Silver bullion

Silver bullion keeps its value when the rest of the market is unstable. There’s an art to buying it, though, so here are some handy tips for you if you’re thinking of investing in silver bullion for the first time.

Realise that there’s a downside

Silver bullion isn’t ideal for fast trades so if you are going to invest, you should realise that you need to hold it for at least three years and preferably longer. The prices can fluctuate quite a bit, so don’t panic!

A decent dealer won’t accept credit or debit cards as payment

It seems odd these days, but smaller reputable dealers only accept cash as payment. If they accept cards, then you’re paying too much, as the dealer will have factored in the card surcharge into their asking price. Larger, more established dealers will be able to offset these fees in your favour.

Store your bullion in a safe place

This seems like a no-brainer, but many people choose to store their bullion with the dealer they bought it from. While most dealers are reputable, a few aren’t, so it’s always best to be cautious. Also, you may be buying bullion to protect yourself against a market crash and if you can’t get to it, you may have a problem! You need a safety deposit box or a home safe – and make sure only you and immediate family know about it.

Compare and contrast

Always look at the prices across the market and take your time. You can give dealers a call or you can visit each dealer’s website. Bullion tends to sell above the spot price of the metal, so don’t use this as your only guide.

You should aim for the lowest price you can find after you’ve factored in shipping and insurance fees. If possible, buy locally so that your only real expense is gas and maybe a coffee on the outward journey. Go straight home and place your silver in your safe ASAP!

Watch out for fakes

There have been reports of fake 1-ounce silver ingots floating around. Fakes are easy to spot by professionals, so expect your dealer to have carried out due diligence and to guarantee all bullion to be genuine.

Watch out when it comes to rare coins

Unless you really know what you’re doing, avoid rare coins, as you could be getting into the tricky realms of grading. It’s hard to distinguish between grades unless you’re a real expert – the differences between grades are almost impossible to spot but they can mean differences of thousands of dollars! Use a professional grading service and get certificates if you do decide to take the plunge.

Beware of scams

There are so many scam artists out there, waiting for vulnerable newbies. Watch out for dealers who offer free storage of your bullion, or offer to delay delivery in return for a lower price. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Check out references and reviews for a start. You should also make sure that the dealer is a member of at least one industry body.

If you’re buying from an individual dealer, then make sure you meet in a safe, well-peopled place as there have been robberies in recent years. If you need any advice, then talk to a dealer who seems reputable, even if their prices are too high for your budget, as they’ll often be willing to help a newcomer to the market.