View Full Version : .925 vs .999 pros and cons

14th November 2006, 09:16
HI everyone, I'm new here and have a few questions and concerns I would like discuss concerning silver. I have been purchasing various things on Ebay for at least 8 yrs. Of probably at least 8-900 items bought, I've only been hammered maybe three times. I have been buying silver in several different forms over the last 3-4 months and find it cheaper and more plentiful on ebay than scouting around coin shops, flea markets and antique malls. Several months back you could pick up .999 coins and bars for right at spot price. Now they seem to be going at such a premium that my attention has turned to sterling in its many different forms. Now even sterling is rising in price with more people bidding it up. Anyway.... It seems to me that people prefer .999, then coin silver, THEN .925. It is like sterling has had a bad rap. I'm running out of time here and will write more latter, but is it wise to be buying up .925 and, at what percent of spot would be a "good" buy? Any input would be appreciated, Thanks

14th November 2006, 14:20
IMO, pure silver bullion in the form of coins or bars are always best. It is what it is. Pure silver. It can be melted down and repoured and it's still going to be pure silver. It's the easiest to get rid of when you decide to sell and sells at the best spread. My personal second choice is 90% silver coins, or "junk" silver. Rolls of old US dimes, quarters, or dollars. I don't look for numismatic value. As long as I can tell what it is, and I know the content of it is true, then I'm a happy camper. Remeber, anything less than pure silver has to be refined if it is ever intended to be melted and used in pure form. That may eat into part of your profit depending on who you sell it to. Likewise with sterling silver. Unless it's bars from the Franklin Mint (usually sterling silver), I won't put my money into it. Even then, if I'm going to invest in silver bars, I'd just prefer that it be pure silver. If you are buying on ebay, there will be a higher spread. This is mainly because many people like to buy in small quantities at a time, and ebay is the perfect place to buy. The spread often times rivals that of large bullion dealers when it comes to small purchases, even when you include shipping. If you eventually plan on selling your silver the same way you bought it, then chances are you will be selling it for more than spot price at that given time. Esentially it would even out. You pay over spot now, and sell for over spot later. That being said, I see no reason to invest in anything but pure silver. That's just how I feel aabout it.

14th November 2006, 16:24
i'm glad to see this question here as i've also spent a significant amount of time watching the patterns of silver sales on ebay. i can totally confirm your observation, FMS, that interest in silver has manifested as an increase in the premium over spot price seen in ebay auctions. i've also considered going down the same path of exploring sterling silver.

for sterling, my benchmark is kitco, which buys sterling scrap (>100 oz) at prices quoted here (https://online.kitco.com/selling/). a quick bit of math shows that their buy price for sterling is 83% of the price for pure silver, even though sterling silver contains about 93% of the silver. while that's an unattractive ratio, bob is absolutely right that, as long as the spot price rises, you can realize a profit. my suggestion, if you are going to proceed with bidding on sterling, would simply be to familiarize yourself with the realities of selling the silver you buy, what kind of return relative to the spot you can secure, and use this knowledge to evaluate your maximum bids along with your outlook, time frame, shipping costs, and risk tolerance.

best of luck!!

17th November 2006, 09:07
Thanks for the link to kitco. :) I've noticed that unless pieces were sold in 79'-80', the price some gave for the Franklin mint stuff new in the early 70s is to this day, much too much! There are still some deals to be had, below the kitco buying price, but they are getting harder to come by on Ebay. Physical holding of metals is the only way to go, but i'm starting to appreciate why some dig a hole in the ground for keepsakes. Paranoia sets in and that pit bull isn't immune to poison and bullets. My large, fireproof, bolted to the floor, heavy ass safes are locked and..... empty, just waiting to distract the wondering thief. Bummer, eh? Thanks for the replies, keep them coming.

4th October 2009, 12:16
Some people misunderstand why certain coins are 925 fine and others are 999 or 9999. I've seen criticism about gold Maple Leafs because they are too soft to handle, but these are bullion coins not intended for circulation. (I keep mine in coin pages.) The 925 and harder coins (90% or 40%) were originally intended for daily use, hence the alloying for hardness.

4th October 2009, 17:12
Nothing but .999 all the way!
At time to reap profits there won't be any negatives.

4th October 2009, 20:20
.999 is the "standard." Why screw around with anything else?

It just involves calculations and extra hassles. Not worth it in my opinion.

Of course this advice is worth exactly as much as you are paying for it.

4th October 2009, 22:17
Another reason sterling is not preferred is most sterling is odd pieces of dishes and flatware and such. Such oddball items are going to get a significant discount when sold for their silver content. Not only do they have to be weighed and assayed, then they have to be refined. Junk silver coins are much more standardized, their only drawback is the need to refine them if pure silver is to be recovered from them.

5th October 2009, 23:44
Ebay is a fantastic way of seeing what people are actually willing to pay for gold and silver, this in my opinion is the current real price of PM's, not spot.

7th October 2009, 02:31
Some people misunderstand why certain coins are 925 fine and others are 999 or 9999. I've seen criticism about gold Maple Leafs because they are too soft to handle, but these are bullion coins not intended for circulation. (I keep mine in coin pages.) The 925 and harder coins (90% or 40%) were originally intended for daily use, hence the alloying for hardness.

I totally agree with this sentiment. 90% pre-64 stuff was meant to be handled and circulated. To some extent this goes for Sterling as well (the UK pre-1920 coins were Sterling). I have a mixture of both and I think this is the way to go. Cover all the angles. The pure .999 stuff is sometimes a bit 'look but don't touch', whereas the Sterling and other coinage can be tossed around and flipped to your hearts content.

Sterling, other lower content coinage and sterling silver items are meant to be handled and passed from person to person. The pure stuff is for hiding away until you need to sell (or get out on special occasions to pore over).

7th October 2009, 03:39
I can get scrap sterling for a lot less than 999 on Ebay. People are paying 15 plus postage for one ounce rounds but scrap sterling is going for spot or less.

My strategy is to buy a much silver as possible for as cheaply as possible and because of that I'm not prepared to pay massive premiums plus VAT to buy 999 silver.

Most of my silver is therefore 500, 800, 835, 900, 925 or 958 because that's the way to get the most silver.

If you're in America then 999 premiums are cheaper and there's no VAT so I think it makes for sense. In Britain it's a waste of time.