If you buy physical silver you will pay VAT and you will pay Dealer fees as well – so you have to take a long term view. That is fine because we are not short-term traders and we do not have sufficient knowledge to make fast buy and sell decisions. I see gold and silver as a way of protecting your money over the long-term. Silver coins also make great presents for friends and family and I have absolutely no doubt that they will be the only things worth anything when your kids look back at all the presents they ever received (plus gold of course).
If you buy silver certificates however there is no VAT.
This is for those investors who are a bit more serious as you have to buy in much larger quantities. Well worth it though with an immediate 17.5/20.0% saving. The company I buy through, Gold Investments, often have certificates that have been cashed in at lower levels and when these come along you can buy below the usual minimum. If you like this option, let Mike at Gold Investments know that you are in the market (or your usual dealer) and he will let you know when one comes along.
Alternatively you get exposure to silver by buying into silver mining stocks where there are no restrictions and no VAT.