United States Junk Silver

In the United States, all dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollar coins produced prior to 1965 were minted of an alloy that was comprised of 90% silver. These coins were in everyday circulation and used for daily transactions.

Any combination of half dollars, quarters and dimes minted in 1964 or earlier that add up to $1 dollar face value contain roughly .715 troy ounces of silver bullion. Peace Dollars, Morgan Dollars and earlier one-dollar coins contain .7736 troy ounce of silver. The remaining weight is comprised of 10% copper.

From 1965 until 1970, Kennedy half dollar coins were minted of an alloy containing 40% silver. Beginning in 1971, these half dollar coins were minted entirely of non-precious metals, primarily nickel and copper.

During World War 2, various raw materials were being rationed for the war effort, including nickel which was used in armor plating. From mid-1942 to 1945, the Jefferson Nickel was minted from an alloy containing 35% silver. These nickels are often referred to as “War Nickels” because the years’ of their minting correspond to the second world war.

Coin Years Minted Silver Content Total Weight Silver Weight Approximate Melt Value
Junk Silver Nickels
Jefferson “War Nickels” 1942-1945 35% 5 grams 1.75 grams (0.0563 troy ounces) $1.29
Junk Silver Dimes
Liberty Head “Barber Dime” 1892-1916 .90 2.5 2.25 grams (.072 troy ounces) $1.66
Winged Liberty “Mercury Dime” 1916-1945 .90 2.5 2.25 grams (.072 troy ounces) $1.66
Roosevelt Dime 1946-1964 .90 2.5 2.25 grams (.072 troy ounces) $1.66
Junk Silver Quarters
Liberty Head “Barber Quarter” 1892-1916 .90 6.25 5.625 grams (.181 troy ounces) $4.16
Standing Liberty Quarter 1916-1930 .90 6.25 5.625 grams (.181 troy ounces) $4.16
Washington Quarter 1932-1964 .90 6.25 5.625 grams (.181 troy ounces) $4.16
Junk Silver Half Dollars
Walking Liberty 1916-1947 .90 12.5 11.25 grams (.362 troy ounces) $8.33
Franklin 1948-1963 .90 12.5 11.25 grams (.362 troy ounces) $8.33
Kennedy 1964 .90 12.5 11.25 grams (.362 troy ounces) $8.33
Kennedy 1964-1969 .40 12.5 5 grams (.148 troy ounces) $3.40
Junk Silver Dollars
Morgan Dollar 1878-1921 .90 26.73 24.06 grams (.773 troy ounces) $17.78
Peace Dollar 1921-1935 .90 26.73 24.06 grams (.773 troy ounces) $17.78