The Trust Factor
There is plenty of good reading available on the internet and even at your local public library. Knowing what you're buying is essential prior to trading your paper money for any metals especially silver.
It is important to remember that even a trusted local coin dealer can make a mistake. His mistake can become your mistake if you are not careful.
There are scammers out there, but everyone is human and an oversight by a coin dealer could cost you your paper money if you don't take the time to scrutinize every ounce you buy.
I have a personal preference of only buying silver round bullion. I also have a personal preference of only buying bullion stamped with the exact words"999 fine silver" and "one troy oz". I have seen bullion in coin shops, from reputable dealers, that didn't have this stamped on them.
I have also seen plenty of bullion stamped with "1 oz silver" or "999 silver". I tend to stay away from anything not stamped specifically with the entire phrase "999 fine silver 1 troy ounce". I have net coin dealers who do not require this exact phrase to be stamped on the silver bullion and others who insist on it.
Since I always buy in small amounts, I take the time to be certain that each round or bar I buy is stamped exactly how I want it stamped.
I prefer to make my retail purchases in small 1 ounce amounts. I personally don't buy silver in amounts under 1 ounce and I haven't bought any bars or rounds over 1 ounce. This is my preference and I'm not saying it's the right way, but I'll explain exactly why I choose to stick with 1 ounce portions.
A single ounce in terms of silver is actually a Troy ounce. A troy ounce is slightly larger than a standard ounce. Throughout www.cwcash.com I refer to silver by the ounce most of the time, however, I am speaking about Troy ounces even though I don't specify each time.
I have developed a mindset that even if I inadvertently purchase a non-pure ounce of silver, either by mistake or someone's deception, I would only be out for the cost of one ounce. This goes for eBay as well...
I consider this a prime example of an environment where you have an opportunity to acquire some bad silver. I am hesitant to buy in two, five, or ten ounce portions at this time no matter who I am buying from.
Anyways, call it discretion, call it caution, call it whatever you want, you have to pay attention no matter how you choose to invest. Even with a small but real risk of bad silver, I choose physical silver investing over paper investments any day of the week, and I'll tell you why next.
Read more about physical silver versus paper investments.
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