What is Junk Silver

Junk Silver is used to describe pre-1965 silver U.S. dimes, quarters, halves and dollar coins. These coins contain a whopping 90% pure silver and can be found in your pocket change.
With silver trading at record highs, now is the time to get into junk silver!


Junk Silver: Which U.S. coins contain silver?

Quick rundown for those new to collecting silver. Many are starting to look into their pocket change, change jars, piggy banks and purses for U.S. coins which contain real silver. Or maybe they have heard the term "junk silver" and want to know what it is all about.

Junk silver is used to describe older U.S. minted coins (and some Canadian) which contain a majority or percentage of their composition in silver. Many may not realize it, but today's coins are minted of copper, zinc and nickel. None minted today contain any precious metals like gold or silver.

What may be more surprising to many in the U.S. is that none of the money in circulation is backed by precious metals at all. Some still believe that United States currency is backed by gold in Fort Knox and other banks and while that may have been true many years ago, it is not the case today.

The United States stopped minting majority silver coins (90% in silver weight) after 1964. Often you will hear junk silver referred to as "pre-1964" which means it was minted that year and earlier. These coins have real silver value.

The United States minted coins in several denominations since its origins as a country. While many coins were minted for a short period of time, were odd denominations or had staggered intervals of acceptance, the U.S. minted several well known coins for many years.

If some older silver coins are in your possession, it might do you well to know what to look for.

Silver dollars; dollar coin - the U.S. had silver dollars only until 1921. After that, there were a few odd silver dollar coins until the Eisenhower coin was minted in the late sixties. The Eisenhower did have a brief run with 40% silver content.

Half dollars; fifty cent pieces, halves - the most popular junk silver coin in recent times. Found in the Franklin and Kennedy version, the half dollar has 90% real silver content. Only the 1964 Kennedy has 90% silver. 1965 to 1968 contain 40% silver content. Franklins used to be very common but are now rarely if ever seen in day to day transactions.

Quarter; quarter dollars; twenty five cent pieces; two bits - The Washington quarter has been minted in its current state since the 1920's. They are every bit as common as any other coin. All pre-1964 Washington quarters are 90% silver. Post-1964 quarters have only a trace amount of silver.

Dime; dimes; ten cent pieces - The dime, both the Roosevelt and earlier Mercury dime, contain 90% silver in pre-1964 years. The dimes are often found in change as they are nearly identical to the current dime minted post-1964. Junk silver dimes are a great find.

Other coins, nickels and pennies contain no silver with the exception of the "War Nickel". Minted during World War Two, these nickels contain 40% silver and can be found from time to time.

Anyone may have a hoard of junk silver coins waiting in their coin jar or ash tray at home. With silver constantly trading in the $10 to 12.00 range, it is worth your time to find some junk silver today.
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