A telemarketing firm recently began promoting 1-1/2 oz Snow Falcon silver coins, minted by the Royal Canadian Mint. We advise our clients to stay away from any silver bullion coins larger than one ounce.
Not only would 1-1/2 oz silver coins not be practical if the need ever came to use them as money, but specially minted coins rarely pick up higher premiums. In fact, they normally lose their premiums, turning them into basic bullion coins.
Actually, 1/2 oz and 1/4 oz silver coins would be better buys; however, they sell at high premiums, comparable to the premiums on Snow Falcon silver coins.
The primary reason for buying government-minted one-ounce silver coins (such as American Silver Eagles, Royal Canadian Mint Silver Maple Leafs, Perth Mint Silver Kangaroos) is to have recognizable coins that could be used for commerce should dollars fail or become not widely accepted, as historically has happened when governments have printed too much fiat money.
If that happens, 1 oz coins would be too valuable for small transactions. The Founding Fathers knew this when they passed the Coinage Act of 1792.
No one-ounce silver coins were called for, the largest silver coins being Trade Dollars and Silver Dollars containing .77 ounce of silver. Half-dollars contained .36169 oz; quarters .18075 oz; and dimes .0723 oz. U.S. 90% silver coins were minted 1794 through 1964.
Although billions of coins were minted, today 90% silver coins are relatively scarce. Twenty years ago, an order for 100 bags ($1,000 face value) of pre-’65 US 90% silver coins could have been filled by a single phone call to any one of five wholesalers. Today a 20-bag order would likely deplete the inventory of wholesalers that carry 90% silver coins. A few wholesalers no longer trade in 90% silver coins.
Investors interested in small silver coins should go with pre-1965 US 90% silver coins. They were minted to be used as money, were used as money and could be used as money again.