Junk Silver – Washington Quarters

The Washington Quarter has been in circulation since it’s introduction in 1932. From 1932 until 1964 all of the Washington Quarters minted contained an alloy of 90% silver. Circulated coins from this era typically have little to no collector or numismatic value. Often, people refer to them as “Junk Silver”.

Buying Junk Silver is a popular way for precious metals investors to acquire silver for a very low premium over spot price or melt value. It is also in high demand with “preppers”. Many preppers and survivalist believe that junk silver will become a primary means of bartering if civilization as we know it collapses. However unlikely that is to occur, it’s entirely possible.

The most common Junk Silver items that investors and preppers flock towards are Washington Quarters and Roosevelt Dimes. These two types of coinage account for the vast majority of Junk Silver that is available in the secondary bullion market today.

The Washington Quarter was produced in 90% silver for 32 years. During that time, roughly 3,776,126,601 Washington Quarters were minted. That’s over 3.75 billion Silver Washington Quarters.

Each Silver Washington Quarter weighs 6.25 grams. The alloy is 90% silver and 10% copper. This means that each quarter contains 5.616 grams of silver and .634 grams of copper. There will be some weight reduction due to circulation, and wear and tear over time. In general that amount lost will be pretty small.

Quick Facts about Silver Washington Quarters

  • Each $1 Face Value (4 quarters) contains roughly .715 troy ounces of silver.
  • One $10 Face Value Roll (40 quarters) contains roughly 7.15 troy ounces of silver.
  • One $50 Face Value Bag (200 quarters) contains roughly 35.75 troy ounces of silver.
  • One $100 Face Value Bag (400 quarters) contains roughly 71.5 troy ounces of silver.

Where to Buy Silver Washington Quarters?

Silver Washington Quarters can usually be found at most pawn shops, local coin shops, eBay and other online bullion dealers. The vast majority of Washington Quarters have no numismatic value and you should buy them as close to spot or melt price as possible.

Many online bullion dealers sell Junk Silver Washington Quarters by number of dollars face value. It is common to see product listings on dealer websites showing $10 Face Value of Circulated Pre-1964 Washington Quarters. One typical bank roll of quarters is $10 Face Value, which is 40 quarters.

How to Calculate the Melt Value of Silver Washington Quarters

To calculate the melt value of Washington Quarters, you can take the weight of each quarter, roughly .179 troy ounces. Multiply the weight by .90, which is the amount of pure silver contained in the alloy to get the approximate silver weight. This should be roughly .161 troy ounces. Then, multiply that by the current spot price of 1 troy ounce of silver.

So, if the current spot price for silver is $16.50, each Silver Washington Quarter has a melt value of around $2.66.