What is Junk Silver?

Do you have a coin jug at home? Perhaps it isn’t a jug, per se, but a coffee can, glass jar, or maybe even an old fashioned piggy bank? It might be holding far more money than you realize!

If you spend much time surfing various survival/prepper message boards and other forums, you’ll no doubt run across the term “junk silver.” People want to know, “What is junk silver? And, should I buy it?”

The term refers to coins containing a high amount of actual silver, unlike most common coins minted today.

Here’s the cool part. If you have a coin jug at home, odds are you probably have at least a few junk silver coins in there. While you won’t see them every day, they do still crop up regularly.

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Here in the United States, junk silver coins are basically any coin (except pennies and nickels) minted in 1964 or earlier. Given that half-dollars and other larger coins are somewhat rare in most of our daily lives, we’re basically talking about dimes and quarters. If a coin is categorized as junk silver, it does not have any numismatic value to collectors.

The value in junk silver is the silver itself, not the coin’s appearance.

The only silver nickels in recent history are the “wartime” ones produced in 1942-1945. Even then, they only contain about 30% silver, whereas most junk silver coins contain 90% silver.

If after looking at the mint date you still aren’t sure if the coin is silver, a silver coin sounds very differentfrom a non-silver one when dropped on a table. The sound is hard to describe but once you’ve heard it, you’ll recognize it pretty quickly going forward.

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