Junk Silver


What is Junk Silver?

First off, though the terms sound similar, let’s not confuse junk silver with cheap silver.  Just click on that link you passed by to learn more about cheap silver, sterling silver, & scrap silver.  Junk silver coins, as they are affectionately called, are minted US coins that contain anywhere from 35% to 90% in them.  When you’re in the market to purchase junk silver, forego your aesthetic taste because your probably not going to run into any coins that are in very good shape primarily because these coins are old.  In fact, that is why they call it junk silver!  Silver buyers are attracted to this type of silver investment mainly when the price of 1 oz silver becomes a bit too rich for them.

Now don’t go thinking you can run out to your Little Coin Shop and plunk down your paper for real money and they’ll hand you over a couple of old quarters.  Dealers don’t go in for that sort of thing.  When dealing with junk silver coins, they want to sell in quantity.  This is what you’ll typically run into:

90% Silver Coins

These coins will come in full bags of $1000 face value coins – usually pre-1964 dimes, quarters or half dollars.  If you count’em up all the coins the bag will add up to $1000, but the reason your paying much more than that is because all of those quarters combined total 715 ounces of silver!  You can also purchase half-bags ($500 face value) or quarter bags.  Some places are now even offering smaller bag sizes and even rolls of junk silver coins, but you’ll pay a larger premium for those smaller amounts.  Morgan and Peace silver dollars are also available by the bag.

What is junk silver?40% Silver Coins

These coins are Kennedy half-dollars minted between 1965-70.  As with the 90% coins, you can find these in a variety of bag sizes and rolls.

35% Silver

These are bags of war-time nickels (that would be World War 2, 1942-1945). Each $1 in face value (20 coins) contains approximately 1.125 oz of Pure Silver.  These come in variety of bag sizes as well.

Junk Silver for Free!

If you’re not hot on paying for your junk silver, there are places where you can find a coin here and there; sometimes you can find a whole lot of them, and sometimes they’re even free!

I’ve already mentioned swap meets and flea markets and potential sources for silver rounds, silver ingots, or silver bars.  It makes sense that you can find junk silver there as well.  Another possible source for this type of silver are antique stores.  You’ll usually find them in a cabinet near the register.  Coin rolls are sometimes a good source for these types of silver coins.  I’ve heard tell of fellows who go to their banks to exchange their paper dollars for rolls and rolls of nickels and quarters and dimes.  They bust ‘em all open in search of the “junk.”

So, what’s the big attraction to junk silver then?  The key is the small denominations, and the fact that these are actual legal tender.  Some folks are a little bit afraid that the G-men are going to come around like they did in the 30’s and confiscate our gold and silver.  I think the odds are pretty low of that happening due to the different economic times, but honestly, I wouldn’t put anything past the government these days.  If silver confiscation becomes a fact, it won’t affect those of us who simply have bags of old quarters lying around. Preppers love their junk silver because if silver hits the heights that I believe it will, a troy ounce of silver will be too expensive to do much with it.  A pre-1964 dime would be very handy to barter with.

Hey, that’s a pretty good introduction to What is Junk Silver, I think.  Thanks for reading.  If you’ve got comments or questions, click on the “Contact” link above.  J.

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