Throughout history, silver bullion has served mankind as a primary monetary metal. It is durable, divisible, convenient, has utility value, and cannot be created by fiat. It is currently selling for $42.65 an ounce.
A bullion coin is a coin struck from precious metal and kept as a store of value or an investment, rather than used in day-to-day commerce. Investment coins are generally coins that have been minted after 1800, have a purity of not less than 900 thousandths and are, or have been, a legal tender in their country of origin. Bullion coins are usually available in gold and silver, with the exception of the Krugerrand and the Swiss Vreneli which are only available in gold. The American Eagle series is available in gold, silver and platinum, and the Canadian Maple Leaf series is available in gold, silver, platinum and also palladium.
Bullion coins are also typically available in various weights. These are usually multiples or fractions of 1 troy ounce, but some bullion coins are produced in very limited quantities in kilograms and even heavier.
Gold as an investment
Silver coins are possibly the oldest mass-produced form of coinage. Silver has been used as a coinage metal since the times of the Greeks; their silver drachmas were popular trade coins. The ancient Persians used silver coins between 612-330 BC. Before 1797, British pennies were made of silver.
As with all collectible coins, many factors determine the value of a silver coin, such as its rarity, demand, condition and the number originally minted. Ancient silver coins coveted by collectors include the Denarius and Miliarense, while more recent collectible silver coins include the Morgan Dollar and the Spanish Milled Dollar.
Of all the precious metals, gold is the most popular as an investment. Investors generally buy gold as a hedge or harbor against economic, political, or social fiat currency crises (including investment market declines, burgeoning national debt, currency failure, inflation, war and social unrest). The gold market is subject to speculation as are other markets, especially through the use of futures contracts and derivatives. Gold price has shown a long term correlation with the price of crude oil. This suggests a reason why gold is sold off during economic weakness.
Gold has been used throughout history as money and has been a relative standard for currency equivalents specific to economic regions or countries, until recent times. Many European countries implemented gold standards in the latter part of the 19th century until these were temporarily suspended in the financial crises involving World War I.]citation needed[ After World War II, the Bretton Woods system pegged the United States dollar to gold at a rate of US$35 per troy ounce. The system existed until the 1971 Nixon Shock, when the US unilaterally suspended the direct convertibility of the United States dollar to gold and made the transition to a fiat currency system. The last currency to be divorced from gold was the Swiss Franc in 2000.]citation needed[