How to Buy Silver

If you’re curious about how you can buy silver, read on.

Updated: June 23, 2023
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

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Precious metals are a great way to invest in something for the future. Many people like to invest a small amount in things like gold or silver and then just let them be over time. This can be one piece of a well-diversified portfolio if it is something that appeals to you. 

Most people invest in silver either to hold it, or to use it as a hedge in their portfolios when we see struggling economies and higher inflation. It’s a good offset in this manner. Even when the market is uncertain, precious metals tend to be steady in many ways, and it’s “money” not heavily affected by inflation either. 

If you’re curious about how you can buy silver, there are several different options to do so.

In fact, you can even purchase stock and ETFs that are silver-related, or you can buy silver coins and bars. The choice is up to you. 

Check out these ways to buy silver. 

Silver Coins

When most people think of buying silver, their minds automatically go to a physical silver asset. In most cases, this comes in the form of silver coins, or even silver bullion. If you choose to buy material silver like this, just be sure you have a safe place to store it

If you have the ability to get your hands on old US coins, there were a large number of them that were made from almost completely silver. This is specific to coins made prior to 1964. While they are not 100% silver, they are approximately 90% silver, which is substantial. 

Silver coins like these is a good way to buy silver, but you may be purchasing them at a premium since they are considered to be rare in the market. These are physical pieces so if your intent is to make money off of them, you will eventually need to sell them to the highest bidder. 

You don’t have to purchase coins to invest in physical silver. You can purchase things like silver bars or bullion as well. These are simple bars made of silver and given a value based on their size or weight. 

The challenge is to find any of this type of silver.

It’s not like just jumping on the stock market and choosing an investment. Instead, you will have to find a dealer to work with. You may be able to locate a dealer local to you, or you can do some research and choose an online dealer. Just be sure that you do your due diligence and don’t fall into any scams or traps. 

Before you buy, familiarize yourself with values so that you can hopefully avoid overspending. Keep in mind that you also may not be able to liquidate or sell your silver for as much as it is worth if you suddenly needed to trade it for cash. 

Check Out ETFs

Another option to buy silver is to look at different ETFs on the market that have silver in them. They may not be entirely made up of silver, but they will likely have a focus on silver-related investments. 

Here’s one example. The iShares Silver Trust is made up almost entirely of silver holdings, and it has significant assets. This is one option that is sometimes far simpler than just buying silver coins or bars. 

If an ETF is the right fit for you, there are several different options out there. Do a little bit of research to find the one that you feel fits your goals. You can invest in silver in most investment apps so just head to your favorite trading platform and look around a little bit. 

When you hold an ETF, you get returns for doing so.

In this case, the returns will be based on their investments in silver minus whatever costs are associated with the fund. The ETF we shared above is one of the most popular choices. Another common choice is the Aberdeen Standard Physical Silver Shares ETF. 

Both of these are heavily composed of silver holdings, but they are different overall. You might also be able to find some other ETFs out there to choose from. 

In terms of ETFs, you might also want to consider funds that are comprised of silver miners. This won’t be quite the same as holding silver, but will instead reflect holdings of mining companies that the funds invest in. It’s a different approach, and it’s important to pay attention to the details behind the fund. 

Silver-Related Stocks

In addition to ETFs, there are also stocks that are related to silver. The stocks vary quite a bit, and there are only a few choices out there, but these might be something to look into if silver is on your mind. 

Most of the stocks in the market are tied to a business that mines silver.

Public stocks always come from a business or enterprise allowing them to be publicly traded. Silver mining companies exist in plenty, so you could choose a mining company to invest in. 

The difference between this and purchasing silver ETFs or silver coins and bars is that you’re investing in the art of finding silver. Your profits and losses will be based on the success and stock prices of the company that you invest in. 

Generally speaking, when silver prices are up, a silver mining company should also see gains. That is assuming the company is good at what they do and they are a longstanding, reliable company. Mining companies can increase production and make business changes that could impact your silver stock investments so keep that in mind as well. 

Just like with any other holding, it’s a good idea to do some research and find the best fit to ensure you get a quality silver holding with this approach. As with anything else in the stock market, there is never a guarantee that you will see profits or increases in value. 

Why Consider Investing in Silver?

Whether or not you choose to buy silver is ultimately up to you. It’s not for everyone by any means. However, there are times when silver might be a good addition to your portfolio. It depends on your strategies, the choices you make, and what the market is doing. 

There are times when silver has performed higher than other sectors, including stocks. The market is cyclical in this way, and silver prices are often pushed by inflation and the economy. When stocks are down, it’s quite possible silver will be going up. However, that is not necessarily always the case. 

The nice thing about silver is that it can hold its own.

It maintains value for the most part, although the value can fluctuate slightly. Silver can see gains and increases in several different ways, even when you invest in silver bars and coins. 

Silver might be considered liquid, but it really depends. If you purchase a stock or ETF, you can typically sell your shares at any time. If you buy coins or bars, you can likely work with a dealer at any time to sell. 

Silver might just be a good way to add some diversity to your portfolio as a whole. Precious metals are their own sector, and while you don’t necessarily want huge holdings of any one sector, it’s a good idea to be invested in several different areas. Silver might just be one for you. 

The Drawbacks to Buying Silver

There are downsides to investing in silver, just as there are downsides to any other investment type out there. It’s simply something to be aware of so that you can weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision. 

Silver is not cash.

You can’t just deposit it in your bank account or turn around and use it at the store. While it’s considered a liquid asset, it will take time to sell or trade your silver holdings in order to provide cash. Keep this in mind.

If you have to sell coins and bars, you will be at the hands of a dealer and their timeline. And if you have to sell ETFs or stocks, you are at the mercy of the market and will have to wait a couple of days for the trades to process. 

The other downside we want to mention is that it can be hard to measure your gains and profits with silver. When using an ETF or stock, you can easily track ROI, profits, losses, etc. But when you have physical silver, you rely on the dealers to give you a fair trade for your silver. It’s driven by the market and the current price of silver, but you may not make much money in the end. 

When Should You Invest in Silver?

If you’re thinking about investing in silver, there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong time. It might depend on what type of holding you choose to go with. For example, if you decide to buy the stock of a silver mining company, you will want to attempt to invest when the prices are low.

Here are some things to consider. 

  • Supply and demand are out of balance in the current market for physical silver.
  • Look for good pricing in the market.
  • Are you hedging against inflation? Now’s the time.
  • Hedging your overall portfolio against market exposure.
  • Add commodities or precious metals for diversification.

Your strategy will make a difference here, as will the type of holding you choose to invest in. Take the time to do a bit of research on the industry as a whole, and get to know your options when it comes to silver. 

Final Thoughts

Learning how to buy silver isn’t too hard. The answer simply depends on whether you want investment assets or you prefer to actually have silver bars and coins in your possession. There are reliable approaches to any of these choices. 

Buying silver won’t be the solution for every investor. It’s also safe to say that not every investor who does buy silver will use the same approach. That’s one of the unique things about assets, the stock market, and the ability to build the portfolio that works for your needs.

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