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In these uncertain times, you would be well served to protect yourself against a downturn in the economy or more personal misfortune that could destroy savings. roughout history, the favored method of protection has been to lay aside items of value, ranging from diamonds to coins containing precious metal, namely gold and silver. Bars of five or 10 ounces have also been used in precious metals portfolios.

My advice relating to the gold and silver coins I analyze here for insurance against calamity does not focus on this $100,000 rarity or that million dollar prized proof coin. I will leave those sophisticated nuanced rarities for another time and another place. is article focuses on great mainstream coins whose values are derived primarily from the metals they are made from, and these coins are priced at tiny premiums above their precious metal content.

For those who are not wealthy, silver coins are the surest way of laying aside a stock of value for emergencies or to pass down to family. And for those who are wealthy, silver coins set aside can be used for barter purposes in the event of an emergency. It is vitally important to understand the value of silver coins that may be available for purchase.

Not only is it useful for emergency planning purposes to have silver on hand, but it is equally important to understand the weight systems under which silver is bought and sold. Silver, like other precious metals, uses the system of Troy weights, which is not the same as the Avoirdupois.

When we get on a scale at the doctor’s office or elsewhere, the weight is in Avoirdupois pounds as is practically everything except precious metals. A Troy pound is about 18 percent less weight than an Avoirdupois pound.

The basic unit of weight before the modern era was the grain. ere are 7,000 grains in the Avoirdupois pound of 16 ounces and 5,760 grains in the Troy pound of 12 ounces. In turn this means 480 grains in a Troy ounce and 437.5 grains in an Avoirdupois ounce. The difference is important as sometimes unscrupulous telemarketers and dubious promoters sell silver by using Avoirdu pois ounces rather than Troy, meaning that the buyer is shorted by about 9 percent.

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