From 100-ounce bars to half-ounce cubes, silver bullion is favored by those who want something more tangible in their financial portfolio than pieces of paper or electronic notices signifying the ownership of stocks and bonds. Like gold bars and platinum bullion, silver can be purchased and stored in safe-deposit boxes or under the mattress, which, given the flat profile of one-ounce silver bars, would not be as uncomfortable as it sounds.
Unlike gold, which has been largely recycled throughout history, silver has always been valued as much for its use in various industries as in objects such as jewelry, teapots, and flatware. Which means that the supply of the world’s silver has been decreasing since it was first mined in ancient Turkey some 5,000 years ago. In fact, according to the Silver Institute, 95 percent of all the silver the world has ever unearthed has been consumed by various industrial uses, be it in car batteries, electrical switches, or as a catalyzing agent. Still, of all the world’s precious metals, silver remains the most plentiful, which is why its price has always been low compared to, say, gold.
Like gold bullion, which is often sold in bars that have been embossed with dragons and animals of the Chinese zodiac such as horses, silver bars are routinely decorated with eagles, the busts of American presidents, and buffalo, such as the one found on Indian Head nickels made between 1913 and 1938. Other limited-edition bars feature the likenesses of Elvis, space aliens, and gryphons.