Silver coins are so ubiquitous that it is hard to know which ones make the most sense for you to buy with an investment- or retirement-centered portfolio. We will lay this issue to rest for you here today by identifying the five most popular silver bullion coins to purchase for either retirement or general investment purposes. As this is a website for precious metals IRAs, we will restrict the choices to those coins which can be included in an IRS-approved Silver IRA. This approved form of bullion has to measure up to the American taxing authority's minimum fineness requirements which they alone determine at their sole discretion.
Such fineness standards require that approved bullion coins and bars have to meet minimally .999 fineness or 99.9 percent purity of silver. The IRS also mandates that the silver has to be produced at and by a foreign government mint which they approve. Lastly, silver which is included in these accounts has to be actual bullion. It can not be considered rare, collectible, or boasting an unusually high premium versus the traditional spot price of silver on the world precious metals markets.
A quick summary: You have two means of adding physical silver bullion into your precious metals IRA. This can be via either silver coins or silver bars. There are true differences involved with selecting bullion coins instead of bullion bars. The end result comes down to the conclusion that you trust the metal silver more than paper currencies. Whichever type of bullion you select, this will be the case.
Below is our recommended list of the top five world bullion silver coins (in no specific order):
Austrian Silver Philharmonic Coins
Europe's leading bullion coin is the gold version of the Austrian Vienna Philharmonic. This newer silver version from 2008 provides the identical design. These Austrian Silver Vienna Philharmonic gems prove to be .999 fine silver. While the obverse showcases the Great Pipe Organ in the Golden Hall of Vienna, the reverse features a series of different instruments used in the globally-renowned orchestra.
This coin quickly became one of the most popular silver bullion pieces in Europe. It also holds a record for representing the very first coin in Europe which they struck in silver with a face value denominated in euros. The world famous Austrian Mint of Vienna strikes these coins. They personally guarantee both the quality and purity of these lovely pieces. When you acquire Silver Philharmonics, you are buying coins which collectors and investors throughout Europe, Japan, and North America widely choose, providing you with great liquidity in both the selling and the buying process.
The Austrian Mint itself has achieved such a legendary reputation for its extensive history in silver consistency and production that numerous mints across the globe today buy their silver blanks from the Vienna-based mint. The Austrian Mint started minting silver coins more than 800 years ago. This piece today boasts a 1.50 euros face value, giving it over 50 percent more legal tender worth than the usual only dollar value assigned to American and Canadian silver bullion coins.
American Silver Eagle Coins
In 1986, the United States Mint proudly released its first American Silver Eagle as the one and only investment grade silver bullion coin which the U.S. produces. This coin maintains its coveted status as the world's most popular and beloved silver bullion coin on the planet, giving it unparalleled liquidity. At the same time, it can also claim to be the only such silver bullion coin in the globe which has its content, weight, and purity all guaranteed and backed up by the United States government.
The proof editions of these gems are specifically struck to offer value to collectors. Such coins appear far more polished than the normal bullion variations of the coin. Otherwise, these proofs turn out to be exactly the same as the bullion versions for their appearance, quality, shape, and size.
Beginning in 2006 through 2008 and once again starting in 2011, the U.S. Mint unveiled silver and gold uncirculated American Eagle coins. These coins also feature a different type of minting protocol than their more ordinary bullion cousins even though they look much the same when they are held up together. These variations on the American Eagle bullion issues are also struck for only investing or collecting purposes.
It was originally the United States Congress which authorized and introduced the American Silver Eagle coins. The U.S. Mint strikes them not only in silver, but also in gold and platinum today.
Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Coins
Back in 1988, the Royal Canadian Mint beat the other major global mints to market with their nation's silver bullion coin the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf. Over the years, the original design has been changed almost annually to include commemorative additions, special proof releases, holographic enhancements, and different privy marks. The general coin features are unchanged since this stunningly beautiful coin was originally released to the delight of coin collectors and investors around the world.
In fact it is no exaggeration to claim that these Silver Canadian Maple Leafs are many times deemed to be the most beautiful silver bullion coins on planet earth. Thanks to their impressive .9999 fineness of silver, they also enjoy the reputation of being among the purest silver coins ever struck. This all helps to explain why the Silver Canadian Maple Leaf remains one of the most desirable and sought out coins among both collectors and investors of the world today.
Every Canadian Maple Leaf coin, whether in silver, gold, or platinum, is minted by and at the Royal Canadian Mint. Their principal branch is found in Winnipeg. As with all true bullion, these coins possess a face value which is usable in legal tender transactions. Canada's famed mint has justly earned its world-renowned reputation for legendary detail and quality in their production of coins over the years.
United Kingdom Silver Britannia Coins
Thanks to the overwhelming success enjoyed by the 1987-introduced Gold Britannia bullion coins, Her Majesty's Royal Mint began to strike its now-famed one ounce Silver Britannias in 1997 in honor of the 10 year anniversary of the series. Those first year Silver Britannias only came out as proofs, with a mere 20,000 struck for rarity purposes.
Because of this, the original issues of the coins could not be included in Precious Metals IRAs, though this changed with the 2013 redesign of the coins which stepped up their silver purity to the IRS-mandated minimum of .999 fineness and their issuance to a serious bullion coin level of production. These two British pounds sterling face-valued coins only included .986 fine historical levels of Britannia silver before the upgrade which made these later versions of the coin from 2013 IRS-standard approved.
The design of this coin has been changed by the Royal Mint almost every year since. In even years including 1998 through 2006, the design was one of Standing Britannia, which G.W. De Saulles first created and engraved. Special designs graced the reverses of these coins for odd years 1997 through 2007. Beginning in 2010, the Royal Mint had the newly designed Britannia image by Suzie Zamit on the coins.
Zamit redesigned Britannia for the mint again in 2016 with a trident and shield, as well as with the famed British lion resting at Britannia's feet on the special proof editions. The obverse front of these coins today contains the "Fifth Portrait" of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, while the original versions of the coins first showcased the "Third Portrait" and then "Fourth Portrait" of the beloved longest reigning monarch.
Mexican Silver Libertad Coins
The oldest mint in all of the Western Hemisphere and "New World" is the legendary Casa de Moneda de Mexico, first founded by Spanish Viceroy Antonio de Mendoz under direct orders from the Spanish crown in 1535. Mexico's silver coins have been circulated throughout the world, struck in an impressive six different centuries.
These Mexican Silver Libertads were first minted back in 1982. The Mexican Mint altered the coin's style rather dramatically back in the mid 1990s. These 99.9 percent pure silver coins are often regarded as among the most beautiful silver pieces ever created. On the front obverse of the coins is the Mexican National Seal, complete with an eagle perched atop a cactus and grasping a serpent with its beak. The back reverse of these coins boasts the twin symbols of Mexico in the form of both the Angel of Independence as well as Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl the Mexican volcanoes.
Why Invest in Silver Coins?
You might wonder what the reasons are to buy silver coins rather than silver bars. Coins have the advantage of both cultural and conversational appeal which bars simply lack. A few of the main reasons why you might go for coins over bars are:
- Bullion coins are generally more "liquid" than bars as they are both more popular and more heavily produced than comparable bullion bars. This gives them convenience in trading them as well.
- Bullion coins nearly always enjoy actual legal tender designation within their country of origin. This additional transactional value provides them with a greater appeal in times of financial crisis. It is a theoretical advantage though, as no person would reasonably choose to part with these coins for just their face value, which is commonly far less than the market value of the coins' intrinsic silver.
- Bullion coins always enjoy a greater collectibility than do bullion bars. This gives them a real numismatic value. They are more appealing in part because of their creative, attractive, and finely crafted final designs against which bullion bars simply can not compete.