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What are Junk Silver Coins?

Updated on June 9, 2014
Photo of junk silver dimes, quarters and half dollars
Photo of junk silver dimes, quarters and half dollars

Junk silver (coins) is a term used by Coin Dealers which identifies coins composed of silver that are worth more melted down for the value of the metal content than the collectible value. United States dimes, quarters, half-dollars, and silver dollars minted on or before 1964 have 90% silver content while half-dollars mint from 1965 to 1970 contain 40% silver. Eisenhower dollars minted at the San Francisco Mint also contain 40% silver, but these coins were issued in mint sets and retain a numismatic value above the price of silver.

Selling Junk Silver

When you sell your junk silver coins, Coin Dealers will quote you a multiple times the face value of the coins. For example, if you have $10 dollars in junk quarters, dimes and dollars, the Dealer may purchase the coins for fifteen times (or 15x) the $10 face value or for $150.

This price is negotiable and you can command a higher price if you are selling silver dollars since they are usually in high demand regardless of the state of the coin. Thus it is wise when selling dollars to get individual price quotes to get the best silver dollar values for your coins.

A Simple Way to Calculate the Value of Your Junk Coins

When the spot price of silver was hovering around $15/oz, a “We Buy Gold” advertisement in a local Newspaper was quoting 3x for junk silver with a bonus of 5x for dollars. The company buying the coins was taking advantage of the sellers by offering less than half price for the coins. Here’s why:

With 90% silver content, junk dimes, quarters and half-dollars have about .725 oz of silver per dollar while silver dollars have slightly more with .77 oz per coin. This translates to about 7x for every $10 in the spot price of silver or about 10x when the price is $15/oz.

Not all companies take advantage of the uninformed consumer; however, it is best to call several Coin Dealers to get the best price for your junk silver. Plus, if you have silver dollars or coins that you think have a collectible value, the Dealer will give you a fair price above the silver spot price.


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  • cebutouristspot profile image

    cebutouristspot 6 years ago from Cebu

    Yup I agree. But I also learn that our local currency coin are being exported and melted in on another country. Nice article ... Voting up

  • KeithTax profile image

    Keith Schroeder 6 years ago from Wisconsin

    I never knew some coins are worth more melted down than as coins. You learn something everyday on Hubpages.