How to Buy Silver

Posted - June 14, 2023
How to buy silver

Making your first silver purchase as a new investor can be tricky. The bullion industry is filled with confusing lingo and complicated phrases. We’re here to help. Buying silver products shouldn’t require a Ph.D, and an informed investor can make confident, intelligent decisions about how to plan for their financial future using gold and silver products.

Today, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to buy silver – from selecting your first product to cashing out when the time is right. 

Understanding Silver

You likely already know what silver is, but how much do you know about one of the world’s most commonly traded assets? For example, did you know that there have been times throughout history where silver was worth more than gold? Or have you learned about the time three brothers tried to buy up all the silver in the United States? Before you’re ready to research how to buy silver, you should know a little bit about one of the world’s most famous precious metals. 

In this section, we’ll explain some of the basic elements of silver that every would-be investor should understand before making their first purchase. 

Precious Metal Properties of Silver

Silver is traded frequently between investors in the same way gold is. In fact, people have been using gold as a store of wealth for over three-thousand years, according to some archeological evidence! But silver is also a unique substance. 

First, silver is more malleable than gold. This is great for first-time collectors who are afraid of damaging their new silver coin. After you know how to buy silver, you should also have an understanding of how to take care of your coins or bars. While silver bullion products – especially those with exceptionally high purity – should always be stored securely in transport, it’s a bit harder to accidentally chip a silver coin than a gold one. Like gold, silver is known as a ‘noble’ metal.

Silver is also one of the most reflective metals on planet Earth. This is one reason why some investors prefer the aesthetic appearance of silver over gold coins or bars. The highly reflective surface of silver bullion makes the artistic obverse and reverse depictions ‘pop’ in a way that some other bullion types just can’t achieve. 

Forms of Silver Available

You can invest in silver through several different product types. If you’re wondering how to buy silver, we recommend looking into several different types of silver. Generally, investors either opt to purchase silver bars, rounds, or coins. Silver bars are most often sold as thick, rectangular chunks of the metal and usually don’t come with fancy markings or artwork. Coins are circular and backed by government entities, such as the U.S. Mint or the British Royal Mint. Rounds look similar to coins, but they aren’t backed by a government and are instead created by private mints. Both coins and rounds typically include artwork on both the obverse, the front of the silver piece, and the reverse, or the back. 

What is the best form of silver to buy? This depends almost exclusively on your own preferences, research, and investment goals. People who enjoy the beautiful artwork of silver products should consider coins or rounds, while others who want to minimize premium costs might be better suited with a vault full of bars. 

Factors Influencing Silver Prices

Unlike the steady price trends of gold, silver spot prices tend to be a bit more volatile. This can be great for investors with a high risk tolerance, but more difficult for people who can’t afford to lose some money on their way to investment profitability. 

How to Buy Silver
Varying Silver Bar Sizes

How is the price of silver determined? Supply and demand is the main factor in the spot price, or current sale value, of silver bullion. During certain time periods, many people want to buy silver, which causes the price per ounce to increase. Occasionally, new caches of silver are found, which increases the overall supply of silver and leads to a decline in value. Wondering how to buy silver at the best price? Closely follow market movements to buy low and sell high. 

Market speculation also plays a role in determining the value of silver, and it’s a little harder to predict. Market analysts may have reason to believe that silver might increase in price, so they’d buy more. This lowers available supply and might drive others to do the same, increasing demand and thus price. 

Setting Investment Goals

Your first move when investing should be to set goals for yourself. This can help you decide where, and how, to invest in precious metals. 

Identifying Investment Objectives

Is it a good investment to buy silver? Some pushy bullion salesmen will give you an automatic ‘yes.’ We don’t believe that silver is right for everyone, and informed consumers should understand how silver fits into their own investment plans. If you have a financial advisor, speak with them about how to buy silver for your portfolio. 

Silver is usually considered a long-term investment. If you plan to stack silver for the purposes of making a profit, it’s wise to view it as an investment that will pay off years down the road – not days. Investors with a moderate risk investment and a long-term plan are a class who benefit most from owning and trading silver. When investors ask us how to buy silver, they sometimes don’t have a plan for long-term investment. This can hurt your chances of generating profit from your portfolio, so make sure to have clear investment objectives before buying your first silver products. 

Investors might also want to invest in silver to provide a ‘safe-haven’ against the effects of both inflation and economic insecurity. In other words, you might choose to invest in silver to provide some relative security compared to your riskier speculative paper investments. 

Role of Silver in a Portfolio

Like we mentioned above, silver often plays the role of an anchor in modern investment portfolios. Even the best investors want to figure out how to buy silver to boost the diversity of their portfolios. Because silver, and other precious metals, hold intrinsic value, they aren’t quite as affected by the rise and fall of the value of the United States Dollar – or even the state of the economy at-large. In fact, evidence suggests that the value of silver frequently rises in times of economic insecurity or political unrest. 

Assessing Risk Tolerance and Time Horizon

Your risk tolerance and time horizon are both important parts of your overall investment objectives. Risk tolerance refers to the amount of risk you’re willing to take in pursuit of financial profit, and time horizon is the amount of time you’re willing to wait before cashing out on your investment. We recommend that investors consider silver when they have a low-moderate risk tolerance and a long-term time horizon. If your investment strategy is adverse to risks, you’ll need to figure out how to buy silver while balancing your investment with other assets.


Research and Education 

Before you pull the trigger on your first silver purchase, be sure to research and educate yourself on the tools of the trade. After all, no investor who’s spent the time to learn how to buy silver wants to be burned when they finally decide to buy a new silver product.

Understanding the Silver Market

The silver market can be confusing. At times, silver’s spot price can be volatile, and during some decades it remains remarkably consistent. To properly understand the silver market and how to buy silver cheap, you’ll want to develop a good understanding of supply and demand, as well as the role of speculation by large investment firms in the overall value of silver as an asset. 

Staying Informed About Market Trends

Always stay on top of market trends. This is important for prospective silver investors, but it’s even more essential once you have silver as a part of your investment portfolio. Subscribing to Hero Bullion’s newsletter is one way to improve your connection to the world of silver bullion trading; we frequently send out market trend alerts to let our subscribers know when the spot price of silver is making a major move. 

Reading popular investors magazines is also a good strategy to stay informed. Even non-bullion analysts may provide valuable information and news about your investment.

Learning About Silver Products

The best way to learn about different silver products is to read. Some products are recurring and come out each year, such as the American Eagle and the Silver Britannia. There are thousands of hidden gems (pun intended) in the bullion market, though. Hundreds of large private mints all over the world are coming out with new bars and rounds. Fail to do your research, and you might end up missing out on your favorite new coin! 

Choosing the Right Type of Silver

It can be extremely difficult for new investors to figure out which type of silver they’d like to buy. Once you’re sure that silver fits nicely into your investment goals and long-term plans, it’s time to decide what products you should look out for. 

Bullion Vs. Numismatic Silver

Although there’s often overlap, it’s important to know the basic differences between bullion and numismatic silver. Bullion silver coins, bars, and rounds are typically valued primarily for their silver content. These highly-pure pieces are bought and sold by both investors and collectors, and their value relies heavily on the spot price of the silver they’re made out of. 

Asahi 100 oz Silver Bars
100 oz Silver Bars

Numismatic silver, by contrast, is also valuable for its collectability. These products might come with additional premiums or might not include the purest silver available. This doesn’t mean numismatic silver is a bad investment, though. Some people exclusively buy numismatic silver because of the added collectible value. 

Pros and Cons of Bars, Coins, and Rounds

Coins, bars, and rounds all have one thing in common: they contain a beautiful, intrinsically valuable chunk of silver bullion. But investors eventually need to choose which of these three main types of bullion products deserve the most space in their personal vaults. 

Silver bars offer the lowest premium over spot, but they also come with little collectible value, and their designs are frequently minimalist and unattractive. These products are best if you just want to invest in the silver itself – not the product or its art. 

Silver coins are backed by government entities and often feature beautiful, high-value art on the obverse and reverse. These coins often come with the highest premium over spot, however, meaning less silver for your money. If you want to know more about how to buy silver coins, check out some of the other blog posts on the Bullion Academy page. 

Silver rounds often fall between coins and bars when it comes to premiums, but they do feature beautiful artwork. The downside is that rounds are not backed by the support (or resources) of a federal government, which might make it harder to guarantee legitimacy or retain recognizability over time. 

Factors to Consider when Choosing Silver Products

Savvy investors should choose their form of silver carefully. To choose which type of silver is important to you, consider your intention when investing. Do you want to invest in silver directly, or are you interested in beautiful artwork and collectability? If it’s the latter, then coins or rounds might be for you. The former? Consider some classic silver bars. 

Finding Reputable Dealers

While there are thousands of reputable and honest silver dealers out there, you’ll unfortunately come across some shady silver salesmen while journeying to your first investment. 

How to Buy Silver from an Honest Dealer

Customers often want to know how to buy silver from fair, honest distributors. Always read as many verifiable reviews about silver dealers as you can. The larger the company, the larger the body of former customers who can help you make an informed decision about whether or not you want to do business with them. Reading reviews from trusted third-party websites can cut the guesswork out of the silver dealer vetting process.

How to Buy Silver
Cull Silver Coins

Evaluating Reputation and Credentials

While new bullion companies can be fantastic, you want to find a history of excellence when you do business with a company. Newer companies should be able to provide a clean history of quickly and effectively resolving disputes for their customers. Older companies should be able to do the same, but consumers often cut very old institutions (such as the U.S. Mint) a bit of slack because of the longevity. 

Ensuring Secure Transactions

When you’re finally ready to buy your first silver product, the last thing you want is to lose money from a stolen credit card or have your bank information sold to someone else. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to tell whether or not an online silver dealer is using secure transaction technology to collect money from you. Hero Bullion uses a secure system to keep your financial information out of the wrong hands. 

When you do business with smaller businesses, such as someone you don’t know online or a pawn shop, be careful about giving credit card information without details about how and when the information will be used. 

Assessing Authenticity and Quality 

Not all silver is created equal. Every year, thousands of people lose money by accidentally buying counterfeit silver coins, bars, or rounds. Doing your research can help you to avoid costly mistakes. 

Identifying Genuine Silver

On coins, search for mint marks and anti-counterfeit marks to ensure that you’re not getting a fake. Silver bars often come with an assay certificate or some other assurance of authenticity. Be sure to store this with your silver products so that you have proof of legitimacy when it’s time to sell. 

Understanding Purity and Markings

Many silver products are marked with a decimal point figure to denote their purity. .999, for example, means that the coin or round is made from 99.9% pure silver, while .9999, the highest possible purity for a silver product, means the silver is 99.99% pure. 

Examining Certifications 

Not all mints provide certificates of authenticity, but you should carefully examine the ones that you’re provided with. Cross-reference any assay or certification against online examples to double-check that you haven’t been scammed with fake products and forged certificates. 

Determining Fair Pricing 

The ‘fair price’ for a silver product depends on many factors, but the biggest is silver’s spot price. 

Understanding Spot Price

The term “spot price” refers to the current value of silver bullion. It’s usually quoted in troy ounces. If the spot price for silver is $30 USD, that means that one troy ounce of silver is worth 30 United States Dollars. 

Evaluating Premiums and Market Factors

Premiums are typically charged on all physical precious metal assets. Although premiums vary from institution to institution, most companies use premiums to offset the current risk of selling the metal. To put things simply, the more volatile the spot price, the higher the premium. During stable times, silver products might be sold at lower premiums. 

High demand for silver also creates a ‘seller’s market,’ which motivates dealers to increase the premiums they charge in order to maximize profits. 

Comparing Prices from Dealers

When you compare prices for a product between dealers, your priority should be to evaluate the total price of the silver item. Ask any seasoned investor how to buy silver for the fairest price – they’ll tell you to carefully research the companies you do business with. Avoid doing business with companies that try to slap mysterious hidden fees on you at the end of the checkout process. A transparent pricing model is a much fairer way to sell bullion products, and it can make it easier for consumers to compare different prices across dealers. 

If you have questions about how silver products are priced on our site, we’d be happy to speak with you. Contact our customer service team anytime. 

Storage and Security 

Storing your silver safely helps to avoid expensive mistakes, not to mention ballooning security premiums. The investment process doesn’t end with how to buy silver; you should have a plan for safely storing and protecting your investment. 

Options for Safe Storage

You have several options for the safe storage of your silver bars, rounds, or coins. Some people use a basic home safe for low amounts of silver. As your collection grows, you’ll want to invest in a larger and more secure option. 

Investors who plan to go ‘all in’ on bullion should also look into the bullion storage services offered by many popular bullion dealers. For a nominal fee, you can store your silver products inside of a real bank vault used by the bullion distributor of your choice. Talk about ultimate security!

Insurance and Security Measures

Bullion investors who plan to spend thousands of dollars on their collections should consider asking their insurance company about increased coverage for their investments. Most companies offer only a basic level of protection, and just a couple of gold or silver bars might exceed your coverage. Since the last thing you’d want is to get your gold stolen and find out your coverage isn’t sufficient for reimbursement, an insurance upgrade might be necessary. 

Long-Term Storage Considerations

Paying for private storage can be expensive, but might be worth it if you plan on pouring quite a bit of money into silver products. Keeping tens of thousands of dollars in a safe in your home might put your home at risk in the case of a robbery. We recommend that large-scale investors play it safe with professional storage and security. If you still have questions about how to buy silver storage in a bank vault, consider researching options from a few different mints and banks before making your decision. 

Final Thoughts: Investing in Silver

Investing in silver for the first time can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. If you do the right research, determine your investment goals, and work with only reputable and trusted companies, your first purchase should be only the first of many! 

Please never hesitate to contact Hero Bullion with any questions, concerns, or comments you might have about buying silver. 

About The Author

Michael Roets is a writer and journalist for Hero Bullion. His work explores precious metals news, guides, and commentary.