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Junk Silver is a commonly used name for coinage that contained 90% silver that was in circulation in the United States prior to 1965. Buying Junk Silver is a one of the best and most affordable ways to grow your investment in precious metals.
The term "Junk Silver" is broad term that includes any government issued coinage that was in circulation containing silver that has no numismatic value to coin collectors. It is collected only for the silver content that it contains.
In the United States, coinage that contained 90% silver was in circulation prior to 1965. Coins containing 90% Silver were minted by the US Mint. The coinage included dimes, quarters, half-dollars and one-dollar coins. During World War 2, some nickels were minted with 35% silver alloy as well.
There is a limited supply of junk silver available. Although millions of coins containing silver were minted by the US Mint they have not been minted for more than 50 years.
The most common types of junk silver available on the market today is described below. The values are based on a silver spot price around $16.35 on April 30, 2018.
|Coin||Years Minted||Silver Content||Total Weight||Silver Weight||Approximate Melt Value|
|Jefferson "War Nickels"||1942-1945||35%||5 grams||1.75 grams (0.0563 troy ounces)||$0.92 per coin|
|Liberty Head "Barber Dime"||1892-1916||.90||2.5||2.25 grams (.072 troy ounces)||$1.18 per coin|
|Winged Liberty "Mercury Dime"||1916-1945||.90||2.5||2.25 grams (.072 troy ounces)||$1.18 per coin|
|Roosevelt Dime||1946-1964||.90||2.5||2.25 grams (.072 troy ounces)||$1.18 per coin|
|Liberty Head "Barber Quarter"||1892-1916||.90||6.25||5.625 grams (.181 troy ounces)||$2.96 per coin|
|Standing Liberty Quarter||1916-1930||.90||6.25||5.625 grams (.181 troy ounces)||$2.96 per coin|
|Washington Quarter||1932-1964||.90||6.25||5.625 grams (.181 troy ounces)||$2.96 per coin|
|Walking Liberty||1916-1947||.90||12.5||11.25 grams (.362 troy ounces)||$5.92 per coin|
|Franklin||1948-1963||.90||12.5||11.25 grams (.362 troy ounces)||$5.92 per coin|
|Kennedy||1964||.90||12.5||11.25 grams (.362 troy ounces)||$5.92 per coin|
|Kennedy||1964-1969||.40||12.5||5 grams (.148 troy ounces)||$2.42 per coin|
|Morgan Dollar||1878-1921||.90||26.73||24.06 grams (.773 troy ounces)||$12.66 per coin|
|Peace Dollar||1921-1935||.90||26.73||24.06 grams (.773 troy ounces)||$12.66 per coin|
Some junk silver coins have numismatic value to collectors and will carry a higher premium over spot. These are typically early minted coins such as Liberty Head and Mercury Dimes, Liberty Head and Standing Liberty Quarters and Walking Liberty Half-Dollars. Morgan dollars and Peace dollars will also carry a fairly high premium over spot price.
The junk silver coins that will be available at or close to spot price will be those that had high circulations and were minted during the later years of the time when coinage was minted with 90% silver. Those include Roosevelt Dimes, Washington Quarters, Franklin and Kennedy Half-Dollars.
When the minting of these coins was changed to copper clad in 1965 many collectors hoarded and saved the coins containing 90% silver as a way to hold and store the precious metals content.
Junk silver is an informal term used for any silver coin which is in fair or cull condition and has no numismatic or collectible value above the bullion value of the silver it contains. Such coins are popular among people seeking to invest in silver, particularly in small amounts. The word "junk" refers only to the value of the coins as collectibles and not to the actual condition of the coins; junk silver is not necessarily scrap silver.
Precious metals including silver are measured in troy ounces (ozt). A spot price for silver is the price for a troy ounce of silver which is 99.9-percent pure, or 999 fine. Silver coins including junk-silver coins have set silver-alloy contents ranging from 35-percent to 90-percent or more. The term "coin silver," for example, refers to 90-percent silver alloy which was the most common alloy used to mint silver U.S. coins.
Any combination of 90-percent silver U.S. coins which have a face value of US$1.00 contains 0.715 troy ounces of 99.9-percent silver (0.7234 troy ounces if uncirculated), except for the silver dollars (Morgan and Peace) which contain .7736 troy ounces of silver. In other words, a full troy ounce of 99.9-percent silver is contained in any combination of 90-percent silver U.S. coins which have a face value of $1.40