If you are a silver stacker and you live in the United Kingdom then you have no doubt experienced the frustration of never being able to pay spot price (or anywhere near it) thanks to the 20% VAT that accompanies all silver coins and bars. This can make investing in silver very difficult, because whilst the price may be a great investment as it is, the same might not apply if you add 20% on top of that. This is an issue that occurs across the EU, albeit in differing amounts. There is no such tax in Estonia and the tax on silver in Germany is also very low.
In countries like the United States there is also no tax on silver, but as discussed below, purchasing from there might not be your best option, even if you can buy enough to off-set the huge delivery prices.
How Not to Buy Silver in the UK
If you order from the United States then you are running the risk of being lumbered with the VAT price anyway. Imagine this scenario: you purchase a huge stock of silver bars and coins and a fraction above spot price, you hand over the few hundred dollars that it will cost you in shipping fees (knowing that the savings you are making will cover it) and when the silver arrives a few weeks later, it is followed by a customs report which demands that you pay the UK government 20% in import taxes. In fact, you may also be charged other fees, and if you do not pay them then you are breaking the law. It doesn’t look like such a great saving now, does it?
So, what if you decide to purchase in the UK? Well, assuming you are purchasing in small quantities, then you will be paying a premium. On top of that premium, you will also be paying the 20% VAT. This means that for a silver spot price of £11 an ounce, you could be paying closer to £18, even £20. If you bear in mind that throughout history the price has never been higher than £30, and you can understand why this isn’t a very appealing price. I wouldn’t even advise purchasing through such methods for those who collect silver coins as a hobby, because there are far better options available, as discussed below.
How to Buy Silver in the UK
There are two options here. The first is Silver to Go. and sites like it. At Regulated Broker we have no affiliation with this site and we are not even part of an affiliate program, as they don’t have one. We do, however, use them ourselves. In fact, many silver stackers in the UK seem to use them, as they ship quickly and they sell for just over spot price. It’s legal because they are based in Germany who have a very small tax on silver, and you pay that tax when you purchase. Here, a small to medium sized purchase can net you a total spot price of around £14, if the silver price is at £11. Obviously, this is not ideal, but that does include shipping and it can get closer to spot if you buy in larger quantities.
If you don’t want to take our advice for it, then Google Silver to Go. We found them ourselves by doing this following a recommendation, and we haven’t looked back since. The only issue we have with Silver To Go is that they don’t sell bars and they only have a small variety of coins. If it’s just low-priced silver that you want though, then these are ideal. As they go, there is also a hope that they will expand, but we’ve had an eye on them for about a year and in that time the only thing that changed is that they have begun to accept credit cards. Also, Silver To Go don’t have minute-by-minute updates, but they do keep track of the live silver prices.
Another option is eBay, which is a great choice for many things, and doesn’t disappoint when it comes to coins either. We would say that you should be very careful when purchasing on eBay though. Avoid anyone with little or no feedback and avoid anyone who has only just started selling silver bars or coins and does not have previous feedback from similar purchases. There are a lot of fakes out there, especially when it comes to silver bars, but if they have great feedback they will be unwilling to take a hit via a report to eBay (which could cost them their account). Also, ensure you always pay by PayPal or credit card, as you can get your money back in the event that they do sell you a fake.
Before you begin making any silver purchases, you should be ready to test for fakes. There are several ways to do this, and we have explained this at great length in another article on Regulated Broker, titled How to Spot Silver and Gold Fakes. Once you have this sorted then you can begin. Always search for “Buy it Now” and “Best Offer” and sort the listings via “Newest”. This way you can get to the best ones before anyone else. The best things to buy are premium coins, as there are a lot of them. Some of them are worth 3x/4x the spot price, but many of them are overpriced, so dismiss these. The goal is to get a coin that is a little over spot, but comes with a premium (such as one that is 20+ years old). You might need to offer less than the Buy it Now price to get this, and feel free to be cheeky when you do it, just don’t push it. If we find a coin that is £30 and we think we can sell it on at £25 in the current market, and much more when the value of silver goes up, we will offer a starting price of £18, and many times we will get it for between £24 and £26.
It is best if you have a prior knowledge of coins, but you can also quickly Google the ones you think are a good price and then offer your best price. Like an antique dealer, you’re out to get the best price for a future resale, whilst the seller is out for the best price right now, so this will take some haggling. You need to be prepared to step away when the demands are too high, as there are plenty more fish in this silver sea.