What you need to know about silver hallmarks
Anyone who wants to sell silver needs to know as much as possible about hallmarks. Hallmarks identify the metal and its purity. They are what bullion buyers look for in order to know what exactly a metal is worth.
Precious metals like gold and silver are soft and easy to damage when they are in their purest forms. To make them more durable, manufacturers offer mix them with other alloys. The hallmarks on silver products are proof of how much is silver is actually in the finished product. This makes it easy to give a precise valuation of the silver being sold.
Silver hallmarks have been used as far back as the 13th century. They are the representation of the earliest form of consumer protection. Around this time, The purest silver products contained 92.5% pure silver whilst 7.5% is made up of other metals. Silver was used mostly as currency. At that time all currency in circulation as required to be as good as a country’s money. In Britain, silver was legally required to be tested and to carry a special leopard head punched on its surface.
These days, silver hallmarks have changed. What they are required to depict is the maker the fineness of the silver and the assaying office. Basically, silver products should carry a mark of who made the product, how pure the silver is and who has tested the purity. Most of the hallmarks that were used in the past are still being largely used today.
There are four purity symbols that you will find on silver bullion. It could either be 800, 925, 958. These number means that there are either 800 parts of pure silver in every 1000 parts of the metal. 925 means that the product is made up of 92.5% pure silver and so on for 985. Silver marked with 925 is Sterling Silver. Silver bullion has a purity of 98.5% and above. Over time more and more silver producers ere making silver with a fineness of .999 also known as three-nines fineness. This is a fineness that is found in many bullion bars and silver bullion coins. This type of silver is most commonly found in silver bullion bars and coins too. The purest silver to be found has a fineness of 9999. Not all mints can produce this high purity silver except for the Perth Mint and the Royal Canadian mint.
Here are some of the world’s favourite silver bullion products and their fineness.
- U.S silver eagle coins – 999
- UK’s Britannia Silver – 999
- Austrian Silver silver Philharmonic – 999 fineness
- The silver Canadian Maple leaf and the Australian Silver Kangaroo has a fineness of 999.9
When you sell silver bullion, the purity matter, there are a number of trusted silver bullion names.
- Credit Suisse, a large brand with a small selection of high premium silvers bars.
- Engelhard Silver Bars – a reputable silver bullion producer whose products have become the most sought after bars especially since the company virtually stopped producing silver.
- Johnson Matthey – the refinery makes 1 and 100 Silver Bars – Similar stature to Engelhard, makes popular 1 ounce and 100 oz silver bars that are very popular amongst silver bullion buyers.
- PAMP Suisse – A swiss-based refinery who produces silver bars with an artistic feel.
- The Royal Canadian Mint – this mint produces some of the purest silver bars on the market.
Most investors choose 100oz silver bullion bars for investment purposes, not as collector’s items. They will find it easier to sell silver bullion bars that carry the right hallmarks and produced by some of these reputable refineries and mints and they will probably get a good price for them.