Clarification on Pre-1965 Silver Coins

There was an interesting thread of conversation over on The FALFiles Forums about the U.S. 90% silver coinage that was minted up to 1964. The thread began:

> Talk about coincidence, I was given two silver quarters im my change from a local McDonalds [the] day
> before yesterday. I knew there was something good in all that change as soon as she dropped
> it into my hand by the distinct difference in sound the old coins made, the cashier never batted an eye.
>I got one 1965 quarter in very good shape and one 1942 quarter that looks as though it went around the world,
>its very worn.

The thread later continued:
>> $1,000 worth of dimes, quaters and half dollars contained 723.4 ounces of

>>silver when minted.
> Because of wear most have less silver now

I replied:
That is correct. Most coin dealers assume that a $1,000 face value bag of circulated pre-1965 coins has just 715 ounces of silver, due to wear. That is assuming typical wear for a bag that is composed of nearly one-half of the coins with a 1964 mint date (the largest–and last–minting year of 90% silver coins), and a mix of earlier dates. A lot of the really early quarters (such as Walking Liberty quarters) in a typical bag are so badly worn that you can hardly read the dates. A bag of those woudl probbaly have less than 700 ounces of silver.

So, assuming 715 ounces of silver at the current spot price of $8.12 per ounce, that makes a $1,000 face value bag worth $5,805, wholesale. (Or just think of it as about 5.8 times face value.)

As for the date confusion: The proper term is “Pre-1965”–coins with a mint date of 1964 or earlier. All of the dimes and quarters minted in and after 1965 show a copper edge–they are a phoney sandwich (“clad”) copper token rather than a proper silver coin. It is no wonder hat they drove the old 90% coins out of circulation so quickly. There was quite a coin shoratge from 1965 ot 1967.

The 1965-to-1970 Kennedy half dollars are not clad coinages. They are a debased 40% silver alloy. BTW, I still occassionally find those circulating (rarely) in rural areas. They mainly get back into circulation via schoolchildren who break into the wrong piggy bank, and don’t know the difference. (Probably the same source as those quarters from McDonald’s.)
I recommend that folks get their “beans, bullets and band-aids” squared way first. Then, you might want to purchase one $1,000 junk silver bag per adult family member, for barter purposes. Above and beyond that, any “investment” silver should probably be in the form of 1,000 ounce Englehard or Johnson-Matthey serialized silver bars. That is the least expensive (lowest premium) way to buy bullion silver that does not require an assay upon resale.

OBTW, if you have the storage space, I strongly recommend silver over gold. I believe that silver is far more likely to double or triple in price than gold. (It isn’t very far from $8 to $16, but psychologically it is a lot farther from $490 to $980!)
I still predict silver at $40+ per ounce by the end of the second term of the Bush administration.


The Army Aviator on HF Radios, Field Telephones, and “Shoutcasting” Parabolic Dish Communications (SAs: Survival Communications, HF, Radio Propagation, Parabolic Dish Voice Communication, Shoutcasting, Field Telephones)

A HF network is a good idea. A local network also has its merits. There are lots of methods and frequencies for local area usage. Some use military surplus equipment, some CBs, some ham, some TA-1 field phones with wire, some use Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) access points (a great idea if you’ve planned ahead for electricity and it actually works.). I know three people in Colorado who use old solid satellite dishes to be able to stand on their hills and talk to each other over several miles using a normal speaking voice. Must be strange facing away from someone several miles away and having a conversation. It works surprisingly well, but I was told that the rare scream of a hawk flying between the dishes can be slightly unnerving. Many people aren’t aware that the Atlanta, Georgia ham community has a city wide internet that’s not part of the [International] Internet. All courtesy of Wi-Fi. Now that’s an interesting concept. Voice, Phone, Data and Video on a parallel internet. Kinda like the Fed, huh?

Lots of ideas and most are good for their particular arena. But here’s the but). But HF can link the continent together so you know what is happening all the way across the continent, even to the other end of the continent. It beats restricting yourself to only knowing what’s going on 20, 40 or 60 miles away.(Not to mention talking worldwide or just listening worldwide, Hmmm?). Check out to acquire an idea of how the government planned to use HF to provide trans and post attack communications among nuclear capable units in the European Theater and then applied the concept for use in CONUS for FEMA.

Excellent idea overall. {For example,] I look forward to seeing where people suggest landing. One suggestion might be similar to the HF Backpack net, all USB. Geared to HF with less than 20 watts and the ability to carry it on your back while talking on the radio. Rough times? Conservative power requirement! Excellent capability. Perhaps someone will show up there and suggest moving to a quieter spot to start a discussion?

OBTW, the web page cited above states the units could regularly communicate over 400 miles. Not quite accurate! From Colorado, I regularly talk to San Francisco, San Diego, Maine, and Georgia [the U.S. state]–all from this little radio which fits in a flight bag. It is 20 watts and has a 10 foot vertical whip antenna powered by a 28 volt, 7 amp battery which I can (and do) recharge with solar cells. And it’s about the same size as the venerable PRC-77! Best Regards, – The Army Aviator