“Junk silver,” also known to many people as 90% silver coins, are a very popular way to invest in silver and are bought by both investors and prepper types. Investors like these coins because they contain 90% silver, and are worth much more than their face value of 10 cents, 25 cents, and so on. Preppers like buying these coins for a much different reason: to prepare for post-apocalyptic society bartering.
Let’s take a look at both scenarios a bit more closely.
Investing in 90% Silver Coins
Prior to 1965, dimes, quarters, half dollars and full dollars were all made primarily using silver. Specifically, 90% of the coin’s content was silver. However, the Mint decided to move away from this process in 1965, because the silver content in the coins was becoming more valuable than the coins themselves. The Mint made a similar move in 1933, when it stopped using gold to produce certain coins. The government even went so far as to recall pre-1933 coins, so they could be melted back into gold (though as you can imagine, not everyone turned in their coins).
Because of this change in production, pre-1965 dimes and quarters (as well as half dollars and dollars) are highly sought out by investors, as well as collectors. The silver content in these coins makes them far more valuable than their face value.
Let’s start by looking at the approximate value of pre-1965 dimes and quarters, which are our best sellers. The value depends on a number of factors – year, condition, and so on – but let’s assume for now that the price of silver is $20 per ounce. You can determine the approximate value of a pre-1965 dime by multiplying silver’s current market price by .072, because each pre-1965 dime contains .072 ounces of silver. As an example, if the current price of silver is $20 per ounce, a pre-1965 90% silver dime is worth $1.44, which is much higher than its face value of $0.10! Similarly, a pre-1965 quarter contains .181 ounces, so each of these quarters is worth about $3.62 in the same example above. Similarly, a half dollar, which contains .362 ounces of silver, is actually worth about $7.24 in this scenario. Makes you want to think twice before using these coins in a vending machine, doesn’t it?
The term “junk silver” certainly has a negative connotation, but the word “junk” is used mainly because of the wear and tear on these coins. Since they were originally minted for everyday use, and not for collecting, these coins are certainly not in mint condition. However, their silver content remains the same, and people in the physical precious metal world understand that a pre-1965 silver coin has very likely been in circulation for several years, or more.
ITM Trading sells a variety of 90% silver products. Our $5 face value of 90% silver dimes contains 50 dimes, or 3.575 ounces of silver. Our $10 face value quarters collection contains 40 quarters, or 7.15 ounces of silver. We also sell different “junk silver bags,” which are essentially bags of mostly dimes and quarters, all of which were produced prior to 1965. These range from $100 face value to $1,000 face value, but again, keep in mind that the silver content brings the actual value of these collections much higher than the face value indicates.
These junk silver collections are a great way to invest in a large amount of physical silver with one single transaction. They make a perfect addition to any physical precious metals collection or investment. They are also fun to collect, especially as a starter investment kit, or for history buffs who want to own a small piece of U.S. currency history.
90% Silver Coins as a Preparation for Disaster
The other primary reason why people invest in these pre-1965 silver coins is to prepare for a post-apocalyptic bartering society. It is believed that this form of silver will be highly recognizable by a post-apocalyptic society in bartering situations. Instead of trying to break up a 100 oz bullion bar for smaller daily payment needs, you can use these lower increments of actual silver. That way, you have more bartering power and versatility. Imagine if physical silver was the only currency that had any value. If you were trying to purchase some daily items from the market, such as bread and produce, you wouldn’t want to give away a silver coin or bar that was worth far more than the items you were trying to buy. Would you pay $1,000 for a loaf of bread? I didn’t think so. Thus, these lower incremental silver coins really can come in handy.
Of course, for some people, this situation seems unlikely. But, given political tensions around the world and the economic instability we’ve seen in modern times, it may not be a bad “just in case” investment. And if this type of scenario never happens, it’s a good thing! Think of it this way, you didn’t have to live through this type of economic breakdown, but you still ended up with an investment in valuable physical silver.
Take a Look
For decades now, people in the know about pre-1965 coins have carefully looked at the date of every dime and quarter they come across. If you happen to see one, keep it! As you can see above, it is worth far more than pocket change. However, as more time passes between the present day and 1965, these coins are becoming more and more rare. The supply stopped growing 50 years ago when production stopped, so you won’t find any new ones, and most of the existing ones are being carefully hoarded, bought, or sold. Therefore, if this investment is interesting to you, consider purchasing one of our 90% silver products or collections.
If you are looking for silver for investment purposes only, then we recommend buying silver eagles, silver bars or silver rounds. Junk silver is more difficult to liquidate in large quantities as it needs to be counted.