Although few customers think to ask, when they transact silver coins with a dealer there should be two prices; both a higher buying price and a lower selling price. The trader makes money by buying from a selling customer at the lower price and selling to a buying customer at the higher price.
In professional markets, the customer will always ask for both prices at the same time – before the dealer knows if they are buying or selling. This forces the dealer to keep the two prices competitive (i.e. close to each other) if they are to win any business.
But in retail markets this dynamic disappears, and the difference between the buying and selling price, known as the ‘spread’ becomes large, while very often remaining hidden.
'Commission free' is not helpful if the hidden spread costs many times what an openly declared commission would cost. A wide spread is the key component of lost value for the retail customer who buys and sells silver coins.