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How Much Silver is in a Quarter?

Updated on January 21, 2013

US quarters minted earlier than 1965 have approximately .18 ounces of silver. These coins are made of a copper-silver alloy with a 1:9 ratio mixture of copper to silver. The copper strengthens the coin improving the life-span of the coin in circulation.

Several hundred years ago, it was common to cut a silver dollar into 8 pieces, or 12.5 cents. Two pieces or bits add up to 25 cents and it was common to call a quarter “2-bits” during this time period.

Silver and gold have been a good indication of inflation especially after the countries have replaced currencies with a fiat monetary system not backed by gold or silver, but the faith in the government for repayment of the debt.

An example of this is the popular song “Shave and a haircut, 2 bits” around the turn of the 20th century, where the cost of a hair cut was 25 cents. In today’s dollars, the amount of silver in a quarter would almost cover the cost of your haircut at most discount haircut salons.

Circulated silver quarters typically have no numismatic value and are classified as “junk silver” and can be bought and sold at Coin Dealers in your local area.

Always check your change for coins minted 1964 and earlier since finding one means that your coin is worth 20 to 30 times more than the face value of the coin. Of course, this depends on the spot price of silver which could go lower or even higher if inflation continues.


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