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Are you looking to add some silver bars to your investment portfolio? Are you having a hard time deciding between all the different silver bar mints and companies out there? Johnson Matthey, Royal Canadian Mint, Sunshine Minting, Engelhard, SilverTowne, and PAMP Suisse are just a few of the numerous mints that produce silver bars. Is a silver bar just a silver bar, or is it better to purchase silver bars from a particular company?
You're not alone in asking this question. Let's take a look at the different silver bar brands and minting companies that are out there, then you will be able to decide what you would like to add to your portfolio.
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Different Types and Sizes of Silver Bars
Before we get into the different brands of silver bars, let's first distinguish between the two types of silver bars you may find. These include minted silver bars and poured silver bars.
Poured, or cast, silver bars are made by filling special molds with hot molten silver. The silver is allowed to cool in the steel or graphite mold, then it is removed. The process to make a poured silver bar is more time-consuming and requires additional labor than that to make a minted silver bar. Because of this, the cost to purchase a poured silver bar is typically a bit more expensive than the spot price of silver.
This article will mostly look at minted silver bars. The production process to make a minted silver bar is nearly identical to that of making a silver coin. A blank is cut out of silver stock, then the dies are loaded into a hydraulic press to strike the blank. This creates the imprint on the bar with the name of the mint, the fineness of the silver, and other key details.
Silver bars that are labeled as investment grade, must be made using 99.9% pure silver. You may also see them labeled at .999 fine silver. With this purity level, these bars are suitable for personal holdings as well as meeting the IRS requirements to be held in a Precious Metals IRA.
Silver bars are produced in a variety of sizes. While you may find additional sizes offered by some mints, the most common weights include 1 ounce, 5 ounces, 10 ounces, 100 ounces, and 1 kilogram.
Name Brands vs Generic Silver Bars
When you're shopping for silver bars, you can choose from "name brand" or "generic" silver bars. If you've ever wandered down an aisle of the grocery store and noticed that the price of a name brand box of cereal was higher than the store brands, then it will probably seem logical that the name brand bars are more expensive that the generic.
Name brand bars are ones that are made by well-established and highly-trusted mints and manufacturers. Some of the biggest name brand silver bar manufacturers include the Royal Canadian Minter, PAMP Suisse, Johnson Matthey, and Engelhard.
Because of their status and recognition, these bars are priced at a premium. You can expect to pay more per ounce compared to the spot price of gold. Should you decide to sell your silver bars, you can also expect to get a higher return for a name brand silver bar.
Generic silver bars are produced by smaller private mints. While many of these mints are respected, they don't have the status of the mints that produce the name brand bars. Because of this, generic silver bars are priced pretty much in line with the spot price of gold. Similarly, when selling a generic silver bar, expect the sale or buy-back price to be comparable to the spot price of silver.
Some of the generic silver bars that we'll take a look at below include Mason Mint Silver Bars, Sunshine Minting Silver Bars, and SilverTowne Silver Bars.
Name Brand Silver Bar Companies
As we shared above, the major name brand silver bar brands include the Royal Canadian Mint, PAMP Suisse, Johnson Matthey, and Engelhard. Continue reading to learn more about each of these brands and the silver bars they offer.
❑ Royal Canadian Mint Silver Bars
The Royal Canadian Mint, run by the government of Canada, has a stellar reputation in the precious metals industry. They are probably most well known for the quality and brilliance of their gold and silver coins, but the Royal Canadian Mint also produces silver bars.
Due to their renowned status in the industry, Royal Canadian Mint silver bars often come at a premium. However, keep in mind that this also means that you'll be able to get more when you are ready to liquidate your investment.
Three of the most popular silver bar sizes offered by the Royal Canadian Mint include:
❑ PAMP Suisse Silver Bars
PAMP, which stands for Produits Artistiques Metaux Precieux, is one of the most well-known and respected precious metals refiners in the world. Part of the MKS Group, PAMP was founded in 1977. The company's headquarters are in Castel San Pietro, Switzerland.
PAMP offers both cast and minted silver bars in different weights. Below are the different minted and cast options you can choose from:
🠲 Minted Silver Bars
🠲 Cast Silver Bars
❑ Johnson Matthey Silver Bars
We'd be remiss if we didn't include Johnson Matthey in this round-up of the best silver bar brands. In 1817, Norton Johnson formed a gold assaying company in London. After partnering with George Matthey in 1851, the company officially became known as Johnson Matthey. From early in their history, Johnson Matthey was a trusted precious metals refiner. They were even among the first to refine palladium and platinum.
In the 1980s, Johnson Matthey ceased production of their poured vintage silver bars. Then, in 2015, the company sold its precious metals investment division, which ended their production of minted silver bars as well.
While there are no new Johnson Matthey bars in production, you can still find them available through different gold dealers. The vintage bars are particular popular with many investors, and because of this, will come at a bit of an extra premium.
The sizes of Johnson Matthey silver bars you can find today include:
❑ Engelhard Silver Bars
Engelhard's history dates back over a century. Charles W Engelhard Sr. started the company in 1902, followed shortly by his founding of other precious metals companies. Engelhard grew to become the largest refiner of gold, silver and platinum in the world.
Engelhard is not currently producing any new silver bars. The company ceased production in 2006. However, while they were still in business, Engelhard produced a lot of silver bars. They were among the most popular offerings from the company. Plus, in addition to the standard-sized bars, they even made 'odd' sized bars, including 3- and 4-ounce bars.
There are still many silver bars available for purchase from different gold dealers or private investors. They remain one of the most sought-after silver bars.
While availability may vary depending on who you are purchasing silver bars from, some of the silver bar sizes minted by Engelhard include:
❑ Generic Silver Bar Mints
Now, let's take a look at a few of the different generic silver bar mints. Remember, these are just a few of the different private mints that produce silver bars. There are many others out there, but the three listed below (Mason Mint, Sunshine Minting, and SilverTowne) are among the more well-known companies.
❑ Mason Mint Silver Bars
Mason Mint specializes in silver bullion pieces. In addition to silver bars, they also classic design silver rounds, legal tender silver coins, holiday rounds, lunar year rounds, and more.
When you're looking for silver bars from Mason Mint, you can choose from minted or poured bars. Here are the available options for each bar type:
🠲 Minted Silver Bars
🠲 Poured Silver Bars
🠲 Sunshine Minting Silver Bars
Sunshine Minting, Inc is located in Idaho. In addition to the silver bars they produce, the mint also offers a variety of other bullion pieces. They also supply precious metals to various banks, marketing companies, international mints, and other corporations in the United States and around the world.
Below are the different silver bars offered by Sunshine Mint:
In addition to the standard bars with the mint's logo, you can also purchase custom silver bars or medallions from Sunshine Minting. Some ideas for custom pieces listed on the website include awards, promotional events, incentives or anniversary gifts for employees, personal anniversaries, and fundraisers.
❑ SilverTowne Silver Bars
SilverTowne was founded by Leon Hendrickson in 1949. In the years following the start of the company, they have grown to become a respected precious metals dealer.
Below you'll find some of the different SilverTowne minted silver bars you can choose from. Many of these bars are available with different designs including buffalo replicas, the SilverTowne trademark logo, the American Flag, and a retro eagle with shield.
How to Purchase Silver Bars
If you're ready to purchase silver bars, there truly are a lot of different options. With numerous online precious metals dealers, and even your local coin shops, you won't be hard-pressed to find a vendor selling silver bars.
However, that doesn't mean that you simply want to purchase silver bars from the first company you find that is offering them. Buying silver bars represents a big investment, and you don't want to just give your money to any company without doing a bit of research first.
If there are specific silver bars you are interested in purchasing, you should begin your search by looking for companies that offer those specific brands. Most dealers only offer a few different brands and sizes of silver bars, so you may need to do some hunting if there is one bar in particular that you are interested in.
When you find a dealer, or a few dealers, that have what you're looking for, it is also important to learn more about the company. You want to make sure that you'll be giving your money to a reputable company that will actually deliver what they advertise.
You can learn a good deal about a company and the level of service you can expect to receive by reading reviews from past customers. Consult websites such as Google and Trustpilot to see what others experiences have been like. Additionally, check for how long the company has been in business to make sure they are well-established.