Here is a luscious spread of 999 fine Yeager's Poured Silver bars with sizes ranging from 0.5 troy ounces to 5 troy ounces. The meticulous attention to detail on these hand-cast silver bars is truly breathtaking, underscoring their superb quality. These were purchased as a 1000 gram YPS grab bag in March of 2017.
I was checking the tangible asset allocation of my investment portfolio the other day when I discovered something alarming. I was underweight silver bullion. A situation like this can sometimes creep up on me because I regularly buy art and antiques for investment purposes. But this investing strategy also requires me to "balance" my tangibles portfolio with occasional bullion purchases.
"Easy enough to fix", I thought to myself. I'll just fire up my computer and head over to one of the major bullion dealer websites like Kitco, Apmex or JM Bullion. They all offer competitive pricing on a wide range of silver products, including government issued coins, private mint rounds and bullion bars.
But I'm always looking to get the most for my investment dollar. To be specific, I'm usually searching for an investment characteristic known as optionality. Optionality is any aspect of an investment that costs little money upfront, but can return big rewards later. Most assets that deliver huge, multi-decade returns, including real estate and stocks, operate on the principal of optionality.
That is when I stumbled upon the website of Yeager's Poured Silver. Yeager's Poured Silver, also known by the acronym YPS, is a company that has been making and selling hand-poured silver bullion bars since 2012. Now, I love vintage poured silver bars, but I have been undecided about the investment merits of new poured silver bars.
At least, I was undecided until I researched Yeager's Poured Silver. David Yeager, the founder and owner of the business, has spent years perfecting the art of hand-casting some of the most beautiful silver bars I have ever seen. He sells a variety of traditional 999 fine silver bars ranging in size from a diminutive 0.5 troy ounce "nugget" to a substantial 1 kilogram specimen. However, he also offers imaginative 3D art bars cast in the shape of skulls, pyramids and lion heads, among other things. He even offers Halloween, Christmas and other holiday themed poured silver bars.
Yeager's Poured Silver Bars For Sale
Although he charges fairly high premiums over the spot price of silver, YPS bars aren't simply bullion. They are art. Or, to be more precise, they ride the fine line between bullion and art in much the same way that government issued bullion coins like Chinese Silver Pandas, Canadian Maple Leaves or American Silver Eagles have both precious metal value and collector's value simultaneously.
Because of the high premiums Yeager's Poured Silver bars typically command over spot, the item that really caught my eye was the 1000 gram YPS grab bag of silver bars. As the name implies, this is a full kilogram (32.15 troy ounces) of YPS silver bars of varying sizes and types. They are all chosen from excess inventory, so the buyer cannot request any specific kind of silver bar. The upside of the 1000 gram YPS grab bag, however, is that the cost per ounce is significantly lower than if you were to order items individually.
When I placed my order, the 1000 gram YPS grab bag was selling for $634 while silver was trading at $17.26 a troy ounce. This means the YPS grab bag contained approximately $555 worth of fine silver. The difference between the purchase price of $634 and the bullion value of $555 constituted the premium I paid above spot. In this case the premium was about $79 or 14.3%.
Yeager's Poured Silver Skulls & Pyramids For Sale
In contrast, you can currently buy 100 troy ounce silver bars for about 75 to 85 cents over spot. This translates into a premium of between 4% and 5%. So generic silver bars in large sizes are certainly the cheaper option if all you want is raw silver for the lowest possible price.
But those cheap silver bars have some drawbacks. For one, they are much, much larger than the 1/2 to 10 troy ounce poured bars you'll get in a YPS grab bag. Those 100 troy ounce behemoths are also likely to be generic bars from lesser known refineries. And, finally, large silver bars are likely to be struck or extruded rather than poured.
This last point is important because poured silver bars have a tendency to hold their premiums on the secondary market better than other kinds of silver bars. You simply can't expect to sell modern struck or extruded silver bar for more than spot. Yes, there are certain niche situations where they might command a premium over spot, like a severe physical silver shortage. But these circumstances are unlikely; you certainly can't count on them.
But if you want to buy silver at a premium, you also need to be able to sell it at a premium in order to come out ahead. And that, in my opinion, is the biggest reason to buy a YPS grab bag over generic silver bars - the expected future premium upon resale.
Yeager's Poured Silver consistently sells for a healthy premium no matter where you look. It sells at a premium on the YPS website. It also sells at a premium on the eBay secondary market. YPS poured silver bars are miniature works of art and are priced as such.
Yeager's Poured Silver Cubes For Sale
More importantly, I strongly suspect YPS poured silver bars will always command meaningful premiums over spot. But here is the really interesting thing. The premium I paid on my YPS grab bag over comparable silver bars - if you can call generic 100 troy ounce silver bars comparable - was really quite modest.
In fact, my breakeven point versus generic silver is only around 10%. If YPS silver bars sell for less than 10% over spot in the future, then I will make less money than I could have by purchasing generic silver bullion. But this potential relative underperformance is actually very limited.
However, if YPS silver bars sell for a premium higher than 10% in the future, then all that upside belongs to me. And that potential upside is uncapped. YPS silver bars could eventually end up like vintage Engelhard or Johnson Matthey poured silver bars are today, with premiums ranging from 20% to 60% over spot, or even more. YPS poured silver bars represent a classic example of optionality in investing.
Below is a list of the items I received in my 1000 gram YPS grab bag. I placed the order in March of 2017 and the total weight delivered was 32.1829 troy ounces (1001 grams):
- 3 - 100 gram bars
- 2 - 100 gram cubes
- 1 - 5 troy ounce "YPS" bar
- 1 - 3 troy ounce "Slim" bar
- 1 - 3 troy ounce wedge
- 1 - 2 troy ounce cube
- 1 - 1 troy ounce cube
- 1 - 50 gram "Plata Muerta" (Dead Silver) round
- 1 - 0.5 troy ounce "Nugget" bar
And I'm happy to say that the 1000 gram YPS grab bag I received completely exceeded my rather lofty expectations. Even though you can't stipulate the inclusion of any specific bar in a grab bag, I did give a general preference for traditionally-shaped bars and cubes.
Much to my delight, David Yeager went out of his way to accommodate my wishes. This is in spite of the fact that he was under no obligation to do so whatsoever. The choice of silver bars in any YPS grab bag is completely at his discretion.
Yeager's Poured Silver 3D Art Bars For Sale
I was not only extremely pleased with the type of poured silver bars I received, but also with the quality of the bars. It was obvious that they were all hand-fabricated with incredible attention to detail, including serialization (numbering) on several different bars. They all had beautiful, bright finishes while still maintaining that classic, rugged look that poured silver is famous for. These are all little touches that set YPS poured silver bars apart from the boring struck and extruded bars that are so common in the bullion market today. Yeager's Poured Silver is premium silver.
If you are interested in either bullion or coin collecting, I think a strong case can be made for investing in some poured silver bars from YPS. Unfortunately, as of the spring of 2018, it appears that Yeager's Poured Silver no longer sells 1000 gram grab bags. However, he still offers 10 troy ounce grab bags of his classic bars, cubes and rounds. And if that isn't what you're looking for, you can always go with the 10 troy ounce 3D art bar grab bag. Either way, you can't go wrong with Yeager's Poured Silver; it is some of the best premium silver available today.