A comparison between modern hand poured silver bars

Discussion in 'Bullion Investing' started by Sallent, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. Sallent

    Sallent Supporter! Supporter

    Today I received my first order of silver bars: A 10 Ounce poured bar from Prospector's Gold and Gems, and a 5 Ounce and 1 Ounce bar from Monarch Precious Metals.

    3 bars comparison.JPG

    Beautiful doesn't begin to describe them. There's nothing like a hand poured bar. No two bars of the same type from the same maker are alike. The hand pouring process adds little imperfections such as pour lines, mold marks, bubbles, and indentations that you'll never see in a struck bar. In other words, each one is unique and has it's own character, and can be held in the hands without fear of ruining the finish (much like ancient coins). And I suspect that like ancient coins, these character-filled surfaces have the potential to tone real nice with time.

    Compare that to the more common struck bars, which are a lot like modern coins. They are all the same and with a shinny luster finish that's easy to ruin if you touch it. And like most modern coins, I suspect the sterile surfaces will probably not tone that nicely over time.

    Side comparison.JPG

    As you can see, the Monarch Precious Metals bars have a shinny finish, though the surfaces retain the roughness and character of a poured bar, which allows them to be handled without worry of marring the finish. On the other hand, Prospector's Gold and Gems bars have a satin finish that harks back to the Engelhard poured bars of the late 1960s/early 1970s.

    I have to admit the satin finish of the Prospector's bars is probably more appealing, so for looks alone it wins. However, Monarch Precious Metals bars are still extremely beautiful with the shinier and smoother finish, and the quality of the stamp strikes on the Monarch Precious Metals bars is probably the best in the business. Based on my research, plus my own personal experience, the ounces, purity, and name of refinery appear to be stamped very crisp and consistent on Monarch Precious Metals bars. Based on pictures I've seen of other Prospector's bars, their consistency stamping the data on the bar is not always the best, though they atone for most of that by antiquing the stampings on their bars.

    3 Bars on Top of one another.JPG

    Another thing I've noticed is that while Prospector's bars seem to have more visible pour lines and bubbles (which most poured bars enthusiasts enjoy), Monarch Precious Metals bars are probably more consistent, vary less from each other, and their smoother finish (while still retaining the nice texture of a poured bar) will probably make the Monarch Bars easier to stack that Prospector's bars. I suspect the difference may have to do with Prospector's using a cold mold technique which makes the end product more old fashioned and rougher looking, while Monarch Precious Metals probably uses pre-heated molds to ensure they get a more consistent finished product with less bubbles and less bumps.

    Which one is right for you? That's hard to say. They are both great bars in their own ways, just depends what you like. For me though, I think I will stick with Monarch Precious Metals for my future purchases. Two reasons: (1) a more consistent bar with less bubble marks and bumps (which makes it easier to stack them), and (2) Monarch Precious Metals bars have just about the lowest premiums on hand poured bars. (something a lot of people care about, considering poured bars already carry higher premiums than more modern machine stamped bars).

    I've already ordered another 5 ounce and 1 ounce bars from Monarch Precious Metals, and will probably order more in December. However, you really can't go wrong with either company.
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  3. SilverMike

    SilverMike Well-Known Member

    I don't have any hand-poured bars yet. Thanks for posting pictures and for the comparisons.
  4. paddyman98

    paddyman98 No Common Cents! Supporter

    @Sallent ... Really nice silver bars you have there.

    This is the only one that I own.. 1 Ounce inside a plastic holder.
    silver01.jpg silver02.jpg
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  5. Sallent

    Sallent Supporter! Supporter

    Beautiful little art bar. You'd be surprised to know some of those art bars can be highly collectible and sell for outrageous premiums on eBay. I'm not saying yours is one such bar...only that silver art bars have a huge cult following.
    paddyman98 likes this.
  6. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    You're having FAR too much fun :)
  7. jtlee321

    jtlee321 Well-Known Member Supporter

    I've always loved the Monarch bars. I've owned 10 ounce, 5 ounce, 2 ounce and the 1 ounce bars. I've never heard of the Prospector's before. I love the look of it and it reminded me of one I picked up a couple of months ago. Not sure if you have heard of maybe, maybe you have. It's called Bison Bullion. It has the satin finish and antiqued stamping that your Prospector's bar had.

    Here's a 2 ounce bar I bought.

    Bison-Bullion-2-oz-poured-bar-front.jpg Bison-Bullion-2-oz-poured-bar-back.jpg
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  8. Sallent

    Sallent Supporter! Supporter

    I have heard of Bison Bullion. They are very nice.

    As for Prospector's Gold & Gems, APMEX has sold their bars on multiple occasions, plus Silver Slacker (one of the most prominent silver stakers in the world) has bought hundreds of their bars, and even tested them to confirm their weight and purity, and the bars are good.

    Here is a video of one of Silver Slacker's purchases of Prospector's bars.

    Don't want to buy them from APMEX as the premiums are crazy, but directly from them the premiums are more reasonable, although still a little high compared to Monarch Precious Metals. However, they seem to re-sell well and at a premium on eBay, so that's a plus.
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  9. TheRed

    TheRed Well-Known Member

    Those are some really nice bars @Sallent thanks for the review. While I normally buy rounds and government silver, I am going have to order a few of the Monarch bars the next time I buy silver.
  10. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    Would have been cooler if he treated them better,
  11. Sallent

    Sallent Supporter! Supporter

    Yeah, I ordered both types because I wasn't sure which I would like better. However, I think I prefer Monarch's shinier finish to the satin finish of the Prospector's. Though I will admit the Prospector's bar feels better in the hand. The texture of the satin finish is amazing. However, I think the 10 ouncer will end up being sold or exchanged soon and eventually converted to more Monarch bars as I liked the non-satin look better.

    You can't go wrong with either type, and they are both extremely nice and atractive bars, but personal preference for me definitely is with the Monarch style bars.
  12. mpcusa

    mpcusa "Official C.T. TROLL SWEEPER"

    For me, i really like the poured silver, as you really get the unique designs however
    You will pay a high premium and that,s something you may not be able to get back
    But my very firs bar was a 1-kilo Monarch bar :)
    Sallent likes this.
  13. asheland

    asheland The Silver Lion

    I love poured bars.
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  14. mpcusa

    mpcusa "Official C.T. TROLL SWEEPER"

  15. mpcusa

    mpcusa "Official C.T. TROLL SWEEPER"

  16. mpcusa

    mpcusa "Official C.T. TROLL SWEEPER"

  17. mpcusa

    mpcusa "Official C.T. TROLL SWEEPER"

  18. mpcusa

    mpcusa "Official C.T. TROLL SWEEPER"

  19. myownprivy

    myownprivy Well-Known Member

    You're going to have lots of troubling reselling those for spot, let alone the premium you paid.
  20. TheRed

    TheRed Well-Known Member

  21. Sallent

    Sallent Supporter! Supporter

    Well, Monarch pays back 98% spot price on .999 bars. If I ever need to sell, Ill just cram a couple hundred ounces in a US mail flat rate box, and with insurance and everything it shouldn't be worse than $12 to send. So I should be able to get back very close to 98% spot price if I were to send back a couple of bars for sale. And if Monarch is no longer in business, I'll resell them to another refiner. There are other refiners out there that will also pay close to spot proce on .999 bars.

    Why would I not be able to get near spot anywhere else too? Are you saying no one would want to pay spot price or near spot price for a poured silver bar from a well recognized company like Monarch?

    As far as premium, maybe I can't get one now, but in a few years when they've redesigned their poured bar line whose to say the older bars wont command a premium? Plus who cares about a $1.50 per ounce premium now if you are going to sell much later? Or what about the price of enjoyment of holding poured bars with one's bare hands? Or the pride in ownership of bars that are unique (no two poured bars are exactly alike.) Surely that is worth something to someone looking to own something more fun than a dime a dozen generic stamped bar. And if its worth nothing extra to someone else, at least it is to me, which is all that matters.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
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