All About Junk Silver

Junk silver refers to the silver alloy contained in coins whose collectible or numismatic value does not exceed the bullion value of the silver in such coins. Such coins are also not in circulation and can be damaged or worn out or even in a fair condition. People invest in junk silver coins as a hedge against inflation. Investing in junk silver is like investing in silver, a precious metal, at very cheap prices. Junk, by the way, refers to the collectible value and not to the condition of the coins.


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Types of Junk Silver Coins

All pre-1964 American dimes were made of 90% silver and 10% copper – and junk silver investors hunt for such coins. These dimes have a collectible value as well and therefore are very valuable. Likewise, all American quarter-dollar coins that were made between 1932 and 1964 contain the same silver-copper ratio that the pre-1964 dimes do and naturally these quarter-dollar coins are highly sought after by investors. Investors go after the following coins, which contain 90% silver (except where specified):

  • Morgan and Peace dollars
  • Liberty head Barber
  • Walking Liberty
  • Franklin and Half-dollars
  • Liberty Head Barber
  • Standing Liberty quarters
  • Washington quarters
  • Winged Liberty Head Mercury dimes
  • Roosevelt Dimes
  • Jefferson Nickels (35% silver)
  • Kennedy half-dollar (40% silver)

These are the most valuable junk silver coins around. All investors must conduct a thorough research before they go out and hunt for or buy junk silver coins. People also look for valuable junk silver coins in churches, on hills (armed with a metal detector), at mark-up stores, schools, parks, etc. Advanced investors search for coins around the world, and such collection strategies are tackled in a separate section below.

The Junk Silver Economy

The price of silver these days (March 2012) is around $35 per ounce and one ounce equals 28.35 grams. This translates to $1.23 per gram.

Now, let’s take a Mercury dime, which weighs about 2.5 grams. 90% of such dimes are silver and this gives us a value of: 2.5 grams × 90% × $1.23 = $2.77

So, the junk silver content in one Mercury dime is worth $2.77 at current silver prices and if an investor gets such coins for less, he makes a killing. So, to value their junk silver investment, investors must calculate:

  • The percentage of silver alloy in the coins
  • The weight of the coins, and
  • The market rate of silver

Why Invest in Junk Silver?

Investing in precious metals like silver and gold is like buying insurance against economic collapse. The world economy is passing through an uncertain phase and there is war, strife or downturn in almost every country. Investing in precious metals act as a hedge against inflation and can be invaluable in bad times.

The most important reason to buy junk silver coins is because investors are getting them at up to 50% of precious metal rates. Smart investors typically buy junk silver coins at 25% to 50% of their bullion value. Think about it, should an investor not buy a precious metal if he gets it at 50% to 75% below its market rates?

Junk coins will continue to be valuable. Also, their authenticity cannot be disputed ever. Each coin is literally certified by the government.

An investment in junk silver coins need not be large. People can keep buying as and when they have surplus funds.

Investors can convert their collection into a business by starting an online junk silver trading center where they can quote your very own buying and selling rates. Of course, these investors must have enough capital and a huge collection of coins to start such a business.

How to Collect or Buy Junk Silver Coins?

  • Start by checking in churches and schools or advertise requirements on sites like
  • Most antique stores stock such coins and such stores do not change prices based on current market rates of silver and investors can take advantage of this fact.
  • Gas stations stock up a whole lot of coins. Investors can visit gas stations and try to find some.
  • Investors can also find coins in flea markets, garage sales, and used goods markets.
  • Investors can advertise on country-specific eBays and try and source coins with silver content from all over the world.
  • The last option is to buy a metal detector and head for the hills and parks.

Investment in Other Precious Metals like Gold

Buying junk silver coins scores over investing in precious metals like gold that are available on an over the counter basis. The biggest advantage is that an investor must buy these precious metals at current market rates. In contrast, an investment in junk silver is at up to 50% of the market rate of silver. Second, the investor has to buy a minimum quantity and all precious metals are pricey. So, an investment in precious metals eats away into capital and any dip in value spells a loss. In contrast, investors can as much junk silver as they can afford and not be worried about a fall in silver’s market price because they anyway purchased the coins real cheap.

This is what you need to know about investing in junk silver. If you have not started, you should do so now to take advantage of the huge price differential. Sooner or later this investment is sure to catch up and that is when the price-market rate differential will narrow down. Before this happens, you must latch on to the market and buy as many junk silver coins you can get. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

A Brief Rundown of the American Silver Eagle

The American Silver Eagle was originally released via the U.S. Mint back on November 24, 1986, and it is the official silver bullion coin of the U.S. The coin is struck solely in the one-troy ounce size, meaning that it possesses a nominal face value of just one dollar and is sure to feature one troy ounce of 99.9 percent of pure silver. The U.S. Mint certifies the coin’s purity, weight and also content. Just for coin collectors, the Mint has also come out with both an uncirculated version and a proof version. This coin is made at all three mints in the U.S.: the West Point Mint, the San Francisco Mint and the Philadelphia Mint.

The design of the American Silver Eagle coin is very memorable and different, based on which side of the coin you are actually looking at. To wit, the obverse design is titled “Walking Liberty”, it was designed back in 1916 and its designer was a man by the name of Adolph A. Weinman. The obverse features the phrase “In God We Trust” and the word “liberty.” Now, the obverse of this coin was designed by a man called John Mercanti, and the design of this coin shows a heraldic eagle with a shield and also 13 five-pointed stars. The design date for the observe side of this coin is actually quite new; the obverse side was designed only back in 1986.

The birth of the American Silver Eagle program can be traced back to the executive plans of the late 70s and the early 80s. Said executive plans called for the selling off of silver from the Defense National Stockpile. It was President Reagan who requested that the U.S. federal government begin selling off silver in order to, in part, aid with the balancing of the federal budget. After a couple of years’ worth of legal wrangling in the U.S. Congress, President Reagan was finally able to sign the Liberty Coin Act into law on July 9, 1985. The minting history for the American Silver Eagle coin starts on October 29, 1986, when the very 1st coin of this kind was struck in San Francisco, which occurred at the San Francisco Assay Office.

It is interesting to note that bullion Silver Eagles actually possess no mintmarks whatsoever. From the period of time of 1986 to 1998, these coins were minted in San Francisco, but from 1999 to 2000, they were minted at both West Point as well as Philadelphia. However, since 2001, these coins have only been minted at West Point. From the period of time of 1986 to 1992, the proof Silver Eagles were minted in San Francisco, which means that they carry the mintmark of “S”. However, from 1993 to 2000, these coins were minted in Philadelphia, thus making them carry the mintmark of “P”. When they were minted at West Point from 2001 to 2008, they carried the mintmark of “W”. While no proofs were minted for all of 2009, they resumed being minted again from 2010 onwards, at West Point. From 2006 to 2008 and starting up again in 2011, the Mint offered collectable and uncirculated Silver Eagles that were made at West Point, which meant they carried the mintmark of “W”.

The American Silver Eagle coin is a relatively new bullion coin that is still being produced by the U.S. Mint. With a face value of solely one dollar, this coin was originally issued in order to help the U.S. federal government deal with balancing the budget. Today, the coin is still relatively popular among coin collectors and enthusiasts.

Six Ways to Determine How Much Your 1900 Silver Dollar is Worth

So you have in your possession a 1900 silver dollar and maybe did not even know you had something that could be somewhat special until someone told you so or you did a little research on the internet. So what’s the deal? Is it actually worth something? Will you be the next person to get rich based on something old they found hidden in an attic somewhere? Well, this can depend on some factors that we will take a look at in this article and hopefully can give you a better idea of what your coin is worth in the process.

In order to fully understand the value of your 1900 silver dollar, you are going to need to do a throughout evaluation of your coin which will in the end go a long way to letting you know if it has significant value or not.

  1. First and foremost, what is the country of origin on your 1900 silver dollar? We are under the assumption it is U.S. currency and if it is, you have in your possession what we call a Morgan Dollar.
  2. Next we need to determine what kind of condition the 1900 silver dollar is in. Is it scratched? Has it been dented maybe? Since it is also over a hundred years old it is possible that a chunk of it has been taken out in some way.
  3. Just like a baseball card, for instance, a coin is most valuable the less its integrity is compromised. A simple way to check how good or how bad condition your coin is in is by focusing on the back of the coin and, more specifically, under the eagle’s feathers. What you are looking for is a small letter, do you see one? If you see one, is it the letter O? If you do not see a letter or if the letter O is there we are sorry to say, but that 1900 silver dollar is worth no more than $20.

All of these examples mentioned are just things that would diminish the value of your coin. Let’s look at it from a more positive perspective.

  1. If, for some reason, your silver dollar has been kept in miraculous conditions, meaning no scratches, dents, or anything in other words it still has its original luster, then it can be worth up to $50,000.
  2. We cannot reiterate enough, though, this is when it has been kept in absolutely pristine conditions over the last 100 plus years.
  3. Another characteristic that will give your coin immediate value is if by chance it has the letter S under the eagle’s feathers. In this case it could be potentially worth up to $2,000.

So while your 1900 silver dollar could definitely be worth some money, the specific amount is large tied to a multitude of information pertaining to that single coin. We recommend bringing your 1900 silver dollar to a friend you know who is a collector or a store owner you trust so they can assess its value. Be aware though if a store owner offers you a relatively large sum of money for your coin it is likely it is worth a lot more so do a bit more research before selling.

A Brief Rundown of the Silver Maple Leaf

The Silver Maple Leaf has been minted by the Royal Canadian Mint since 1988, and it is a silver bullion coin that is issued each and every year by Canada’s government. This particular silver bullion coin has the very lofty bragging rights of being the coin with the highest face value among all the silver bullion coins on the planet. Its face value is currently 5 Canadian dollars. Interestingly, during 2008, the market value of this coin was actually about 20 Canadian dollars. However, in 2011 alone, the market value of this coin was an amount greater than 30 Canadian dollars. It is a coin that comes with a purity that is 99.99 percent silver.

In general, owing to the fact that this coin is named the Silver Maple Leaf, you can normally always find a maple leaf as its design, except when special edition coins are taken into consideration. In general, the coin is typically made of one troy ounce or 31.1 grams of silver. In the past, there have been some noticeable variations of this coin, usually on a yearly basis. For instance, there have been proof releases, a colored maple leaf that was designed in such a way to be different from the standard maple leaf, privy marks, holographic improvements and even totally varied designs that have been commissioned to honor special events like the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. However, regardless of what special version of the coin is being issued, the one mainstay on any Silver Maple Leaf is the presence of the phrase “Fine Silver 1 oz Argent Pur.” This phrase appears along the bottom of the reverse side of each and every coin.

A few noteworthy issues of this coin have been put out throughout the course of the life of this series. For instance, a 10-ounce and single-issue version was manufactured back in 1998 to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of this coin series. Then in 1999, each and every one of the coins issues in this series were offered with a privy mark to boast about the 20th anniversary of the RCM Maple Leaf Program. Then, in the year 2000, the coins in this series featured a privy mark that had fireworks and also the number “2000.”

There are also Platinum Maple Leaf and Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins, but both of these are different from the Silver Maple Leaf. They are different by way of the fact that demand from the collectors produces prices that are a lot higher than traditional bullion value.

The obverse side of this coin features the effigy of one Queen Elizabeth II. It is interesting to note that there are actually three different versions of this design out there: a young head version, an old head version and an even older head version! The year of the issue as well as the face value of 5 Canadian dollars is also shown on the observe side of this coin. On the reverse side of the coin, there is a picture of the maple leaf, appropriately enough. Some variations feature a tiny privy mark on the bottom half of this side.

The Silver Maple Leaf is Canada’s answer to the silver bullion coin, and the fact that it has a face value a lot higher than other silver bullion coins is indicative of the popularity of this coin with the collectors. Issued since 1988 by the Royal Canadian Mint, this coin usually features only a maple leaf as part of its design, but exceptions are routinely made for the special edition versions of this coin.

A Brief Rundown of Morgan Dollars

The Morgan Dollar is a coin that is no longer being minted by the U.S. Mint, yet it was only minted from time to time between the years of 1878 and 1921. A U.S. dollar coin, it was named for its designer, George T. Morgan, who was also the assistant engraver at the U.S. Mint. It was actually the very 1st standard silver dollar that was minted since the prior design’s production was stopped because of the passing of the Fourth Coinage Act. The prior design was the Seated liberty dollar, and the Fourth Coinage Act was typified by its ending of the free coining of silver. During the years it was issued, this coin was composed of 10 percent copper and 90 percent silver.

In the years that the Morgan Dollars were being minted, the obverse side and the reverse side of the coin each had different designs. The observe side of the coin, which was designed by George T. Morgan back in 1878, had a design called “Liberty”, which had the profile of a woman who stood for Liberty. The reverse side of the coin, which was also designed by George T. Morgan in 1878, featured a design of an eagle with its wings outstretched and clutching an olive branch and arrows.

It was only due to the Bland-Allison Act that this dollar was authorized for minting. The Bland-Allison Act mandated the U.S. Treasury to buy between 2 and 4 million dollars worth of silver at its market value for the purpose of being coined into dollars every month. Then, in 1890, this act was repealed through the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, which mandated the U.S. Treasury to buy 4.5 million troy ounces (equal to 140,000 kilograms) of silver every month, yet only demanded additional silver dollar production for just a year. This second act was finally repealed in 1893. In 1898, the U.S. Congress granted approval to a bill that mandated that all of the leftover bullion bought under the Sherman Silver Purchase Act be coined into silver dollars. However, by 1904, the silver reserves became depleted, thus causing the U.S. Mint to halt production on this coin. By 1918, the Pittman Act was passed, which approved of both the melting as well as the recoining of a lot of silver dollars. Because of this law, the minting of the Morgan Dollar was resumed for only a year in 1921. However, this coin was finally replaced by the Peace Dollar later in that same year.

Between 1962 and 1964, millions of this coin were approved for sale to the general public. The renewed interest in this coin started in 1962 when a highly rare version of the Morgan Dollar was found inside of a collection of silver dollars housed within the Philadelphia Mint. The highly rare version of this coin was one that had a date of issue that was considered very unique. Fast-forwarding to 2006, the design on the reverse side of this coin was actually utilized on a silver dollar that was issued in order to honor the aged San Francisco Mint building.

Morgan Dollars were coins that were issued for only a short time in the history of the U.S., yet it is still remembered by collectors and coin aficionados today. Even though these coins were only issued for a few decades near the close of the 19th century, they briefly experienced a short resurgence in popularity and fame in the early 1960s, mainly due to a chance discovery of a rare issued date at the Philadelphia Mint.