Silver Rounds – What You Should Know

Silver Rounds are actually a type of silver bar. Instead of being rectangular in shape a silver round looks like a large coin.
Silver rounds are 99.9% pure silver, which is generally indicated on the piece as “999 Fine Silver”.
These round bars are most often available as one troy ounce although in recent years smaller units such as halves and quarters are becoming popular.
They have been minted by many different manufacturers. Most notable are Engelhard, APMEX, Disney, Silvertowne.
American Patriot Silver RoundBuying silver rounds is a great way to stock up on the metal at close to spot value. In fact you can buy them for less than a couple dollars or so above silver spot!
Because of the low premium (price paid above spot value) this form is silver is often chosen as an alternative to such as the American Silver Eagle and Canadian Silver Maple. However, there are preferences and personal reasons/motivations that will impact anyone’s decision about which form of silver to obtain. In the end the best choice may be some combination.

  • Are you looking for silver strictly for the metal?
  • Are you interested in the collectability/rarity of the pieces you buy?
  • Do you fall into both categories?

Silver Rounds Can Have Added Value As A Collectable

Some silver rounds, for example the silver Prospector by Engelhard, are minted with dates. Some dates are more uncommon than others so naturally these dates bring higher prices. Because they are issued with dates many collectors will want to build sets. This generally results in this type of round being worth significantly more than the actual metal content.

Silver  Prospector by Engelhard
Silver Prospector by Engelhard

Prospectors were minted from 1982 to 1988. Today it is difficult to find them very near spot but it’s not unheard of.

Watch Out For Fake Prospector Silver Rounds

It has been reported that the 1984 with the “E” on the reverse is the most common counterfeit.
Be careful with any proofs or proof like Prospectors.
Most, if not all, Chinese counterfeits were sold in hard plastic air-tite cases.
For those whose primary interest is in getting silver as close to spot as possible silver rounds are an excellent choice. I would also recommend circulated 90% silver US coins as those can often be found at near spot prices. Build a collection of both circulated US coins and silver rounds. When you can find the right deals add Silver Eagles or Silver Maples to your pile.
When you shop for silver rounds look for low premiums but also keep in mind the brand/mint. Two particular rounds may weigh the same and have identical purity but one may be easier to trade or sell because people trust familiar names. It is best to choose a trusted and well known mint.

Where To Get Silver Rounds

Look at pawn shops and jewelry stores in your area. These places often have “baskets” with mixed rounds or even shiny new ones in tubes. Expect to pay anywhere from $1.25 to $1.75 above spot for newer rounds. Many collectors find a nice place and stop by ever so often to pick a few more.
There are a lot of place online to but silver and you can really find some competitive pricing.

I highly recommend BGSAC. You can get silver rounds for less than a dollar above spot – check them out to see for yourself. Oh, and they do have a very wide selection of gold and silver coins and bullion.

Silver Rounds Are often Made To Look Like Classic Coins
Silver Rounds Are often Made To Look Like Classic Coins

There are a LOT of very cheaply made silver rounds out there. My own advice would be to avoid them unless you happen upon a really sweet deal (would have to be less than spot). You may see these “novelty” rounds with holiday themes, humor, religious and so on.
One ounce silver rounds are great for building a silver collection. First and foremost look for a trusted name but always look for a strong strike and quality.
Personally, I think the prices are much too high but you might also be interested in checking with the United States Mint.
Written by Beauregard J. Finnegan Esq. & Copyright 2014