My parents and grandparents gave about $60 face value in junk silver coins, including a few Morgan and “Peace:” dollars. The quarters and dimes are all 1964 and earlier, but some are the 50 cent pieces were made in the late 1960s. (Those are 40% [silver content], right?) With silver now rocketing up past $20 an ounce, how do I determine the current market value of these coins? Thanks, – G.E.T.
JWR Replies: To calculate the silver metal value of 90% silver pre-1965 mint date US dimes, quarters, and half dollars: A $1,000 face value bag contains approximately 715 ounces of silver. Hence, at a spot silver price of $19.80 per ounce, a $1,000 face value bag has a wholesale value of $14,157. That means that “just one thin dime” (with a mint date of 1964 or earlier) is now worth $1.41 in present day funny money.
To calculate the silver metal value of 40% silver US half dollars (minted between 1965 and 1970): A $1,000 face value bag contains approximately 296 ounces of silver Hence, at $19.80 per ounce, a $1,000 bag has a wholesale value of $5,680. So just one of these 40% half dollars is worth $2.84, wholesale. (A few of these, BTW, can still occasionally be found in circulation. Buying rolls of half dollars at small town banks is still a fun sport, with about one coin in 70 found to be 40% silver. Rarely, you might even chance to find a 1964-dated (90%) 50 cent piece. (These are presently worth around $7.10 each.) Oh happy day!
Pre-1929 Silver dollars are a special case, because even dollars that are in very worn condition have numismatic value in addition to their bullion value. Hence, these dollar coins now sell for $17 and up. But for calculating just their bullion value, a $1,000 face value bag contains approximately 765 ounces of silver. Hence, at $19.80 per ounce, a $1,000 face value bag has a wholesale value of $15,147.