Engelhard is a former Fortune 500 company that was formed by Charles W Engelhard in 1902. Headquartered in New Jersey, it has expanded through mergers and acquisitions. Engelhard became the world’s largest manufacturing and refining company for gold, platinum and silver. The company has in recent years been taken over by BASF. In 2006, the takeover was formalized at $39 a share, which valued the company at an incredible $5 billion.
Silver Production Stopped in the 1980s
The production of Engelhard Silver ceased in the 1980s after many years of successful quality production. The brand remains popular with investors today as the products have high liquidity and are excellent quality. It is not always easy to find Engelhard silver in the market as there is a limited amount of old silver in circulation.
Only about 20% of Engelhard silver bars were manufactured by pouring, the majority were extruded. The extruded bars are all of the same dimensions, meaning they are great for storage. The poured bars tend to have dimensions that can be a little different from each other.
Engelhard bars are at .999 purity, meaning that they are 99.9% pure silver. They are generally available in 1 ounce, 10 ounce and 100 ounce weights. Despite the fact they are not manufactured anymore you can still find them on sites like APMEX and JM Bullion.
The 1 ounce bars tend to retail at about $4 above silver spot price. The 100 ounces bars sell at about $1.10 per ounce above the silver spot price on the top sites. All Engelhard bars of 100 ounces weight were serial numbered. Other bars have various markings, but all generally bare the Engelhard name on them.
In addition, certain sizes and pours command astounding premiums due to extreme market rarity. For example, certain 2 oz Engelhard bars may trade at $25 or more over spot price, a near 100% premium over the value of the silver in the bars. We never advocate purchasing anything other than bullion which is valued only for its silver content, as collectibility premiums are rarely recouped in the resale markets.
Quality and Condition
The quality of Engelhard silver is not in question – they produced great products. Investors these days find that the condition of the bars that they buy varies greatly. Many investors complain of tarnishing and marks, but as these bars have not been manufactured for 25 years, they are going to have signs of wear and tear. The condition does not affect the value as long as they still weigh the appropriate amount.
Some of the bars come in the original Engelhard plastic casing, but for many the plastic is long gone so they come in a new cover or naked.
A Popular Brand with a Great Reputation
The popularity of the brand means that investors can sell these bars fairly quickly when they are looking to cash in. They are going to become less recognizable as time goes by due to their relative scarcity compared with JM, Academy, RCM and other brands.
However, there is no reason to believe that they will not retain their brand strength and popularity long into the future. Engelhard silver bars are good quality silver available at reasonable prices. They are now a part of history as well as being a silver investment.