The History of Silver Bullion

From being the first ever dollar to medicine for ulcers, silver has a rich history. It is seen in plenty, up to 0.08 parts per million on Earth. While the Bible set gold as the superior standard, Silver became the official currency of the greatest Superpower, America, how did this happen? Learn about the real history of Silver around thousands of cultures in this Silver bullion guide today. 

How was Silver Bullion Named 

The name silver is from the Anglo-Saxon term ‘seolfor’ describing the bright shine of the moonlight. 

Origin and Sources of Silver Bullion 

Having the ISO Currency Code of XAG, Silver is primarily from Mexico and Peru in 2018. Other sources of silver bullion are Germany, Hungary, Russia, Bolivia, Canada, Russia, Australia, India, China, Poland, Japan, and the USA.

Silver Crystal

Hardness of Silver

With 2.5 on MOHS, silver is softer than gold and tarnishes only when it comes into contact with sulfur. 

History of Silver Bullion

Silver is one of the first five metals humans put to use in the earliest ages of civilization, unlike gold or platinum. Moreover, silver was popular during the time Incas from AD 16 to 120, it took hundreds of years before the United States appraised the Silver Bullion as their currency. Explore the real history behind the fame and name of silver. 

  • Silver History Before 700 BC

Silver in 2000 BC Egypt

The first appearance of silver dates back to the 2000 BC in Egypt, where it was more expensive than gold. This is because silver was rare around Egypt, unlike Gold. Egyptians put to use the silver bullion currency named Silver Tetradrachm in 305 to 285 BC.

Silver Cons in 500 BC Lydia 

Named the Lydian Trite, the first coins were the designs of Lydia or Turkey. Lydians made silver from electrum, a silver-gold alloy in 564 BC. Moreover, King Croesus of Lydia was popular for turning everything he touched into Gold owing to the wealth of silver. 

Chaldeans discovered the first complex silver extraction process of cupellation. It used silver from the silver-lead ores. 

Silver Discovery in 482 BC Athens 

When the mines of Armenia was put to use by Chaldeans, the biggest silver mine at the time in Laurium or Laurion near Athens was discovered. In addition, the silver bullion mined in Athens during the time helped Greece build the best naval army at the time. 

From 600 to 300 BC, 30 tons of silver was mined annually in Greece using 20,000 slaves.  It became 200 tons by the dawn of 2nd Century AD and went on until the fall of the Roman Empire. Moreover, the Greek drachma and Roman denarius were silver coins made from the mines of Laurion. 

  • History of Silver Bullion until 19th Century 

Silver Sterling in 775 AD Britain 

In 775 AD Saxons states of Britain began issuing a kind of currency made of silver. It is sterling to date! Hence, the equivalent was one pound of silver in 240 coins. Now, you know the history of the British Pound Sterling currency!

The New World Silver in 15th century until 18th Century 

When Columbus discovered the New World, with it, came the silver rush, starting from Potosi in Bolivia. From 1492 until the 1700s, silver was put to use by the Spanish explorers from Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia, accounting for 85% of total silver production in the world. 1 billion troy ounces of silver was generated during the time, according to Spanish history.

In the early 15th century, a silver mine in Bohemia was found, leading to coins called Thaler. Holland renamed the thaler as ‘leeuwendaalder’ or ‘daaldar’. The daalder became dollar after the Dutch found Manhattan or New Amsterdam and began trading in silver bullion currency. In 1792, the United States of America was formed and declared silver dollar as their official currency. Moreover, one U.S dollar was equal to 24.056g in Silver at that time. 

19th Century History of Silver 

In 1859 the U.S discovered silver in huge quantity at the Comstock Lode mine. Within 40 years America became the leading exporter of Silver in the world. Statistics say that Comstock produced $397 Million or 9 Billion USD today. Nevertheless, the U.S government continued to generate silver for the next 100 years. 

  • Rise of Silver Bullion in 20th Century 

With more silver ores found around the world, silver bullion became available for multifarious technological and household applications. In 1967, US removed silver and gold standards a currency by making paper currency of US dollar.  

Today, refined silver is accessible and promising. With advancement in techniques to extract silver such as froth flotation and electrorefining, silver investments are booming right now. 

Uses of Silver in 21st Century 

From collectors to investors, silver is a trending precious metal. Hence learn all about the multifaceted uses of Silver bullion in the 21st century. 

  1. Currency

Historically, silver coins were currency in many countries. Silver bullion coins were available in rounds and Bars. You can also buy Silver Maple Leaf or Silver American Eagle legal silver tenders today. 

  1. Photography

Silver in photography recreates an original picture with better light and intensity. However, digital cameras no longer need silver halides. As a result, the demand for silver in photography went down by 70% in a decade since the advent of digital photography. 

  1. Jewelry 

Popular as the perfect metal for gemstones, silver alloy of copper makes durable silver bullion jewelry. 

  1. Cutlery

As silver is malleable, making silver plates, glasses and other cutlery is popular since the 20th century. Silver cutlery is a sign of royalty and wealth. 

  1. Medicine

Silver is extensively used in medical applications such as from catheters to surgical equipment. 

  1. Electronic

Ideal for electrodes and conductors, silver is a high-conductivity precious metal. It is used for ceramic capacitors and connectors such as VHF or RF. 

  1. Alloys

As silver is resistant to corrosion than copper or nickel, it is often popular as brazing alloy.

  1. Chemical

Due to the high thermal conductivity of silver, crucibles from silver bullion are perfect for fusion in alkaline solutions.

  1. Miscellaneous 

From catalysis to silver vark on food in South Asia, Silver is an affordable and bright precious metal to invest in. 

History of Silver Value and Price in the Past 

In the 14th century, a manual laborer earned 2 pounds of silver bullion in a year while in 2018, one ounce of silver will fetch you $17.52! 

Silver has had a volatile price history and value periods. The price chart history of silver shows it was $8 per ounce in 1999, which rose to $14 per ounce during the financial recession in late 2007. 

Although silver spiked until $35.12 per ounce in 2011, it has been falling since then. 

Silver Bullion

Facts about Silver for Collectors 

While it was revered more than platinum once, silver is one of the cheapest precious metal available today.  

  1. With 92.5% purity, the jewelry grade silver is called Sterling Silver.
  2. Silver is so malleable that it will be thinner than a strand of hair when sheeted. 
  3. According to the research by a Metals Consultancy in London, the international demand for silver is set to pike up to 27% by 2018!
  4. The most advanced application of silver is in the use of cooling rods for nuclear reactors. 
  5. Silver became popular anti-bacterial by Hippocrates, the father of Medicine.

In a Nutshell … 

Silver is a precious metal used in medicine to cooking and legal tender. We’ve explored the history of silver through middle ages, industrial age, and the technological age. 

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