Silver prices are rising. Some people are using silver as barter money.

However, 1 oz silver is worth $40+, too much for small transactions. Some people say "Use junk silver for change!" (pre-1964 government silver coins) However, no new junk silver is being minted.

Also, junk silver doesn't exactly divide into 1 ounce. A crude approximation is $0.35 of junk silver per 0.25 ounces. Also, many "junk silver" coins are worn from circulating, giving them a current melt value less than the value when minted.

APMEX has started offering fractional silver rounds for 0.1, 0.25, and 0.5 ounces.

Here is an example:

spot | $40 |

1oz | $43.55 |

0.5 oz | $23.02 |

0.25 oz | $12.21 |

0.1 oz | $5.30 |

Notice that a 1 oz round is 9% more than spot. That's due to the labor cost of converting a 1000 oz bar into rounds.

Similarly, two 0.5 oz rounds is worth more than a single 1.0 oz round. That's due to the labor of making the coin.

This is a slight problem when using silver as barter money. There's a loss when you make change.

There is one way to fix this. If the coin weights were 1.0 oz, 0.473 oz, 0.223 oz, and 0.082 oz, then the coin values would match. Then, the 1.0 oz coin would have equal value to 2, 4, or 10 of the smaller coins.

Alternatively, the person making the change could just accept the loss.

Shire silver is experimenting with fractional silver also. They are cutting silver wire and laminating it. However, they're doing it wrong.

"One gram laminated silver" costs $2.10. "Five grams laminated silver" costs $10.25. The 5 gram card should be much cheaper than 5X the 1 gram card, due to the cost of making the card.

Also, they could have picked the weights better. How many 5 gram cards equals an ounce of silver? As I write this, spot silver is $40. Does that mean 5 "five gram silver" cards equals one silver round? However, there are 31.1 grams in a troy ounce. That means the fee for making the shire silver card is 1.2 grams of silver each, or $1.5. That's a pretty hefty transaction fee.

I'd like to see the "shire silver" redo their weights so that it came out to multiples of a silver round, to facilitate making change. (I.e, cards valued at 1/5 and 1/10 of an ounce of silver, but containing less than that amount of silver due to the cost of making the card.)

Also, the transaction fee for "shire silver" is too high.

If I buy 6 "five gram" shire silver cards, that costs $60.30 for about an ounce of silver. If I buy 10 "1/10 oz" APMEX fractional silver coins, I pay $53.00 for an ounce of silver. Clearly, APMEX fractional silver coins are superior to "shire silver".

I briefly looked into possibly using copper rounds for change. There are no 1-10 oz copper rounds available at a reasonable price. I investigated small-denomination copper rounds/bars. They all include ridiculous premiums to spot, making them unusable.

One way to protest State financial corruption is to work off-the-books and use gold and silver as barter money. However, there are minor problems when making change smaller than 1 oz of silver. For small-denomination coins, the cost of making the coin is a substantial percentage of the price. The smaller-denomination coins should have a weight so that they're round fractions of 1 oz silver in value.