As more and more individuals enter the silver market for the first time, one of the most common questions we receive is “what is the best way to invest in silver bullion?” This is a somewhat broad and open ended question, as different individuals have various investment philosophies and needs, but a form of silver bullion that all silver coin investors should consider are foreign silver coins.
Foreign silver coins come from various countries, but most foreign silver coins that we come across in Atlanta are from Canada, Mexico and Great Britain. These coins are highly recognizable, and while not quite as liquid as 90% US silver coins, there’s still a market for these coins. In fact, we regularly buy coins from all of these countries as well as others.
Since most silver bullion investors are familiar with the silver content of these coins, they have very little hesitation in buying these coins in bulk from foreign coin dealers. Canadian dimes, quarters, half dollars and silver dollars minted in 1967 or earlier contain 80% silver content, which is slightly less than the standard for U.S. junk silver coins, but is still a very acceptable purity of silver.
British or Great Britain coins minted from 1920 – 1946 contain 50% silver and are commonly seen in the U.S. Prior to 1920, Great Britain coins were sterling silver, which has a silver content of 92.5%. This is the highest purity of silver that you will find in foreign silver coins, with the exception of .999 fine sovereign issued coins minted for investment purposes.
With respect to Mexican silver coins, the purity and weight of the coins is typically noted on the coin, which makes it fairly easy to arrive at the actual silver weight (ASW) of the coins. The percentage of silver of Mexican pesos minted from 1910 – 1914 was 90.3%. In 1918, the silver content of Mexican silver coins was reduced to 80%, and in general, the purity of silver continued to be debased until silver was completely removed from Mexican coinage after the mintage of 100 pesos in 1977.
In addition to the above, we commonly see old silver coins from German, Spain, Italy and France, all of which contain various amounts of silver. Generally speaking, older foreign coins contain a higher silver content than more recent silver coins, as most countries have been debasing their coinage of silver for quite some time.
In summary, whether you’re interested in buying foreign silver coins as an investment in silver bullion or selling foreign silver coins, there’s a broad and available market. Many foreign silver coins contain a high percentage of silver, making them an ideal silver investment. Generally speaking, foreign silver coins that contain a higher silver content are in are in higher demand and sell at a higher price than coins that contain a lower silver content.