Letter Re: Hunting for Canadian Silver Coins

Hello Mr. Rawles,
I’m a newbie to investing in junk silver and no nothing about coin collecting, but some questions at my local coin shop in Calgary, some research on Wikipedia have yielded some information I thought your readers might find useful:

1920 – 1967 Canadian minted coins seem to be the most commonly collected and follow this general rule:

Any combination of $1 face value 1920 – 1967 Canadian minted coins contain 0.6 Troy Ounces of silver (said coins have 80% silver content), with the exception of dimes and nickels.

In 1967-1968 it appears there were 50% silver dimes introduced alongside the 80% silver dimes, and in 1968 the 80% silver coins were discontinued.  If post-SHTF barter is your intention, I’d say not to take the risk with dimes minted after 1966.

Only 1920-1921 Canadian nickels had 80% silver content (and thus, 0.6 troy oz to the dollar).  Prior too, 1858 – 1919 nickels had 92.5% silver content.  Any later nickels are either nickel, steel or copper.  Current circulation Canadian “nickels” are 94.5% steel, so I can’t imagine the same rule with American nickels applying to current Canadian nickels.  Either way, Canadian nickels are, for the most part useless – and I’m not going to bother trying to search my pocket change for them.

The 1920 – 1967 nickels, dimes, quarters have a very similar appearance as current circulation coins (except for a different monarch, God Save the Queen, eh?)  The other coins (half dollar and silver dollar) are no longer in circulation.

One other interesting observation is that prior to 1920, with all Canadian coins having 92.5% silver content, each $1 face value contains 0.693 Troy Ounce of silver.  However, these coins don’t appear to be as common as the 1920 – 1967 coins, and I think in a SHTF situation, I believe either too few people will recognize these coins for what they are or the people who do will realize they have collectors value above the silver content.

Either way, I believe that “junk” 1920 – 1966 Canadian dimes, quarters, half dollars, and silver dollars are what you should be looking for, if you are a Canadian.

Here are the Wikipedia links for each Canadian coin:

Canadian Nickels

Canadian Quarters

Canadian Silver Dollars

I hope the foregoing proves useful.

Thank you for the work you do, and God bless you! – Nick L.