Fans of precious metals are familiar with pressed coins, rounds, and bars. These are the standard bullion products you see readily available on the market, often with intricate designs stamped into each face. These products are made by inserting pre-cut metal blanks into a machine that uses thousands of pounds of pressure to stamp them with dies that feature the appropriate designs. These pressed precious metal products have a shiny finish and a uniform appearance.
Pressed precious metal products are very common today, but this technique is fairly new when it comes to manufacturing coinage. In fact, pouring metals is an older practice that spans back centuries. A number of mints, mostly privately owned, still manufacture poured precious metal bullion, with silver being the most common metal used for this process.
Making poured silver products begins with heating the metal beyond its melting point of 1763℉ in a ceramic crucible. The molten silver is hand-poured into custom molds and allowed to cool in the open air. Each bar will cool at slightly different rates, causing minor variations in the shape and tone of the finished products. Before the pieces are fully cooled, they are individually stamped with a design and/or information like the mint logo, weight, and purity. The finished poured silver bars and other pieces do not have the polished finished that many pressed bullion products have, but some investors prefer the rustic, vintage look of poured bullion.
Producing poured silver is a simple technology that can be achieved with little more than a hot fire and sturdy tools. However, pouring is a lengthy, inefficient process when compared with the more common pressing. This is especially true for lightweight, smaller silver products. Pouring also relies more heavily on manpower, whereas pressing makes more use of machinery. Yet, pouring remains the prefered option for producing bars that weigh more than 100 ounces, as blanks this size are rarely made and would be hard to fit into the proper machinery.
While most mints focus their efforts on pressed bullion, several mints specialize in the art of poured silver. They create unique pieces in a variety of shapes and sizes. We encourage you to browse through these products, which are all made with investment-grade fine silver. To start, take a look at the new 11 oz Poured Silver All Seeing Eye by MKBarZ.
What is your favorite type of silver bullion to buy for your personal stash?