Silver was about thirty dollars an ounce in the past year or so and I remember taking sterling silver items which were in plain view of anyone visiting here, and putting them in clear bags to protect them, and putting them away. For reasons most likely related to the false manipulation of money markets, silver is presently just under twenty dollars per troy ounce. (Precious metals are not measured using the avoir dupois ounce, but using a troy ounce which allows you about 10% more than the kind you and I are used to buying raisins and nuts in, if you are American.)
At $20.00 a troy ounce, silver is actually selling for less than it costs per ounce for the mines to locate it, mine it, process it, and place it into an ingot or coin to be sold, so right now, if you can find it for sale, it would be a good idea to get some. I do not mean to imply that you should use a portion of your rent money, or your food money, but I do mean that if you have some money spare, that buying some now would be wise. Remember that the old adage is to buy low and to sell high.
Make sure that you are buying actual silver, and not silver clad commemoratives, if you wish to make full investment value of the pieces. Silver clad are dipped in silver, but are not silver all the way through.
|This is a nice little stack shown at approximately actual size. These are American coins.|
Gold is also a wonderful collectible but many of us raising families cannot hope to put away gold at more than $1200. US per troy ounce. Silver has actually outperformed gold in the past few years for a very important reason. Silver is used industrially for many things. When gold is used, it can be salvaged from computers and electronics, but when silver is used in an industrial process, it is destroyed. Therefore the finite supply of silver on this planet is slowly decreasing. Therefore, there are few investments as certain as silver should be in the future.
I have other reasons though that I buy silver. A number of years ago as a homeschooling mother, I found it difficult to bring history alive for all of my students. I found that by giving gifts of silver coins on birthdays and at Christmas that commemorate certain events that our children began to remember and relate a bit better to history. I also brought economics to life for them. Now that they own some silver, kept in a safe for practice, they not only know the history of their silver pieces, but they always know what the spot price of silver is, and when it goes up and goes down. Now, they notice all the prices of precious metals as they fluctuate. Giving even inexpensive silver coins to the right child or to teens can help them to "have skin in the game" and begin to extend what they know about economics and history across the board.
Your best bet in regularly acquiring new and attractive silver coins for gifts is to make the acquaintance of your local coin dealer or numismatist. When silver is running $20.00 a troy ounce, he will likely sell some silver rounds for $22.00 or $23.00 an ounce. When they go to thirty, or someday to $60.00 that will be a tidy profit. Other coins of similar silver weight may cost much more because there may be additional numismatic value to certain coinage. I tend not to be acquiring for numismatic value, but for silver value and I tend to buy things that will spur a discussion and learning for my kids, even now.
|Of course, other nations mint new silver coins also. These can be good collectibles also, and can spur your child's interest in another nation.|
|This is a US Morgan Dollar from 1884. It is worth much more than the value of the silver. Some of these are worth hundreds of dollars now.|
|These are one troy ounce ingots each. Remember that ingots come in all different sizes. These are in an acid free protective casing.|
|Ingots come in a wide variety of types, sizes and designs. This is quite a collection ! Unfortunately, not my own !|
A silver ingot is a lump of weighed silver in a particular shape that is not a coin. Reputable companies make ingots of differing sizes and then stamp the troy ounce weight of the item on the outside. These can make handsome gifts also.
Lately, some private mints have been selling fractional silver, which is coinage made as half a troy ounce, a quarter troy ounce, or even a tenth of a troy ounce. This will allow everyone to get in the game.