Up through (and including) 1964, circulating US dimes, quarters, half dollars and silver dollars were made of 90% silver and 10% copper, meaning they were just “pocket change” (production of the large 90% silver dollar coins had actually ended in 1935). When silver started to rise in value, the cost of buying the metal to make coins from caused the US government to change the composition of dimes and quarters to a copper-nickel alloy beginning in 1965, but they continued producing Kennedy Half Dollars with a reduced silver content of 40% from 1965 to 1970. This reduction or elimination of silver from our circulating coinage made the pre-1965 90% junk silver coins immediately collectible, and they were plucked out of circulation and saved by smart Americans who recognized their great investment potential. While these coins are far from “junk”, the term “junk silver” is commonly used to describe them — and it simply means that they are common coins whose only value is derived from their silver content. They have no real value as collectible coins, only as a way to hold silver. The term “junk silver” is also generally understood to refer to dimes, quarters and half dollars, since silver dollar coins contain more silver and are therefore worth more than $1 face value in the smaller coins. When US 90% silver dimes, quarters and half dollars were first minted, before they entered circulation and started getting wear and tear on them, any combination of coins that totaled $1 in face value contained .72344 ounces of pure silver. However, to account for average (but not excessive!) wear and tear, the industry standard, or the assumption that most dealers use is that each $1 in face value of US 90% silver dimes, quarters or half dollars, in any combination that totals $1 in face value, will contain .715 ounces of pure silver.
PLEASE NOTE: The pictured image is just an example of the kind of coins you might receive — we might ship dimes, quarters or half dollars, or any combination thereof, depending on our available inventory at the time of your order.
We highly recommend that people own junk silver coins for several reasons:
- Since they were minted by the US Mint for the purpose of being money, it seems unlikely that the government would have any legal standing to confiscate them (gold bullion was confiscated by the US government via an Executive Order in 1933).
- Unlike generic silver bars or rounds which are sometimes counterfeited, the chances of someone counterfeiting a 1964 silver quarter is highly unlikely. This gives junk silver coins a level of liquidity not usually found in such a low premium precious metal item.
- If the US economy collapses and people resort to using silver and gold for bartering purposes, not only will the demand for physical metals soar because everyone will need it (which will also send prices rocketing skyward), the supply could potentially dry up overnight as people will likely hoard it. If metals prices skyrocket, having very small denomination coins like 90% silver dimes or quarters will be much easier to barter with for daily needs such as groceries, gas in the car, lunches, etc.