Silver bars are mainstays of the silver bullion investment community. They are .999 fine silver (99.9% pure) and are manufactured by several refineries in primarily two sizes: 100-oz bars and 10-oz bars. However, occasionally other sizes of silver bars, which were produced years ago, surface.
Older silver bars
Older bars come in a variety of sizes: 5-oz, 10-oz, 20-oz, and 50-oz. Sometimes kilo silver bars (32.15 oz) show up. Kilo silver bullion bars usually carry hallmarks from European refineries. And, sometimes odd-weight 100-oz silver bullion bars are resold into the market.
Odd-weight silver bars
Odd-weight 100-oz silver bars were among the first silver bars produced in the 1970s when retail investing in silver began. They usually weigh very close to 100-oz and usually always sell at lower premiums than exact weight bars.
1-oz silver bars
One-ounce silver bars are minted the same way that 1-oz silver rounds are minted, with presses. They are stamped. Silver bars, on the other hand, can be stamped, poured or extruded. Few 1-oz silver bars have been minted in recent years because most investors that want 1-oz silver pieces opt for 1-oz silver rounds.
1,000-oz silver bars
One-thousand ounce silver bullion bars are standard bars that refineries turn out at mining operations. They also back up futures contracts, which are important parts of the silver industry. When buyers take delivery of futures contracts, they get 1,000-oz silver bars. When futures contracts sellers, often silver miners, deliver against futures contracts, they deliver 1,000-oz silver bars. Trading in the London over the counter silver market is done in 1,000-oz bars.
1,000-oz silver bars rarely weigh exactly 1,000 ounces. When silver is refined and is in molten form, it is poured into molds that will hold approximately 1,000 ounces. After the silver cools and solidifies, the bars are weighed. Then their weights are stamped on them along with a serial number and the refiner's hallmark.
1,000-oz silver bullion bars are not recommended to retail investors, despite the fact that they carry smaller markups over spot than other silver bars. 1,000-oz silver bars often top 70 pounds (bathroom scale) and difficult for most investors to handle. Further, shipping 1,000-oz silver bars, when they weigh more than 70 pounds, become costly. There is not a good resale market for 1,000-oz, and investors should avoid them.
850-oz RCM silver bars
Royal Canadian Mint 850-oz silver bars are relatively new to the market. They could be called 1,000-oz bars lite because they are manufactured in the same manner as 1,000-oz bars but with smaller molds. RCM 850-oz silver bars weigh somewhere between 790 ounces and 910 ounces. Their lighter weights make them easier to handle but, more importantly, mean that they can be shipped via the Post Office Flat Rate boxes. RCM 850-oz silver bars are among the cheapest silver bars that can be bought.