Although 1 troy ounce coins are the most popular type of silver coin, silver coins also come in a variety of other sizes. Versions smaller than 1 full ounce are known as “fractional coins” (in other words, a fraction of an ounce).
Not all silver or gold bullion coins are available in fractional sizes. Fractional coins are typically found in ½ ounce, ¼ ounce, 1/10 ounce, or 1/20 ounce sizes, with the size options available dependent on the coin. The Mexican Silver Libertad is available in all of these sizes. On the other hand, the American Silver Eagle, one of the world’s most popular silver bullion coins, is only minted in the one ounce size, and is not available in any fractional sizes.
Fractional coins are much smaller than their one-ounce counterparts. For example, the 1/20th ounce Mexican Libertad measures 16mm in diameter and is 1mm thick, while the 1 ounce version is 40mm in diameter and 3mm thick. Many silver collectors find that these fractional sizes aren’t as much fun to look at or hold because of their smaller size. On the other hand, fractional silver coins can be a great way to keep your collection diverse and interesting.
For many investors, fractional coins represent the first step. Rather than the larger investment of full-ounce silver coins, consider buying fractional coins – priced at a fraction of the cost. With the spot price of silver so high, fractional coins represent a more affordable way to get involved in precious metal investing.
If you want to stock up on silver, but don’t have the money to invest in full one ounce coins, small fractional silver bullion coins may make a wise investment. These smaller coins are more obtainable for average coin collectors who prefer to make smaller purchases.
If you are considering investing in fractional silver coins, keep in mind that the per-ounce premiums on fractional coins are often higher than when buying full ounce coins. Many dealers charge a per-coin premium, which means that you may end up paying more per ounce when buying fractional coins than when buying full ounces.
Why buy fractional coins instead of the more common one ounce size? First, they make great affordable gifts for your loved ones. Although many precious metal investors consider fractional coins to be impractical, the novelty of owning pure silver or gold makes them a fun present. In addition, mot fractionals are minted at much lower rates than their 1 oz counterparts, improving the likelihood that their numismatic value will increase over time.
Many people also feel that fractional coins are better tools for bartering than the full 1 oz size. If you consider your silver investment to be a way to prepare for emergencies such as an economic catastrophe rendering U.S. currency worthless, these fractional coins may represent an opportunity for future trading power in order to obtain the everyday items your family needs.
On the other hand, some investors prefer pre-1964 U.S. currency such as dimes and quarters, which are 90% silver, for this purpose. Many collectors consider such coins to be another type of fractional silver.