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:
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.