1 oz Silver Bar
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Measuring approximately 2 inches long (50 millimeters) by 1 1 /8 inch wide (28mm) , the 1 oz silver Bar is one of the most enduringly popular silver bars sizes with investors and collectors. Weighing exactly one Troy ounce (31.1034768 grams), these bars are produced by all the major silver bullion manufacturers of the world. They are very affordable and can usually be purchased for just a few dollars above the current spot price.
1 Troy oz Silver Bar
Like other silver bars, 1 oz Silver Bars are typically manufactured at 0.999 purity (99.9%) and this will be stamped on the bar along with the weight, manufacturer's stamp and sometimes (but not always) a serial number. In Europe, the purity is written using the system of millesimal fineness, so the number will appear as 999 - meaning 999 thousandths pure.
Unlike 1 oz silver bullion coins , which typically have the backing of Government, 1 oz Silver Bars are not government backed but are certified by their manufacturers. For this reason it is often advised that investors buy silver bars manufactured by major banks - such as the Northwest Territorial Mint bar in the image. This is because these have been certified by assay to contain the stated purity and weight of pure Silver. Many of the bars come with an assay certificate and this form of provenance is of course most desirable.
1oz Silver Art Bars
One interesting area for the collector is that of 1 oz "silver art bars". These are simply silver bars with an artistic design on them, possibly in limited edition. Many of the old ones are now rare, as a large number were melted down in the 1980's.
There are thousands of designs of art bar out there, depicting almost anything you can imagine: I have seen silver art bars depicting animals, advertising, patriotism, celebrities, humour (a stagecoach with the words "for when you need to get out of Dodge"), and even "adult themed" art bars - for example a set of twelve "Kama Sutra" art bars from the 1980's with the months January to December and a different sexual position illustrated on each bar!
At least two books have been created which catalogue silver art bars - J. Archie Kidd's "A Complete Guide Book of Silver Art Bars" - in at least the sixth edition (2008) - is notable in that its first edition was published in 1975. Also listed on Amazon are "An Indexed Guide Book of Silver Art Bars" (Volume 2) by Nancy Yee (2008) and "An Indexed Guide Book of Silver Art Bars, Miniature Art Masterpieces Minted in Pure Silver Ingots for the Collector, Novice, and Investor" by Steve M. Rood; William Cassin; Duane Spellman (editors) (1986). (Possibly the same work?)
Buying 1oz Silver Bars - Some Important Tips
A couple of notes of caution are required for those interested in buying 1 oz silver bars. First, be aware that although the price of silver we see quoted in the commodities market is the "spot price", one will typically pay a little more for the actual purchase of the silver bar - and when selling the bars back to a bullion dealer, will realise a little less. The premiums are often calculated as a percentage of the weight of the bar and larger bars often ending up being slightly better value for money due to economies of scale.
Another important point is that there are numerous "replica" silver bars out there. This can be a confusing area for the buyer - as it may not be immediately obvious what is an "art bar" made from pure silver, and what is a replica. Anything that says "silver 100 mils" or "100 mills 999 silver" or something like that: The bar is only silver coated, to 100 mills (thousandths of an inch) depth. I've even seen bars stated to be "999 mills" - do they mean millionths? The bars are certainly not an inch thick!
Some of these bars are attractive or even entertaining, and can make a fascinating collection - however it is always important to know what you are getting into. If you are an investor and want bullion, in general it is advisable to stick to bars made by one of the reputable bullion manufacturers of the world and to buy through established bullion traders.
Anything that says "COPY" is just that - a replica and typically not silver. Anything that is stated to be "German Silver", "Old Chinese Silver", "Tibetan Silver" or "Alpaca Silver" is NOT silver - it is made from an alloy of 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc! I have seen such bars with wording cleverly designed to lead the unwary to think that this is bullion - such as "1 Troy Ounce Fine German Silver .999" It sounds as though it is silver, but there is NO silver in it at all. There is typically no manufacturer's mark, assayers mark, certificate or serial number with such bars.
If in doubt, resist. The giveaway is typically that such bars are typically priced way below the spot price for their weight. Think about it: If it were pure silver, the seller could immediately liquidate for a price very close to the spot price by selling to a bullion dealer; why would they sell way under the spot price on ebay. If you are buying on ebay, be sure to read the listing very carefully - also check the seller's feedback. Established bullion sellers should have thousands of feedbacks and a score very close to 100% positive.
1oz Silver Bars With Assay Card
As with other small silver bars (such as 5 gram, 10 gram, 20 gram, 50 gram) it is not uncommon to see 1 oz silver bars come mounted and sealed on a dedicated assay certificate card that is the size of an ordinary credit card. The certificate will typically have a serial number which of course matches the number on the bar.
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