Art silver bars are silver bars carrying a unique, artistic design, in contrast to the relatively plain style of most silver bars. Instead of being marked only with the maker’s name, weight, and silver purity, they depict a thematic design. For example, art silver bars may carry an image of panda bears, a birthday cake, or a famous figure, among many other styles. For investors, these bars carry some of the features of other silver bars, along with some of the features of silver coins.
Some art silver bar collectors focus on a specific theme. Others buy art bars along with more generic bars, considering art bars to be a way of diversifying their collection. Art silver bars also make a popular gift.
Most silver art bars are made of fine (.999) silver, while some are sterling (.925). They tend to weigh one troy ounce, though other sizes have also been produced. Art bars are produced by many of the world’s top silver mints. Some are made by mints that also produce generic silver bullion, while others are made by mints specializing in limited-edition art bars. Many art bars are part of a series, produced with the hope that investors will seek out every bar belonging to the series.
The first silver “art bars” were produced in the 1970s. They immediately gained popularity among precious metal investors and coin collectors. These early commemorative editions now command a significant premium over the spot price of silver. Later issues tend to be made in larger numbers, and as such can be found for smaller premiums over the value of the silver they contain.
Silver art bars can be worth the spot value of the metal in the bar, or many times this amount, based on their desirability. Art bars, like coins, are valued on both the inherent value of the silver they contain and a premium based on the rarity and desirability of the design. The art on the side of the bar helps to determine its value, though most of its value is based on the weight of the bar, as with other silver bars. Mintages of art bars tend to be lower than for generic silver bars. As a result, rarity also plays a role in the value of these bars. Because the value of art silver bars lies in their design, condition and eye appeal play a more important role than they do for generic silver bars. Because of these factors you will typically pay more for a one-ounce silver art bar than for a generic 1 oz silver bar.
Buying Art Bars
Purchasing a silver art bar can be more difficult than buying generic silver bullion. This is especially true if you are looking for a particular bar that is no longer being minted. Many online silver dealers do not carry an expansive selection of these bars. However, there are plenty of local and online dealers offering a selection of silver art bars for sale.