999 fine silver is a great looking silver type that is popular with investors. Learn about fine silver, its pros and cons, and how to identify markings.
What Is 999 Fine Silver?
999 fine silver is essentially pure silver- no alloys have been added. There is a tiny amount of impurities that prevent it from being 100% pure silver. It's considered to be investment grade and many investors only buy fine silver bullion bars and coins.
Note that 999 and 9999 silver are essentially the same and there is only the tiniest fraction of a difference. 9999 silver is regarded as ultra-fine but there will be no visible difference.
The Value of 999 Fine Silver
It's really easy to calculate the melt value of 999 fine silver. Essentially you just need to know the number of ounces you have and then multiply it by the spot price of silver. We make it even easier for you with our silver bullion calculator. To get the value of your items you just need to select the .999 purity option and then enter the total weight of your items.
The price of silver changes every business day but the daily change is hardly ever drastic. There are a lot of factors that affect the price of silver but ultimately, the price is out of your control.
One of the main advantages of fine silver is that it's the best type for storage. Almost all bullion is fine silver because it will take up less space then less pure forms of silver. By contrast 90% junk silver coins take up 10% more space. So buying 999 fine silver can save you money if you are paying for storage space.
Another feature that investors like is how easy it is to keep track of your total silver value. All you need to know is the amount of ounces you have. You can then multiply that number by the spot price of silver to get your total silver value.
Lastly, fine silver is better looking than the alternatives. If you've ever held a new one ounce American Silver Eagle coin then you'll know what we're talking about. Fine silver has a great shine to it. If you mix alloys with the silver then it won't be as shiny. Fine silver will also keep it's look longer because it won't tarnish as quickly as sterling silver.
The main disadvantage is that fine silver is softer then other silver alternatives. Any fine silver item could dent much more easily. This is why sterling silver is a better option for most silver creations such as jewelry, silverware, cups, etc. Sterling silver and other alternatives have a small percentage of alloys that make them tougher. Fine silver jewelry does exist, but it's not as popular.
Cost can be another disadvantage. The 999 fine silver coins are much more expensive than less pure options such as the old 90% silver coins. Of course the fine silver coins look better but they still sell at a high premium above their scrap silver price. For bullion purposes fine silver bars sell at a much lower premium than coins.
How to Identify Markings
Markings will be found on every fine silver item. Here are the stamps/hallmarks to look for in the United States: ".999", "999", ".999FS". These stamps will be located on the front of any bullion coin or bar. For jewelry pieces the stamps might be smaller and usually they are located on the inside part of the jewelry.
How to Identify Fakes
Fine silver bullion items can be quite valuable. For that reason there are a lot of fakes on the market.
You need to remember that a fake silver item could look like real silver and even have the correct marking. Therefore you need to be careful when buying fine silver and you should know how to properly identify fake silver. The best testing method is the nitric acid test. We go over this method and others in our silver testing guide. Our guide features numerous techniques for both coins and generic silver items.
999 fine silver has a lot of advantages that make it a great choice for bullion purposes. Just remember to watch out for fakes, and to use a silver calculator in order to find the accurate price of silver bullion. If you're interested in buying silver bullion then check out our article on how to buy silver.