If you are considering buying silver coins – whether to add to your coin collection or to invest in silver bullion – you may be wondering which size of coin to purchase. They come in a seemingly endless array of different sizes, making it difficult for many collectors to determine which size is right for their collection.
First, it is important to recognize that silver coin sizes are measured in the troy ounce. This unit of measurements is not the same as the ounce used to measure other items. One troy ounce is approximately 10% heavier than the more commonly-used ounce (officially known as the avoirdupois ounce).
Precious metal spot prices are quoted in troy ounces; this is the same unit of measurement used when making silver coins. Silver coin sizes are generally measured by weight (troy ounces) rather than by size (reported in millimeters).
The one ounce coin is, by far, the most common size. Popular examples of one-ounce silver coins include the American Silver Eagle and Canadian Maple Leaf. Most .999 pure silver coins produced worldwide are available in the 1oz size. Each coin weighs 31.1 grams, and usually measures between 34mm and 42mm in diameter.
Easily bought, sold, stored, and counted, this size is popular among both first-time collectors and seasoned investors. The 1 ounce silver coin is considered to be an efficient way to invest in silver, and a relatively affordable investment, making it more accessible for beginning collectors.
Although the 1 ounce coin is popular, it is not the only option. Fractional silver coins are anything smaller than 1 troy ounce. These include 1/20th, 1/10th, 1/4th, and ½ ounce. Not all silver coins come in all fractional sizes, and the size options are dependent on the coin in question. For example, the American Silver Eagle comes only in the one-ounce size. On the other hand, the Mexican Silver Libertad is available in all of the fractional sizes listed above.
These smaller-sized silver coins are popular among beginning investors who cannot yet afford to invest in full ounces of silver. Priced at a fraction of the cost of full 1oz coins, fractionals make an affordable way to get involved in precious metal investing. They are also a popular way to keep a larger silver collection diverse and interesting. However, some investors feel that they do not contain enough silver to be worth the investment.
In addition to these bullion coins, there are circulated coins that contain up to 90% silver. Examples include silver dollars minted in the United States prior to 1964. The size of these silver coins is not based on a round amount of precious metals. For example, Morgan silver dollars have a 26.73 gram total weight, and contain 0.77344 troy ounces of silver.
Although it is harder to determine the amount of precious metal contained in such coins, they are considered an inexpensive way to build a silver collection. Because they weigh less than 1 troy ounce, many collectors consider such coins to be another type of fractional silver.
Finally, there are commemorative issue silver coins that come in special sizes. These specially-produced coins are designed specifically for collectors. They are not necessarily designed to contain an even number of troy ounces. The downside of this that it can be difficult to compute the value of the precious metal each coin contains.
However, such coins are minted in lower numbers, potentially increasing their numismatic value. Many collectors enjoy adding such unique silver coins to their collection.