Silver Historical Background
Silver has attracted man's fascination for many thousands of years and because it has been found in limited quantity over the ages and while it scarce it is the most plentiful and least expensive of the precious metals. As such it has become associated with value which led to its use as part of the world's monetary system throughout the ages.
In the United States, silver began to play a key role in the monetary system when Congress based the currency on the silver dollar, and its fixed relationship to gold. Silver was quickly used for coinage in the U.S. until its use was discontinued in 1965.
After the end of the 19th century the beginning of the 20th century changed the use of silver from being strictly part of a monetary value to its becoming important in different parts of the economy. Silver quickly became an industrial raw material with it being sought as a valuable and practical industrial commodity, as well as an appealing investment precious metal. Countries including the Unites States, Canada and Mexico issue silver bullion coins and they are also available from private mints.
While silver is scarce, it is the most plentiful and least expensive of the precious metals with the largest silver producing countries being Mexico, Peru, the United States, Australia and Chile. Sources of silver include; silver mined directly, silver mined as a by-product of gold, copper, lead and zinc mining, and silver extracted from recycled materials, primarily used photographic materials. Today, silver bullion stocks make up a significant component of silver supply.
The American Eagle Bullion program was launched in 1986 with the sale of gold and silver bullion coins. Platinum was added to the American Eagle Bullion family in 1997. A bullion coin is a coin that is valued by its weight in a specific precious metal.
Silver more than other precious metals, has significant demand rooted in sectors as diverse as imaging, electronics, jewelry, coinage, superconductivity and water purification. For this reason, silver is no longer known as just a precious metal, a store of value, a work of art or an industrial metal. It is all of these. Today silver is indispensable, working all around us to improve the quality of our lives.