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junk silver
personal savings
gold and silver
mutual funds
men and women
What Is Junk Silver?
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With the economy of our country experiencing its current troubles and with more and more regular people like myself starting to look for options other than savings accounts, CD’s and mutual funds in which to store their hard earned (and possibly devaluating) personal savings; I have decided to write an article about a type of savings option that I believe will grow more popular as the general state of the economy declines. How many of you have ever considered storing your savings in Junk Silver? How many of you have ever heard of Junk Silver?

In the parlance of precious metals dealers, coin collectors and numismatists, Junk Silver is considered to be any coin that was minted by the U.S. Government, that has been in circulation (was or is not considered to be a commemorative, collectible, or a “graded” coin or to have numismatic value), and was minted during the year 1964 or earlier. It was minted out of an alloy of 90% Silver and with the remainder of the other 10% being mostly copper or other metals that would improve the wearability and the hardness of the coin. (Note: There are some coins that were minted out of 40% Silver, but for this article we will concern ourselves with the 90% Silver coin, which is most desired for our investing purposes.)

The Junk Silver Coin hearkens back to a time when our Government was concerned with the “value” of the currency that it coined or printed. I know that most of us reading this article have heard the term “Gold and Silver Standard”, probably from a history or economics class in High School or maybe even college. But from what I remember of my school days, it was not something that was talked about or studied in any depth by any of my teachers. Up until the time that I became interested in the hobby of metal detecting, I really had no concept of U.S. coinage, what they were made of, or even why?

At one time in our history as a country, the men and women who we elected thought it a good idea that the money we used for trade, paying bills, saving for a rainy day etc., should have some type of Intrinsic value, meaning that the metal the coin itself was made out of, and the amount of metal in the coin, should, at least, be worth the face amount of the coin. For example; A Quarter dollar or 25 cent piece should have at least 25 cents worth of Silver in it. Of course the same example applies to all of the other denominations except the Penney and the Nickel. Even paper currency was at one time easily converted to its value in either Gold or Silver by going to your bank and exchanging it for Gold or Silver coins.

Coins minted after 1964 were not made with Silver. They were made like a sandwich; the filling inside the bread was mostly copper, and the Bread on the outside was/is mostly cupro/nickel. Those coins minted after 1964 and up until today have no intrinsic value. The only value they have is the value attached to them by the government, and “The full Faith and credit of The United States.” In other words our dollars and quarters and nickels and dimes are worth what the government decides they are worth.

If the Government decides today that it will benefit the Government if yesterdays dollar bill thought to be worth 100 pennies will be worth only 50 pennies…Then all they have to do is issue a press release on the evening newscast and “Voila” it is done. And Wham! Bam! Thank you Sir and Ma’am! We the people just saw HALF of the value of ALL of our money vanish overnight, and conversely HALF of the Debt the U.S. Government owed to any and all creditors would vanish overnight as well…but we shall save this line of thinking for another article in the future.

So, just to recap where we have been….What is Junk Silver? Junk Silver is basically coins (dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar) that were minted by the U.S. Government, that contain up to 90% Silver, and were minted on or before the year of 1964. They had/have an INTRINSIC value due to the precious metals content of the coin, which means that the Silver in the coin has its own SEPARATE value…regardless of what the FACE VALUE on the coin states. That last line is what gets me excited about buying and saving Junk Silver. A Market determines what it can be bought and sold for…not a government.

Street Talk


Very nice article Chris. Gary

  about 1 decade ago
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