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IRA Approved Silver: Eligible Silver for Your IRA

Donny Gamble
February 28, 2022
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Silver is one of the most-traded metals that you can find, and it has a very conservative price point. Sure, it’s not gold, but it has its own value and carries its own weight. It can even help you secure your retirement.

Your IRA can include tangible assets like silver, gold, platinum, and palladium—it doesn’t just have to include cash and paper goods like stocks and bonds. Silver is usable just about everywhere, but that’s not the appeal, because you can’t actually hold the silver in your IRA.

We’ll explain in a minute—just do us a favor and don’t buy into silver just yet until you know what you’re fully getting yourself into. We’ll help you prepare, starting right now.

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IRS Eligible Silver Coins

Allowable Silver Coins

  • American Silver Eagle bullion coins
  • American Silver Eagle proof coins
  • Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coins
  • Austrian Silver Philharmonic coins
  • Australian Silver Kookaburra coins
  • Chinese Silver Panda coins
  • Mexican Libertad coins

Allowable Silver Bars

  • Silver bars and rounds produced by a NYMEX or COMEX-approved refinery or national government mint, meeting minimum IRS fineness requirements.
  • 1 oz Royal Canadian Mint Silver Bars
  • 1 oz UBS Silver Bars
  • 1 oz Credit Suisse Silver Bars

You Can’t Hold Your Own Silver

There is a wide misconception amongst many silver and gold websites that say you can buy gold direct to your home, and use it in your IRA. If you buy the silver direct, it’s essentially useless for an investment; it will hopefully appreciate in value, but will most likely depreciate with inflation.

For silver to be IRA-eligible, it must:

  • Be Held in a Depository: Depositories are facilities that hold onto precious metals and other assets for IRAs.
  • Of a 99.995% Finesse: This refers to the purity of the bullion of silver.
  • Be Hosted by a Broker: The broker is the service you use to hold your IRA account in, since the account has to exist somewhere.
  • Purchased Straight From the Mint: The location where they mint silver will sell it, but only to authorized dealers that already have a depository set up to send the silver to. An IRA firm/broker is such an entity.
  • Sent Straight to the Depository: From the mint, it goes right to the depository via verified transportation, and is inspected upon delivery. It never actually lands in your hands.
  • Stay in Your IRA Account: You can’t withdraw silver and then decide to deposit it later, it doesn’t work like that. You own the silver on paper.

So why would anyone want to own silver in an IRA? It’s regulated, guaranteed, and a way to increase your wealth over time. However, you can’t just take your silver out of your IRA.

Within the bin of your IRA, you would have to liquidate it and then utilize the cash for whatever it is that you need, whether it’s qualified purchases through your IRA (such as medical expenses), or to invest in another asset if you feel that silver has peaked in terms of market growth.

It’s important to know that even if you sell it, you’ll never hold the silver in your IRA. You would have to buy silver bullion or coins separately and have it shipped direct, but we’re going to explain why that’s not in your best interest.

Your Silver Has to be Held in an IRA Trustee (Depository)

Depositories are physical facilities that are deemed worthy by the IRS to hold onto IRA-eligible assets. These are most commonly just precious metals, although some may also double as cold storage for cryptocurrency. 

Your silver has to be held in a depository for it to count for your IRA, and as you can imagine, these facilities aren’t free. 

Depending on the size of your deposit area, how much silver you’re storing, and whether or not you could consider communal storage options, you’ll pay an annual fee of around $200 or higher to maintain your assets in said depository. 

The number varies depending on which depository you use.

You’re Subject to an Annual Custodian Fee

Custodian services are generally paid to your broker, or the firm that holds your actual IRA account (it’s your account, but it has to exist somewhere in some financial system to qualify for your retirement).

Nobody does this for free, so you will pay an annual fee of around $200 to $250 (on average, this changes for every brokerage firm) just to maintain that account.

This can’t be avoided, but it can be adjusted. Shop around for custodians, i.e., silver IRA brokers that have different rates. You can usually find transparent information on the homepage of many different IRA brokers, or you can contact them to find out more information on what they charge.

Even though it’s self-directed, you still have these fees to take into account. You should always invest as soon as possible and with as much money as you can afford to lose, but if you’re only investing $500 per year in silver, it might be difficult to justify the mixed custodian and depository fees.

Just be sure you aren’t going to bankrupt yourself over it.


Silver isn’t as potent of an asset as gold, but it still has value, and in the current 2022 market, it stands to climb higher than it has in years.

Of course, this is speculation based on market conditions, and you can never truly predict the market (you’d do well to remember that; far too many savvy investors have failed by trying to predict the market).

Investing in silver is a great way to diversify your IRA, help your financial future, and protect your retirement nest egg. It has risk, as everything does, but making your silver IRA-eligible is a good idea.

Just don’t buy bullion that ships right to your home, because it won’t help you protect your future (it can technically depreciate from your original buying price due to inflation).

IRA Eligible Silver FAQ's

How is silver IRA approved?

Silver can only be IRA approved if it’s held through a custodian service, which holds the silver in a depository. The custodian service is often an IRA firm, which is separate from the depository.

A depository service works with an IRA firm/broker. The depository holds and verifies the silver, and the IRA firm counts your investment.

It sounds complicated, but all it really requires is paying an annual fee to your broker, and an annual fee to your depository of choice (usually no more than $200 a piece), and enjoying the safety of your investments.

Can I have silver and gold in the same IRA?

Yes, you absolutely can. You can have silver, gold, platinum, palladium, cryptocurrency, real estate, and other assets within an IRA as long as it’s self-directed.

If you have a traditional IRA, you’re limited to paper assets (stocks, bonds, certificates, etc.) decided upon by a company that holds your IRA. 

We cover everything you need to know about SDIRAs in this post here so you can know exactly what you’re getting into. Think of your SDIRA as a collection of assets, paper and physical.

Should I avoid silver coins?

You should avoid coins in general when you can. Coins are often seen as collectibles, and just like with gold, silver coins don’t have to adhere to a high finesse.

They’re often 91% (or sometimes lower), even if they’re commemorative coins or specially minted coins. This is because the design on the face needs to be molded out of an alloy so the silver (or gold) can retain its shape properly, otherwise it may fleck or chip.

Bullion is solid and must follow a finesse of 99.995%, meaning you’re getting it as pure as possible. The remaining percentage is alloy because otherwise, melting pure silver would result in burning or destroying it.

Silver coins are literally up to 8.995% less silver than bullion on average, often times for the same amount of money. Avoid coins.

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About the author 

Donny Gamble

I’m Donny. I’m a world traveler, investor, entrepreneur, and online marketing aficionado who has a big appetite to compete and disrupt big markets. I thrive on being able to create things that impact change, difficult challenges, and being able to add value in negative situations.

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