A silver price history chart shows the value of silver over a certain time period, typically several years or decades. Silver price history charts usually use the value of one ounce of pure silver, not the sterling silver used in jewelry, decorations or luxury food and beverage services.
Most silver price history charts use the value of one ounce of silver because that is the quantity in which most banks and foundries sell investment silver. The price on the chart is an average, because different types of investment silver, even of the same purity, have different values. The most expensive types of investment silver are coins which national banks and mints issue, while the most inexpensive are simple silver bars or ingots sold by foundries or mineral companies.
Silver price history charts contain a wealth of information about economic history. Silver, like all precious metals, is used as a form of protection against inflation. While currency values can fluctuate wildly during booms, recessions and depressions, precious metals tend to hold their value. Because of this, many people often buy large amounts of silver immediately preceding economic downturns. A large spike in the price of silver indicates a buying frenzy and implies economic problems, while a sharp dip in prices is evidence of a booming economy where few feel the need to hedge against inflation.