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!

I’m an affiliate with Money Metals Exchange through Share-a-Sale. Any purchases made through links help support my site. Thanks!

Scotttsdale Silver BARGAIN header

Bargain Bins: One of the Best Ways to Buy Silver Online

There are many different types of silver stackers just as there are many different reasons to start silver stacking. Many collectors spend a premium to buy higher quality bars. The premium is the price of a piece of silver above the spot price.

While buying attractive silver can be a fun way to get valuable art, if you want to have lots of silver, the premium adds up to a lot of money. If you buy silver with a 10% premium and spend $100, that means you will have only $90 worth of silver.

Now, some silver with high premiums retain their value, but not all of them do. Buying silver with high premiums is speculation because you are guessing that the silver will still retain the value above the spot price.

Someone looking to invest in silver should buy silver close to spot as well as nicer rounds. One of the best ways to buy silver is to look for silver in spare change or bargain prices online.

Bargain Bins

Money Metals exchange has a great bargain bin to attract customers. These aren’t the prettiest rounds or bars, they may have milk spots or patina’s, but it is a great way to get cheap silver.

Even a bar with a patina still retains its spot price. The spots do not affect the metal content.

In fact, some collectors look for older bars when purchasing. That older Engelhard bar in the featured image for the silver bargain bin deal would probably command a premium if sold online. Engelhard bars are very desirable to silver stackers.

The reason most online dealers like Money Metals Exchange can sell these items for cheaper is because it saves them time. Instead of creating a page to sell each bar of gold or silver they buy, they can sell them in lots for a small discount.

If you are a gold stacker, you are in luck, because there is also a bargain bin for gold! This could be gold that has been melted, holed, or scratched.

Bargain Bin Gold – .999+ Pure

from: Money Metals Exchange

Random Design Lots

Another great way to buy cheap silver online is to buy “random designs”. This is usually where companies get rid of overstock silver. I have used random lots to buy cheap silver and I received 6 beautiful looking Scottsdale Silver Lion rounds! (See the featured image at the top!)

Another fun aspect of buying silver this way is that it’s exciting to open the package when it comes in! It feels like Christmas getting a package and not knowing it’s contents.

Just looking at all this silver makes me want to put more in my stack!

How do you find cheap silver? Have you had good luck with these bargain lots before? Share your experience!

I am an affiliate of Money Metals Exchange, so I make a commission on any products purchased through links on my site. This helps keep my site updated regularly. Thank you for the support!

Silver Rounds Coming Out of Bag

What Is A Silverbug? How To Start Silver Stacking!

A silverbug is someone who collects silver usually in the form of bullion or old coins, but they may also collect silverware or jewelry.

There is a thriving “silverbug” community online where people like to post their silver stacks and recent purchases. Most silverbugs prefer to talk online for anonymity, since large amounts of silver would make them good targets for burglars.

How to become a silverbug?

Start buying silver! Here are some tips to be smart about buying silver when you are getting started.

No one knows how silver prices will change on any given day, but we can use historical data and confidence intervals to help make smarter silver purchases.

Sunshine Mint 5 Ounce Bar, .999 Pure Silver

from: Money Metals Exchange

The best way to buy silver is to dollar cost average. This means that you buy a bit of silver on a consistent basis with little thought to the price. This means you may pay more sometimes, but you are not stuck waiting for lows or trying to time the market.

What counts as a good price for you may be different than what someone else considers a reasonable price. Personally, silver under $20 feels like a great buy for me, and silver over $26 seems overpriced. How I feel may change with time.

A great way to get started is to look at deals for new customers. Many of these deals offer silver at spot! Here is a link to SD Bullion’s spot silver deal where you can get a 5 oz silver bar.

You can also buy bulk silver from Money Metals Exchange’s bargain bin where silver is offered with low premiums:

If you want to learn more about bargain silver bins, you can go to this article: “Bargain Bins: One of the Best Ways to Buy Silver Online”. In this article I discuss bargain bins and similar ways to buy cheaper silver online.

What silver do silverbugs buy?

There are many different ways of buying silver. A silverbug may collect bullion, old coins, silverware, jewelry, or anything else that contains silver.

Most silver collectors stick to bullion, because you can usually get more silver for a cheaper price. However, bullion is not just silver melted down into bars anymore. Many bars feature art on them!

These bars are very pretty, but usually sell for a premium over the spot price of silver. (Spot price is the current selling price of an ounce of silver. Getting silver at spot means it is a good deal.)

There are even silver bars meant to attract silver bugs! Here is the 2 oz Stag Beetle Silver Round from the Intaglio Mint that will be available in Spring 2021.

SD Bullion has a whole section of silver marketed towards self proclaimed ‘silverbugs’ you can check out that collection by clicking here.

Most silverbugs get started by buying silver close to spot price. For your first silver purchase, I would buy one to ten ounces and see how it makes you feel when you get the chance to hold it. I knew I loved silver once I got my first silver rounds in my hand.

What do silver collectors do with their silver?


Well, that’s not completely true. Silver is not a toy, so there is nothing to really do with it. Some people have what they call “fondle pieces” of silver which is silver they touch and play with in their hand. Much like Gollum with the one ring.

Silver gives many people a sense of safety, knowing that silver is historically a good store of value and a good hedge against inflation. Some silver stackers worry about the complete economic collapse of the dollar.

Is there a wrong way to invest in silver?

Some people may disagree with me, but there are definitely wrong ways to invest in silver. Unless you have no trust in the US dollar and global financial economy, you should be careful not to put too much money in silver.

Buying silver can be addicting! It is fun to watch your stack grow. But, it can start to take away from other more profitable investments. Make sure you are still investing into 401k’s and retirement accounts. Cryptocurrency is another way to diversify if you are worried about the stability of the US dollar.

Have good hiding spaces for your silver. You do not need a high end safe, even a diversion stash can will do. Find somewhere it is unlikely to be stolen from thieves, family, or friends.

Silver Terms And Definitions To Know:

  • Bullion – Gold, silver, or other precious metals kept for their value.
  • Bars – Silver melted into a bar shape. Think of a candy bar.
  • Rounds – Silver melted in the shape of a circle, similar to a coin.
  • Troy Ounce – A measurement used for precious metals. A troy ounce is 2.75 grams heavier than a regular ounce.
  • Spot – Refers to the “Spot Price”. This is the current buying price of silver.
  • Sterling Silver – A less pure form of silver. Contains 92.5% silver by weight.

Share a comment and vote in our poll below!

I’m an affiliate with SDBullion and Money Metals Exchange through Share-a-Sale. Any purchases made through links help support my site. Thanks!

Is Coin Collecting an Expensive Hobby?

Coin collecting has a reputation of being a very expensive hobby. The reason coin collecting is seen as an expensive hobby is because we hear many stories of coins being worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.

In reality coin collecting can be a very cheap hobby, or expensive depending on what you decide to collect.

I have broken the stages of coin collecting into 4 categories: The Starter, The Beginner, The Intermediate, The Expert. All of which come with a list of tools or items collectors at these levels often use.

I would recommend a beginner start with the cheapest options before buying expensive coins. This helps ensure you have more skills to identify valuable coins and get good deals.

The Starter

The cheapest way to get into coin collecting is to start by collecting modern coins in circulation. They won’t be worth much anytime soon, but it is a fun treasure hunt. Plus, although the coins you find may not rise in value, they don’t lose their value either.

Collecting coins by year, the ‘America The Beautiful’ National Parks Quarter Series, or the State Quarter Series is a good way for a beginner to start. You can do this completely free by storing them in a box or drawer, but it may be worth it to spend a few dollars on an album to keep yourself organized.

I recommend most beginners start with coin roll hunting, as it is the cheapest way to get lots of coins. To read more about coin roll hunting, Click Here!

A Starter Likely Has:

The Beginner Collector

The Beginner Collector is someone who probably already has a few coins or is very determined to begin collecting coins.

A beginner is not just interested in having coins, but also increasing their knowledge. They want to have a mix of coins both in circulation and not circulating.

A beginner collector is still finding most of their coins in circulation, but may intentionally look for more rare dollar coins and half dollars. They may also be interested in purchasing coins probably in the $1-$50 dollar range either online or at a local coin shop.

A beginner likely has:

The Intermediate Numismatist

This is a coin collector who has been collecting for a while. They are very knowledgeable about coins in circulation and many coins that are no longer minted.

The Intermediate Numismatist has a good idea of grading, values, mintage numbers, and common errors.

This is a collector who is willing to spend more money to get a coin they like. Most coins an intermediate collector collects are probably not found in circulation. (Although this isn’t true for everyone!)

Very important to an intermediate collector now that they have amassed more valuable coins is storage safety. Because this collector likely has a few coins worth over $100 it is important they know how to properly store them from thieves and damage. One great option for storage is a diversion safe. (Click here to see my top picks for diversion safes!)

An intermediate collector likely has:

The Expert Numismatist

This is someone who has been in the game a long time. More than a hobby, coin collecting may now be a career as they have an eye for grading and appraising coins.

This type of coin collector is interested in high quality coins and high quality equipment. They are very knowledgeable in storage methods and handling.

This collector likely has a specialty which they collect. It may be ancient coins, commemorative half dollars, gold coins, error coins, etc.

This collector may have everything the beginner and intermediate collector has, plus:

Coin collecting is a great hobby and no one should feel like it is too expensive for them to start. If you can afford a few pennies, then you can be a coin collector. There are many fancy gadgets and informational materials, but those item’s aren’t what make a coin collector.

A coin collector is simply someone who owns and is interested in coins! Whether you have a few common coins or hundreds of expensive coins, you are still a numismatist.

Share any comments below and vote in our poll!

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn ad revenue 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.

Coin Collecting Popularity Header

Is Coin Collecting a Dying Hobby?

Do people still collect coins?

You have probably never heard people on the bus, or a National Television Show talking about coin collecting. Perhaps you have one friend or an older family member who collects coins. You may wonder, “Is coin collecting a dying hobby?”

To judge the popularity of coin collecting, we will look at trends in Google Search History. This tells us roughly how the number of people searching “coin collecting” is changing.

Looking at Google Search Interest from 2004 to 2020, it does look as if coin collecting is becoming less popular.

A clear downward trend in searches for “coin collecting”.

We can compare more than one search on Google. Let’s see what happens if we compare “coin collecting”, “valuable coins”, and “rare coins”.

Comparing searches for coin collecting to rare coins and valuable coins.

Searches for “coin collecting” are in blue, “valuable coins” in red, and “rare coins” in yellow.

Coin collecting has a clear downward trend. Rare coin searches are also falling, but not as steeply as coin collecting. On the other hand, searches for valuable coins has stayed the same.

What this all means

Coin collectors are increasingly becoming more focused on coins as a store of value or as a way to make money than for their historical significance.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, lots of coins are a great store of value due to their precious metal content. Collectors may become interested first for the metal and then become more interested in history as they get more involved in collecting coins.

It does mean that the market for coins is changing. Coin collectors may prefer to buy a Mercury dime for the silver instead of a Buffalo Nickel for the history.

The Upside

Coin collecting is not considered the “Hobby of Kings” for nothing. Although 2004 to 2020 may seem like a long time, coin collecting has been around since the Renaissance Era in the 14th Century.

All activities have long-term trends where they may become more or less popular. Perhaps tomorrow Billie Eilish will come out with a new song about how much she loves Standing Liberty Quarters and a whole new generation of coin collectors will be born!

Buy Gold and Silver

On a Personal Note

I’m 23 years old, at this age, none of my friends are interested in coins. Sometimes, when I mention I collect coins a friend will tell me that one of their parents collects coins as well.

Recently, my 13 year old cousin has begun collecting coins. I am so excited for her, as it shows a great depth of interest in history and economics. I definitely plan on sharing my collection with her.

Even more exciting, is that my grandfather, who is 81 years old and an avid coin collector, now has two grandchildren interested in coin collecting. Whenever I see him he now asks me how my coin collection is coming and offers to share information with me.

More exciting yet again, my grandfather inherited and learned much of what he knows about coins from his father! So, because my great-grandfather collected coins, he created another 3 generations of coin collectors!

Coin collecting probably won’t be the hip trend of 2021, but the hobby is not going to disappear completely. If you are worried about coin collecting losing popularity the best thing you can do is get others interested, especially young people!

If you are interested in collecting coins, check out: 4 Essential Items to Store and Handle Coins Properly!

If you have a friend or family member who collects coins check out my top 10 gifts for coin collectors!

Share your thoughts in the comments and vote in our poll!

Why Are Coin Prices So High on Etsy?

If you have ever searched a coin online, one of the first Google suggestions was likely a link to an Etsy Store for someone selling the coin for thousands of dollars.

You may have been excited and confused to see the price. Could this coin really be worth thousands? More, than likely, it’s not.

Etsy is an online shop where users can sell items they have made or sell used items. There is a great market for antique items on Etsy, but coins are generally way overpriced.

Here is a screenshot of a Google Search for a 1979 Susan B. Anthony dollar:

Why are Etsy coins so expensive?!?!

The coin listed is not worth $49,999.98. Even for someone who overpays for this coin, $10 would be a ridiculous price. Susan B. Anthony dollar coins are still widely available in good condition. I could go to my local bank and get 10 of these right now.

A 1979 SBA Dollar I got in change from a vending machine.

There are two prevailing theories for why these listings exists.

Theory 1: The sellers hope buyers don’t know any better.

Many coins are bought for ridiculous prices because buyers don’t know how to price coins correctly.

The idea that someone would spend almost 50 thousand dollars on a coin without doing any research is crazy. But, I suppose these Etsy sellers only need one gullible buyer to make an immense profit. Selling $1 for $50,000? Ka-Ching!

Just because a coin is old, or not often seen in circulation, does not give it inherent value. Always research the price of a coin before you buy.

Theory 2: Money laundering.

I am but a humble coin collector, not very up-to-date on organized crime, but I have heard the idea floating around that these sellers are part of drug money laundering schemes.

The way this would work is sellers list coins for high prices, pay someone to buy the coin, and then the money is returned. The money is now “clean” because it has been used for a valid transaction. (If you want to know more about money laundering watch Ozark on Netflix.)

Buy Gold and Silver

In some ways this makes a lot of sense, coin collecting is more art than science. Art has always been used for money laundering. Any item that has a highly speculative value can be used for these kinds of schemes.

I’m not sure if this theory holds up, however. Someone looking to launder money could do much smaller, less obvious values. Do people laundering money really worry about Etsy fees cutting into their profits?

Cheaper places to buy coins than on Etsy:

Honestly, there are very, very few places more expensive than Etsy. Even Amazon often has cheaper coins! Browse through Amazon’s collection here: Amazon Collectible Coins

I would recommend buying from a trusted coin dealer on eBay or even a gold/silver distributor like SD Bullion or Money Metals Exchange. By shopping at either of these sites by clicking a link from American Coin Stash, you also support this site! American Coin Stash is an affiliate advertiser of SD Bullion and Money Metals Exchange because I trust both of these companies.

Buy Gold and Silver

If you are looking for very specific coins, not in a lot and have a good eye for spotting genuine coins, eBay is a great resource! Just remember to know what you are looking for, it is easy to get addicted to eBay bidding. Plus, eBay is more likely to have fake products or mislabeled items. Sometimes the sellers don’t even know they may be mis-advertising a coin!

Add a comment below on which theory you think is more accurate, or share your own!