The vast majority of U.S. silver coins struck before 1965 were 90% silver and 10% copper. Junk silver refers to common coins sold at or very near the price of their actual value in silver. To determine the value of these, all you will need to do is calculate the weight of these coins in silver and then multiply that figure by the current price of silver. However, you should also be careful to confirm that you don’t have any valuable rare coins in your collection.
Calculating How Much Silver You Have
1Confirm that your junk silver coins have no numismatic value. The majority of junk silver is valued almost exclusively by its silver content. However, rare coins accumulate additional value. Search online for the value of your coin by referencing the date and image on the coin.
- In general, coins that pre-date the 1940s have some collectors’ value.
- Other coins garner a collector’s value because they are a rare mint. The mint refers to where the coin was produced and is denoted by a small letter stamped on the coin. A coin may have been produced in mass quantities at one mint, but in much smaller quantities at another mint; if your coin came from the latter, it will be worth more.
- You must also pay attention to coin grading, which how you determine the quality of a coin’s condition. Grading takes into account how well the coin was struck at the original mint, how well it is preserved, and how much wear and damage the coin has suffered.
- Examples of rare coins include the Kennedy Silver Half Dollars and the Morgan or Peace Dollars. However, newer coins, like the Kennedy Silver Dollar, need to be in excellent physical condition to retain collectors’ value.
2Calculate the sum of your coins’ face values. The silver content of most 1965 U.S. specie is proportional to its denomination. For example, a half-dollar has precisely double the silver content of a quarter. Therefore, the first step in determining the total silver content is to add up the face value of every coin in your collection.
- Do not include nickels or pennies, which were not made from silver, with rare exceptions like 1942-1945 war nickels. Pricing these, however, can be complicated and so they should also be excluded from your calculation.
3Multiply the total face value of your collection by 0.715 to calculate the quantity of silver. A dollar’s worth of 90-percent-silver coins would originally have contained 0.723 troy ounces of silver. However, because old coins are worn, silver dealers generally calculate on an average weight of 0.715 troy ounces per dollar.
- A troy ounce is a unit of measurement that is common when weighing precious metals. One troy ounce is equal to 31.103 grams or 1.097 ounces.
- Because half-dollars circulated less they will generally be a bit less worn. You might be able to expect a slightly higher ratio of dollar value to silver content like 71.8-72.0%. Newer coins might also have a slightly higher silver content.
Calculating How Much Your Silver is Worth
1Research the current spot price for silver. The current market value of silver (often called the “spot value”) can be found online. Silver prices are nearly always expressed in dollars per troy ounce, which we can ascertained by multiplying the value of our currency by .715.
- Nasdaq is a reputable source for current silver prices. It also will show how the price of silver has changed over time, giving you some sense as to whether you should sell now, or wait until later for a higher price.
2Multiply your collection’s silver weight by the current spot price. Multiplying your collection’s weight by the current price of silver will yield the total value of your junk silver.
- For example, if you have 71.5 troy ounces of silver, and the current spot price is 32 dollars, then your junk silver is worth (71.5 * 32) or $2288.
3Factor in specie value. Although it is rare for junk silver to sell for much more than the price of raw silver, you might be able to get slightly more. In times during which coins are hard to find this amount should be a larger. Because silver dollars were less common than dimes and quarters, these can also go for slightly more.
- To verify your calculation, search online for a melt value calculator.
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