Silver bars are the staple of silver bullion. They are both easily accessible and very affordable, making them appealing to people from all walks of life. If you are new to investing in silver, the chances are that silver bars are the first thing that popped into your mind. If you watch TV or even browse the internet, bars are the most sensationalized and popular form of silver on the market, and with good reason too.
A silver bar is just as straightforward as it seems. Unlike coins and even rounds, a bar of silver will most often be very generic. Because of this, the value of a bar is nothing more than its weight in actual silver content. With coins, and even some rounds, there are premiums affixed to the prices of the items to compensate for secondary market demand.
When it comes to bars, however, you will end up paying very close to actual spot price. Bars are most ideal for investors, though it is not all that uncommon for a collector to have a few bars stashed away as well. The reason that silver bars make the most sense for investment purposes is actually quite simple.
As mentioned earlier, the price of a bar of silver is directly reflective of the current spot price. Because of this, any investment you make in terms of paper money will earn you the most bang for you buck. Instead of paying an extra $10 for a Silver Eagle coin that weighs one ounce, you can pay just a dollar or two over spot for a bar of the same weight. With coins you are going to pay extra for the collectible element, but with bars your cash is going directly into pure silver and nothing else.
While silver bars do cost the closest to spot price and will not set you back very much in terms of added costs, they are unlikely to be found at exactly spot price. Since any silver dealer or website still needs to turn a profit, the bars will be sold for a few dollars over spot per ounce. On average, you should expect to pay $1-$5 over spot for a one ounce bar.
If you are buying in larger volumes, ordering 10 oz. or even larger bars will allow you to save a significant amount of money in the long run. If you are being asked to pay anything more than a few dollars over spot for a silver bar, try shopping at another dealer. There is little to no reason to pay anything over this price point for any standard silver bar.
Sizes and Weights of Silver Bars
Silver bars come in many different shapes, weights, and sizes, but some are more common than others. The most popular and widespread size of silver bars is, without a doubt, 1 oz. and 10 oz. There are also bars that come in 2 oz. and 5 oz., but they are not quite as easy to find. Beyond these weights, kilo and 100 oz. bars are the next step up. There will always be the odd weight from dealer to dealer, but these are the standard sizes that the majority of silver websites and stores will have available.
If you are brand new to investing in and buying silver, 1 oz. bars make the most economical sense. If you want to save some money on your purchase, stepping up to a 10 oz. bar will keep a few extra dollars in your pocket. The purity and weight of any reputable silver bar will be engraved/stamped in the bar itself. Some of the most popular silver bar companies include Engelhard, Silvertowne, Sunshine Minting, and APMEX.
These name brand bars will sometimes have slightly higher prices affixed to them due to their recognizability. Rest assured, however, that these bars are no more valuable than those produced by any other mint. Though bars will almost always have their weight labeled on the side, always have a bar weighed in person to ensure that you are getting everything that you are paying for. Since this step can't be taken online, simply make sure that you are buying from a trustworthy dealer and you should have nothing to worry about.
Buying Silver Bars
Silver bars are perhaps the easiest type of silver to buy. Since they have relatively fixed prices across all venues, you will not need to shop around extensively or determine whether you are paying a fair price. Using the figures above, you should never expect to pay more than a few dollars over spot price for any bar of silver. Though it is always an added bonus to purchase a name brand bar, there is no reason to pay extra for it.
Another trap in silver bars is paying more money for a "brand new" bar vs. an older one. The only real appeal of these bars is that they are shiny. In the end, an old bar of silver is just as valuable as one that was minted recently. Unlike coins, bars can be found without much trouble both online and at almost any local coin and bullion dealer. The internet will offer much better prices for the most part though, so it is in your best financial interest to check around at credible online dealers before you make a purchase at any brick and mortar location.