Silver: Historical Background
by Jonathan Buhalis
Silver has attracted man's fascination for many thousands of years. Ancient civilizations found silver deposits plentiful on or near the earth's surface. Relics of these civilizations include jewelry, religious artifacts, and food vessels formed from the durable, malleable metal. This metal took on near mystical qualities in marking important historical milestones throughout the ages, and served as a medium of exchange. The Mesopotamian merchants were doing just that as early as 700 BC.
In 1792, silver assumed a key role in the United States monetary system when Congress based the currency on the silver dollar and its fixed relationship to gold. Silver was used for the nation's coinage until its use was diminished in 1965. The dawn of the 20th century marked an important economic function for silver, that of an industrial raw material.
Today, silver is sought as a valuable and practical industrial commodity, as well as an appealing investment precious metal. Many countries now issue silver bullion coins, among them the Unites States, Canada, and Mexico. Private issue silver bullion is also available from select private mints.
Although silver is relatively scarce, it is the most plentiful and least expensive of the precious metals. The largest silver producing countries are 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.
History of Silver
Investing in Silver