Silver rounds are commonly mistaken as coins, but they are actually quite different. A round is nothing more than pure silver that is formed into the shape of a coin. The difference between a round and a coin is that a round is not produced by a national government. For example, a Silver Canadian Maple Leaf is a coin that is minted, produced, and released by Canada.
A silver round, however, could be produced by any mint. Rounds are most often produced to replicate popular coins, to commemorate special events, and to serve as investment pieces of bullion. For the most part, these are the three different types of silver rounds that you will find available for sale on the secondary market.
Replicas and copies of actual silver coins are very widespread, among both collectors and investors. If you have ever watched TV late at night, the odds are that you have seen a commercial for some sort of "American Buffalo" or other similar piece of gold or silver. Though the advertisement will make it seem as though it is actually minted by the US Government, the reality is that it is nothing more than a rip off of the actual coin.
The way that these companies make money is by convincing buyers that their rounds are extremely valuable, when the reality is that they are not. If you go into your local coin shop or browse through catalogs online, you will find that there are plenty of these rounds available, and most of the time they can be purchased for just a couple dollars over spot. Other than their initial sale from distributor to buyer, these rounds have little additional value.
Commemorative coins are similar to replicas in that they are simply unique rounds produced by private mints. These types of rounds are most often found in sporting events, political figures, and other figures in culture. For example, when a team wins a championship, there will frequently be commemorative rounds made to recognize the accomplishment.
As was the case with replica coins, these rounds are only as valuable as the sale price indicated. Unless there is collector or buyer demand, a round of this nature is only worth its weight in silver. Buying these rounds is fine, but make sure that you do it on the secondary market, as overpaying for a commemorative round is generally nothing more than a waste of money.
In addition to replica and commemorative silver rounds, bullion and investment grade pieces are also very popular among silver buyers. These rounds are produced by mints and feature nothing more than the mint's name or logo, the weight of the coin, and the amount of silver content. Bullion rounds are the same thing as bars, with the only difference being the shape in which the metal is formed. Investors who buy rounds tend to store their silver in tubes as coins are not quite as convenient as bars when it comes to storage.
Investing in Silver Rounds
Silver rounds are unique in that they are appealing to not only investors, but also the occasional collector as well. For the most part, collectors stay away from generic bullion, which usually means bars and rounds. The rare and special rounds that are produced, however, serve as a collectible and are often times found in many coin collections. Needless to say, however, rounds are most ideal for investors due to their pure silver content and low cost.
Rounds are abundant both online and offline. Since they are not especially rare and are mass produced, they will always be available in mass quantities. If you are buying coins in a local store, simply make sure that the weight of the coin is verified by a scale and that it is marked as .999 or .9999 pure silver. Online, you will simply have to buy from a reputable dealer and trust that you are receiving what you paid for. If you shop with legitimate websites, though, this shouldn't be a worry.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when buying silver rounds is that you should not be overpaying. If a website is trying to sell a round for over spot, you should run as far away as possible. Much like companies do on TV commercials, some sites on the internet will promote a round and build it up to be more than it really is. Unless you are willing to pay extra because you want a particular round for your collection, there is no reason to pay more than a few dollars over spot per ounce for a regular silver round.