Two Letter Re: "Trade Dollars" a.k.a. One Ounce Silver Rounds

Saturday, Oct 22, 2005

Jim:
I just purchased ten Canadian silver dollars. The ones I bought were from 1990. They contain 1 ounce of 99.99 silver.They cost me $11 each including shipping. I bought them for making colloidal silver in bad times. They are the purest silver coins I have seen yet. - C.R.Z.


Mr. Rawles:
What do you think of silver “rounds.” That is, those ounces of silver sized like a silver dollar, but not minted as a negotiable coin of the realm. They may commemorate Christmas of a certain year or have some other decorative design. Many times these can be found significantly lower in price than a standard silver dollar with the same silver content. I much prefer an official silver dollar, but would like to hear your thoughts. - C.G., Morganton, N.C.

JWR Replies: Silver "rounds" (or "trade dollars") that are .999 fine (99.9% pure silver) do indeed have their place in survival planning. Colloidal silver generation is definitely one of these uses. Just be sure to rub them down thoroughly with alcohol to clean them and dry them before use with a colloidal silver generator. As for barter, however, I believe that pre-1965 mint date "junk" silver will be much more recognizable and trusted by the average gent on the other side of the barter table. If you bring out silver rounds to trade, then the topics of authenticity and assay are sure to come up. The first question will be: "How do I know those are real?" In contrast, pre-'65 silver coins will probably be accepted without hesitation. The only point of disagreement about their barter value may be if the coins are heavily worn--and that is a minor hurdle compared to basic recognition of authenticity. So I recommend that all of your designated "barter" silver be pre-1965 dimes, quarters, half dollars or silver dollars.

Above and beyond your purchase of barter silver coins, if you want some "time machine" silver to maintain the value your nest egg from one side of a financial crisis to another, then it should be in the form of the least expensive silver bullion on the market. The lowest premiums (per ounce) are found on 100 ounce bullion bars. (BTW, they make great "ballast" to help keep a burglar from hauling off your gun vault.) The Engelhard, Johnson-Matthey, and Sunshine Minting brands are the most well-known makers for eventual resale. But in essence, silver bullion is silver bullion. Regardless of the maker's name, just be sure that you buy serialized bars so that you will be less likely to pay assay fees when you re-sell. If, however, you have the option to pick from different types all at the same price, then buy the later Engelhard bars in the "flag" logo hard plastic wrappers, with no tarnish. Those seem to have the greatest resale appeal.

Due to the minting cost, one ounce rounds carry a higher premium per ounce. At times, however, you can buy them for close to the day's spot price. Ask around at coin shows if any of the dealers have any "beater" or badly tarnished Christmas or commemorative rounds. You should be able to get those for just a few pennies over spot, especially in today's rising market. The highest premium for silver is on the nationally minted one ounce rounds (such as the silver U.S. Eagle, the silver Canadian Maple Leaf, and the silver Aussie Kookaburra.) As of this writing, those currently sell for $9 to $15 each, which is far above the spot price of silver.


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