The Finest Quality Silver from Mints
The biggest advantage I see in buying directly from the mints is quality. You are simply cutting out any middle man and going straight to the source. Freshly minted bullion is beautiful to be quite honest.
Having untouched, sweet smelling silver bullion delivered to your doorstep is very rewarding and very convenient.
Most mints will offer a better price if you pay by wire versus credit card because direct payment saves them the percentile they would have to share with credit card companies.
This price difference is minimal if you are buying in small quantity, but larger quantities will impact your wallet in the long run. Quantity is another issue when dealing directly with Silver mints.
Most require a minimum purchase either by dollar amount or by the Troy Ounce. A small-time retail silver investor (like myself) looking for a few ounces here and there is actually squeezed out by a couple of the larger mints because of these minimums.
A Brief List of Silver Bullion Mints
I have researched some of the popular mints via the internet but I have not actually made purchases from all of them. CMI Gold and Silver looks like a great option for someone looking to stack up some silver until you notice that they have a 500 troy ounce minimum order.
Their prices are nice but I guess that boils down to the size of the minimum order. They are well out of my range. Golden State Mint is another example of a mint with a minimum order. They require 100 Troy ounces at least and they have a 500 ounce minimum for those silver enthusiasts located outside the USA.
Northwest Territorial Mint has a 50 troy ounce minimum which is pretty tame considering the other I mentioned here, but those of us who may buy in amounts less than 5 ounces are still on the outside looking in at Northwest Territorial.
Silvertowne offers small-scale silver buffs the advantage of no minimums, but the flip side at Silvertowne is the exceptionally high premium per ounce. I guess the high premium makes sense since they will most likely be shipping smaller quantities.
Scottsdale Mint doesn't actually list a minimum order on their site but I see that some of their bullion products are shipped in tubes of 10 or 20, other items can be purchased individually at a higher premium per ounce. Regarding purchases of 20 ounce or less, Scottsdale seems more friendly to the retail investor than some of the other mints.
With a few viable choices available online, I still find myself shopping mostly at the local coin shops where I am in my comfort zone. Basically, I still shy away because of shipping costs and minimum orders.
I feel the markup per ounce just isn't worth it on the no-minimum sites. Reviews of these particular USA based metal dealers are good and I would imagine there are plenty of others who regularly make purchases from them however I don't currently run to the phone when I get in the mood to buy some silver.
Last but not least is another option for home delivered silver bullion, you guessed it... eBay, the world's marketplace, or is it? Would you buy any silver on eBay? Read on and I will elaborate on my eBay experience thus far.
See Also: Buying Silver Online | Silver Investing FAQ | Silver Investing 101 | Silver Showcase | Retiring with Silver | Silver in a 401K Retirement Plan | Coins, Rounds, or Bars | Get Rich with Silver | One Oz Silver Rounds | Where to Buy Silver Safely | Physical Silver VS Paper Investments