Monday, May 21, 2012

Metal Prices are Down: Why I Prefer Buying Silver Over Gold

I own a little of both silver and gold -- not in the paper form mind you, but in its actual physical form. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a collection worth thousands of dollars or anything like that, but it’s a nice little hedge against currency devaluation and inflation. Most of my precious metal comes in the form of a small collection of silver coins and ounce bars that I built as a child and that I’ve added to over the years.

The price of silver and gold may have been down lately (under $28 and $1580 an ounce respectively at the writing of this article), but with their drop in price, my interest has risen, and I’ve been keeping an eye out for buying opportunities. I have a preference of silver in my purchases though, and here are some of the reasons why I prefer buying silver more than gold.

Buying Ability
Many people can’t afford to just run out and buy an ounce of gold at $1,500 or $1,600, or even if they can, it might be a slightly higher investment than they prefer to make all at once. I find that this is the case in my situation. I’m much more comfortable being able to go out and buy an ounce of silver for $30 or $35, which to me is a much more reasonable buy-in amount for the common person such as myself.
Add to this the fact that I can find a variety of silver and silver coin buying options at spots like antique stores, coin shops, pawn shops, garage sales, and resale shops, and it makes my buying opportunities much broader.

Silver Owning Options
I tend to find a variety of silver buying options. From silverware, bowls, jewelry, and candle sticks, to tea service sets, coins, dishware, and more, silver is a common buying option. However, finding such options isn’t as common with gold. I’m not typically going to find a solid gold candlestick or snuff box at a garage sale -- gold plated, maybe -- but such items aren’t as common at my sort of buying locations as silver pieces are. Therefore, I tend to look to buffer my silver coin collection through the types of decorative pieces I mentioned that are not only decorative and affordable, but might be functional and could also serve for their silver melt value if needed.

Peace of Mind
I’m not sure about you, but having a bunch of gold lying around the house wouldn’t really put me at ease. Of course that’s what safety deposit boxes are for, but even then, I’m not sure I’d want multiple thousands of dollars wrapped up in just a few ounces of metal. Sure, I know that over time, gold retains its value reasonably well and can act as a form of hard currency that outlives paper currencies; however, for some reason, I just feel more comfortable with owning silver than gold. Plus, were it necessary to convert the metal, I’d feel more comfortable walking into a place of business sporting a $30 silver coin than a $1,600 gold one, and I wouldn’t be as worried about getting mugged in the process.

Ease of Conversion
Speaking of conversion, in a situation where commodities might suddenly be necessary to pay for goods and services, it would be much easier to walk into a store and buy a loaf of bread using a pre-1964 90% silver dime worth $3 than it would a gold coin that’s worth $1,000. Unless I’m planning on buying a wagonload of supplies, the silver coin conversion option seems much simpler to me. There might also be a broader market for exchanging smaller value silver coins than gold versions which a far smaller portion of the general public may be able to afford or be able to produce change for.


The author is not a licensed financial or commodities professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.

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