Somewhere recently I read someone's great idea about how you can acquire silver risk-free. It sounded like a bogus claim at first, and the promo video that went on and on and on (probably ending not in the promised advice, but with a paypal button to purchase an e-book) started to convince me that it was so. The seller, whoever he is, did give away the secret to anyone paying attention to detail, however: the sales pitch kept saying "say these five magic words to any teller at any bank and blahblahblah." I don't know what the words actually were because I stopped listening and started Googling. It didn't take me long to find out what the deal was (and why this e-book wouldn't have been a deal at all).
Very simply, what some are doing (and what I've since tried) is to walk into any bank with some cash and proceed to exchange it for as many rolls of U.S. half-dollar coins as you can.
There was a point in time where some of our coins contained precious metals, mostly silver. For a period of time, so too did half-dollar coins. Basically, any of them that were struck before 1971 have a significant amount of silver in them (for the specifics, use this handy resource, which will even tell you day-to-day what the "melt value" of a coin is).
What's nice about doing this is that if you don't turn up any pre-1971 half-dollars in the rolls you buy, you don't lose any money. You can spend them, deposit them back into your bank account, or even exchange them for other rolls of half-dollars and keep looking. If you do find a silver-containing coin, however, you make a nice gain.
On my first crack at this, with $40 worth of half-dollar coins that I picked up at my main banking institution, I found this:
A 1967 half-dollar, probably from the Pennsylvania mint (this one does not bear a mint mark, and it is my understanding that coins from that particular mint often have no mark, while the other mints always stamped them with theirs). On the day that I found this coin, the spot price of silver placed the melt value of it at about $5.10. For fifty cents, I acquired something worth over nine-times that amount, without risking a single penny. It's tough to beat that!
My coin is now hanging out with the rest of my silver holdings in my safe deposit box. As the use of silver continues to outpace the production of it, I expect the metal to continue rising in value. My existing holdings I acquired for an average cost of about $14.28 per ounce, but with a method like this one for acquiring more, I wonder if I can nudge that number down further.
Try it yourself! Do a little "urban prospecting," see if any nuggets end up in your pan. It could take several tries before you strike silver, but with close to 849,000,000 of these silver-containing half-dollar coins having been produced in the past, the chances of finding one are way better than buying a winning lotto ticket! (Not to mention that if you don't win at lotto, you don't get your money back!)