Should I Buy Silver Rounds or Coins?

Posted - July 14, 2023
Should I Buy Silver Rounds or Coins

To the new investor, silver coins and rounds may appear almost identical. Both products are shaped like coins, and they typically both contain a high percentage of pure silver bullion. While both coins and rounds are considered excellent investments to add to your precious metals portfolio, there are several important differences that every collector should know. Regardless of whether this is your first or your fiftieth silver purchase, you should understand the distinction between a silver round and a silver coin. 

The simplest way to articulate the difference between these two silver products is that a coin can only be created by an official government mint. Rounds, on the other hand, can be minted privately. 

But you’re not here for the simple answer – you want all the facts before making your next major silver bullion purchase. The Bullion Academy has your back. Today, we’re answering the question: should I buy silver rounds or coins? 

Pros and Cons of Silver Rounds

We’ll start with silver rounds. Most novice bullion stackers might not even know the difference between rounds and coins. However, silver rounds are very common. It’s likely you’ve seen – or maybe even held – a round without knowing it! In this section, we’ll explain the pros and cons of buying silver rounds. Before you can answer the question, “should I buy silver rounds or coins,” you’ll need to understand what makes a round different from a coin

Pros of silver Rounds

Let’s start with the positives. Silver rounds are a favorite for many investors because of two main reasons: lower premiums and diversity of designs. 

Affordable Pricing and Lower Premiums 

Should I buy silver rounds or coins, and why are silver rounds so popular in the first place? 

First, silver rounds are often quite a bit more affordable than silver coins. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes, new mints may mark their ‘exclusive’ silver rounds up in price to make up for the heightened costs of running a small retail minting operation.

Skull Indian 2.5 oz Hand-Poured Silver Round
Skull Indian Hand-Poured Round

But for the most part, private mints can afford to charge a smaller premium on their rounds because they don’t have to offer the high production value collectors expect from major players like the U.S. Mint

Diverse Designs and Collectability 

It isn’t all about the money! Collectors tend to prefer certain rounds because of the diverse designs associated with silver round minting. While only a handful of government mints make famous coins, there are hundreds of private mints out there producing unique and extremely limited bullion round series. Should I buy silver rounds or coins for design diversity? Rounds are the most likely answer. 

The small stature of private mints actually benefits investors when it comes to collectability. Anyone can get their hands on an American Silver Eagle because there are millions minted each year. But a unique seasonal round from a small, relatively unknown private mint? That’s a bit harder to acquire, which certainly helps improve collectible status. When you consider, “should I buy silver rounds or coins,” the rarity associated with silver rounds is an important factor.

Cons of Silver Rounds

There’s a reason so many investors shy away from rare rounds and stick to the familiar beauty of the Silver Britannia or the Canadian Maple. Limited recognizability and a potential lack of numismatic value are two main factors that might make silver rounds a less valuable investment than silver coins. Should I buy silver rounds or coins? Think about the two downsides of rounds below before making your decision. 

Limited Recognizability and Trustworthiness

Everyone knows what a genuine Silver Britannia looks like. These bulwarks of the bullion sector are tough to challenge, especially when it comes to rounds from small, unknown mints. Compared to silver coins, rounds have a much lower level of recognizability and trustworthiness. When you evaluate which silver product is the best investment, this is an important downside to keep in mind. Should I buy silver rounds or coins for resale value? The limited recognizability of rounds may make coins the better call for some investors. 

Selling your silver collection down the line may be more difficult if it’s filled with unpopular and untrustworthy silver rounds. 

Potential Lack of Numismatic Value

Should I buy silver rounds or coins for their numismatic value? Some silver rounds become more valuable over time, especially if the mint that produced them stops making a particularly popular niche line. In addition, some round designs are extremely beautiful and feature rare, rustic finishes. This isn’t always the case. When you buy a silver round, you’re taking a gamble on whether or not the product will remain popular among investors in the future. 

Pros and Cons of Silver Coins

Silver coins are the more popular choice than silver rounds. But why is this the case? In this section, we’ll cover the good – and the bad – aspects of one of the world’s most popular ways to invest in silver. 

Pros of Silver Coins

Silver coins are both extremely recognizable and numismatically valuable. Because of this, most silver stackers feature quite a few silver coins in their diversified portfolios. 

Recognizability and Trustworthiness

Unlike rounds, silver coins are instantly recognizable. The limited number of government mints capable of making silver coins means that it’s easier for the average bullion buyer to clock the type and year of coin that they’re looking at. The backing of a major world government also helps improve the trustworthiness of coins.

Should I Buy Silver Rounds or Coins?
Patriotic Eagle 5 oz Hand-Poured Round

After all, it’s fair to have a bit more faith in the United States government than a random mint in Montana. Should I buy silver rounds or coins? Your first step in figuring out the answer to this question may involve surveying the recognizability of the silver piece you want to buy. 

Potential Numismatic Value

Investors tend to prefer the consistent collectible value appreciation of coins over the gamble of silver rounds. Over time, the Silver Britannia has demonstrated a steady increase in collector’s value. The same can’t be said for all silver rounds. Because of the track-record of excellence associated with government-minted silver coins, many investors consider them the more consistent numismatic silver investment. 

Because numismatic value is often so much higher on coins than rounds, some consumers want to know: should I buy silver rounds or coins? 

Cons of Silver Coins

Silver coins may be the favorite for many collectors, but this doesn’t make them infallible. High premiums over spot and a limited number of designs are major downsides to collecting coins over rounds. What are the downsides of silver coins, and how do they impact the answer to: should I buy silver rounds or coins? 

Higher Premiums and Pricing

We mentioned the high production cost associated with producing government-backed mints earlier. This comes into play when you choose to buy a coin instead of a round. Buying silver coins from major government mints can hurt your wallet. Premiums paid over the spot price of silver are often highest on coins, because of both the cost of minting them and the overall cost of running a major mint operation. 

Limited Designs and Collectability 

While mints like the U.S. Mint do a relatively good job of exciting the bullion world with exceptional new silver coin designs, there are far fewer options to choose from when you choose to buy a coin instead of a round. Should I buy silver rounds or coins because of limited collectability? 

It might also be harder for investors to establish an impressive collection of varying art styles when they exclusively invest in silver coins. After all, there’s only so many Britannia styles in the world! Rounds offer a much higher degree of design versatility and collectability. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Rounds and Coins 

You’ve heard about the main pros and cons of both silver rounds and silver coins. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the factors you should keep in mind when you decide between these two exceptional ways to invest in silver. 

Investment Goals and Interests

Before you buy either product, you need to have a good grasp on your own investment goals and interests. Investing without a plan is just gambling – you need to develop a clear understanding of why you want to invest in the first place. 

Long-Term Investment Vs. Collecting Hobby

This is an important distinction. Not all investors are interested in doing whatever they can to maximize long-term profits. If your goal is profit alone, consider the consistent collectible appreciation value of silver coins as your reason to choose this product over rounds. Should I buy silver rounds or coins for long-term investment?

Should I Buy Silver Rounds or Coins?
Viking Truquetra Hand-Poured Round

But for collectors who are mainly hobbyists and love intricate, beautiful, and unique designs, rounds are usually the better call. Like we explained in our section on the pros of investing in silver rounds, the wide variety of mints producing rounds means a higher uniqueness in many available designs. Should I buy silver rounds or coins as a hobby? We tend to consider rounds the better option for pure hobbyists. 

Potential for Capital Appreciation 

Even hobbyists might have a vested interest in the long-term value of their silver coins or rounds. Before you invest, do some research to figure out which coins and rounds have increased in value over time. To maximize appreciation potential, look for products that are either very unique and limited in availability or part of a larger, highly collectable series. 

Affordability and Budget

If you’re looking for silver products on a budget, the choice between rounds and coins becomes a bit more complicated. The ultimate budget option for silver stackers is a silver bar. But if you’re exclusively looking to expand your portfolio with a round or coin, consider affordability as one major factor in your decision. 

Premiums and Pricing Differences

Premiums are almost always going to be higher when you buy silver coins. There are exceptions to the rule, but coins from major government-supported mints cost more to make and consequently come packed with a higher premium over spot. This means fewer coins – and less silver – for your money. 

Accessibility to Different Price Points

If you’re looking for the cheapest option available, silver rounds are likely the better investment choice. Do silver rounds increase in value? Absolutely, but the cheaper, more available rounds on the market may have trouble securing the long-term numismatic appreciation associated with popular government coins like the Silver Canadian Maple

Recognizability and Resale Potential

While it might be a long way down the road, you’ll eventually want to sell your silver coins or rounds. When you decide between these different silver product types, keep recognizability and resale potential in mind. 

Market Demand and Liquidity

Market demand drives the price of silver, just like it motivates price trends in any financial sector. Public interest in silver, as well as the current availability of the precious metal (i.e. supply), are the main factors behind its price. But these same market forces also come into play within the smaller markets of specific coins. 

By taking a close look at how many of a given coin/round are in circulation – and how many people are advertising them for sale – you can approximate market demand over time. When there are more buyers than sellers for a coin or round, this piece of silver becomes highly liquid and can be sold quickly for a price close to or higher than spot. 

Secondary Market Performance 

How well does a coin sell on the open market after they’ve already been purchased from a mint? This is an important question that you should ask as you try to figure out: should I buy silver rounds or coins for investment? And it has a lot to do with a concept called secondary market performance. Research to find out how much coin/round owners are getting for their pieces. Factor in the spot price of the silver these pieces contain, and you should be able to approximate the secondary market numismatic value of a piece. 

Comparison of Silver Rounds and Coins

Are silver rounds the same as silver coins? Not quite. The main difference between rounds and coins is the mint type that produces them – coins can only be created by government mints. However, there are a few more important distinctions between rounds and coins that smart investors understand. 

Purity and Weight Standards

Most rounds feature a similar or identical amount of silver bullion to coins. However, the main difference is that the amount of silver in a coin is guaranteed by the government that issued it. With rounds, it can be hard to authenticate that the amount of silver contained within the piece is accurate and consistent throughout different editions. In other words, we can’t always guarantee that silver rounds have the same purity as coins. 

Design Options and Variety

Rounds have quite a few more design options. Variety is a big part of the game for silver rounds, and private mints all over the world compete to make sure they’re creating unique, beautiful rounds for their customers to enjoy. This is part of the reason why many bullion collectors prefer rounds – they’re more unique and interesting than coins!

Should I Buy Silver Rounds or Coins?
Valknut 5 oz Hand-Poured Round

Secondary Market and Resale Potential

Resale potential is an important consideration. Silver coins are consistent in their resale value appreciation – people will always be interested in buying a silver Britannia. Rounds can sometimes be extremely wise investments with massive resale potential, but this process can be a bit of a gamble. 

Premiums and Pricing Differences

Coins are the more expensive option and often come packed with some of the highest premiums over silver’s spot price in the industry. That being said, some rounds can be expensive as well, depending on the mint producing them and the volatility of the present silver market. 

Making an Informed Decision 

Your investment is your livelihood, and you want to think carefully about which silver product you choose to purchase. These are just a few considerations you should keep in mind before investing. If you want to know, “should I buy silver rounds or coins,” assessing your investment objectives is key. 

Assessing Your Investment Goals and Objectives

What are your investment objectives? Are you trying to make as much money as possible, or do you want to enjoy unique bullion pieces as you build your portfolio or collection? Rounds offer a greater variety, while coins are a stable, valuable option for investment. When you ask yourself, “should I buy silver rounds or coins,” your investment objectives should be priority number one. 

Evaluating the Potential for Capital Appreciation 

But should I buy silver rounds or coins for maximum appreciation potential? Investors who are primarily concerned with capital appreciation should be cautious about doing business with untrusted mints. In addition to concerns about verifying the amount of silver in your round, some mints may produce too much of the round, outpacing demand and causing resale value for the piece to crash. 

Considering the Level of Collectability Desired

Rounds are the more collectible option, at least where the average investor is concerned. Coins are highly collectable, but come with limited options and very little variety in design. Rounds, on the other hand, often come out sporadically and with unique, rustic designs, making them an excellent call for investors who prefer a high level of collectability. Should I buy silver rounds or coins for my collection? This, again, depends on personal preferences. 

Balancing Budget and Affordability Factors

The high cost associated with silver coins often puts potential investors off. Rounds offer a more affordable way to invest in silver while still providing collectors with a beautiful, unique silver piece sure to shine in their collections. Keep your budget in mind when deciding between silver coins and silver rounds. 

Final Thoughts: Should I Buy Silver Rounds or Coins?

So: should I buy silver rounds or coins? To some investors, this might be the case. As for us, we’re not too sure. Ultimately, each investor needs to use their investment objectives and long-term goals to decide what silver products are right for them. Silver rounds might not provide the backing of a government or the perks of consistent value appreciation, but they are unique in their designs and might prove the better long-term investment for collectors who are willing to take a gamble. 

Hero Bullion sells a number of rounds and coins that are sure to help you build your silver portfolio. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about silver coins versus rounds. 

About The Author

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