Silver sometimes shines as investment in times when investors get nervous about other markets. It can be purchased in its physical form or through shares in a fund that invests in silver.
One of the best ways to buy silver to be sure of its authenticity is to purchase directly from government mints. Coins issued by the U.S. Mint can be purchased directly through the government or authorized dealers. The Royal Canadian Mint sells coins and bullion directly to the public as do other foreign governments, including the British Royal Mint. Retail coin dealers sell new and vintage silver coins. A list of dealers is available on the U.S. Mint's website, but beware they are not affiliated with the American government.
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Silver's value by weight is not as high as gold, so a large physical investment can take up a lot of storage space. Some reputable metals dealers can store gold and silver for their customers. It can also be stored in a bank safety deposit box or a home safe.
Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest in precious metals are probably the simplest way for the average investor to buy silver. Though investors do not physically possess the silver, they own it through shares. There are silver-only funds and funds for mixed precious metals. Another way to buy silver is to buy a stake in a silver mining company through stocks or funds.