|Silver generally trends with gold and today is at $15.14. Over the years, I have had a preference for silver over gold because the sticker price is lower. Silver has been called "the poor man's gold." The preferred form of silver for the average person in the USA is 90% pre-1964 US Coin, dimes, quarters and halves. Personally, I have tended to the 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar because it has the most silver, being generally uncirculated. By comparison, if you stack up 20 Barber or Standing Liberty Quarters against 20 Washingtons, you will see that the older coins are measurably thinner. Franklin Halves tend to be on par with the Kennedys, but Walkers can be more worn, especially as higher grades are preferred for their numismatic value, leaving the thinner ones in bags of circulated Walkers |
The truth is that the market does not care. You bring in your coins, the dealer runs them through a counter and you are paid "by tale" not by weight. At least that has been the case these past 35 or so years. So, if you can find Washington Quarters or Roosevelt Dimes, then objectively, this is fine.
Another interesting way to buy silver close to bullion or spot is in the form of Silver Art Bars. I prefer the well-known mints, of which, perhaps the leader remains Silvertowne of Winchester, Indiana. Their long run of specialty bars celebrate all the pioneer virtues of America that warm an Objectivist's heart. When you are at that ANA Member Coin Dealer buying 90% US pre-1964 silver, ask about the Art Bars.
Remember that there is relatively little primary mining for silver. Most new silver comes as a by-product of copper refining. However, there is still so much 90% US out there that it is listed on the Chicago exchanges by the $1000 face bag. There are 715 troy ounces in a $1000 bag. Because this is only 90% pure, they often sell at a discount below spot. Of course, they are always worth their face value. To figure out the approximate price, mulitiply the spot price by 0.715 which today is 15.14 * 0.715 = 10.8 or so times the face value. So, 40 silver quarters ($10) would cost nominally $108 or so.
At today's gold prices, for $100 you would get a singe 1/10 ounce US Eagle. (Mark-up over spot on the smaller coin is measurable.) It is nice little gem, but there isn't much you can do with it. On the hand, you can play all night with 40 quarters, sort them by date and mint, grade them, build little houses...