Silver Coins

U.S. Common Silver Coins

These are the coins we used for change 1964 and previous. This category has very little numismatic premium. Their value is the 90% silver content. A slang term for these coins is “junk silver”, but dealers usually refer to them simply as, “90%”. These are often traded among dealers by the “bags”, which refers to a $1000 face value in a bag which weighs approximately 55 regular pounds, and 720 troy ounces of pure silver. Dealers usually deduct a few ounces for wear on the coins, using 715 troy ounces when figuring the troy weight of a “bag of silver”. If silver is $30.00 an ounce, then multiply $30 X 715 to determine the metal (intrinsic) value of the silver in a bag of coins.

During inflationary periods there is usually a great demand for silver coins; then bags are bought and sold at a premium over the actual value of the silver. When the demand diminishes, bags trade at or below the silver price and are often sent to the refinery and melted. Silver coin is an excellent way to buy silver. American 90% silver coins are widely recognized, extremely liquid, and can be broken down into small denominations, as small as a single silver dime. Dealers will always pay higher for bags or half bags, opposed to just a few silver coins at a time. The only drawback to the silver coins is that they are quite bulky.

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40% Silver-Clad Half Dollar Coins
These are 40% silver content half dollars dated 1965-70. After silver coins were eliminated in 1965, Congress decided, for some obscure reason, to continue a small amount of silver in the half dollar. These contain outer layers of 80% silver, bonded (clad) over a core of pure copper. The ASW (Actual Silver Weight) is .148 troy ounces in each coin. Most all these get melted. The big drawback is even greater bulk than in 90% silver coins. Dealers always buy these below melt. This is not the way to go.