Owning physical bullion is the most traditional way to invest in silver.
Physical bullion bars and coins are typically the most affordable silver investment vehicle. And they can be easily converted to cash at any time, with silver spot prices globally quoted and negotiable internationally.
For investors who take personal possession of their silver bullion, there are no storage fees. For those with larger holdings, there are a number of highly reputable firms that offer programs for allocated storage. (For instance, Asset Strategies International (ASI) offers storage at the Perth Mint in Australia)
The most widely recognized silver bullion coins are government-issued, such as the American Silver Eagle and Canadian Silver Maple Leaf. Others include the Austrian Silver Philharmoniker and British Silver Britannia. But one of my personal favorites is the Mexican Silver Libertad.
The Mexican Silver Libertad Coin
Mexico is the single most important producer of silver in the world. The region has historically yielded over 10 billion ounces of silver, and currently accounts for about 20% of the world’s total silver mine production. According to the USGS, nearly 160 million ounces of silver were mined in Mexico last year.
The country is also home to one of the world’s oldest silver mints. Originally established by the Spanish in 1535 following their conquest of the Aztec Empire, Casa de Moneda de México was the first mint in the Western Hemisphere.
For over three centuries, prolific silver deposits in the newly acquired colonies allowed the Spanish Empire to mint massive quantities of silver coins – including the famous Spanish dollar, which was globally circulated during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Today the National Mint of Mexico continues its long tradition of minting some of the world’s finest silver bullion with their Libertad Series of bullion coins.
Exceptional Quality and Design
The Mexican Libertad features exceptional quality and design, and is among the most affordable bullion coins on the market today.
The National Mint of Mexico produces both gold and silver bullion Libertad coins. They’re available in a wide array of weights, from 1/20 ounce to 1 kilo. However, the 1 troy ounce denomination is by far the most available and popular bullion coin of the Libertad Series.
Struck in the pure .999 fine silver, the Mexican Silver Libertad coin is highly recognizable among all bullion dealers.
Like other government-issued bullion, the Silver Libertad is sold at a premium over silver’s spot price. And the premiums for 1 ounce silver Libertads are on par with the American Silver Eagle and other government-issued bullion coins. Sometimes the premiums are even a bit lower. Premiums will vary by dealer, the number of coins purchased at once, and method of payment. But here are a few current premiums from three large online bullion dealers:
Assets Strategies International (ASI) is another place to get good deals on Silver Libertads. ASI doesn’t have their prices quoted online, but the company has multiple contacts with large wholesale dealers and always has great prices.
Various Designs Over the Years
Since its initial minting in 1982, the Mexican Silver Libertad has shared one design with a few different versions. They look very similar. And can be a bit confusing to first-time buyers. But here’s the short of the Libertad’s design versions…
From 1982 to 1999, the obverse of the Silver Libertad featured the Mexican Coat of Arms; a Mexican Golden Eagle perched on a prickly pear cactus devouring a snake. From 2000 to date, the obverse shows the current Mexican Coat of Arms surrounded by historic national heraldic designs.
From 1982 to 1995, the reserve of the Mexican Silver Libertad featured a front-facing winged Goddess Victoria (the archetypical personification of good over evil) standing on her right foot upon a pillar. From 1996 to date, the Libertad has featured an angled look at the same Victoria. The new angle gives Victoria more overall depth. But I personally prefer the look of the earlier Libertads.
You can easily find both design versions of the Libertad in coins shops and from online bullion dealers. The older Libertads will sometimes carry a slightly higher premium because there were less minted. But as you saw in the table above, premiums on the more recently minted Libertads are on par, or lower, than other government-issued bullion coins, like the American Eagle. And I think the Libertad is a beautiful, affordable way to diversify any silver bullion investment.
Another Affordable Mexican Silver Coin
For one year in 1949, the Mexican mint produced the Onza – a medallic silver-sterling silver bullion coin. The Onza was minted in 92.5% silver. But it weighs 33.625 grams, so the coin still contains one full ounce of pure silver.
Beginning in 1978, Mexico’s national mint reproduced the Onza for three years, ending in 1980. The 1949 and 1978 Onzas have high numismatic value, and sell for high premiums over silver’s spot price. The 1949 coins are sought after because of their age, and the Onza’s production was limited to 280,000 coins in 1978.
However, the Mexican mint produced over 10 million Onzas between 1979 and 1980. And you can still buy them today at reasonable prices.
The premium on random year Mexican Onzas from Apmex, for instance, will range from 3% to 10%, depending on how you pay and how many you buy at once. Assets Strategies can also get Onzas at very reasonable prices.
The design of the Onza… well, I don’t think it’s anything special. You decide.
Quick Last Word…
With the popularity of silver at a 30-year high, there are a number of new bullion products on the market today. But government-issued bullion coins are the most recognizable.
For investors looking to own silver bullion, the Mexican Silver Libertad is a very affordable option that offers both exceptional quality and high recognizably.
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