Silver rounds – which are non-monetary bullion objects made in the same size and shape as bullion coins, but without either monetary amounts or government minting indicated on them – are a new phenomenon in history. These objects allow private companies and banks to enter their own silver stocks on the international silver market, without treading on the toes of the world's states, since the round is clearly differentiated from the coin. Because they are privately minted, silver rounds are usually not as collectible as coins and proofs although they are regularly purchased by collectors and also act as an excellent purchase for investment purposes.
One of the newer minting firms in the United States, the Highland Mint is best known for it's custom minting of sports and college collectibles. However, they are also renowned for their high quality silver rounds struck in 99.9% fineness and sold by private sellers on the secondary market throughout the USA.
The Sunshine Minting silver rounds are an extremely high quality collection of silver round coins minted by one of the USA biggest private minting companies based out of Idaho. The company produces both gold and silver bullion pieces, although their most popular products are their 1oz silver eagle coins.
Silvertowne rounds are currently available in 3 different varieties, with coins similar to the mintages of the American silver eagle, the Morgan dollar and the 1804 silver dollar. Silvertowne silver rounds are sold directly by the mint as well as being sold on the secondary market by companies such as the American Precious Metals Exchange.
Bearing the markings of the biggest bullion reseller in the United States - the American Precious Metals Exchange - APMEX silver rounds are an extremely popular investment as an inflationary hedge. Not highly collectible, APMEX's silver coins are mainly used as a store of value to protect against a failing economy.
A real treat for collectors with an interest in animated movies, the Disney silver rounds have been produced by various minting companies since the 1980s. Thus far several series have been minted featuring a number of Walt Disney's most popular characters including Sleeping Beauty, the Seven Dwarves, Micky Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy and a host of others.
An extremely high quality silver round, the Engelhard Silver Prospector coins are regularly picked up by collectors because of their age and because they are no longer minted, as the Engelhard company is no longer in operation. They are of course also useful as a value store against inflation.
Minted by a number of different private minting companies the Lady Liberty silver rounds are one of the most popular non-coin bullion pieces that are collected by numismatists and investors. Bearing a likeness of Lady Liberty on one side, these rounds come in a number of sizes and are all 99.9% pure silver.
More About Silver Bullion Rounds
This phenomenon of privately minted rounds competing versus government minted coins, could likely only have occurred in the modern world, which is the only point in Earth’s history when governments have been civilized enough to allow their subjects a bit of latitude. The governments of earlier times would not have paused to consider the fact that the rounds are not official coinage. They would have only seen that they were similar in size and shape, deemed it a brazen attempt to counterfeit, and hanged those producing the rounds – or worse.
This, then, is the reason that silver rounds are found only today. It is only the modern age that shows enough governmental restraint – and has enough ability to distinguish between official and unofficial products due to readily available information – to allow the manufacture of the silver rounds. These objects basically do not occur prior to the period of the World Wars, though they continue in use to this day.
A silver round is a circular piece of bullion, generally with a striking image on it – often taken from old, obsolete types of coinage, such as the Mercury or Liberty coins of the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries. These images are often chosen to evoke nostalgia, patriotism, or both. Silver rounds are made in the same sizes and weights as bullion coins, often with just as much skill and beauty as actual government coins, and are generally fashioned out of .999 fine silver, just like bullion coins.
Silver rounds are typically bought and traded purely for their spot value or melt value – they are basically never collectible. Silver rounds made in the 1950s by companies that are out of business, or which have long ago ceased their production of these items, are worth only a dollar or two above spot, just like those which were minted yesterday. It is strange that time adds no value to silver rounds, since many of them are unique and attractive, but it is also an undeniable fact that this is the case.
If you decide to purchase silver rounds, therefore, you should do so only for the correct reasons – in order to use them as a store of value. They are not a collectible investment because their value will never rise far above spot, as the low prices of silver rounds more than 50 years old proves amply.
Silver rounds can serve as an investment – that is, something which is bought not to hedge against inflation, but to actually garner a profit by reselling the item in the near future. Investment, in this case, though, consists of buying the silver rounds at the current price on the assumption that the spot price of silver will go up sharply in the near future. In short, you are not investing in the silver rounds per se, but only in the fine silver they contain and the melt value of a the specific weight involved.
Silver Rounds of the Past
Silver rounds produced during the twentieth century are still in circulation, even if they have ceased production or the firm making them has gone out of business. One of the most famous examples of such rounds are Engelhard Silver Prospectors, struck during the 1980s for a brief period of half a dozen years by a company which has itself been consumed in the endless series of mergers which marks recent years.
These silver rounds may be available at a slightly narrower premium above spot due to wear on the rounds. Pristine rounds will command slightly more, but as noted above, their value will never rise more than a couple of dollars over spot due to the nature of the market. People are unwilling to pay a high premium for silver rounds regardless of their rarity.
The United States seems to have been a hotbed for the production of silver rounds, though others were undoubtedly produced overseas as well. Companies such as APMEX, online auction on sites like eBay, precious metal stores, and flea markets are all possible sources of these articles. Their abundance is high, so you can probably acquire them if you look hard enough.
Currently Produced Silver Rounds
Several modern firms have gotten into the business of striking silver rounds in recent years, bringing contemporary production techniques to bear on their manufacture and creating superbly detailed and finished rounds for collectors.
APMEX (the American Precious Metals Exchange), Sunshine Minting, Inc., Silvertowne, Highland Mint, and other firms have all entered the silver round market. Their offerings come in the usual, expected sizes, such as the one troy ounce silver rounds that mimic the size and quality of regular silver bullion coins. However, they also produce larger silver rounds in 5 troy ounce and 10 troy ounce sizes, as well as fractional silver rounds in 1/10 ounce, ½ ounce, and other sizes.
These silver rounds are well adapted to bulking up your silver stocks without needing to spend a large premium above spot price. Just like silver bullion coins, silver rounds can be stored in mint tubes of the appropriate size in order to keep them as safe and pristine as possible. Often, the seller will include the mint tubes as a courtesy gift, at no extra charge, if you buy certain quantities of silver rounds.
As usual, it is a good idea to make sure you are purchasing from a reputable company and source, so that your resources are well allocated to a genuine supplier of 99.9% pure silver rounds. The American Precious Metals Exchange, or APMEX, is a highly reliable company which offers not only its own silver rounds, but also those of other reputable precious metals companies. Since it is a “one stop shopping location” for these coin imitations, it is a good place to start your search when you are in the market for modern silver rounds.