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Junk Silver

Junk silver coins refer to dollar coins, half-dollars, dimes and nickels that were minted and circulated prior to 1965. While most of these coins have no numismatic value, they are nevertheless highly sought-after for their silver content, as well as their history.

Pre-1965 coins were made of 90% silver. They were removed from circulation when the value of silver rose higher than the coins’ face values, and people started hoarding them. In 1965, the U.S. Mint started producing circulation coins without any silver content, save for a few exceptions.

 

Pre-1965 Silver Coins sold in bags

Junk silver coins may be purchased in bags, typically with a total face value of $1,000, but are also available at a total face value of $500 or $250. The denomination is often not important to investors, who buy the coins for their silver content rather than their collectability.

A bag with a face value of $1,000 will contain coins minted with 732 oz. of silver. But the actual silver yield may only be around 715 oz. due to the coins’ wear and tear. A bag of half-dollar coins, however, may have a higher yield because half-dollars were not as widely-circulated as the other denominations, and therefore, endured less wear and tear.

 

Advantages of investing in junk silver coins

There are several advantages to buying junk silver coins:

  1. They are widely available. As previously circulated money, pre-1965 coins may be found from various sources, including county fairs and estate sales. You might even ask for them from bank tellers or get them when you request for change in half-dollars.
  2. They are more affordable than American Silver Eagles or other national silver coins, and thus offer good return on investment.
  3. They are still legal tender. Junk silver coins are U.S. currency and may still be used to purchase goods. Dimes and nickels would especially be useful in a crisis situation as they can be used to buy low-cost items.
  4. Their value is increasing. As with silver bullion coins, the value of junk silver coins rises with inflation. At times, premiums for these coins may even be higher than those for .999 grade bullion coins, since they’re no longer in production. On the other hand, .999 fine bullion coins may be minted anytime. One of the earliest indicators of a rising demand for silver is a shortage in the supply of junk silver coins.
  5. Many collectors seek these coins for their historic value. The Walking Liberty half-dollar is particularly popular for its beauty.

 

Junk silver coins with less than 90% silver content

Considered among junk silver coins are those minted with less than 90% silver content, as follows:

These coins may also be purchased in bags with a face value of $1,000, $100 or even $1.00. A bag of 40% silver half-dollars with a $1,000 face value would yield about 295 troy ounces of silver.

Obviously, 90% silver coins are the better investments than the 40% and 35% silver coins. However, the latter have the advantage of lower costs, which make them attractive to beginning investors.

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