What is IRA Approved Silver?

July 6, 2023
Written by Peter Anderson

IRA-approved silver refers to silver products that meet the strict criteria set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for inclusion in a self-directed Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

These criteria ensure that only certain types of silver products, such as rounds, bars, and coins, with a minimum fineness of 0.999%, are eligible for investment within an IRA.

To be considered IRA-approved, these silver products must be produced by a government mint or an approved refiner, manufacturer, or assayer.

Examples of IRA-eligible silver bars include those produced by Johnson Matthey and the Royal Canadian Mint. In addition to bars, certain coins like the American Eagle bullion coins, Australian Kookaburra coins, Austrian Gold Philharmonic coin (which has a silver counterpart), Canadian Maple Leaf coins, and Mexican Silver Libertad Coins can also be included in a silver IRA.

It is important to note that not all forms of silver are permitted in a self-directed IRA. Owned silver, certified by third-party grading services, collectibles, rare coins, and jewelry do not meet the IRS criteria for inclusion.

Investing in IRA-approved silver offers several benefits for retirement planning. It provides diversification within one's investment portfolio and serves as a hedge against market downturns.

Silver has historically retained its value during inflationary periods.

When considering starting a silver IRA, it is crucial to choose a specialized broker or custodian who understands alternative asset investments. Factors such as customer service ratings and fee structures should be carefully evaluated before making any decisions.

Understanding what constitutes IRA-approved silver is essential for individuals seeking to maximize their retirement savings through alternative investments while adhering to IRS regulations.

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What Kinds of Silver are Approved for Your Self-Directed IRA?

In addition to silver bars, there are several IRA-eligible silver coins available for investment.

These include the American Eagle bullion coins, Australian Kookaburra coins with different designs each year, the Austrian Gold Philharmonic's silver counterpart coin, Canadian Maple Leaf coins known for their high silver content purity of .9999%, and Mexican Silver Libertad Coins produced at La Casa de Moneda de Mexico.

Investing in IRA-approved silver can provide various benefits.

  • It allows individuals to diversify their self-directed IRA by including physical precious metals in their portfolio. This diversification can help mitigate risks and provide a hedge against market downturns. 
  • Investing in silver can act as a store of value during times of inflation and economic uncertainty. Silver has historically retained its value well and has shown significant growth over time.

When choosing silver products for an IRA, several factors should be considered.

It is important to ensure that the product meets IRS criteria for inclusion in a self-directed IRA by having a minimum fineness of 0.999% and being made by a government mint or an approved refiner, manufacturer, or assayer. Investors may consider factors such as the reputation and reliability of the mint or refiner, the liquidity of the product in the market, and any potential premiums associated with buying or selling.

Government mints typically produce coins that have legal tender status and are recognized worldwide. These mints have established reputations for quality production standards. On the other hand, approved refiners may offer additional options with lower premiums compared to government-minted coins.

Including IRA-approved silver in a balanced retirement portfolio can provide investors with exposure to an asset class closely tied to global economics while benefiting from potential tax advantages associated with self-directed IRAs.

What Kind of Silver Is Not IRA Approved?

Excluded from inclusion in a self-directed retirement account are silver items that are already owned, certified by third-party grading services, considered collectibles or rare coins, and jewelry.

When it comes to IRA-approved silver, there are specific criteria that must be met to ensure eligibility. It is important for investors to understand what types of silver are not approved for their self-directed IRAs.

Here are the main categories of non-approved silver for an IRA:

  1. Silver items already owned: The IRS cannot verify the fineness or source of manufacturing for silver that individuals already own, making it ineligible for inclusion in a self-directed IRA.
  2. Certified silver: Any silver that has been certified by a third-party grading service cannot be included in an IRA because the approved list of manufacturers, mints, and assayers ensures consistent quality standards.
  3. Collectibles and rare coins: Precious metals IRAs do not allow collectible or rare coins as investments due to their speculative nature and potential market value fluctuations based on aesthetic appeal rather than actual metal content.

It is worth noting some key considerations when managing a silver IRA. Risks associated with home storage include theft and loss, which can be mitigated through appropriate insurance coverage.

Early withdrawal from a silver IRA before age 59 1/2 may result in a 10% tax penalty.

However, investing in silver for retirement also offers benefits such as diversification, value retention during inflationary periods, and acting as a hedge against market downturns.

Why Is Silver a Good Retirement Investment?

Silver, as a tangible asset with industrial applications and a history of value retention and growth, presents an appealing option for retirement investment.

Investing in silver through a Silver IRA offers several benefits compared to other retirement investments.

One key advantage is the potential for diversification within a retirement portfolio.

Including silver, investors can reduce their exposure to traditional assets such as stocks and bonds, which are often correlated. The unique properties of silver allow it to retain its value well during periods of inflation and economic instability, making it a reliable hedge against market downturns.

Historical performance has shown that silver has the potential for significant growth over time. In the first two decades of this millennium alone, it experienced nearly 500% growth in value.

Annual growth rates for silver often surpass those of gold. This strong performance makes silver an attractive option for long-term retirement planning.

But, there are factors to consider when investing in silver for retirement.

It's important to carefully select IRA-approved silver products that meet IRS criteria to ensure eligibility within a self-directed IRA account.

Due to the volatility of silver prices compared to gold, investors should have a long-term perspective and be prepared for fluctuations in the short term.

Including silver in a retirement portfolio through a Silver IRA can provide diversification benefits and potential for long-term growth.

Its industrial applications and historical track record of value retention make it an attractive alternative asset class for retirement investment purposes.

Starting Your Silver IRA

When initiating the process of establishing a retirement investment account focused on silver, individuals are advised to locate a specialized broker or custodian experienced in handling alternative asset investments.

It is important to find a broker who offers the option to invest in precious metals like silver, as traditional financial services firms may not provide this opportunity.

Several factors should be considered when choosing a custodian for a silver IRA.

  • It is crucial to assess the customer service ratings of the potential custodian. 

This ensures that investors will receive proper support and assistance throughout their investment journey. Individuals should carefully examine the fee structure associated with the custodial services. Account creation fees and annual management fees are common, and there may also be costs related to physical storage.

  • Another aspect to consider is the minimum investment levels required by each custodian. 

These can vary significantly, ranging from a few thousand dollars to as much as $50,000. Investors should select a custodian that aligns with their budget and investment goals.

  • Funding options are an essential consideration when starting a silver IRA. 

Individuals can choose between using income and making contributions within annual IRA limits or doing a rollover from an existing IRA or 401k plan.

  • Storage options play a vital role in maintaining compliance with IRS regulations for SDIRA precious metals. 

The IRS mandates vault or depository storage for these assets, and investors typically have choices regarding which facility they prefer. They may also have the option of mixed or segregated storage.

  • Investors must be aware of potential tax benefits associated with investing in silver through an IRA account. 

Following IRS guidelines and utilizing an approved custodian, individuals can benefit from tax breaks provided for retirement savings accounts.

  • It is important to consider potential returns when starting a silver IRA. 

While past performance does not guarantee future results, historical data suggests that silver has shown significant growth over time compared to paper-based assets.

Selecting an experienced custodian, understanding funding and storage options, being aware of tax benefits, and assessing potential returns are crucial factors to consider when starting a silver IRA.


IRA-approved silver refers to silver products that meet the criteria set by the IRS for inclusion in a self-directed IRA. These products must have a minimum fineness of 0.999% and be produced by a government mint or an approved refiner, manufacturer, or assayer. 

Examples of IRA-eligible silver include rounds, bars, and certain coins like the American Eagle bullion coins and Canadian Maple Leaf coins.

It is important to choose a specialized broker or custodian when starting a silver IRA and consider factors such as customer service ratings and fee structures.

Investing in silver for retirement offers diversification, value retention during inflation, and acts as a hedge against market downturns.

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