When a precious metals investor decides to “get physical”, he or she often begins with a silver purchase before getting to gold. The low price of entry (relative to other precious metals) makes a physical investment in silver possible with a small amount of capital. And with a first investment in physical silver, a popular choice is, of course, the silver bullion coin. But which silver coin is the most popular?
If you answered “the American Silver Eagle”, we won’t argue with you. The ASE enjoys wide popularity, accessibility and market liquidity. But there are other options, too–a plethora of them, in fact [See: 25 Ways to Invest in Silver]. However, we’ll consider just the silver bullion coin market for now.
While the physical silver market goes far beyond APMEX, both domestically and especially internationally, the buying habits of the (large) APMEX client base can be considered a decent proxy for the overall retail market. The APMEX Top 40 Best Sellers page lists several silver coins and rounds, along with gold, palladium, and platinum products. Disregarding fractionals, the silver coins and rounds were listed in the following order, as of May 19, 2015:
- 2015 Silver American Eagle
- Random Year Silver American Eagle
- Silver Canadian Maple Leaf
- Buffalo Nickel Silver Round
- Sunshine Mint Silver Round
The first coin on the list should be no surprise to coin collectors and silver investors alike. The most recent installment of the American Silver Dollar is also the most popular coin on APMEX’s list of silver bullion coins. The Silver Eagle is the only 1 ounce silver bullion coin made in the United States and is produced by the United States Mint. As legal tender, the American Silver Dollars enjoys high liquidity as well as the security of being a sovereign coin backed by the U.S. government. This iconic coin can be purchased in multiples of 20 or multiples of 500 packaged as “Monster Boxes”.
Conservative investors may prefer to stick mainly to the legal tender silver bullion coins, due to the stable premium and deep liquidity they enjoy. As the phrase goes, “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM,” and in the physical silver market, the same could be said about the Silver American Eagle and the Silver Canadian Maple Leaf.
The low price per ounce for silver, relative to gold, does however allow it to be more easily “collected” in a multiple of issues in coin form. The pricing also makes diversification among bullion issues possible even with a small amount of capital. So if you’d like to diversify beyond the American Silver Dollar, no one will blame you.
Disclosure: The author is long silver.