I've been posting some silver stacking basic info lately which has been fun as I have learned on the way as well. So today I thought I would talk about silver fineness, specifically investment silver (coins, rounds, bars, etc...)
Millesimal fineness is a system of denoting the purity of platinum, gold and silver alloys by parts per thousand of pure metal by mass in the alloy. For example, an alloy containing 92.5% silver is denoted as "925"(also known as "sterling silver").
Here is a chart from the Wikipedia page titled "fineness".
All United States coins (except pennies) were made of 90% silver (.900 fineness) up to and including the year 1964. So if you happen to find a U.S. coin dated 1964 or earlier hold on to that sucker, it's worth more than the face value! This value is called the "melt value" and we'll dive into that term in another post, just hold on to that coin for now.
Investment silver is almost always .999 fineness or 99.9% pure silver. Most often you will see a decimal point (.) in front of the three 9's but sometimes not, it means the same thing, 99.9% pure silver, and 0.1% "impurities".
When we talk about impurities we are talking about impurities that naturally occur in silver at the molecular level. These impurities consist of other metals - usually copper, but traces of other metals can also be found.
These trace impurities are insignificant and would be too costly to remove so .999 silver is considered pure. Let's take a look at some .999 fine silver.
I hope you are enjoying these back to basics precious metal posts. Catch ya on the flip side...