Unlike bullion which is valued at silver spot price plus a margin over silver spot price, art bars and art rounds are valued at silver spot price plus a value for their production qualities. Factors such as number minted, year minted, whether the bar is enameled or gold plated, canceled are all taken into consideration in the price. Art bars and art rounds are works of art and produced for collectors and investors alike and price is not determined by silver spot price alone.
So you want to invest or collect art bars or art rounds, what do you look for? Bars and round that were produced pre-1980 or before the great melt down of 1980 when silver spot price spiked to $49.45 and silver was sold for its bullion value is most desirable for the collector and investor. Bars minted post 1980 are also very desirable but rely on the mint factors for price more than the year they were minted in, these bars are minted after the great melted down and the number minted and the number remaining are more likely to be accurate so production quality and factors play a bigger role in pricing.
Take a bar that was minted in 1976, spot price under $5.00, with a mintage of 2,500. When silver went wild in 1980, silver spot price top out at $49.45, people sold off their bars for great profits, those bars were melted down for the silver spot value and how many survived the melt down is unknown, making pre-1980 bars and rounds a great investment. To add to the value, a pre-1980 bar or round may have a mintage of 5,000 but only minted on demand so the actual number was far less as the demand did not meet the mintage ceiling.
After 1980 the values rest more in the quantity minted and the factors that define the bar or round. A bar that has a limited mintage of 50, or is canceled is a better investment than a bar that has an unknown mintage or a production run. Chances are the bars or rounds have not been melted down for the spot value and are in circulation so the bar or round factors demand a higher price.
Whether pre or post 1980, factors such as number minted, canceled bars or rounds, serial numbers, part of a set, gold plated, is the bar or round toned are just some of the factors that determine price. One thing to note, art bars and art rounds continue to gain in value year after year, you cannot go wrong when investing or collecting these miniature detailed pieces of art.