Silver Panda vs. Silver Eagle
At a Glance
Although the Silver Panda is more prized by collectors, hardcore silver investors may stand to earn greater returns with the Silver Eagle.
The Silver Panda and Silver Eagle are among some of the most traded government-minted silver bullion coins on the market today. The coins can be obtained from a variety of coin dealers as well as online marketplaces such as Amazon. If you’re interested in increasing your silver holdings, both coins are affordable, valuable and highly desired by collectors. Which is the better investment, though? If you’re considering your options and have narrowed your choice down to the Silver Panda vs. the Silver Eagle, we hope this comparison will make the decision an easier one.
The minting of Silver Panda began in Shanghai, China in 1989 but has now spread across to several other cities within the state. The Silver Eagle on the other hand was first released in the market in 1986 in San Francisco. This was done under the Liberty Coin Act that was passed in 1985. Minting of all these bullion is done each year by the respective minting companies; while the Silver Eagle is a product of the United States Mint, the Silver Panda is Chinese in origin.
Pictured at top: MS69 Silver Panda First Releases
As the name implies, the obverse of the Silver Panda features a design of China’s famous panda bear. One feature that has endeared the Silver Panda to collectors is the fact that the design changes each year. The Silver Panda differs significantly from the Silver Eagle in this respect; if you decide to invest in the Silver Eagle, there’s little reason to choose one year over the others unless you are interested in one of the early, lower-mintage years — the Silver Eagle looks the same every year. If you like a particular Silver Panda design, however, you can only get it by purchasing a Silver Panda minted in a specific year.
The front part of Silver Eagle bears the design of the famous “Walking Liberty” half dollar, one of the most famous designs in the history of United States coinage. The portrait features the Lady Liberty walking toward the sun with her arm outstretched. On the rear side of the coin, there is a heraldic silver eagle behind a shield. The eagle is on one talon holding an olive branch and arrows on another.
Weight and Purity
The Silver Panda and Silver Eagle both contain one Troy ounce of 99.9 percent pure silver. Depending on the year, other weights may be available. However, fractional and larger weights of the Silver Panda are sometimes difficult to obtain outside of China. Currently, the larger and fractional weights available for the Silver Panda are one quarter ounce, one half ounce, five ounces, 12 ounces and one kilogram.
The Silver Eagle has same value as one American Dollar while the Silver Panda has a face value of Ten Yuan. However, it must be noted that in the case of both coins, the face value is far lower than the value of the silver used to mint the coins — about $25 per coin at the time of writing. The face value simply illustrates the fact that both coins are legal tender in their respective nations and will retain that value even if the value of silver declines.
If you are considering the Silver Panda vs. the Silver Eagle as investment coins, the most important question on your mind is which coin has the greater potential to appreciate in value in the future. The upfront purchase price is slightly higher for Silver Pandas — as much as $9.00 per coin over the spot price of silver. The Silver Eagle, in comparison, costs up to $4.00 per coin over the spot price of silver. However, the Silver Panda may have a greater potential to appreciate in value; last year’s Panda is already selling for about $8.00 more per coin than this year’s design. This trend continues as you look at Silver Pandas from preceding years. This trend doesn’t hold true for most years in which the Silver Eagle was minted; you can actually get a Silver Eagle for slightly less by buying one from a random year rather than the current year. The Silver Panda is also rarer than the Silver Eagle, with eight million Silver Pandas minted per year at the time of writing compared to tens of millions for the Silver Eagle.
However, the Silver Eagle isn’t without its benefits. For example, the United States mint requires coin shops selling the Silver Eagle to provide a liquid two-way market. If you buy a Silver Eagle today and the price of silver skyrockets tomorrow, the coin shop you purchased it from will buy it back from you at a fair price. In addition, because the price of the Silver Eagle is lower than that of the Silver Panda, you can purchase more Silver Eagles with the same amount of money. You would therefore stand to earn a greater return with the Silver Eagle if the price of silver increased significantly.