As Silver Prices Soar, Silver Coins Get Smaller
Ten years ago, one ounce silver bullion coins could be purchased for around $7 each. This reflected market silver prices below the $5 level. As recently as one year ago, the prices for one ounce bullion coins had risen to around $18 each. Following the dramatic rise in the silver price experienced in the last five months, newly minted one ounce silver bullion coins from a major world mint are now priced around $39, assuming a purchase in quantity.
Silver has been called “poor man’s gold”, but after the significant rise in price, even the traditionally smallest sized coins are becoming expensive. Thus, it was only a matter of time before smaller sized coins would be introduced.
Last month, the Perth Mint of Australia began selling one-tenth ounce Silver Koala coins. Previously, this series had been offered in sizes ranging from one-half ounce to 1 kilo. Other numismatic and bullion coin offerings from the Perth Mint have also been available in sizes starting at one-half ounce, but this seems to be the first instance that a one-tenth ounce size has been available.
As will generally be the case with silver products, the smaller weight offerings carry a larger premium than than larger weight products. This can be the result of the fixed costs associated with manufacture or volume discounts which may be available for purchases in bulk quantities.
The Perth Mint’s website shows the one ounce 2011 Silver Koala priced at US $41.88, reflecting a premium of $5.57 or 15.34%. The one-tenth ounce version is priced at $13.76, reflecting a premium of $10.13 or 279%! (All prices at time of post.)
Obviously when purchasing silver for investment purposes, it makes sense to pay the lowest premium possible. That way, you will get more silver for your money and won’t risk seeing contraction of premiums offset gains.
The move by the Perth Mint to smaller sized silver coins is certainly an interesting one. How long will it be before other world mints follow suit?