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Price of Silver Today and Throughout History

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Learn About the Current and Historic Price of Silver

Although past performance does not necessarily indicate future results, looking at Silver price’s history can potentially provide useful information.

Silver’s History

Silver has stood the test of time as a reliable store of wealth and value, and the white metal is likely to continue to be sought after for its budget-friendly investor appeal and its potential to provide a meaningful hedge against economic downturns.

APMEX provides customers with several ways to remain current with the latest Silver spot price chart and updates on their investments. With a free APMEX account, you can set up alerts for any change in Gold prices or market movements to assist in any investment strategies or purchasing decisions.

Silver Currency Through Time

Nearly 3,000 years before the first Mexican silver Libertad coin was issued, the first known minted coins dated back to 600 B.C. from the kingdom of Lydia in Asia Minor. Those coins were made of electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of Gold and Silver. Since then, Silver currencies have grown in use and popularity. Some noteworthy Silver currencies include the Greek drachma, the Islamic dirhams, the Roman denarius, India’s karshapana and the Spanish dollar.

Ancient coins originating from the Mediterranean used either the Attic standard, Corinthian standard, the Aiginetic standard, or others to define the weight of their currency. Greek drachma and tetradrachm were widely used throughout the Hellenistic era in the Mediterranean region. Other locally minted coinage prevailed even after this time, as there was no united currency system until centuries later.

As the Roman Empire spread, their Silver denarius and often debased Silver antoninianus coins, but this currency did not last like the Roman empire.

East of the Roman empire was the Parthians, who eventually created Persia, and they crafted a stable series of drachma and tetradrachms. When the Sassanians conquered the Parthians in 260 A.D., the new Persians crafted their now-iconic thin, spread fabric Silver drachm that was in use until 600 A.D.

Silver was used as currency in trade and domestic economies in parts of Europe, Africa and Asia, respectively. Using Silver as the monetary standard dates as far back as 3000 B.C. with the Sumerians and lasted until 1873 when Germany, consequently, most of Europe, left the Silver standard. Since Silver has been much more widely available, it was more commonly used as the economic standard, but both Silver and Gold were abandoned as the standard by 1935.

Silver Price Per Ounce Breakdown – The Past 50 Years

How much Silver is in coinage depends on the demand for its more industrial uses; for example, during wartime, more Silver is typically used in coinage to help finance the war. While seasonal short coin shortages had become more typical post-World War II, the one felt in 1959 that bled into the early 1960s differed.

The United States experienced a coin shortage for several years in the early 1960s, and although the U.S. Mint worked hard to increase production, they could not meet the demand with their Silver content standards. Due to the high use of Silver in industrial output and coinage, the Silver price of $1.29 per ounce set by the government was facing pressure from higher demands.

Since the price of Silver in four quarters was worth more than bullion, people started hoarding Silver coins. The demand for the Kennedy Half Dollar as a collectible drove it from circulation shortly after its release in 1964.

Although the U.S. Mint tried to ramp up production to keep up with demand, the United States’ government Silver supply became seriously depleted, so President Lyndon B. Johnson advised Congress to pass legislation that would remove Silver from U.S. coinage. With some, but not enough, opposition, Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1965 and it was enacted on July 23rd, 1965.

The Coinage Act of 1965 removed Silver from circulating dimes and quarters and decreased Silver’s amount in half dollars from 90% to 40%. Additionally, the U.S. Mint could not produce silver dollars until 1970 to give the government time to replenish Silver stores. Fortunately, these debased coins did help alleviate the coin shortage.

While the original Silver content coins were circulated for several years alongside the newly debased coins, collectors began to hoard the higher Silver content coins. They sold or added these high Silver content coins to their collection since the United States Department of Treasury discontinued its efforts to keep Silver prices low in 1967. Additionally, Congress banned silver half-dollar production in 1970.

Silver price per ounce was valued at less than $10 in the mid-1970s. The white metal began to rise in the late 70s, however, and by 1980 was valued at over $36 per ounce. The market saw Silver prices come back down following the parabolic rise, and Silver once again found itself trading under the $10 per ounce level by the late 1980s.

Silver price per ounce maintained a trading range under $10 for years to come, and prices would not climb above $10 until 2006.

Silver Prices 2010 to 2019

The past decade has seen more volatile Silver prices due to substantial economic shifts. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Silver price per ounce soared from 2008 to 2011, doubling to almost $20. However, these high prices were followed by a severe dip back down to $10 an ounce.

This low Silver price did not last long because it encouraged people to start aggressively buying up the cheaper Silver, resulting in the steady and historical rise of Silver’s price in 2011. That year the Silver price per ounce reached a whopping $50. This astronomical high could have been due to risk aversion and anxiety over the possible results of quantitative easing measures taken to prop up the economy at the time.

The Silver price per ounce did not maintain trade near the $50 mark for long, however, due partly to positive steps the U.S. government took in 2012 to ensure the country avoided a debt crisis. Silver prices instead began a gradual downward trend in the following years as the economy improved, eventually reaching a subdued period from 2015 to 2018 where the price of Silver averaged $15.69 to $17.14 per ounce.

A reduction in interest rates in 2019 resulted in Silver price per ounce climbing up to $20 around halfway through the year, but as economic growth slowed, it started to dip back down, reaching $17 at the end of September.

Since 2018, Silver prices have stayed between $16 to $20 per ounce. While the price of Silver typically sees some fluctuation throughout the year, the Covid-19 pandemic drove Silver price per ounce to more extreme highs and lows.

Silver Prices in 2020

Silver prices have had many exciting periods of ups and downs thanks to the pandemic. As the coronavirus began to take shape and spread from China to South Korea and Italy in early 2020, the stock markets plummeted and so did the price of Silver.

This plunge was attributed to anxiety regarding infection spikes and concern over the virus’s scale and impact. By February 25th, 2020, Silver price per ounce had decreased by 3 percent to $17.97.

While Gold prices saw record highs in 2020, the price of Silver did not perform the same due to manufacturing shortages that require Silver, like car production. Since manufacturing accounts for 60 percent of Silver consumption, the white metal’s industrial use became more of a priority over its investment use because goods production had become more unpredictable due to the virus.

However, Silver prices did not remain low all year.

While Silver price per ounce did dip down to $12 on March 18th— when Covid had started spreading globally — it increased by 133% by August to above $28. Comparatively, an ounce of Gold was marked at $1,471 when the price of Silver was $12 and had only risen by 33 percent to $1,993 an ounce in August 2020.

Silver prices peaked at $29.25 an ounce on August 10th and remained around $25 for the remainder of the year.

The fall months of October and November saw some low Silver price dips that appeared to correlate with political deadlock in late October when Congress struggled to agree on a stimulus package, as well as political change a month later with the election of a new president. Additionally, the announcement of the first successfully developed Covid-19 vaccine in November caused Silver prices and Gold prices to initially plummet—with the price of Silver per ounce falling from $25.21 on November 6th to $23.80 on November 9th.

2020 ended with the risk of inflation driving Silver prices and other Precious Metals prices up in December, particularly thanks to stimulus packages being passed in the United States. The last week of December topped off the year with the price of Silver at over 48% and Gold up 24%.

World events and political news can impact the markets’ fluctuations. While there was no lack of geopolitical events— Brexit, U.S. Elections, stimulus talks, increased unemployment and decreased demand for oil—that could have played a part in Silver price’s volatility in 2020, Covid-19 had the most significant influence on the Precious Metals market.

Although Silver prices had a rough start at the beginning of the year, Silver prices had a strong finish in the last half of 2020, as did Precious Metals prices as a whole.

If you are looking for Black Friday deals on Silver Bullion, we are offering some of the best prices on Gold and Silver, including Metals at spot. With new deals minted hourly, starting at 9:00 AM EST, make sure to check back often and cash in on the lowest premiums of the year.

Silver Prices: Overall Takeaway

Silver prices are rarely stagnant and are influenced by various factors, including supply and demand, risky geopolitical events, currency shifts, fear of inflation and asset allocations. However, while the short-term price of Silver can be unstable, Silver is still a good Precious Metal to invest in long-term because it holds its value well over time. Stay up to date with the Silver price today by downloading the APMEX app. Find it for iPhone and Android Devices so you never miss an update in the spot price.

Expand your Silver holding today by shopping our collection of Silver products.


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