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!

Copper Rounds Assorted PM copy Zoom

Should You Buy Copper Bars and Rounds?

As far as precious metals go, copper is one of the least sought after. It is worth only a fraction of the value of gold and silver by weight and has high premiums. With all that should you be purchasing silver?

Is copper a good long term purchase? Probably not. Buying copper is very speculative, if you are buying rounds of copper, you are paying almost double the spot price for each troy ounce of copper.

In order to make a profit, you would need a large enough copper shortage for the copper price to rise past the premium you paid and net a profit.

Here are the pros and cons of purchasing copper.

Pro: Cheaper By Weight.

For the current price of gold at $1,815 an ounce, for one troy ounce of gold, you could buy about 1,406 troy ounces of copper bullion. That’s 96 pounds of copper!

Con: High Premiums.

The cheapest copper rounds are currently trading for about $1.29 an ounce. The actual spot price of copper is 23 cents. That means you are paying 5.6x more per ounce!

Compare that to gold, which currently has a premium of about 10% per ounce. If copper had the same relative premiums as gold, an ounce of copper would cost about 26 cents!

Pro: Great for Sampling Rounds.

If you are interested in buying an expensive silver or gold round, but aren’t sure about how the design will look in person, buying a copper round may be a good way to test how you feel about the design.

It is certainly cheaper to spend a few dollars on copper rounds to look at designs than to buy silver rounds and decide you don’t like them. Keep in mind that copper can tarnish faster and has less shine than silver and gold.

Con: Weird Copper Smell.

I was excited when I bought my first copper round to have a dense piece of metal to twiddle around my hands as I sat at my desk. What I did not account for was the infamous copper smell.

Copper has a very distinct scent that sticks to hands easily. If you like to touch your metal, copper is not a good precious metal for handling.

Pro: Better for Displaying.

Copper can be better for displaying because it is less valuable. You can leave a 10 oz bar of copper out as decoration and know that you spent less than $15 on it. If a thief mistook your copper for a more valuable metal you would be out very little money compared to the risk of displaying gold and silver.

Of course, the con here is that copper is not as attractive. Guests probably wouldn’t be interested in a regular copper bar unless it is particularly large or has an especially intricate design.

Con: Not as Dense.

Here is a comparison of the densities of copper, silver, and gold.

  • Copper: 8.96 g/cm^3
  • Silver: 10.49 g/cm^3
  • Gold: 19.3 g/cm^3

Holding an ounce of silver or gold has the initial wow factor where it is heavier than you expect. Copper, however, is only a bit heavier than steel.

Of course, you can buy a huge amount of copper for cheaper than a large amount of silver/gold, but remember, you will still have to pay high premiums.

Copper Pennies

If you are interested in investing in copper, it may be more in your advantage to look for pre 1982 pennies which are made of 95% copper and 5% zinc. The benefit is that you are technically already making a profit in copper by having a 1982 penny.

95% Copper Pennies (Price Per Pound)

from: Money Metals Exchange

Unfortunately, it is currently illegal to melt down pennies for their metal content. That means you will either need to sit on the pennies and hope the law changes, or sell the pennies to someone else who is hoarding pennies in hopes that the penny melting law changes.

Do you buy copper bullion? Share a comment with your tips and tricks! And, as always, vote in our poll below!

I am an affiliate with SD Bullion and Money Metals Exchange. Any purchases made through links from my site help keep my website running and updated. Thanks for the support!