Which U.S. Coins Have Silver Content?

If you are new to coin collecting and would like to learn more about how to buy silver coins, you need to know that while there isn’t any silver in a quarter in change today, pre-1965 quarters, nickels, dimes, half dollars and dollars all had a certain amount of silver content.  These coins are in fact now referred to as “junk silver.”  They aren’t junk because the silver is worthless—they are called junk simply because they have no collectors, or numismatic, value.   The silver itself still has value.

Nickels were produced with nickel at every time save during WWII, where nickel was used to.  Wartime nickels have 0.05 oz of silver in them.  Pre-1965 dimes have 0.07 silver content.  Pre-1965 quarters have 0.18 silver content.  Pre-1965 half-dollars have 0.36 silver content.  1965-1970 half dollars also have 0.14 silver content.  Pre-1936 dollar pieces have 0.77 silver content.

Sometimes you can still go through your pocket change and locate one of these pieces by checking the dates.  It’s more common that you’ll have to go ahead and collect some through dealers or through people selling them independently.  This can be an inexpensive way to get started on silver investment.

Now, if you go to your local grocery store with your $1.40 of silver-content coins you would not be able to argue that they were worth the going rate of silver to pay for that many more groceries.  You would still have to sell them to dealers or independent investors who want the silver content to get the value out of them.  They are of course still legal tender, but you’re wasting a pre-1965 coin by spending them that way.  Though prices on one full troy ounce of silver do vary, as if May 2010 they were hovering between $16 an oz. to $19 an oz., which would be quite a return on your $1.40 face.  The trick at that point would simply be to find someone willing to make the purchase or investment.

Pre-1965 silver content United States coin are a relatively low-risk investment.  You can sometimes find entire lots or bags of these coins online.  If you are interested in investing in silver for survivalist reasons it’s good to know that this sort of silver, since it has real value beyond fiat currency, is usually heralded as a good “survival” investment as well, as it is easily divisible and easy to carry.

We buy and sell United States gold and silver coins.  Please contact us if you’re interested building or liquidating a coin collection.  Feel free to leave us any comments or questions below. We’d love to hear from you!

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