Scottsdale Mint Bar 100 Troy Ounces

Bars vs. Rounds: What is the Best Way to Buy Bullion?

Some precious metal collectors prefer rounds and others swear by bars, but what makes one better than the other?

Rounds got their name from their round shape. They look like coins, but are usually bigger depending on the weight. (Coins usually refers to metal backed by a government for circulation.)

Bars are rectangular blocks of precious metals. Picture the classic image of bars of gold, although bars are made for copper, silver, and palladium as well.


Pros of Buying Rounds:

Rounds often come with attractive and intricate designs. These designs and to the eye-appeal of the metal, and also add to the security of the coin. It is harder for forgers to replicate intricate designs.

Cons of Buying Rounds:

Although rounds are attractive, the extra work needed to design and polish the coins makes rounds more expensive to produce than bars. Rounds usually carry a premium over the spot price, thankfully, they will also sell for above spot.


100 Oz Silver Bars

from: Money Metals Exchange

Pros of Buying Bars:

The best part about bars is that it is a much cheaper way to buy silver in bulk (usually). The premiums on silver rounds drive the price up when buying in bulk.

Cons of Buying Rounds:

Rounds are fake fairly often. Since they are so expensive, I would make sure to purchase from reputable dealers.

Buyers Guide:

I would recommend choosing between bars and rounds based on how many ounces you are looking to buy. If you are buying a couple ounces of silver at a time, then I would buy rounds. For larger purchases, I would buy bars.

Here is what I would recommend for each weight:

Less Than 1/2 Oz: Bars

1 Gram Gold Bars

from: Money Metals Exchange
  • These are just adorable little bars. They are really cute, but carry huge premiums!

1/2 to 5 Oz: Rounds

  • 5 ounces is the cut off point for where I would decide between bars or rounds. A 5 ounce round is a very satisfying and hefty coin, whereas a 5oz bar feels lacking.

Greater than 5 Oz: Bars

10 Oz Gold Bars

from: Money Metals Exchange
  • Larger bars have a really satisfying feel and can be cheaper than buying that many ounces of rounds. Plus, bars are more compact for storing.

Final Thoughts

Of course, like any hobby, there is no right or wrong answer. Many people prefer one or the other just for the looks. Most people have a mix of both. Personally, I buy whatever is cheapest!

Interested in becoming a silver stacker? Read “What Is A Silverbug? How To Start Silver Stacking!”

How do you prefer to buy bullion, bars or rounds? Add a comment and vote in the poll below!

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Diversion Corn Can Safe Del Monte

Are Stash Cans Better Than A Safe For Storing Silver And Gold?

Stash cans are hollowed out cans meant to resemble household products. The idea is that a burglar is unlikely to check a can for a false bottom, so your stuff will be safer in a diversion stash can than in an actual safe.

Yes, a diversion stash canister can be safer than a safe box in the right conditions.

For example, the first safe I ever bought was a small SentrySafe:

While a SentrySafe may be good for organization or keeping my coins safe from small fires, if a thief saw this safe, they could easily pick it up and walk away with it! If anything, a small safe like this only draws attention to the fast that there are valuables inside.

There are other small safes with cords that can be attached to the wall, but a prepared burglar could easily cut through the cord.

The best part about a diversion can is that a thief is unlikely to check all the cans in your house for fakes. If you are smart enough to store your diversion can with real cans, it is unlikely to be found. Most burglars are only in a house for a few minutes looking for easy to grab valuables like TV’s and jewelry.

Best Diversion Cans for Storing Gold and Silver:

The two most important things to look for in a diversion can for gold and silver storage is how accurately it resembles the product it is meant to emulate, and if it can hold 1oz coins.

Below are my top picks of diversion safes. All have their strengths and drawbacks, but fit the criteria of looking accurate and being large enough for one ounce rounds of silver or gold.

Peanut Butter Stash Safe:

I like this Peanut Butter stash safe for its size and because it is weighted. This safe would be great for storing gold and silver because it could hold more than the average hollowed out Coke can.

The best part of this safe is the wide lid. You could fit your entire hand in this safe and easily get all of your gold, silver, and coins.

I wish it had a more recognizable brand, but it does look like a peanut butter jar from a discount store. The label even includes nutrition facts!

I think the size and quality of this safe are quite good. Someone scanning your pantry is unlikely to pick this out as a safe. Although, it may not be good for hiding valuables from anyone looking for a midnight snack 😉

Water Bottle Diversion Safe:

This Dasani Water Bottle Diversion Safe has some of the best reviews on Amazon.

It is wide enough to hold several 1oz rounds, but it is fairly short since most of it is filled with water. You could hold at least 5 or 6 single ounce rounds of silver in this can.

This canister definitely is the most realistic out of any of the diversion safes I found, unfortunately it is not very large. Luckily, you could purchase several of these Dasani water bottle diversion cans and it would create an even more realistic illusion.

The Classic Book Safe:

The book safe is a bit overdone, but can be effective. The problem with most book safes is that it is that many of them are poorly made. The best part about these book safes is that they use real paper instead of plastic. If someone quickly checked the sides of this book it would not be easy to tell it was fake.

Get a book for the cover that is usually large. The dictionary and Bible are too commonly hollowed out, so I would stay away from those for storage. I like the Les Mis option with this brand since Les Miserables is already a very large book.

You can also pick Pride and Prejudice or Alice in Wonderland, but since neither of those books are usually very large it may make the diversion safe stand out more than it should.

A Fake Vent Safe:

The fake vent certainly beats all the other safes in terms of size. This could store all your silver and gold and likely much more.

This safe does require installation, so make sure you have a spot in your house between two studs where this can fit. It may also be beneficial to put it behind a small shelf or nightstand to make it less visible.

Someone may be able to realize this vent is fake if they are looking closely enough, but since it requires a RFID card to open, they will be unable to open it without removing it from the wall or likely making a lot of noise.

The Corn Can Stash Safe:

This one is great cause you could easily grab 2 or 3 and keep them in the back of your pantry with some other corn cans and no one would ever know.

It is not weighted, but if you are storing heavy items like gold and silver, that is likely not an issue for you. You can put cloth or packing peanuts around your coins to prevent them from rattling in the can when lifted.

Unlike hollowed out Coke and Pringles cans, the corn can is easier to get your hand inside.

I hope this article was helpful! Leave a comment and vote in our poll below!

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Peace Dollar in Woman's Hand Nail Polish

Do Women Collect Coins and Precious Metals?

If you have been to online forums for coin collectors you will probably notice a lack of women. Why does it seem like only men collect coins and precious metals?

First off, I will say that women do collect coins, and I feel very qualified to say that as a woman who collects coins!

I’m going to be talking about why it may feel like there are almost no female numismatists, and how more women could be attracted to the hobby.

Why does it seem like there are so few female numismatists?

Think about everyone you have talked to online about coins, on Instagram, CoinWorld, Reddit. Do you know-with 100% certainty- that everyone you messaged with was male?

Of course not! Some people may have their name set to “Steve” or photos uploaded with clearly masculine hands, but most people opt to stay relatively anonymous online. It’s likely you have talked to a female coin collector and not realized it.

I’m not making the argument that you need to treat anyone differently online, or even stop assuming anons online are male. Even I assume most people on coin and precious metal forums are male!

One of the best parts about coin-collecting is that it brings groups of people together to talk about a hobby they love. Conversations rarely delve into political or social debates. Two people can meet to talk about coins and not realize that they may have radically different views on what the world is or what it should be, they will just talk about coins.

There are many less female coin collectors than males, and that should not be understated. Hopefully, that will begin to change. There are several reasons why I think there are currently less female than make coin collectors.

1.) Coin collecting was started by men and then passed down.
Boys, on average, have a tendency to emulate their fathers while girls emulate their mothers. A man who collects coins who has a son and a daughter was probably more likely to notice his son developing an interest in coins and therefore pass it on to him.

This doesn’t mean that the father wouldn’t have also given the collection to his daughter if she was interested. Kids pickup on small social cues, so a young daughter may see a father collecting coins and the mother not collecting coins and put coin collecting in the “male” category.

Of course, not everyone has a son, and not all sons are interested in coins more than daughters. However, I think after generations this effect tips the scales to generationally favor more male coin collectors than females.

2.) Precious metals and coins are also considered investments.
I would say it’s only been in the last 50 years that women in the US have gained more of a footing in higher-level positions in banking and investing. There is still a lingering idea that women handle the day to day budgeting while men handle the investments.

Precious metals can be a decent hedge against inflation. Before most people invest in gold and silver, they usually buy stocks and bonds. If women are only in the past few decades becoming interested and knowledgeable about investing, then it will take longer for them to begin looking at hedging inflation with precious metals.

Plus, with women earning less money than men. They have less to spend on piles of gold and silver. People can prioritize collecting precious metals at any income level, but it doesn’t make financial sense for most people. (Unless you are worried about a complete collapse of the US Dollar which some precious metal collectors are.)

3.) Coin collecting feels like a man’s hobby.
This section is more about perceptions than what may actually be experienced in reality.

I have never felt talked down to by a man about coin collecting because he knew I was a woman, but have I worried about men perceiving me as less knowledgeable because I am a woman? Absolutely.

Even in these modern times when women are gaining more respect in business and finance, there is still a sense that women know less than men. Sometimes, these fears are unjustified but sometimes they do ring true. Women often feel like they need to prove themselves to be seen as equals to men.

I think a lot of men would love to have more women interested in coin collecting. I see men trying to get their female friends, girlfriends, and wives involved in their hobby.

How to get more women interested in coin collecting?

First off, we need more real women on US coins. Lady Liberty is a great symbol of freedom that women may relate to, but she is not a real woman.

Off the top of my head, I can think of two circulated coins that feature real women: the Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin and the Sacagawea Dollar Coin.

The Susan B. Anthony coin is a real mess of a coin. The US Mint rushed to get this coin out before it was ready. The back of the coin depicts the moon landing which has no direct ties to Susan B. Anthony.

If anything, this coin feels a bit insulting. It feels like the U.S. Mint was pressured to put a woman on a coin, but put very little thought into the design after that. The Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin is one of my favorite coins for the history around what made the design so poorly thought out, but this coin is not empowering.

Women keep getting put on dollar coins, which is a good start, but the Mint could do more to get women included on commonly circulated coins. Most people do not see dollar coins in their day-to-day lives. How will a woman know that women are featured on dollar coins if she never sees one?

If you want to get a friend or wife or girlfriend interested in coins here is my advice:

She may not be interested in collecting coins for the same reason you are interested in coins. Figure out something she is interested in and find a way to incorporate coins.

For example:
Does she like jewelry?
There are many kinds of beautiful coin jewelry handmade online! Mercury dime necklaces have a light, feminine appeal. State Quarter rings also make a great gift. (If you want to see my recommended jewelry, see #8 on “Top 10 Gifts for Coin Collectors”.)

Does she like history?
She may be interested in older coins. Maybe give her some tokens that commemorate a historical event. Coins and tokens are great pieces of history.

Does she like adventure?
Get her a metal detector! This is a great way to go exploring and maybe find some coins. Although her main goal may not be to find coins at first, she may become more interested when she learns the value and history of her own finds. (If you want to see my recommended metal detector, see #6 on “Top 10 Gifts for Coin Collectors”.)

Does she like treasure hunting?
Get her to try coin roll hunting! Coin roll hunting is a treasure hunt for valuable coins in everyday change. (If you want to learn more check out “What is Coin Roll Hunting”.)

Final Thoughts

There have been no studies done on this, so this post was almost entirely speculation on my part. My opinions could very well be skewed by the fact that I know very few other female coin collectors and that most of my dealings with other coin collectors happens online.

If you have any thoughts on this I would love to hear from you and start a discussion. Leave a comment below, or reach out through my Contact Page.

4 Essential Supplies to Handle and Store Coins Properly

A coin collector is only as good as their tools.

Properly handling coins preserves their value and keeps them looking shiny. A new collector should invest some money into proper coin storage and handling supplies.

Here is my list of the top 4 items every new coin collector should buy for proper coin storage and handling.

I am an Amazon Affiliate, so I earn a commission on sales made through my links. This does not increase the price of any item linked through my site. My main goal is to inform.

1.) Cotton Gloves

Did you know that the oils on your hands can actually be damaging to coins? Your eccrine sweat glands are in the highest quantities on your hands and feet.

According to Wikipedia, “The secretion of eccrine glands is a sterile, dilute electrolyte solution with primary components of bicarbonate, potassium, and sodium chloride (NaCl).”

Water and sodium chloride can all be damaging to coins. This can lead to bronze disease in copper coins, and unattractive toning on silver.

To minimize damage while handling coins, a good practice is to always hold coins by the edge, and be very careful not to touch the obverse or the reverse of the coin. But if you are handling valuable coins, or want to be certain you are taking every precaution necessary, it’s best to wear gloves.

I recommend 100% cotton gloves as the best way to prevent damage. Cotton is soft enough to prevent scratches on the coin. Plus, it will keep the oil and sweat on your hands from touching the coin.

2.) Coin Holders

You may think that coins are resistant to damage due to being made of metal. While coins hold up better than paper money, even a small scratch can damage the value of a coin.

The difference between a coin in MS 70 vs a coin in MS 69 can be a scratch barely visible to the human eye, but can detract hundreds of dollars in value from the coin.

To keep your coins in as pristine condition as possible you need some type of storage for them. Even sitting in a change jar by your nightstand a coin can be damage simply by touching other coins.

There are two good ways to store coins to preserve their condition.

First, for more common coins, I would recommend some simple cardboard coin flips. These are also called “cardboard holders” or “2×2’s” are great because they don’t take up a lot of room.

Cardboard flips are also good for cataloguing as you can write the denomination, year, mint mark, grade, and value all on the flip.

These cardboard flips on Amazon are a good set, they come in different sizes too. Be careful buying flips from sellers on Ebay or Amazon that don’t have any reviews. Cheap flips can contain PVC plastic which can damage a coin. (For another brand of coin flips that don’t require staples, check out this article: “Peel-N-Seal Cardboard Flip Review: No More Staples!”)

For more valuable coins, I would use an Air-Tite coin capsules. These are more expensive than cardboard flips, but your coin is less likely to be scratched by a stray staple or fall out of the container.

If you are looking to buy Air-Tite capsules on a budget, I would suggest buying the larger size capsules since it will be able to fit any coins.

Ideally, you want the coins to be a tight fit in the capsule so there is little air touching them and less space for the coin to hit the edges, but as long as you don’t move the coins around much, being in a slightly bigger container should not be an issue.

Here is a link to 25 Air-Tite capsules on Amazon. These capsules are 38mm wide making them perfect for Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars. This is a trusted brand that does not use PVC!

3.) Magnifying Glass/Jewelers Loupe

When assessing coins, it’s important to notice every little detail. As I mentioned earlier, even a tiny scratch can make a huge difference to the value of your coin.

When I am coin roll hunting or looking at newly purchased coins, I always have a magnifying glass with me to look for important errors or damage.

Whether you use a magnifying glass or a jewelers loupe is really up to you, I prefer a magnifying glass because I find the handle more comfortable. Plus, it’s bigger and easier to find on my desk.

I have recommended this magnifying glass before. This one is great because it comes with a detachable lens if you need more or less magnification. The built in light is also useful for making out small details.

(This magnifying glass doesn’t come with batteries, but unlike other magnifying glasses it requires AAA batteries, not the small, circular watch batteries.)

4.) Silica Gel

Humidity can damage your coins. Small amounts of water in the air react with the metal of the coin and other trace amounts of salt or oil to start chemical reactions.

Keeping your coins dry and away from heat is a good way to slow these natural reactions.

Silica gel, the same stuff found in your packets of beef jerky, is a super-absorber of humidity. It’s used in food, gun, and clothing storage as well as coin and precious metal storage.

I like the WiseDry Brand for the quality and the fact that the silica gel packets change color from yellow to green when they need to be recharged. Recharging is as easy as microwaving them for a couple minutes!

Keep some silica gel in the the safe, box, or drawer you use to store your coins. I would not recommend putting your coins in contact with the gel or the packet. Having the gel in the same container is enough to keep moisture away.

What do you use when handling your coins? Leave a comment below with any recommendations, or things I may have missed.

And, as always, vote in our poll!