SILVER COINS & BULLIONS
Bullion is gold, silver, or other precious metals in the form of coins, ingots, or bars. Typically bullion is used for trade on a market. The word bullion comes from the French Minister of Finance under Louis XIII, Claude de Bullion.
The value of bullion is typically determined by the value of its precious metals content, which is defined by its purity and mass. To assess the purity of gold bullion, the centuries old technique of fire assay is still employed, together with modern spectroscopic instrumentation, to accurately determine its quality in order and ensure the owner receives fair market value for it. It is also weighed extremely accurately.
Retailers may sometimes market ingots and bars of base metals, such as copper, nickel, and aluminium as bullion, but this is not a widely accepted definition.
Bullion coins describe contemporary precious metal coins minted by official agencies for investment purposes. Historically, most currency were in the form of bullion coins, silver and gold being the most common metals. Some bullion coins have been used as currency throughout the 20th century, like the Maria Theresa thaler and the Krugerrand. However, modern bullion coins generally do not enter common circulation despite having legal tender status and a nominal face value. Some modern bullion coins, such as the gold and silver American eagle, are produced as both business strike and collectible proof and uncirculated versions. Business strikes typically are sold at prices commensurate with their precious metal content, whereas collectible versions are sold at a significant premium over their actual bullion value. In some cases the grade and mintages of business strike coins can affect their value, so that they are considered numismatic rather than bullion items.
Silver bullion is silver in the form of bars, coins, ingots or rounds. The best known silver coins are silver Eagles, Maple Leafs, Kookaburras and Britannia's. But not all silver bullion coins are created equal, and buyers must be aware of the differences to make educated purchases.