So, How Much Silver Should a Prepper Have?

As preppers, we stack our odds against the future. We store food for lean times. We invest in various security items. But how many of us secure our financial standing?

how much silver should a prepper have collage

Various financial wizards recommend having 6 months of expenses (rent, mortgage, food, and other bills) in accessible funds. Others recommend having 30 days of cash on hand and instantly accessible.

How much silver should you store? Your money, as is your time, is precious and deserves to be spent wisely.

When determining the answer that best fits your need look at your available cash as well as your other prepping requirements for a balanced answer.

Start with 5 to 10 ounces for your first purchase, then build monthly whatever your budget allows. As you increase your holdings, your goal should be one month of expenses, then expand this to 3 months.

Ultimately you want 10 to 25 percent of your assets in precious metals. When investing any significant amount of you savings always consult with a financial planner.

silver 1 tenth of an ounce bars and silver coins
A collection of 1/10th ounce silver bars stacked on American Silver Eagle 1 ounce coins.

What Kinds of Silver Can You Purchase for Survival?

Silver, being inexpensive, when compared to gold, has the advantage of being available in several forms. From legal tender to private mints there is a coin for you.

Legal Tender

The most popular is the 1-ounce coin or bar. We can subdivide these into government coinage and private mints.

A government minted coin, for example, the American Silver Eagle (ASE) is considered legal tender.

The ASE has a legal value of 1 US dollar however, the weight in silver is worth much more (currently between $20 and $30 dollars). ASEs are sold and purchased based on the current price of silver and not their $1 face value.

american eagle silver coins
American Silver Eagles, one of the most popular and recognizable silver coins

Private Mints

Privately minted bullion, coins, and bars are again priced for their silver content as they are not considered legal tender.

Additionally, private entities also mint coins and bars in other weights such as fractional coins in 1/10, 1/4, and 1/2 ounce weights, as well as 5, 10, and 100 ounces as well as 1 kilogram bars.

The advantage of these additional sizes is that you can find a size to meet any trade denomination you need.

silver 1oz bars
Generic 1 oz. sliver bars, a cheaper way to stack silver

Most of these coins and bars are simply a fancy way to package silver. While one may be more visually pleasing than another, there is little additional value to them over their silver content.

Junk Silver

The next category of silver coins is Junk Silver. Prior to 1965, most US coins were minted in 90% silver. That is a $5 roll of silver quarters holds just over 3.7 ounces of silver.

Collecting a few rolls of junk silver gives you smaller denominations, as each quarter is about 0.18 oz. of silver and a dime is 0.08 ounces. Purchasing pre-circulated coins is often cheaper than purchasing fractional silver bars or coins.

pre-1964 US silver coins
A collection of pre-1964 silver half-dollars, quarters, and dimes


We all probably know a collector of one thing or another. Be it stamps, coins, or baseball cards. Someone will find value in these collectables. Silver is no different.

Collectible coins, or numismatics, have value above and beyond their melt value in metal. One such example is proof coins.

A proof ASE is packaged separately and was pressed from a polished die, which results in a higher quality pressing (it’s shinier – that’s about it).

For this premium treatment, sellers charge a premium price. Often 5x the price of a non-proof version.

While you may want to own a collectible coin or two, be warned their value is subject to their collectability, if no one wants it, the value will drop to the melt value, so you may lose your investment.

From a silver stacking perspective, keep with traditional bullion and purchase non-collectible bars and coins.

How Expensive is Silver? Spot Price vs Purchase Price

The purchase price of precious metals consists of two components, the spot price (e.g., the current price of the base metal) and the dealer’s fee (this is where they make their money). This premium will depend on the product and the seller.

So, if the current price of silver is $25 per ounce, a one-ounce privately minted coin or bar may cost you $30 at one dealer and $28 at another. Meanwhile, an ASE or other federally minted coin may cost $35 or more.

Additionally, the smaller the denomination (e.g., a 1/10th ounce coin) may have a larger cost above spot vs a larger bar.

Case in point, I recently purchased 10 1/10th ounce bars, the total cost was $60 whereas I could have purchased an ASE, with the same total weight, for half the price.

When shopping it pays to look around for the best deals.

Is It Better To Have Gold or Silver?

Gold and silver each have their place in your collection. Gold being roughly 80 times the value per ounce of silver is a much more dense form of value.

When making a large purchase, would you rather trade a single gold ounce coin, or 80 ASEs? There’s a lot more convenience in gold.

The difficulty in purchasing gold is the price. Coming up with $30 to buy an ASE is a lot easier than coming up with nearly $2000 for an American Gold Eagle.

When purchasing fractional gold coins, the additional premium may be worth it in order to purchase slowly.

At the end of the day, a balanced approach is often best. Allocate a percentage of your precious metal investment into junk silver, silver coins and bars, and a final fraction in gold coins.

How Many Ounces of Silver Should You Own?

That’s the million-dollar question. There’s always a place for a little silver in your savings. Start small and set aside a little money each month.

Work your way up to a month of your rent or mortgage. Once you have achieved this, build up to a month of total expenses.

Don’t stop there and stack your ASEs, bars, junk silver, and gold to three months of expenses.

I don’t recommend going over 10% of your total assets as precious metals without consultation with a trusted financial planner.

At that level, either you are seriously hedging your bet against the downfall of the economy, or you no longer have faith in traditional investments (e.g., stock markets).

If you have the means to stack more, make sure to store it in a safe place. We’re beyond the realm of mattress money now.

Top 5 Silver Bullion Coins in 2022

What Is the Best 1 Oz Silver Coin To Buy?

In these days and times buy what you can. However, if you have the luxury of choice and can find them at a reasonable price over spot, I highly recommend purchasing American Silver Eagles.

They are high quality, easily recognizable, and rarely counterfeited (although it happens, any good seller should be willing to educate you on the signs of fake coins).

Is It Better To Buy Silver Bars or Silver Coins?

The cost of stacking ASEs is two-fold. First, ASEs have a higher premium over most privately minted bars and coins.

So you are paying a little extra for the same amount of silver. That being said, it’s recognizable silver.

The second disadvantage is the size. Five pounds is only 80 ounces. The number of coins, and therefore transportability, quickly gets unmanageable.

If you are planning on investing in hundreds of ounces, you may be better suited to purchasing silver bars in larger weights.

5, 10, and 100 ounce bars are an easy way to purchase large quantities of silver with lower premiums over stacking smaller coins.

5 oz. silver bar
A 5 oz. silver bar purchased at a lower per-ounce premium than 1 ounce or factional silver coins and bars.

Ways to Buy Silver

So you’ve decided that silver is for you. Congratulations! So how do you make your first purchase? There are several trusted ways.

First look at the local yellow pages (or electronic equivalent) and look up coin collectors and silver and gold dealers.

Stop in and buy a few silver eagles, just to get used to the experience. Let them know you are a first-time buyer.

Most sellers are eager to educate you on the process. I once had my local dealer give me a full lecture on junk silver. It was a very educational hour.

silver coins 1 tenth of an ounce and one ounce
Fractional silver coins, in particular private mint 1/10th ounce coins.

Next are online resources. JM Bullion, APMEX, and SD bullion are the biggies in the industry and guarantee shipping and do enough volume that their price over spot is very reasonable.

What Will Happen to Silver if the Dollar Collapses?

This is the second million-dollar question. There are several market factors that drive the price of silver. Active mining operations, current industrial use, and market (e.g., you and me) desire.

If history is to repeat itself, another great depression or recession will see a drop in the price of silver as demand goes to other items like food and rent.

Then immediately following this drop, there may be a sudden rise as the value of silver, being a universal value, is recognized.

If the dollar were to collapse completely, then most likely people will be eager to purchase tangible goods, including storable food, tools, ammunition, etc.

This may or may not eventually shift to precious metals. Therefore, balance your holdings in both silver, gold, and other valuable goods.

Closing Out Silver Stacking

Silver has had value since biblical times. It may be the ugly sibling to gold, however that does not diminish its eternal value.

Either as an industrial metal or as a post-collapse trade good, silver will always maintain some value.

The question is, where are you in your total level of preparedness?

If you are just getting started, then I highly recommend managing food, water, and shelter needs prior to going fully into silver stacking.

If you are comfortable in most of the other areas of preparedness, then it may be time to dedicate a little of your expendable cash towards the purchase of a few ounces of silver.

After all, in the worst case, it will provide value for your children and grandchildren.

how much silver should a prepper have pinterest

1 thought on “So, How Much Silver Should a Prepper Have?”

  1. The #1 Chinese national Govt. foreign investment is U.S. Treasury Notes( they are financing our natl. debt). If the U.S. Economy totally crashes; it will wipe out their investments. They may hate us; but they love our dollar’s stability. Plus it’s world wide acceptance.
    When was the last time you paid for groceries with 1 Oz silver pieces?. It makes more sense to buy Amer. Silver dollars and other silver coins.
    They’ll be accepted everywhere in the U.S. .

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