Are art rounds a worthwhile form of silver bullion for you to invest in?
That’s a good question, and like so many things in the investment world, the answer is a resounding “Maybe!” That is to say, there are both pros and cons to consider, so let’s take a look at them.
Art Rounds Defined
If you’re new to precious metals investing, or if you’re approaching it purely from an investing standpoint and aren’t familiar with collecting, you may not even know what art rounds are. Well, allow me to provide a succinct definition, if I may.
Basically, an art round is a minted silver disc that’s not quite a coin, but not quite bullion, either. The intent is to create a collectible that actually has some inherent value, given the precious metal content, but that also has a collectible value, so the creators can stick you for lots more cash than it’s worth.
Think of a coin-shaped object that looks like bullion but isn’t. It may be pretty (though I think some are pretty awful looking), but it’s not official, and doesn’t have to meet anyone’s standards for weight, purity, or content — much less those of the Federal government, or any government at all.
The metal in an art round itself is usually .999 pure silver, which is nice
, but the round itself can depict anything: a giant Mercury dime or Buffalo nickel, a picture of Elvis, an Indian Warrior, or a Chinese Fu Dog. There are even pornographic art rounds. The image has no real significance from an investment format.
Well, What’s the Investment Value?
Um… remember how I’ve mentioned elsewhere that it’s best to avoid collectible coins altogether, because of the collector value above and beyond the metal content? The same is true here. The truth is, any value other than that of the silver content is completely artificial and inflated.
That being the case, if you buy an art round, you’ll probably end up paying significantly more than the intrinsic value of the silver. There’s no guar
antee the collector value will ever go up; in fact, it may
well drop immediately, just like the value of a new car after you drive it off the lot.
I recommend that you avoid purchasing art rounds from dealers, because they’re just not going to be worth the price. Oh, you’ll always have to pay a premium for bullion, especially for coin bullion, but with rare exceptions it won’t be as high as the premium asked for art rounds. Don’t fall for their salesmanship!
Even if you can get the art round for the silver value or less, which is possible if you’re dealing with private owners trying to scare up some cash, I would move very carefully. Now, something like this ought to be a good deal; however, just because it says “999 fine silver” on the face doesn’t mean that’s true.
Scammers are everywhere, and sometimes they depend on you not bothering to assay the silver, since it’s usually not worth the cost to do so. So
use your best judgment here. Ultimately, it may be worth investing a few hundred bucks in rounds that will appreciate in value later… or it may not.
The Bottom Line
To sum it up, here’s my take on silver art rounds as bullion: don’t bother, unless you can get them at a discount and you’re sure they’re genuine. If you have the least doubt, I’d suggest you avoid them altogether. There are other forms of silver bullion that are usually cheaper, just as easy to acquire, and 100% trustworthy.
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I’d love to hear from those of you who have purchased art rounds. Leave me your comments below.