What You Need to Know to Buy Junk Silver

junk silver

Buying and selling silver and gold is always a problem, there are many people who will take advantage of you if they have the opportunity.  For this reason, I would be very careful where I purchased my precious metals.  My first rule would be never buying any of Ebay. Personally, I would recommend junk silver

Junk silver generally refers to pre-1965 circulated silver dimes, quarters, and half-dollars that are comprised of 90% silver and 10% copper.  Major coin dealers generally sell these in $1,000 bags.  The $1,000 reflects the face value of the coins (i.e., the legal tender value of the coins).  People refer to the face value because, regardless of the denomination of the coins, $1,000 bags all contain the same amount of silver which is generally 715 troy ounces (the gross weight of these bags are approximately 800 troy ounces or 54.85 pounds).  These bags are also available in $500 and $250 bags.

Many small coin dealers will sell you junk silver in small amounts.  Check in your neighborhood and you will find a dealer who will sell you silver coins for cash and ask no names.

The reasons that I would consider junk silver is as follows

  • Pre 1965 US coins are easy to recognize and hard to counterfeit.
  • They are available to purchase at spot or with a small premium.
  • Because of the denominations running from a dime to a dollar, you can make change.
  • They will have a known value.
  • The denominations are small enough that you can make small purchases.

The silver content of junk silver is as follows

1878-1921 Morgan Dollars and 1921-1935 Peace Dollars are 90% silver and contain .7735 troy oz of silver.

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One dollar of silver dimes, quarters or half-dollars contain 72% of a troy ounce of silver.

A dime dated 1964 or before has 7.2% ounce pure silver.

A quarter dated 1964 or before has 18% ounce pure silver.

A half dollar dated 1964 or before has 36% ounce pure silver.

A $1 dollar coin dated 1935 or before has 77% ounce pure silver.

A war nickel dated 1942 to 1945 has 5.62% ounce pure silver.

A Kennedy half dollar dated 1965 to 1970 has 14.79% ounce pure silver.

Forty percent silver bags consist of only circulated Kennedy clad half-dollars minted between 1965 and 1970, are available.  Slightly lighter than 90% bags, these $1,000 face value bags contain approximately 295 troy ounces of pure silver.

In the next few days, I will post an article on how to avoid being taken advantage of by the various con artist that will try to rip you off


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11 thoughts on “What You Need to Know to Buy Junk Silver”

  1. so, if you buy junk silver, you pay by the weight, right? so for a $1k bag, you pay spot price for 715 oz?

    a good source for junk silver would be great – any recommendations?

    i’ve looked into buying it over the years, but my own experience leaves me confused, because i’ve never found a source of junk that would sell anywhere near spot price.

    my other concern is that paying spot price you really are paying 10% ABOVE spot, since there is only 90% silver, by weight, right?

    my other question/concern is if someone buys a $1k or even $250 bag of ‘junk’, they will always be reluctant to break open that bag for smaller transactions. break open the bag and the bag looses value and trust.

    when i barter with junk silver, unless i’ve got a ‘cheat sheet’ helping me decipher how much silver a coin has (by date) it never feels like i’m dealing with silver… just coinage.

    so… personally i stick with 1oz rounds. i’m always sure it is 1oz pure, it quickly translates to $$$ values, and looks nicer. easier to carry. i usually have to pay 3-5% but that gives me a more secure value.

    any inputs or thoughts are appreciated! thanks

  2. It took me a while to “get it”.
    SPOT price is a Target, NOT what you will actually EVER Pay!

    Dealers buy, at, say. . . 15-20% BELOW Spot if you sell to them.
    Dealers sell at. . . 15-20% ABOVE Spot to me & you.

    They are a BUSINESS and the “margin” (between buy & sell) is how they pay for that store, keep the lights on, and buy THEIR groceries! This isn’t your Uncle Milton, he NEEDS to make a profit so that he can make a living too AND be able to be there next month when you want to buy some more dimes.

    I check coinflation before I make a trip to the flea-market.

    With that in mind, today’s SPOT is $14.80 which is $2.68 for a quarter. $2.68 times 1.2 (20%) = $3.216

    SO. . . a fair price to pay TODAY is about $3 to $3.25 per quarter.

    THEY talk FACE VALUE never Spot.
    Currently, my guy is SELLING at 12.5 Face.
    That’s 25¢ Times 12.5 = $3.125 which is less than 20% over Spot. Last month I paid 14 Face or $3.50 for a 25¢ piece.

    Hope that wasn’t too confusing.

  3. Amped.com is a great website…they buy and sell, ship quickly and have fair pricing. I’ve also used Gainesville coins and a few other.

  4. You are all making it too complicated! All you need to do is take the face value of the silver dimes, quarters, or halves
    Multiply by silver spot, then
    multiply by .72

  5. I had never heard to not get into the Bags. Kind of makes sense but I have been digging into them, I have been using the Quarters as Tips, explaining what they are to educate, spread the word and not look like a cheapskate 😉

  6. GoneWithTheWind

    Don’t forget opsec. If you buy online and/or have PMs delivered to your door then people will know what you have. Buy in person from a store where you are not known and in amounts that won’t make you remembered.
    There was a TV show some years back where a man won (I think) a lot of silver dollars. Some days or weeks after that one of his friends/acquaintances came to his house and tortured him to get the silver. Stuck his hand into the garbage disposal if I remember correctly. You really don’t know who you can trust.

  7. good input. i’ve found my best prices at https://usgoldbureau.com/ and shipping is usually free by FedEx.

    one interesting experience regarding opsec mentioned here – the Fedex guy commented “what do you have in this, a gun?” when delivering the small package. the labeling was discrete enough he didn’t know where the pkg came from. i was surprised he asked, and also surprised they still shipped firearms directly to someones private door. “oh yeah, we ship a lot of guns” was his reply.

    so when i buy, it is in smaller amounts, and i have a comment ready for the fedex guy about what it could be. i seem to purchase a lot of brake rotors via internet…

  8. I like junk silver but the research used for this article is way out of date. I haven’t seen ANY junk silver anywhere less than about 38% premium over spot for quite a while. When the spot price is low, sellers of junk – frequently estates, private holder’s etc., – hold and wait for it to rise. The premium at the dealer then goes up as there is still demand for what is essentially a finite supply. Yes, you can find cached articles on this from a few years ago when they were paying only spot or 1-3% above…but spot was thirty something an ounce! Today at $14.72 spot, you will easily pay 20 plus for junk. I have seen several places going 50% over spot. For that price, I’d rather buy American Eagles for a lower premium over spot, you know EXACTLY what you are getting (some very old junk has lost a noticeable amount of it’s mass), it has a tendency to gradually develop numismatic value, and, while not exactly a big deal, it’s easier keep track of what it is worth. All eagles come in single ounce – my preferred for silver, smaller ones for the gold – or simple fractions of an ounce. Although it shouldn’t be, junk prices can be confusing (as indicated above in the comments above). Some are 90% silver with .715 oz per dollar face value, less if 40% and wartime nickels have 35%. And the .715 is supposed to take in the wearing down that most junk has sustained from 50 – 80 years in circulation. And morgans and liberty dollars have yet a different amount than 90% junk. So how much is that if a dime, a quarter, etc., and some dealers sell based on face value, some on total weight, some in English weight, others in troy (most on Ebay sell by weight). I’ll buy junk if the premium comes back down to earth and the spot is reasonable. In the meantime, I’m loading up on eagles.

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