The ongoing surge in gold and silver prices has a lot of people looking at precious metals as a way to preserve wealth and earn a return. Preppers like gold and silver for two good reasons. First – gold and silver love bad economic news. When times get tough, people flock to precious metals. If you’re prepping, you’re doing it because you think times are or will be tough. Second – the value is in the metal itself. Compare that to a paper dollar bill where the value is in what it represents, not in the paper itself. Silver or gold coins are valued for what they contain, the metal itself. You hold it in your hand. The comparison is the same as stocks (representing ownership of a company) and real estate (something you can touch).
Preppers favor silver more than gold for two other good reasons. First – it costs less. You can buy silver more easily than gold and build your stash over time. Spending a little money to have ounces of silver in your hand creates a faster sense of gratification than waiting months to save for just one ounce of gold. Second – it’s easier to use than gold. Silver is easier for bartering. Gold is difficult to divide as currency, hard to barter for an ounce of gold. You get many ounces of silver to one ounce of gold.
Silver also has more industrial uses than gold. It’s used in photography, jewelry, batteries, electronics and bearings. Emerging uses include medical applications, solar energy, food hygiene and water purification. Silver has been called “poor man’s gold,” but if you own a good pile of silver nowadays, that doesn’t sound so poor to me.
There are a few basic ways you can invest in silver:
- buy silver “stuff,” junk coins, mint coins, bars, and rounds
- buy a silver “certificate of ownership” for silver that is held by investors
- buy stocks in silver mining companies
The prepper will usually eliminate the last three, because they don’t put silver in-hand, silver’s best attribute. That leaves you deciding between which ways put the actual silver in your hand.
Silver stuff means anything containing silver; jewelry, flatware, old letter openers, anything silver. This approach can be a little complicated unless you know your stuff. Buying only sterling silver items (92.5% silver) is the safest. Sterling silver is usually stamped “SS” or “92.5” or something similar. That leaves no question as to how much silver it contains. You simply weigh the item and take 92.5% of the weight. That’s how much silver you have. Buying silver stuff may hold interest for some, particularly if you see it as a hobby. There are some pretty, old items out there sold as “scrap silver.”
Junk silver is suggested by most preppers as being the best method. Junk silver refers to older coins that are made of anywhere from 35% to 92.5% silver. They’re called “junk” only because they hold no collector value. The value in the coin is in the silver itself. They’re plentiful and most people know what they’re worth.
Mint coins is the worst way to buy silver. You pay a premium for the collector’s value of the mint coin. Buy a mint silver coin because you want a mint silver coin, not because you want to store silver.
Silver rounds are one-ounce silver coins that are .999 fine, virtually all silver. They are cheaper than mint coins, because you don’t pay for any collector value. Rounds are attractive, affordable and easily carried. They are easy to buy, sell and count; the perfect money for a worst-case scenario.
Silver bars, like rounds, are a great way to buy silver. They come .999 fine. The bars come as small as a single gram (why?) to as large as 1,000 ounces. Bars are stamped with their weight and percent silver. They have a uniform size so it’s easy to store and handle them. They are recognized around the world making them easy to use as currency.
Hi Ho, Silver! Hi Ho, Survival Silver! I love it!
– Ranger Man
BTW, if you want to read more about the awesomeness of silver, I recommend these:
- Precious Metals Investing For Dummies
- Buy Gold and Silver Safely: The Only Book You Need to Learn How to Buy or Sell Gold and Silver
- Sterling Silver Flatware: Value & Identification Guide
If you just want to give me Amazon affiliate love, I recommend these: