquidity, and divisibility of your portfolio.
Don’t ignore tax considerations, as this will ultimately impact your profits. Remember, if you’re seeking to buy gold and silver as an investment, then it’s best to stick to well-known UK silver and gold coins (such as Britannias). These have the advantage of being Capital Gains Tax free, but also offer flexibility to sell small parts of your holding.
Ensure you get good discounts from your broker and keep buying gold and silver coins and bars with low premiums. If you’re investing in a coin, make sure that it has a strong secondary market. The Britannia (such as Silver Britannias) and the Sovereign could be your top choices. If you are interested in buying numismatic coins, avoid buying obscure ones and ensure that there is scope to make profits in the long run.
Discuss your gold and silver investments with our experts
Physical Gold, one of the U.K.’s most reputed online gold dealers have an investment advisory team, who can assist you with learning how to buy gold and silver in the UK. Call us on (020) 7060 9992 or drop us an email by visiting our website.
Gold Britannia coins are popular with numismatists and investors alike. We frequently receive questions about these popular coins, so have prepared this page of gold Britannia coins FAQs with answers, which we hope helps you with your research.
Please read our detailed answer to this question at this link.
Was Britannia on Roman coins?
Britannia has actually appeared on Roman coins since 119 AD. The practice of using the persona of an authoritative female to portray a nation has existed for hundreds of years. When the Romans invaded Britain, they used the depiction of Britannia to signify the colonised country on their coins.
There is no pattern to which way Britannia faces on the reverse of UK coins and this adds to the collectability. Examples of Britannia facing to the left include the 2001 ‘Una & The Lion’ Britannia and the 2005 Philip Nathan designed coin which features a seated Britannia.
The best place to buy Gold Britannias is directly from a reputable bullion dealer. Most will have online stores where Britannias can be bought with a variety of payment methods and delivery is usually free, insured, and quick. These sites usually feature live pricing which updates with the spot price every 60 seconds. Bullion dealers should be members of the BNTA to ensure trustworthiness.
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We receive a lot of questions about gold bars. For convenience, we have summarised some of the most popular questions we receive in this handy gold bars FAQs with answers guide, which we hope helps with your investment questions.
Are gold bars a good investment?
Bars of gold are a good long term investment to provide balance and protection from economic downturns. The value tends to rise during times of political and economic instability and has averaged more than the inflation rate over time. Large bars offer better value than smaller ones, although divisibility should be a consideration. To be Capital Gains Tax-free, buying UK gold coins offers an alternative.
Are gold bars illegal?
Owning bars of gold is completely legal. The question arises due to a period in US history just after the great depression in 1933 when the US Government issued a decree making it illegal to hold gold in the form of gold bullion without a unique warrant. Any gold owned privately could be confiscated in an attempt to stabilise the floundering economy. This lasted until 1974, and all restrictions have been rescinded since 1 Jan 1975.
Are gold bars traceable?
Unlike financial securities such as equities and bonds, there is no requirement to formally register gold bar ownership. Electronic gold ownership such as ETFs would be more easily traceable as an ownership register exists which is why so many investors prefer the physical, tangible nature of bars of gold.
Are gold bars 24 carats?
Generally, all bars sold by gold dealers will be 24 carats in purity. However, not all sold globally are 24 carats. The term ‘bar’ really only refers to the format of the physical gold. You should not assume that purity is automatically 24 carats. Many mined on the African continent are only 22 carats, which make them difficult to sell outside of Africa. Often these bars are melted down and used for jewellery.
Are gold bars taxable?
Gold 24 carat bars are not taxable when purchased in the UK. They benefit from a VAT exemption on investment gold (gold in the form of a coin or bar with a minimum of 995/1000 parts gold). Therefore, sub-grade 22-carat versions would be taxable. When bars are sold, any gains should be declared and are applicable for Capital Gains Tax if the annual allowance is breached.
Are gold bars registered?
The production of bars of gold is registered with the relevant assayer, and a serial number recorded. However, there does not need to be a register of private buyers. Gold dealers will need to invoice buyers and keep records, but these are not publicly available.
Are gold bars soft?
They are hard to the touch. But due to their high purity (24 carats), they are relatively soft in metal terms. Pure gold is malleable, so have a major possibility of scratching due to this. This is the reason why Sovereigns coins are produced in 22 carat format, which is deemed a more robust alloy.
Are gold bars tax free?
They are VAT free if they are 24 carats in purity due to the VAT exemption on investment-grade gold. There is no income tax when holding them, and Capital Gains tax will only be applied on any gains in value upon sale that surpass your annual allowance. Investors should sell bars strategically that have increased in value, i.e., some either side of tax year end will deem the bars tax free.
Are gold bars worth buying?
They are worth buying if you seek a tangible asset with no counterparty risk. Physical ownership is beneficial to provide balance to a portfolio consisting of mainly paper assets. The value can go up and down and is related to the underlying gold price. The gold price generally moves up in times of uncertainty so is desirable for those seeking a hedge against unstable markets.
Are gold bars pure gold?
Most bars are 24 carat gold which is the highest carat possible. Some bars on the African continent are a lower purity of 22 carats. The 24 carat bars are referred to as pure gold, but technically they are not 100% pure. Purity can be anywhere from 995 parts per 1,000 upwards, but most reputable bar producers make bars of 999.9 purity.
Gold bars vs bullion
The terms gold bullion and bars are somewhat interchangeable. Both generally refer to 24 carat gold in the form of a rectangular bar. However, bullion is also a term used to describe the ‘investment finish’ of certain coins. Bullion coins are minted for value purposes as opposed to proof finish coins which are more expensive collector’s items.
Are gold bars real?
It is easier for fraudsters to fake or add non-gold substances to bars than coins. This is because the design of a coin is far more complex and difficult to copy. The best place to buy is from a trusted gold dealer, where they tightly control their supply network. All genuine bars should also come with serial numbers and many with a certificate from the mint.
Are gold bars heavy?
This all depends on the size of the gold bar. Due to its high value, most people are surprised by quite how small and light a bar £1,000 will buy you. However, as a dense metal, the larger buys can be very heavy. For instance, the largest is 400 ounces or 12.5kg but are smaller than a standard brick which weighs a mere 3.5kg.
Gold coins or bars for investment?
Gold coins are generally deemed to be a better investment than gold bars, as long as you buy the right ones. Buying gold coins offers more divisibility than bars, benefit from quantity discounts, can be easier to sell, and be Capital Gains Tax-free. Of course, the investment objectives and investment amount will also determine which is best.
How are gold bars made?
They can be made in 2 distinct ways. Generally smaller bars tend to be minted, whereby a sheet of gold is stamped and cut into the required size, shape, and weights. These minted bars tend to be exceptionally clean looking with a smooth precise finish. For larger bars, a second method is used to create what is known as cast bars. Molten gold is poured into set size moulds to produce ingots. The finish of these tends to be more natural and rougher.
How do I buy gold bars?
It is best to buy directly from a precious metals dealer. Prices will be transparent and based on the live market. Usually, discounts are offered for purchasing bars in quantity. You benefit from the peace of mind knowing your investment is genuine and high quality and you will have a place to sell the bars when the time comes.
How do I sell gold bars?
It is best to sell bars through a reputable gold dealer. In the UK, stick to a gold broker who is a member of the British Numismatic Trade Association (BNTA). Try to ensure you have the bar certificate if it is loose. It is possible to take bars into jewellers, but they will likely pay a lower price as they will simply melt down the bar.
Gold bars versus ETF
Both Gold ETFs and bars have their value linked to the underlying gold price, so they both provide a degree of balance to mainstream assets. Bars benefit from having no counterparty risk whereas gold ETFs can be leveraged and there are additional risks associated with the provider. Buy/sell margins are tighter with ETFs due to their electronic efficiency. Fees may exist with both investments, ETF management fees, and gold bar storage costs.
How much are gold bars worth?
The value of a gold bar depends on the underlying gold price and the weight of the bar. The approximate value of the bar can be calculated by multiplying the current gold price in grams by the weight in grams in the bar. As most bars are 24 carats, pure gold), no other sums are needed. The actual price will likely be slightly lower by a couple of percent depending on supply and demand in the market.
Should I buy gold bars without a certificate?
We would recommend that all bars of gold should have an accompanying certificate. This certificate will come from the refiner and will prove that strict quality control standards set by the LBMA have been met. The certificate will provide a serial number, proof of authenticity and will have the place of origin on it.
Gold bars vs coins
Unless buying a substantial quantity of gold, choosing the right gold coins can be a better investment than bars. Bars can command lower premiums when large in size, but coins benefit from being more divisible. UK coins have the added advantage of being free from Capital Gains Tax for UK residents, and older coins provide more historical interest than bars.
When to buy gold bars?
As an investment, buy bars when the gold price is low to enjoy capital appreciation when the gold price rises. Prices tend to rise during times of Dollar weakness and general economic instability. So, do not wait for the economy to slump as the gold price would already have risen. Buying gold in good times and selling in bad times will reap the biggest profits.
When to sell gold bars?
It is best to sell bars in the middle of an economic crisis as the price will likely be the highest. Gold is sought as a safe haven in these times, so demand goes up and the price of gold follows. This directly impacts the price you can fetch for your gold bar.
Gold bars versus Krugerrands
Bars of gold can be cheaper per gram to buy than Krugerrands if bought in a large size like 1kg. However, Krugerrands are a good value coin, so the gain is minimal. An advantage of Krugerrands is that you can sell one coin or a handful whenever you need to. Owning one large gold bar does not allow this. Buying lots of smaller bars is expensive.
What gold bars should I buy?
If you are seeking investment, then try to buy the cheapest 24 carat bar possible. Premiums are paid for certain brands, especially from Switzerland, or enhanced packaging, but these premiums may not be recouped upon sale. Pre-owned gold bars can be bought cheaply, just ensure they have a certificate and buy from a reputable gold dealer.
Can gold bars be confiscated?
In the UK, bars can only be confiscated if they are linked to money laundering or crime. In the US, under current federal laws, gold bullion can technically be confiscated in times of crisis, but rare coins do not fall into the confiscation category. All privately-held bullion could be confiscated during the Executive order 6102 after 1933, but that expired by 1975.
Can I buy gold bars at my bank?
Very few banks sell gold these days as they have many other revenue streams and gold is deemed to be a specialist area. To purchase bars, it would probably be best to go to a reputable gold dealer to benefit from extensive choice, guidance, and general good advice about the timing of purchasing and selling.
Do all bars of gold have serial numbers?
All bars over 250g should have a serial number on them. This serial number helps an assay office authenticate the gold bullion. Generally, this serial number will be on your invoice, so it can be traced back to your dealer.
Gold versus silver bars
Silver bars are clearly far more affordable than bars of gold due to the price differential of around 80:1. This means that buying a bar for £3,000 can be underwhelming for those expecting a large brick-like bar. In contrast, a huge 5kg silver bar cost less than £2,500. Due to the low silver price, the relative production cost is higher than for gold, so bid/offer spreads are wider. Both bars can be held as safe havens, but the value of silver can also go up with industrial demand.
Talk to Physical Gold
If you have any further questions we are only a phone call away when you call us on 020 7060 9992. We can also be contacted via webform, so please contact us and we will do our best to help with all your gold bar-related enquiries.
Silver Britannia coins have become a popular investment vehicle for investment in silver. Regularly we are asked questions about these coins, so have summarised some of the most popular questions and provided answers in this silver Britannia coins FAQs guide.
As a popular investment coin, the easiest and safest way to sell them is to a reputable precious metals dealer. This enables you to agree on a competitive price with the dealer, send them your coins, and receive payment quickly. An alternative is to sell privately where collectors may pay a premium. However, this can be fraught with danger.
Are Britannia silver coins legal tender?
Absolutely, they are legal tender within the UK. They possess the requirements of featuring the monarch’s bust and a face value, £2 in the case of the 1oz version. In theory, you could use it to buy goods up to the value of £2 in a UK shop, however, the silver content alone, makes the coin worth many times that. In practice, the legal tender status increases the coins’ appeal as an investment as this qualifies it as tax-free.
Any more questions? Speak to us at Physical Gold Limited
We always welcome enquiries, so if you have any further questions about silver coins, including Britannias then please do not hesitate to get in touch. Call Physical Gold Limited on 020 7060 9992 or complete our contact form to start discussions.
We are frequently asked questions about silver coins. This is why we have created this silver coins FAQs page, which is full of questions with model answers.
Are silver coins a good investment?
We have prepared a detailed article to answer this question, please visit by clicking here to learn more.
Is silver coinage magnetic?
Genuine coins made from silver are not magnetic. With purity of popular silver investment coins such as Britannias close to 100%, only replica (fake!) coins will be magnetic. Coins made with far lower purities of silver, mainly mixing in steel or iron will show signs of magnetism, so should be avoided. Non-magnetism does not guarantee that the coin is silver though. Metals filled with a core of non-silver will likely not be magnetic either.
Are silver coins worth anything?
Yes, their value is a combination of the underlying silver price, their weight, and the coin’s rarity and desirability. Generally, a silver coin will sell for around 96-98% of the current silver value for its weight. So, a 1oz coin may fetch around £11 or so. If the coin is part of a limited issue and demand is higher, the value is likely to be 5-10% higher.
When to sell silver coins?
It is advised to hold coins for the long term and always hold a portion of your wealth in silver as a balance and hedge against market downturns. Having said that, the amount you hold can vary according to market conditions and the silver price. Timing will depend on the price and time you bought them (was the market high or low), your need to liquidate and the current silver price. Buying low and selling high is the ideal scenario!
Are silver coins legal tender?
Yes, they are legal tender in their country of issue if they possess a face value. In the UK, Silver Britannias and other Royal Mint issued coins have face values and can, in theory, be used in shops. But this would be an uneconomical choice. With a face value of 2 Pounds, the silver content alone is worth at least five times that. Instead, the legal tender status helps silver investors as any capital gains made upon selling the coins are free from tax.
Will silver coins go up in value?
We have provided a detailed answer to this question, at this separate page.
Silver rounds vs coins
Choosing silver coins vs silver rounds will depend (ultimately) upon your objectives. Silver rounds can generally be bought at lower prices for their weight as they are produced by private companies rather than national mints. With less liquidity, rounds are likely to be sold as scrap in the future. Certain legal tender coins are also CGT free, so any profits are tax exempt.
How to store silver coins?
The best way is first to keep them in the plastic capsules or tunes they arrived in. If they came loose, then purchase some coin tubes. Large orders of 250 coins or more can come in monster boxes of 20 tubes or more and can help with neat stacking. Try to handle your coins as little as possible. Placing carbon pieces from a pet shop in the box can help prevent the hydrogen sulphide from tarnishing the coins.
Will a silver coin purify water?
Silver acts as a preserver for many substances. As a colloidal metal, it can help prevent diseases and be anti-bacterial. Certainly, adding a clean silver coin to some water will help with its purity. However, simply dropping a silver coin into a glass of dirty water will not rid it of all its nasty elements.
Read our detailed article, where we explore this topic here.
Are silver bullion coins worth buying?
Currently, they are incredibly cheap relative to their historical ratio to gold. This would suggest that their value is set to rise in the future. Coins offer superb divisibility rather than buying silver bars but still offer quantity discounts. UK coins can be CGT free, which foreign silver bars and coins cannot. With industrial demand for silver in computers on the rise, the future looks bright for silver.
The number of banks offering a retail service is dwindling. It is now only possible to buy from certain banks such as Scotiabank in some countries, but not in the UK. This is because the banks do not want to commit the necessary resource for dealing in precious metals. For this reason, many banks who can source your silver coins from, will not buyback. The price they sell at will be relatively high, reflecting their lack of appetite for the business.
Why do silver coins tarnish?
A natural by-product of silver is its reaction to chemicals and humidity in the air. Tarnishing occurs when the silver atoms encounter oxygen, forming a silver oxide. Unlike rust, this protective layer does not infiltrate into the silver. Tarnishing, also known as toning, can be removed by using a coin cleaning solution and minimised by keeping coins in airtight containers.
We have provided a detailed answer to this question, at this separate page.
Will a silver coin keep milk from spoiling?
Placing a silver coin into milk will delay the time it takes to go off. The coin has to be 99.9% pure rather than a lower mix alloy to work. The natural anti-bacterial qualities of colloidal silver will not prevent the milk from spoiling entirely but can prolong its life for 5-10 days. Infact, before refrigeration, silver was used regularly to achieve longer life milk and keep water pure.
Silver is far cheaper than gold, making it more accessible to the modest investor. The current price ratio between the two metals is at its widest point in history, suggesting silver has far more potential upside. Gold acts more like a classic safe haven to protect investors in economic downturns. While silver also acts in a similar way it also benefits from industrial demand due to its conductive qualities. Silver can be more volatile and dealer spreads are slightly wider than the gold market.
Are silver coins in circulation?
Our 50p and 5p coins are known as silver. However, they no longer contain any silver at all. Instead, they consist of cupronickel, a mix of nickel and copper. This is far cheaper and more resilient than using silver. Silver investment coins like the Britannia consist of 99.99% pure silver. While they have a face value, they are not actively in circulation. In theory, you can legally spend this coin in the shops, but its £2 face value is less than a fifth of its silver value.
Will vinegar clean silver coins?
Vinegar can be used to clean non-valuable coins but is not recommended for pure silver coinage. The use of vinegar could lower the value of the coin. The best bet to clean is with warm soapy water. Avoid using a brush as silver can be soft and scratch. Instead, use a cloth and fingers to rub any dirt away after soaking.
What are silver coins made of?
Silver investment coins are made from pure silver (99.99% purity usually). Silver currency coins such as the fifty pence piece or 5p are made from a mixture of nickel and copper. The alloy consists of 75% copper and 25% nickel, which when combined form a resilient metal known as cupronickel. UK coins were made from 92.5% sterling silver until 1920 and then this reduced to around 50% purity until 1947. Cupronickel was introduced in 1971.
The best coins to invest in for UK investors are the Royal Mint produced coins. The silver Britannia should form the backbone of the investment as the standard coin is cheap but very liquid. Combining this with some more limited issue coins such as the Queen’s Beasts and Lunar series will provide portfolio balance and create the chance to benefit from these coins rising in value quicker due to limited issue. All UK Silver manufactured coins have the advantage of being Capital Gains Tax-free.
Will banks buy silver coins?
Your average high street bank will not buy them from you. It is possible they would exchange the coins for their face value but that would be a foolish strategy as these values fall well short of the actual value. It is far better to seek the help of a reputable silver dealer who specialises in precious metals and will pay well for them as they can sell them on to other customers.
Can silver coins conduct electricity?
In theory, yes, they can conduct electricity. But we are only talking about the pure silver investment coins that contain 99.9% silver. Silver is by far the most conductive of all elements, to the point, where all other metals are benchmarked against silver to gauge conductivity. Silver currency coins that contain no silver at all will conduct electricity at a far lower level.
Where to sell silver coins?
If you have old coins with a value far greater than their simple silver weight, then sell them through an auction of a specialist dealer. Silver dealers will provide the best price and trustworthy service. If you have time on your hands, then you can try selling privately through portals such as eBay, but this poses risks. For scrap coins, local jewellers are easy to sell to but be prepared for low prices.
Silver coins proof vs uncirculated
Silver uncirculated coins are recommended for investors. They are far cheaper than proof coins so you can get more silver for your money. Silver dealers will not pay much more for silver proof coins when you come to sell. If you are a coin collector, then proof coins can add a higher sense of finish and exclusivity to the coin.
How do I clean silver metal coins?
The best way to clean valuable coins made from silver is with warm soapy water. Soak the coins for 10 to 15 minutes turning them occasionally. The coins can then be rubbed dry with a cloth, paying attention to removing any surface dirt. Avoid using a brush that could scratch the silver or chemicals like vinegar that could detract from the coin’s lustre.
When to buy silver coins?
Silver coins should ideally be bought when the economy is quiet, and the stock markets are doing well. This usually means a low silver price so you can secure coins at this level. The value of coins rises with the underlying silver price and should be considered a medium to long term hold due to short term volatility. Buying silver regularly is another strategy to gradually accumulate a substantial holding by averaging out buy prices.
Can I buy silver coins directly from the US mint?
Yes, they can be bought directly from the US Mint’s website. In a similar way to the Royal Mint, you are restricted to buying coins only produced by the mint. They will not sell 3rd party coins. Due to their reputation, the mint does not need to be super competitive on prices and will not generally offer quantity discounts. There is a focus on boxed proof coins rather than bullion coins. Better deals will be had from buying from a silver dealer, who will offer to buy back the coins, provide lower prices and more choice.
Where to store silver coins?
If you want hassle-free storage, it is best to store coins with the silver dealer from whom you bought. This usually entails storage in a specialist warehouse to maintain the silver’s integrity and includes insurance. If you want to store yourself, then the coins should be kept somewhere secure and be insured against theft. Reducing the amount of handling and oxygen to the coins will help prevent tarnishing. Keep the coins in their tube and keep them airtight if possible. If bought in large quantities, silver coin tubes can be stored in monster boxes (of 20-25 tubes), and the boxes conveniently stacked.
A very quick way to test silver coins is to place an ice cube on top of the coin. As the world’s best conductor of electricity, the ice cube should start to melt immediately compared to one placed on a wooden surface. Testing the silver coin for magnetism cannot prove it is genuine, but any sign of sticking to the magnet will prove it is a fake. When looking at well-known silver coins, careful visual comparisons with a real silver coin will usually unearth some straightforward differences with finish, detail, and edging.
Which silver investment coins are the best to buy?
Silver Britannias are the best silver-based coins to buy for investment. They are mass-produced bullion coins so offer a high degree of value. Limited issue coins tend to command a premium. Britannias are 1oz in weight so provide divisibility. Any profits made on selling silver Britannia coins are CGT exempt as the coins are legal tender in the UK. There is a strong second-hand demand for the coins so selling prices are high.
Are silver Britannia coins a good investment?
Britannia coins are an excellent investment for the medium to long term. Silver is currently unbelievably cheap compared to historical values. Industrial demand for silver is rising with advances in technology as silver is used for its conductive qualities. Silver Britannias are an excellent option is they are highly liquid, world-renowned, and tax-free for UK investors.
Why buy silver investment coins?
Buying silver coins is an excellent option for those seeking a tangible asset with no counterparty risks. The value of silver can rise with industrial and investment demand, but supply is limited due to its precious metals status. Coins can be a better option to buy than silver bars as they can be tax-free and can be sold in small sizes. Discounts are available for buying in larger quantities of coins.
Where to buy silver coins online UK?
Do not be tempted to buy coins from online shops like eBay and Craigslist. Authenticity can be a huge problem if you buy privately. Stick to buying from prominent silver dealers so you can rest assured that the silver is real. They will also provide the facility to store the silver if you wish, deliver it to your door, and buy it back in the future.
Call Physical Gold Limited with your further questions
We appreciate that you may have additional unanswered questions, if that is the case why not contact us? Simply call us now on 020 7060 9992 or complete our contact form and we will seek to help clarify any questions you may have.
Gold has always been one of the most attractive asset classes pursued by investors. Throughout history, gold has been viewed as a great store of value and has delivered good returns for investors over the short and long term. Gold is today sold in a regulated market, based on a dynamically changing spot price, which is applicable across the world. Yet, when we buy gold and look at the spot price, this applies to pure gold, which is considered to be 99.9% pure or 24-carat gold. However, it is useful to understand the different types of carats that are available in the marketplace.
Origin of the term “carat”
It is believed that the term ‘carat’ dates back to mediaeval times. The use of carob seeds was associated with the system of weighing things thousands of years ago. It is not known whether these seeds were used to measure the gold and other precious metals at the time. A weight of 200 mg was derived as the specific weight of a carat.
However, there is historical evidence of its use during the Greek and Roman periods. There are a total of 24 carats that make up pure gold. Numismatic research about the coinage used by the Romans has proved that these subdivisions were associated with the Roman Libra. Historians believe that the Libra was used to measure gold at the time and that it was equal to 24 silver coins, which the Romans called a ‘siliqua’. It is possible that the number 24 has been handed down from these ancient times.
During the 19th century, the German ‘Mark’ had a weight of 24 carats, equivalent to 4.8g.
How many carats are there in pure gold?
There is a total of 24 carats that make up pure gold. Each is of equal value and so is 1/24th pure gold by weight. Investment-grade gold is either 22 carat (most common amongst Sovereigns and other popular bullion coins) or 24 carats (now used for some 1oz bullion coins like the Britannia and most gold bars). Even 24-carat gold isn’t completely pure but instead will be somewhere in the region of 99.9% gold.
Pure gold is therefore represented by the number 24 in carats. Each is of equal value and so is 1/24th pure gold by weight. So, 18-carat gold is 18 parts pure gold, with the balance of six parts constituting other alloys and base metals. In reality, it is difficult to measure the actual purity of gold, using scientific methods. One way that has been used in modern times is the use of XRF (X-ray fluorescence). This scientific development analyses the purity of metals, based on the light reflected off them. However, only a surface evaluation is possible. Consequently, the industry still relies on reputed and reliable dealers for the supply of pure gold.
Investment-grade gold is either 22 carat (most common amongst Sovereigns and other popular bullion coins) or 24 carats (now used for some 1oz bullion coins like the Britannia and most gold bars). Even 24-carat gold isn’t completely pure but instead will be somewhere in the region of 99.9% gold. Jewellery can commonly be made of lower carat gold such as 9 carats and 18 carats which are more resilient than higher purities, cheaper and more suited to clasping precious stones.
Increased resilience with lower purity levels
Jewellery can commonly be made of lower carat gold such as 9 carats and 18 carats which are more resilient than higher purities, cheaper and more suited to clasping precious stones.
So, we can see that pure gold is often blended into an alloy with different base metals to make the gold harder. Pure gold is malleable and difficult to shape into jewellery. This is probably how alchemists started creating gold with varying degrees of purity over centuries.
A similar concept was used when minting coinage, as the metal needed to be resilient for public circulation. The higher the carat of gold, the greater is its purity. However, as we can see, this creates a practical problem when the metal is moulded into coins, bars, or jewellery.
Why is 24-carat gold the purest?
Refiners must declare the purity number of gold, in addition to its carat value. 24-carat gold is simply considered to be the purest since it has a negligible percentage of other metals. In the UK, this is considered to be investment-grade gold with a purity of 999.9. The metal is distinctive due to its bright yellow colour and buyers will pay the highest price for this purity of gold. But, its density is also lower and due to its softness. 24-carat gold is unsuitable for manufacturing jewellery. Its use is most prevalent in manufacturing gold bars. When minting coins, a tiny amount of base metals is introduced in the mix to make the coins durable. Pure gold is in great demand for industrial uses, like the manufacture of electronics and medical devices.
Normally 22-carat gold will have a purity of 91.67%. This leaves 8.33% of other metals, which can be silver, zinc, copper, nickel, or other base metals. Jewellery manufacturers may not use it for making jewellery that holds precious stones. This is because 22-carat gold is still too soft to hold the stones in place.
The percentage of gold is much lower in this form. 18-carat gold will usually have 75% pure gold mixed with 25% of base metals. It’s a lot less expensive than buying 22 or 24-carat gold. This is the preferred purity of gold used by jewellers, as it can withstand daily wear and tear. It has a warm yellow shine, which is great for manufacturing wedding bands and other ornamental jewellery.
This is a number that represents gold which is only 58.3% pure. The balance 41.7% in this form gold, comprises other metals like nickel or zinc. This form of gold is durable and sturdy and preferred by many to make jewellery. It is also more affordable and ideal for people with skin metal allergies.
It is the cheapest form of gold and has a pale tone due to the presence of base metals. Usually 10-carat gold will have at least 41.7% of gold. Since it has a gold level of 10 parts out of 24, it is called 10 carats. While it is more affordable, it also tarnishes easily.
It is widely used in the jewellery industry due to its affordability. When you purchase jewellery, the carat value will be clearly demarcated. Interestingly, US laws state that jewellery made from gold below 10 carats cannot be labelled as gold.
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Gold is an interesting metal. It is a metal as well as an element. It also comes in different forms. There are many types of gold that are distinguishable by their colour and properties. Gold is visible in different forms like gold coins, bars and jewellery. Within these, gold can be differentiated by its purity or carat value. Let us explore the different types of gold and how we can identify them.
The most common distinctions
The most common distinction between gold types is their carat or purity. This can be difficult to simply detect with the naked eye. 24-carat gold is virtually 100% pure, while 9-carat purity is as low as 37.5% purity. In its purest state, the gold will be relatively soft, while it tends to feel harder to the touch when mixed with more alloys. The colour can also vary, with pure gold displaying a distinct yellow-orange.
When mixed more with silver, the white gold effect is present, while red gold contains a higher amount of copper. Assay marks on the gold will display the purity but not all gold will be hallmarked. Other than that, it’s best to take it to a jeweller to safely perform a test and determine if it’s real in the first place!
The concept of carat value comes from 24 parts of gold. So, if the gold is 18 parts pure gold it is considered to be 18 carats. Similarly, if it is 22 parts pure, it is known as 22-carat gold. But, this is only one way to differentiate one type of gold from another. Gold is often available in a variety of colours and this can be another way of distinguishing its types.
The colours of gold
Different colours can be achieved by introducing other precious metals or base metals into the gold mix. Blue gold is a popular type of gold that is created by adding indium or gallium. These are rare metals that create a bluish hue to the gold when added. Another colour of gold is green. Green gold is also known as Electrum and can be manufactured through the introduction of silver and copper. Colours of gold like blue and green are often used by jewellers, due to their aesthetic appeal.
Purple and rose gold
Gold is also available in the colour purple and this is done by introducing 79% pure gold and 21% aluminium. Purple gold is also a type of 18-carat gold, also known as amethyst gold. However, purple gold is more brittle than other gold alloys and is unsuitable for the electronics industry. It can, however, be used to decorate gold jewellery.
Rose gold gets its colour from being mixed with copper. There are different types of rose gold. 18-carat red gold is created by mixing 75% gold with 25% copper. But, another type of 18 carats rose gold contains 75% gold with 22.25% copper and 2.75% silver. Also, included in the 18-carat category is pink gold. Pink gold contains 75% gold with 20% copper, while the amount of silver in the mix is increased to 5%. The last category, which is also the cheapest is 12-carat red gold, where the gold is only 50% and the rest is copper.
White and yellow gold
White gold has gained popularity over the years and the hardness of the mix is achieved by introducing Palladium, which is another precious metal. However, in some cases, silver may also be added along with Palladium and nickel. A popular formulation of white gold contains 90% gold with 10% nickel. Many jewellers also plate the white gold with a coating of rhodium, which gives its steely look and shine. The industry typically uses Palladium and nickel as bleaching agents to change the colour of gold to white.
Yellow gold is a derivative of the normal colour of gold. 18-carat yellow gold is created with 75% gold, 12.5% copper and 12.5% silver. However, it darker shade of yellow can be achieved by increasing the percentage of copper. Here, the proportions change to 75% gold, 15% copper and 10% silver.
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Gold is a much sought after metal with very interesting properties. We often think of gold as being primarily attractive to investors and collectors of gold coins. Gold jewellery is extremely popular across the world, especially in Asia. However, the largest demand for gold comes from the industry.
While a variety of industries use gold for their manufacturing operations, gold has certain properties that make it very attractive to the electronics industry in particular. Gold is one of the most conductive metals on the planet. It is also highly malleable, which means that it can be sheathed onto surfaces. Gold is also very ductile and a small amount of gold can be stretched into wires that run into metres. Therefore the electronics industry has a large appetite for gold.
Why is gold used in the electronics industry?
With a conductivity score of 70%, gold is a popular choice for use in electronics. Most commonly, gold is used as an electroplated coating on contacts and connectors. It shines as the superior choice due to its high conductivity, corrosive resistance, and resilience (especially when mixed with nickel). Copper and silver are both cheaper and more conductive than gold, so tend to be used in a far wider array of electronic applications. Encasing electronics in gold is increasing in popularity to appeal to the luxury market such as the Gold Apple watch.
A deeper look at the use of gold in the electronics industry tells us that gold is a far superior conductor of electricity when compared to copper, silver and aluminium. This simply means that gold offers minimal resistance to the electricity flowing to and fro. However, its properties like ductility and malleability create a tipping point for its use in the electronics industry. Due to these properties, gold is very user friendly and easy to work with. It is easy and convenient to introduce the yellow metal into miniature electronic circuits, which are often found in mobile phones, gaming devices and other electronic accessories. Gold is also resistant to tarnishing, a property that ensures longer life of the devices and circuit boards in which the metal is used.
Electronics processes, where gold is used
Perhaps one of the largest users of gold in the electronics industry is in plating connectors and contacts. Semiconductor packages also use gold bonding wires, while a wide array of other processes also use gold. These include hybrid circuits, printed circuit boards and their coatings and soldering, contact points for electronic components and metal layers on semiconductors, which can be frequently used as conductor tracks and contacts points.
Due to its corrosion resistance properties and high electrical conductivity, gold has become the metal of choice for use in connectors and contacts. It is most preferred for low voltage, low current and contact force applications. Gold is often electroplated onto nickel and if the device or circuitry needs to function in hostile environments, the thickness of the gold is often increased. This may be true for its use in the electronic car industry, where the e-vehicles need to be driven throughout the year across a range of seasons.
Wire bonding is another area of use in the electronics industry, where the demand for gold had already doubled in six years from 1994 to 2000. In the last 20 years, the demand for gold for these processes has skyrocketed. Wire bonding is usually found in many electronic devices, for example – computer motherboards and their components.
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Gold has fascinated humans throughout history and the yellow metal has always been preferred by institutions, investors and governments as a great repository of value. Today, gold is bought and sold in a regulated marketplace, and the spot price of gold has been standardised and can rise or fall depending on economic and political factors.
At the practical level, gold has certain special properties like malleability, conductivity and ductility that make it invaluable for use in industry, especially the manufacture of electronics. However, at the economic level, gold delivers steady returns for investors over both the short term and the long term. Gold is also seen as a ‘safe haven’ for investors and individuals and institutions who moved their money to gold, did so during periods of economic uncertainty. Gold is a scarce metal that is mined out of the ground.
History of gold mining
It is uncertain exactly when human beings started mining gold, but archaeological evidence tells us that it could possibly have been around 4,200 to 4,700 BC. Historians agree that the world’s oldest known gold mine has been found on an archaeological site in southern Georgia. It is now thought that gold mining was popular at the time of the Roman Empire.
The Romans frequently used methods such as hushing and ground sluicing to extract gold from mines that contained loose alluvial deposits. These hydraulic mining methods were later used across Europe. Many Roman gold mines have been unearthed today and one has even been found in the UK, in West Wales. Gold was mined in different regions, which formed parts of the Roman Empire. These were spread across the Balkans, Armenia, Egypt and Nubia.
At the same time, gold was also being mined in other parts of the world. The Kolar gold fields in Karnataka, India has been active since the second century A.D. Later, during the 19th century, there were many gold rushes in different parts of the world. Some of the most famous ones that we would have heard of are the California Gold Rush of 1849 and the Klondike Gold Rush. Statisticians estimate that all the gold that has been mined throughout human civilisation could be close to 6,109 million ounces.
Different types of gold mining
Today, due to the advent of technology, mining, metals have become more sophisticated. Gold mining is a large commercial operation undertaken by mining companies who fund their operations through the sale of gold as well, as money raised from the stock markets. Investors often invest in gold mining companies, as a form of paper gold investment. Let us take a quick look at the four main types of gold mining methods.
There are four main types of gold mining, varying according to the country of production and their method of extraction – placer mining, hard rock mining, by-product mining and processing of gold ore. Gold which has accumulated as a placer deposit (naturally separated from rock through gravity) is extracted through placer mining which uses water as the loose material is unsuitable for tunnelling. This is the type recognised by many as typical gold prospecting, where manual panning can be used, although not commercially.
The most recognised gold mining is hard rock retrieval which uses tunnels underground and machinery in open pits to extract gold. The larger scale enables far greater quantities to be mined.
Of course, mining for other minerals can sometimes provide the added bonus of accumulating gold in small quantities. Typically, mining for copper and gravel can end up discovering deposits of gold as a by-product. Due to the scale of the operations, some mines subsequently find large quantities of gold this way.
Gold ore describes rock and earth with fine traces of gold which are extracted through the addition of chemicals. The use of chemicals (namely cyanide), is expensive for the small yield of gold achieved, so this method is shrinking in popularity.
One of the old mining methods which have now been replaced is dredging. This operation is carried out through the use of suction dredges. There are small floating machines on the water operated by the miners, which consists of a sluice box attached to a suction hose that pulls out the gold.
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Selling silver coins can be more difficult than you think. When someone goes to the high street to sell silver, it’s difficult to get the real value that the silver may be worth. Generally, when selling silver coins, you should receive a price below the spot price of silver on that day. However, the price you get will largely depend on how you have stored your silver coins and the condition they are in. In this article, we will explore the best ways to sell your silver coins and receive the best price.
Identifying an online broker
The best way to sell your silver coins is to identify a reliable broker. A list of reputed and reliable precious metal dealers can be found on the website of the British Numismatic Trade Association (BNTA). Once you have identified a broker near you, it’s important to establish a good working relationship with the company. If you regularly buy and sell silver coins, you should be able to quickly establish a good relationship that can ensure the best prices for your coins. Remember, most reliable brokers will already have a buyback guarantee, so if you buy coins from them, selling these should not be a problem.
They can be sold in various ways. Many silver dealers can be found online who will pay you according to the weight of silver, and potentially extra if the coins have a historical or scarcity premium. They will be able to explain the process, but generally, you will need to send the coins to them after agreeing on a price. These coins can also be sold at auctions (for highly valuable coins or large collections), at a local jeweller if convenience is a higher priority than price, or privately.
Online auctions posted by sites like eBay, may look like a good place to sell your silver coins, however, you may not get the best possible price. Your coins may mostly be purchased by dealers who will try to pay the least possible price to get a bargain.
Taking care of your silver coins
You are likely to receive a higher price if the silver coins are in good shape. When you purchase your silver coins, ensure that they remain intact inside the sealed packaging. This proves that the coin has not been tampered with and usually, the sealed packaging also comes with a certificate of authenticity. This can ensure better prices for your silver coins. If you buy your silver coins from another collector, and they arrived without packaging, please ensure that you store your coins in a dry environment, so that they do not tarnish. When polishing your silver coins, make sure you do not use chemicals or abrasives that are likely to damage the coins.
Buying the right coins
When you purchase your silver coins, it’s important to ensure that you do not end up buying obscure coins that are unknown. Buying well-known silver coins like the silver Britannia ensures liquidity and these well-known coins are more likely to fetch you the best prices and sell quickly. If you do invest in rare and collectable coins, research them thoroughly before you purchase. If the coin commands a rarity premium, then you are likely to attract interest from collectors. In such cases, the value of the coin will be much more than its weight in silver and depending on the demand of the coin, you should receive a good price.
Before selling silver coins, speak to our experts
Physical Gold is one of the country’s best-known precious metal dealers. Our coin experts can advise you on the best way to sell your silver coins and the prices you could receive. Please call us on (020) 7060 9992 or get in touch with us online before you make a sale.
The American Silver Eagle is one of the most prestigious coins to be minted in the US. The coin is a relatively new one, having been released in 1986. This makes the first edition of the coin only a year older than the gold Britannia. The US Mint released the silver Eagle with one Troy ounce of silver that has a purity of 999.9. The coin was released with a face value of one dollar.
Interestingly, ever since the American silver Eagle has been released, the designs have never changed. Unlike the silver Britannia, the coin is presented in the same style, look and feel and the only difference from one coin to the other is the respective mint mark, which is found on the reverse of the proof coins. Well, the coin enjoys healthy interest from investors, and we want to find out whether the silver Eagle is worth its salt as an investable coin.
Divisibility and liquidity
In terms of divisibility, the silver Eagle does not offer much choice. As discussed above, the coin has always been available in the same size, shape, and design. However, there are some variations in its design that can add to the variety of an investor’s silver portfolio. The obverse of the coin features an image of Lady Liberty, created by the designer Adolph A. Weinman. Apart from the famous image of Lady Liberty, the obverse of the coin also features the American national motto – “In God we trust”.
The reverse of the coin carries the image of the Heraldic Eagle. Right above the head of the bald eagle, there is a cluster of 13 stars, each of which represents one of the original colonies of America, at the time of its founding. The only design change for the American Silver Eagle was in 2021. In the new 2021 design, the bald eagle on the reverse of the coin is featured flying back with its wings spread out. So, this is perhaps the only element of variety that an investor can hope for when investing in the American Eagle. The 2021 design commemorates the 35th anniversary of the coin, and the US Mint has taken this opportunity to refurbish the design of the coin.
The American Silver Eagle is a famous and well-known coin across the world. This ensures the liquidity of the coin and the coin can be easily cashed in at any point in time, bringing in cash as you need it. Previous editions may command a premium due to increased numismatic interest. American Eagle coins are available in uncirculated, proof, and burnished versions, giving a certain amount of choice to investors. Being a well-known coin, the coin has a good chance of being sold for its value in a short period.
Silver Eagles can provide a good medium to long term investment and balance to other assets. The 1oz coins afford high flexibility to sell small parts of the silver holding compared to owning huge silver bars. The mass-produced coins are relatively cheap compared to collectors’ coins and their value can rise along with the underlying silver price and age of the coin. Many analysts feel the silver price is very undervalued, suggesting holding silver Eagles will benefit the investor in the long run.
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One of the country’s most reputed and well-known precious metal dealers is Physical Gold. Our advisors are always happy to discuss your silver coin purchases with you and can offer valuable advice. Get in touch with us on (020) 7060 9992 or simply drop us an email by visiting our website.
As the demand for silver has risen over the years, primarily due to industrial requirements, the price of silver has seen some volatility. Investors want to get into the silver market because of two reasons – they believe that the price of silver will rise significantly in the future and offer them the opportunity to book lucrative profits. Silver also allows investors access to the precious metals market at a fraction of the price of gold.
The popularity of silver coins
Many investors prefer silver coins since the coins allow them to add divisibility and liquidity to their portfolios. Investing in different sizes and denominations of silver coins has its advantages. One can use a variety of coins to sell the silver at various price points in the market and book profits.
Collectable silver coins
Silver coins are also attractive to investors for their collectable value. Silver has been in circulation as a precious metal for minting coins over several centuries. As a result, there are plenty of historical silver coins that command hefty premiums based on their rarity value. These premiums are payable due to the historical value of the coin and its demand. Therefore, such coins are worth a lot more than their silver content or their face value.
They are worth significantly more than their face value. A £2 silver Britannia has a melt value more than 5 times its face value. Also, they can possess a degree of numismatic value, which reflects their rarity, age and desirability. Limited issue coins may be worth more again. The face value benefits the buyer by qualifying the coin as capital gains tax-free
Limited edition silver coins and proof coins
For example, in 2013, the Royal Mint released a £20 coin minted with silver that carries a fineness of 999.9. Despite the coin having a face value of £20, it is worth much more and is viewed as a collector’s item, by numismatists. The coin is considered to be legal tender, with a face value of £20. Similarly, the 2018 five-ounce silver Britannia proof coin has a face value of £10 but is listed on the Royal Mint site for £455. The coin is minted with 99.9% pure silver and enjoys great demand as a proof coin, leading to the high value of the coin.
Silver Britannia coins and their face values
The current year silver Britannia (2021) carries a face value of £2. This is a 1-ounce coin, manufactured with fine silver (999.9). Although it is a bullion coin, its face value has nothing to do with the market price. The 2021 silver Britannia 1 ounce coin is priced at approximately £31.
Some coins achieve their rarity status by default. A good example of this would be a batch of silver Britannias struck by the Royal Mint in 2014. 17,000 of these coins were erroneously struck with the obverse used in the lunar series. So, you had a silver Britannia with the “year of the horse” image on the obverse. These coins were later called the Mule Britannia and attracted large premiums due to their rarity. These are often sold at prices close to $700, as collectors are willing to pay lucrative amounts to secure a coin for their collection.
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Physical Gold is one of the U.K.’s most reputed precious metals dealers and coin specialists. Get in touch with our team by dialling (020) 7060 9992 or send us an email via our website. We are always happy to speak to customers like you and offer advice on buying the right silver coins.
Silver is gaining in popularity due to its investment potential that has grown over the years. Due to the rising industrial demand for silver, many investors envision making windfall gains in the future, on the rising price of silver. However, silver has a long history of usage in British coinage and coinage across the world.
Most precious metal investors will insist on finding out the purity of the coin before investing. This may not be entirely true for collectors, who wish to acquire a coin, based on its rarity and numismatic value. However, many collectors have also moved to become investors and want to build a strong portfolio of coins that are both collectable and deliver good value for money. Therefore, in this article, we will explore the purity of silver coins across continents.
The purity of investment-grade coins
Investment coins are as near to pure as possible. Popular bullion coins such as the Britannia are struck to 99.99% purity. None are 100% pure silver. Silver currency coins such as the 50 pence piece are not made from silver at all despite their colour. Their alloy is 75% copper and 25% nickel, a mix known as cupronickel.
Similarly, in the United States, most silver coins in circulation contained 90% silver. It was only in 1986, when the American Eagle bullion silver coin was introduced, that the purity of silver was raised to 99.9%, to qualify the coin for investors.
Purity of silver coins across the world
The silver used for coinage in Britain has a minimum purity of 95.8%. Typically, this implies that the silver used for coinage will be an alloy of pure silver, copper and other base metals. The percentage of pure silver in this alloy is 95.84%. Likewise, the alloy would contain 4.16% of copper and other base metals, if any. This standard was developed in Britain as early as 1697. However, we have seen that in recent years, most silver bullion coins minted by the Royal Mint have a purity of 99.9%.
Similarly, France also follows a standard known as the ‘French first standard’. According to this, the alloy contains 95% pure silver and 5% of other base metals, including copper. Russians, on the other hand, use their own standard, known as “91 Zolotnik Russian Silver”. In this, the proportion of pure silver is 94.79%, while 5.21% represents copper and other base metals.
Britain also used “Sterling Silver”, as early as the 12th century. Sterling silver was used for coinage across the British Empire, and many commonwealth countries continued this tradition after the end of colonial rule. Sterling Silver uses 92.5% of pure silver and 7.5% of copper and other non-precious metals.
Other nations may use different standards. For example, Scandinavian silver uses the number 830 to denote its fineness. This simply means that the silver alloy contains 83% pure silver and 17% base metals. In the same way, German silver is denoted with the number 800/835. German silver typically uses 80% to 83.5% of pure silver. However, the term “German silver”, also popularly called nickel silver or alpaca, may contain no silver at all. It is an alloy constructed out of different metals. So, it’s helpful to know and understand these details as an investor, which may help us to ascertain the value of the silver products we are buying.
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Investors often buy silver coins expecting the prices of silver to rise in the future. The other reason that investors are often interested in buying the white metal, is that it provides them with an easy route to enter the precious metals market. This is because silver is a lot cheaper than purchasing gold and large quantities of silver can be bought at the same price that one would pay when buying a small amount of gold. However, the silver market is not limited to only those coins whose value is decided by the spot price of silver. There are plenty of rare and old silver coins that command large premiums based on their scarcity and history. Today, we will explore some of the best and rarest silver coins in the market
Rare coins with history are always worth more than coins based on weight alone. Collectors are willing to pay huge premiums for scarcity. Some Morgan Silver Dollar coins worth 1$ Face value and £8 melt value, are actually worth over £300k due to their scarcity. Based on weight alone, the popular 1kilo coins such as the Perth Mint Koalas and Kookaburra coins are worth around £500 each.
The American Flowing Hair Dollar 1794
The coin was the first dollar coin to be minted by the US Mint. In the US, the coinage act of 1792, paved the way for the establishment of a new Mint. At the time, the Spanish silver dollars were already being used in the US. The Flowing Hair Dollar contained 0.773 ounces of 90% silver. The coin is valuable due to its rarity and one of these coins fetched $10 million at an auction in 2013.
The American Half Dollar (1797)
Popularly known as the Draped Bust Half Dollar, the coin was minted by the US Mint as a replacement for the flowing hair dollar, due to its unpopularity. The Draped Bust Half Dollars were minted in 1796 and 1797. These coins featured a new design, called the ‘Small Eagle’. Since the coins were minted in two subsequent years, most collectors prefer to complete their set by acquiring the half dollars, with the Small Eagle from both years. It must be noted that the scarcity of this coin is because very limited numbers were ever minted. 1796 witnessed only 934 of these coins being made, while a further 3,000 were minted in the next year. A 1797 Draped Bust Half Dollar fetched US$1,527,500 in an auction in 2015.
The 1870 Seated Liberty Dollar
This historic coin became a part of US coinage for a little more than 30 years from 1840 to 1873. It is considered historic since it was the last silver dollar minted by the US Mint prior to the coinage act of 1873. The coinage act was an important milestone for the United States, as it would put the country on the gold standard. Well, by 1870, the production of these coins had been moved to other cities like San Francisco. These are very rare and an 1870 Seated Liberty Dollar produced in San Francisco was priced at US$1,092,500 in 2003.
1889 Morgan Silver Dollar
Despite the nation being on a gold standard, a financial crisis prompted the US Mint to produce the Morgan silver dollars. These were minted from 1878 to 1904. It was named after the design of the coin, George T Morgan. Due to the limited numbers of production, the coin is considered to be very rare and one of these was sold for $ 881,250 in 2013.
Talk to our silver experts to buy the best silver coins
Physical Gold is a highly reputed precious metals dealer in the country. Our advisors are best placed to discuss your silver investments and identify the best silver coins for you to buy. Please call us today on (020) 7060 9992 or get in touch with us online, via our website.
Over the years, investor interest in silver has increased manifold, with the expectation of rich dividends when silver prices skyrocket in the years to come. While gold has been consistent in delivering steady returns to investors, silver has had a more volatile ride. Although silver prices fluctuated in the short term, the high industrial demand for the white metal has ensured healthy interest from investors.
The industrial use of silver
Silver is used in industry, across many applications. As the electronics industry has grown, so has the demand for silver. Silver has certain unique properties like conductivity and ductility that makes it perfect for use in electric cars, computers, mobile phones and solar panels. Most of the components under the hood of these devices use silver extensively.
Due to the advancement of technology in the world, these industries have flourished and are likely to continue growing at an unprecedented pace. Therefore, large volumes of silver will be required to fuel the growth of these industries. However, the production of silver has also dropped over the years. Silver is mined in a select few countries across the world and its production has been continuously falling. The easy inference that one can draw from this situation is that the prices of silver will eventually go up. Silver has also been attractive for precious metal investors since it offers an easy entry into the precious metals market. It is much cheaper than gold and many investors prefer to buy the white metal.
Why buy silver coins?
The two obvious routes for silver investors to take is to buy coins and bars. UK silver coins are preferred by many investors, since they qualify for Capital Gains Tax benefits, as they are considered to be legal tender in the UK. All investment-grade gold is VAT free in the UK, however, in most cases, silver purchases would be subject to VAT. Silver coins are also available in various denominations. Investors who are building a precious metals portfolio will follow their investment objectives, and decide to maximise the liquidity and divisibility of their portfolios. Investing in prestigious silver coins like the silver Britannia, or the silver Maple leaf can increase the value of the portfolio.
Where can you buy silver coins?
The best place to buy all precious metals is from a reputable dealer. They will likely have a wide choice and stock which can be delivered to you with insured delivery, saving you the time and security of having to pick them up in person. A good dealer will be able to offer guidance and a buyback guarantee. Some silver brokers can sell coins without charging VAT.
Reputed silver dealers can be identified by visiting the website of the British Numismatic Trade Association (BNTA). Most reputed dealers are listed on this website, and once you have identified the right ones for you, it’s down to shortlisting them by making contact. If you prefer to invest in silver coins, it is best to identify a good dealer who specialises in this area. Discussing your investment objectives with the dealer may be an excellent idea, as the dealer then becomes aware of what you want from the market and will give you a heads up when the right products become available. When identifying a reputed dealer, always ensure that they provide the certificates of purchase, and have a buyback scheme. Most reputed dealers will also have storage options for you and will deliver your silver purchases through a secure, insured parcel service.
Speak to the silver experts at Physical Gold
At Physical Gold, we pride ourselves on being one of the country’s most reputed silver dealers. We are fully registered with the BNTA and offer free advice to investors on their silver purchases. Please call us today on (020) 7060 9992, or get in touch with us online and a member of our team will contact you very shortly.