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.

Rounds

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.

Bars


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?

Nothing!

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!

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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1954 benjamin franklin half dollar

WallStreetBets Redditors Set Their Sights on Silver For The Next Short Squeeze

I’m a big fan of Reddit and very active on r/Coins and r/Silverbugs. Occasionally, I like to hop over to r/WallStreetBets to see what the gambling addicts over there are up to.

Much to my surprise, WallStreetBets and Silverbugs have begun to merge. Coming off the high of the great gains of Gamestop (GME), redditors have been looking for more stocks to make gains from (or teach WallStreet a lesson).

Some Redditors are looking to Blackberry, AMC, or Nokia, but another subsection has begun to eye silver as an undervalued asset worth pumping.

1964 Silver Quarter
A 1964 Silver Quarter, currently worth about 3$

As a coin-collector, I also dabble in collecting precious metals. Silver has beaten stock market returns before, but over most long time periods, silver mostly keeps up with inflation. As much as I like silver, I don’t expect to get rich off of it.

I am a little annoyed to see the mentality around silver stacking changing over the past few hours. A lot of silver stackers liked to watch their stack grow and felt some security in it. Lately, many people are entering the hobby with thoughts of market manipulation and greed.

Here is a screenshot of the post by u/RocketBoomGo on silver prices that began trending and motivating a lot of the current excitement about silver.

Here is another Reddit post by u/TheHappyHawaiian that motivated more of the hype around silver. I am not a fan of technical analysis because I very much doubt it’s efficacy, so I won’t delve into whether or not the prices are possible.

A lot of the posts about increasing the price of silver seem to be looking at a price target of $1,000. (Is this probable? I have no idea.)

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of silver reaching $1000 per troy ounce.

Pros:

If silver reaches $1,000 an ounce, coin collectors and silver stackers who already own a lot of silver will make an amazing profit should they decide to sell. A silver quarter, currently worth about $3 would be worth almost $200!

It might get more people interested in precious metals. I would definitely like to have more of my friends and family interested in silver. (Although I would prefer if they were interested in investing first.)

Cons:

It would make owning a coin collection or silver a much greater liability. If silver went up to $1000 an ounce, I personally would sell some because I would be uncomfortable having that much money in my house unprotected.

If silver went up to $1000 an ounce, the value of silver would begin to greatly outweigh the numismatic value of silver coins. That increases the likelihood that silver coins would be melted down for the silver content since lots of silver collectors prefer pure bars. 😦

Most importantly it would make coin collecting an insanely expensive hobby! My friends already think I’m crazy for spending $20 on an old quarter; imagine if I told them I was now spending hundreds per quarter!


Obviously, I’m glad more people are looking at silver, but I am worried about how the culture around silver purchasing may begin to change. Currently, it’s been mostly motivated by interest in it as a material and a community. Using silver as a store of value feels more like a hobby than investing.

WallStreetBets Redditors are more interested in increasing the price in the short term. When someone asks advice of stock purchasing over on WSB it is almost always met with a strong encouraging and pressuring to buy. Silverbugs has been a much more calm, “buy what you can afford and dollar cost average.” I would hate to lose that in the community.

Silver Dimes in a Pile
A pile of silver dimes.

Anyway, that’s enough of my ranting for now! I logged onto r/Silverbugs a few hours ago and decided to write an article here about how I’m feeling about a silver pump.

If you want to learn more about what U.S. coins contain silver click here!

Here is a quote to ponder on for the day, as applicable to stocks as it is for silver.

“In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run it is a weighing machine.”

Benjamin Graham

Edit 2/2/2021: A lot of WSB redditors are now trying to distance themselves from the silver pump. There’s a lot of conspiracy theories that the silver pump was manufactured by Citadel.

The silver price has risen a lot in the last week, premiums pushed silver prices to over $32 an ounce. Today, silver has fallen slightly from its highs from yesterday.

I’ve been checking online retailers like SDBullion, and they seem to be running out of almost all their silver in stock.


Share a comment below and vote in our poll!

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.