Difference Between .999 and .9999 Silver (4 Things!)

difference between 999 and 9999 silver
.9999 silver rods
voltamax / Pixabay

Right now in the United States, the main form of currency is – obviously – the United States Dollar. The USD has been the country’s primary currency for years, and while it works now, any prepper will tell you to not place all of your trust in it. Gold and silver are much more reliable and timeless items to put your value into, and when talking about silver, there seems to be some confusion around the difference between .999 and .9999 silver.

This debate (also referred to as fine silver vs pure silver) is one that’s been going on for quite some time at this point, and it’s a debate that doesn’t show any signs of going away anytime soon. Silver is a trust and reliable way to ensure that you’ll still have something worth using in a SHTF world, but the question of whether you should deal with 999 silver or 9999 is one that still has a lot of people quite stumped.

We’ve seen this confusion around for quite some time, and we decided we wanted to do something about it.

As such, here’s what you need to know when it comes to the difference between .999 and .9999 silver.

Fine Silver

Fine silver is the more common name for .999 silver, and this means that it has a millesimal fineness of 999. Fine silver contains 99.9% of silver in its makeup, and it’s one of the most pure forms of silver in the world.

This grade of silver is what’s usually found in the construction of bullion bars that are used in trading and investment of silver, and if you’ve ever spent any amount of time investing your cash into precious metals, you’ve probably come across one of these at one point or another.

As for real world applications, you won’t find much use for fine silver. Fine silver is a very soft and brittle material compared to the other types available, and as such, doesn’t have much purpose in the industries of manufacturing or anything else along those lines.

Pure Silver

Pure silver is the same you’ll usually find associated with .9999 silver, and as you can probably guess, this is silver that has a rating of 99.99%.

Similar to fine silver, pure silver shares many of the same properties. It’s used for the likes of investment and trading, but because it’s so soft, there’s not really much use for it when it comes to real world scenarios.

The only real difference on paper is the fact that fine silver is rated at 99.9%, whereas pure silver is 99.99%.

This is where the debate sparks up.

Some people are of the mindset that there’s no difference between the two, but there are others that place a lot of value and money in that slightly higher rating. At first glance, it could be easy to see this argument go either way.

So, where do we stand on it?

The difference between the two

In reality, there’s no discernible difference between .999 or .9999 silver.

When silver goes through a melt bucket, any and all impurities found within it will naturally rise and come up to the top of the bucket. Once this happens, those impurities can easily be skimmed or blasted off of the silver that you’re working with.

Melt buckets don’t actually refine silver when you go through this process – that’s something that takes place with electrolysis.

So, because of this, the melting process is exactly the same whether you’re working with .999 or .9999 silver. That extra 9 for pure silver looks good to some, but when it comes to the actual melting process, it’s identical no matter what kind you’re working with. This is something that most people don’t think about, but it’s one of the biggest reasons why it doesn’t matter which you choose to invest in.

Also, because this process is the same, you could start out with .999 silver and test it as .9999 with the right handling. Similarly, it’s possible to get your hands on .999 silver and then have it come across the slightest impurity and go back to a .999 rating.

Something that we will say is that the extra purity rating could make a difference if you’re choosing to collect silver items (such as coins) rather than invest in blocks.

Collectors will often tell you that the extra rating of .9999 will allow coins to stay pure longer with less signs of tarnishing, and if this is your main reason for investing into silver, then it might be worth going that extra step. However, for most people that simply want to be a chunk of their money into the blocks and not rely so heavily on USD, going with .999 will likely be more than fine.


Lastly, in regards to price between the two, the difference is marginal at best.

How marginal?

A difference of pennies.

Some collectors or preppers try to make the argument that .9999 silver is worth more than .999, and while this might technically be true, the weight of this argument is very light.

Sure, .9999 silver might cost slightly more and therefore technically be more valuable, but when we’re talking a difference of pennies at the most, there’s no real argument to be made here. It’s as easy as that.

Certain sellers will try to use this to convince you to buy into .9999 silver, and they might mark it up as a result of the higher rating. This is a trap that can be easy to fall into, but as long as you’re outfitted with the proper information, you can ensure that you’re making the right investment.

Final Thoughts


The silver debate will likely never die down for good, but even if this is the case, try to use information like this to make sure you’re making the best investing decision possible. There can be used for .9999 silver depending on your intent for the stuff, but in most cases and for most preppers, going with .999 silver won’t put you at any sort of disadvantage.

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