Letter Re: Acquiring Pre-1965 Silver Coinage

Hello James,

I’ve been an avid reader of Survivalblog for two years now. I have also read and passed along “Patriots” when I bought it on Amazon, during the Book Bomb event in April. I also purchased the“Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course a couple of years ago. I’m prepping even as I’m typing this.

During this economic downturn starting in the last year or so, the corporation I work for has demanded no more overtime, cut back on the company match for our 401k, and since no one is buying anything, my sales commissions have gone to almost $0.

To try to make up for lost income, I got a part time job (24 or so hours per week) working at a liquor store behind the counter. This store is located in a more or less seedy part of town. We are surrounded by Section 8 housing, with a 7-11 [convenience store] next door. This location makes for quite a mix of customers. The store owner is of foreign origin, and does not distinguish the difference between a silver coin and a paper dollar.

In these times of rising unemployment, higher gas, food, and general living prices, our customers have resorted to digging in the sofa, robbing their child’s piggy bank, and got into the family stash of money. Some of this money is spent at the store in the form of junk silver coins. For an example, a woman came in with a fine condition silver dollar (worth $17.00 at the time), and 29 pennies to buy a 24 oz. [bottle of] beer. I immediately put a paper dollar in the register, and pocketed the coin. Since then, I have found pre-1965 quarters, dimes, and several wheat pennies. Just yesterday, a man came in and paid with three pre-1965 half dollars.

I just wanted to make people aware that there is a lot of junk sliver out there, and that people are starting to spend it. They either do not know the value of what they have, or they just don’t care.

If you are in the retail trade, keep your eyes open for silver coins. They have become unmistakable to me in my short time of looking. They make a totally different sound when they hit the counter, and they also “look” different. Not so much the shiny “new” coin look, but almost a dull silver finish. I will continue to collect the junk silver for as long as I’m working there.

Keep up the good work, and the writing. My prayers are with you and the Memsahib.

Regards, – JK in Colorado

JWR Replies: Readers should be advised that a large percentage of the silver coinage found in high crime areas has re-entered circulation because it is being spent by drug addicts that have conducted residential burglaries. Unless they are stupid enough to “spend” a numismatic coin that is still encapsulated in a serialized slab, stolen coins are essentially untraceable. Needless to say, retail merchants should avoid “fencing” stolen items.