Junk Silver Coins
Buying Guide

with a list of
Junk Silver Coins

junk silver coins

'Junk Silver' is a term used in the bullion market for old U.S. silver coins, produced before 1965, that have no numismatic or collectors value.

The last thing you or I would do is call this silver coinage, "Junk" but it is the name given to it by coin and bullion dealers, and it has stuck.

On this page, you'll learn the history of junk silver, why individuals purchase 'junk silver' and how it is sold to the public by bullion dealers.

Near the bottom of the page, you'll find a list of reputable junk silver coins bullion dealers.

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U.S. Junk Silver Coins

To help you better identify what pre-1965 silver coins fall into the Junk Silver category, as you scroll down and read the page, you will see photos on the left and the right of U.S. Junk Silver coins.

wartime nickel

If you click on a photo of the junk silver coin, it will take you to the Junk Silver page on this guide, which offers you more information about each coin, including mintage figures and a larger photo.

For example, the War-Time Nickel is the only nickel that falls under the category of "junk silver."

War-Time Nickles were minted from 1942 to 1945, during WWII, to conserve nickel for the war effort.

Nickel is an industrial metal, and it was needed to manufacture ammunition, tank armor and aircraft parts, so to ration nickel, the U.S. Gov't took out all the nickel in nickels.

War-Time Nickels consist of 35% silver, 56% copper, 9% manganese.

Note: After clicking the junk coin photos, on this page, please give the page a moment to upload.

The Origins of
U.S. Junk Silver Coins

Junk Silver Coins are old pre-1965 circulated coins that Americans used to use in everyday life.

barber dime

In 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Coinage Act of 1965, the act eliminated silver from circulated quarters and dimes and reduced the amount of silver in half dollars to 40%.

The Coinage Act of 1965 was signed in response to coin shortages caused by the rising price of silver in regards to a devalued U.S. dollar, the lack of silver coins in 1965 was blamed on "Gresham's Law."

"Gresham's Law" - named after Sir Thomas Gresham (1519–1579).

mercury dime

Gresham's Law is a monetary principle stating that "bad money drives out good." 

Money that has intrinsic value because it contains a precious metal will be over-valued and will leave the country or disappear from circulation due to hoarding.

While the money that has no intrinsic value and is made of base metals or easily manufactured commodities is undervalued and will flood into circulation.

After 1965, Gresham's Law was in full effect by Americans hoarding these old circulated silver coins.

Since 1970, after the last 40% Kennedy half dollars was minted, these silver coins became increasingly harder to find.

roosevelt dime

In the 70's and 80's, if you inspected your loose change you could find a some of these coins. 

In the 90's and early 2000's, it became harder to find these coins but if you searched for them in the in a jar of coins or a piggy bank you could still find few of them.

Now, it's almost impossible to find them in circulation; you may get lucky, now and then, by getting one from a cashier in coin change.

The only other way you can find them outside of purchasing them from a bullion dealer is though a bank.

If you went to a local bank and exchanged $50 to 100 dollars in paper money for the same amount in nickels, dimes, quarter or half dollars, you may still find a few, but you may not too.

Face Value - a True Story

morgan silver dollarThe Silver Coin in the Story

About 10years ago, I was at a gas station counter paying for gas and other items.

After I had handed the cashier a ten-dollar bill to pay for my items, I noticed that he mistakenly grabbed a Morgan Silver dollar thinking it was a quarter when he was giving me change.

I immediately knew what the coin was as he put it in his hand, and I, not being someone with a good poker-face, could not hold back a big grin because I realized the mistake he was making.

He saw my grin as he was handing me the change, I couldn’t hold it back, and he took a second look at the Morgan Silver Dollar.  

morgan silver dollarThe Silver Coin in the Story

He looked at it and said "my mistake this is a dollar coin" (the face value of Morgan silver dollar), as he started to grab a quarter and put the Morgan silver dollar back in the drawer, I told him “I’ll give you a dollar for it.”

He took my dollar for the coin, and I literally got paid that day for going to that gas station because the intrinsic value of the silver coin was then and still is worth more than the ten-dollar bill I gave to the cashier to pay for my items.

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Versatility of Junk Silver

Investing in Junk Silver is one of the few ways you can buy physical silver closest to its spot price.

barber quarter

If you are among those who think that one day the financial system will collapse and coins with intrinsic value will be one of the few sources of money used, then Junk Silver Coins are what you want.

The thought of the currency markets faltering is not out of the mainstream of thinking, at the rate governments around the world are spending money, the concept is becoming truer, every day

In the case of such an occurrence, paying for items with small amounts of precious metals may be one of the easiest transactions one can make.

liberty quarter

For instance, if this did happen, paying for a few items at the grocery store would be hard with an ounce of gold.

Whereas, if you had a few silver dimes with the intrinsic value of a dollar or more each, the transaction would be an easier one to make.

 Junk Silver Coins are Sold by their Weight Not Face Value

washington quarter

Bullion Dealers offer several different ways for someone to buy junk silver.

A common practice among bullion dealers is to sell bags of junk silver coins in $1000 face value bags.  However, some also offer bags with a face value as small as $1.

The biggest thing to understand about how junk silver is bought and sold is that you purchase these coins based on weight, not the face value.

The Weight of Junk Silver

During the early 1960's, when junk silver coins were minted, a $1000 'face value' bag of dimes and quarters contained 723 troy ounces of silver.

But, due to the wear on the coin, caused by circulation and time, a $1000 'face value' bag of quarters and dimes will now net around 715 troy ounces of silver.

barber halfdollar

Higher denominated and less circulated junk silver coins retain little more of their original silver content, a $1000 'face value' bag of half dollars or dollars will weigh around 720 ounces.

Due to these reasons, a purchaser should expect to pay a little more for junk silver half dollars and dollars because they have retained more of their silver over the years.

Junk Silver - 'Face Value'

walking liberty halfdollar

The $1000 face value bag is the most commonly recognized way that bullion dealers sell junk silver.

Junk Silver Coin Bags with a $1000 'face value' weighs about 55lbs and contains around 715 troy ounces of pure silver.

The term "Face Value" is used only in the terms of the Total Face Value of the Coins' themselves. 

Examples of the "Face Value" of coins:

  • $0.05 x 100 nickels = $5.00 Face Value
  • $0.10 x 100 dimes = $10.00 Face Value
  • $0.25 x 100 quarters = $25.00 Face Value
  • $0.50 x 100 half dollars = $50.00 Face Value 
  • $0.50 x 500 half dollars = $250.00 Face Value
  • $0.10 x 1000 dimes = $100 Face Value
  • $0.25 x 4000 quarters = $1000.00 Face Value

franklin half dollar

The Face Value's above are not the price you'll be paying when purchasing 'junk silver' coins.

If you want to purchase Junk Silver Coins, try not to let the "Face Value" confuse you with the real intrinsic value of the silver contained within the bullion coins.

The following list is the same as above; it's been converted for you so you can see how junk silver coins 'face value' bags are sold by weight.

Examples of the "Weight" for bags of "Face Value" of coins:

  • $0.05 x 100 nickels = 5.63 troy ounces 
  • $0.10 x 100 dimes = 7.23 troy ounces
  • $0.25 x 100 quarters = 18.08 troy ounces
  • $0.50 x 100 half dollars = 36.169 troy ounces
  • $0.50 x 500 half dollars = 180.845 troy ounces
  • $0.10 x 1000 dimes = 72.3 troy ounces
  • $0.25 x 4000 quarters = 723.2 troy ounces

The next step to price the examples of junk silver coin bags above is to multiply the silver troy ounces contained within the coins with the current spot price of silver.

Silver's Spot Price - Today

The chart to the right shows you the current spot price for silver.

The price is for one troy ounce of silver.

Dealer Practices

In the United States, Junk Silver coins are separated by the content of silver contained within the coin. 

Dealers sell these coins in bags or lots of all 90% silver, all 40% silver or all 35% silver coins.

kennedy half dollar - 90%

Junk silver coins are offered in bags of separated coins; ex: all dimes, all quarters, all half dollars or all dollar bags.

Although some dealers will mix the face value of coins, for instance, mixing quarters, dimes, and half dollars that consist of 90% silver, only.

They should not be mixed with coins that contain different percentages of silver.

Be aware of any dealers who are offering junk silver bags were nickels are sold in the same bag as dimes and quarters.

kennedy half dollar - 40%

As mentioned above, junk silver War-Time nickels were produced between 1942-1945 and these nickels contain only 35% silver and should not be sold with coins made of 90% or 40% silver.

Furthermore, bullion dealers don't only offer $1000 'face value' bags, although some do, many others offer quantities of junk silver in a variety of coin lots.

What is a 'Cull' Coin?

Another term to know that bullion dealers use when they are selling junk silver coins is the term 'cull' coins.

morgan dollar

The term 'Cull' has a lot to do with why these coins are one of the few ways you can buy this form of physical silver so close to its spot price.

The definition of a 'Cull Coin' is in the first sentence of this page "junk silver coins have no numismatic or collectors value."

Cull coins are coins that most collectors wouldn't touch unless the coin is highly valuable regardless of its condition, or it completes a collection or coin set, and they accept a cull coin until they can replace it with a better-looking coin.

cull coinsJunk Silver - Cull Coins

Characteristics of "Cull Coins"

  • pitting
  • scratches & dings
  • warn surfaces
  • corrosion
  • bends
  • drilled hole(s) in coin
  • irregular shaped coins

Junk Silver coins bullion dealers will almost always inform you of when the junk silver is better than 'cull' condition because they can charge a higher premium for the coins.

Below is a list of the grades associated with Junk Silver coins.

peace dollar

Grades of junk silver from good to bad:

  • AU - About Uncirculated = 95% fine w/ some luster
  • XF - Extra Fine = 90% fine
  • VF - Very Fine = 75% fine
  • F - Fine = 50% fine
  • VG - Very Good = 25% fine
  • G - Good = 10% fine
  • Cull
  • Worse than Cull

Junk silver coins labeled "Cull, Worse than Cull" or not labeled at all should have the lowest premiums a price closest to the spot price of silver.

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Junk Silver - Bullion Dealers

The first group is a list of this Guide's Affiliated Bullion Dealers

Each Affiliated listing includes:

  • A screen shot Dealer's page

  • A brief description about the bullion dealer

  • Links to the bullion dealer's 'Customer Review' pages

The Free Bullion Investment Guide receives a commission from every referred customer's sale we send to an affiliate.

The guide's earnings are used for two purposes, the first is to keep this guide online.

The other is to give half of these earnings to Gold Nanoparticle Cancer Research.   'Click here' to see the latest Donation amount, and Recipient.

The second group consist of non-affiliated bullion dealers, they are on this list because although the Free Bullion Investment Guide is not affiliated with them they still belong in this list.


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Cookies only indicate, to the merchant, that you linked to the merchant's website from this guide.  No Personal Information is Obtained in this process.

Note: As a suggestion to anyone interested in buying bullion from any one of the sites listed below, Please Read each company's ordering instructions and shipping rules carefully.

'Junk Silver' Bullion Dealers

Affiliated & Non-Affiliated

Bullion Dealers are Not Listed in Any Specific Order

* = Affiliated 'Junk Silver' Bullion Dealers


(90% Junk Silver page)

"BGASC" is a acronym for "Buy Gold And Silver Coins" they are a Precious Metals Dealer based in California.

BGASC offers junk silver coin bags and rolls in each of the individual junk silver coins. 

Every single package BGASC ships is sent fully privately insured for its time in transit.

For example; they offer coin rolls of only barber quarters or mercury dimes.  'Click the Screenshot' to see all the different options they offer.

BGASC - Trust Pilot Customer Reviews page

BGASC - Better Business Bureau Review page

* GoldenEagle Coins (90% Junk Silver page)

GoldenEagle Coins is a family owned precious metals dealer based in Laurel, Maryland, that has been in business since 1974. 

They offer a variety of ways for you to purchase junk silver coins, but instead of listing all of your choices, all you have to do is click the link and you'll be transported to their 90% Junk Silver page.

Golden Eagle Coins - Trust Pilot Customer Review page

Golden Eagle Coins - Better Business Bureau Review page

Golden Eagle Coins - Customer Testimonial page

* GoldenEagle Coins 

(40% Junk Silver page)

In addition to offering 90% junk silver coin options, GoldenEagle Coins also offers 'Face Value' bags of 40% Junk Silver.

Click the link above or the 'screen shot' to be taken to GoldenEagle Coins 40% junk silver page.

Golden Eagle Coins - Trust Pilot Customer Review page

Golden Eagle Coins - Better Business Bureau Review page

Golden Eagle Coins - Customer Testimonial page

* Bullion Exchanges

(90% & 40% Junk Silver Coins  page)

Bullion Exchanges is a trusted Precious Metals Retailer located in the heart of New York City’s Diamond District. 

Bullion Exchanges we have a wide variety of products including but not limited to, metals that range from the ever popular gold and silver to the newly emerging platinum and palladium.

Bullion Exchanges - Trusted Pilot Customer Review page

Bullion Exchanges - Shopper Approved Reviews page

Bullion Exchanges - Better Business Bureau Review page

* SDBullion.com / Silver Doctors

(90% Junk Silver page)

SDBullion is a Precious Metals Dealer located in Michigan.

They offer 90% junk silver in silver dollars and in smaller denominated coins, click the link to see if they have the junk silver you are looking for.

SDBullion is a subsidiary of the popular silver website 'Silver Doctors.' 

SD Bullion - Trust Pilot Customer Review page

SD Bullion - Better Business Bureau Review page

* Money Metals Exchange

(90% Quarters and Dimes - Junk Silver Coins page)

Money Metals Exchange is a Precious Metals Dealer based in Idaho, US. 

Money Metals Exchange offers bags of silver quarters & dimes as with 'face values' as low as $10 and up to $3000.

Money Metals Exchange - Better Business Bureau Review page

* Money Metals Exchange

 (90% Half Dollars - Junk Silver Coins page)

Money Metals Exchange is a Precious Metals Dealer based in Idaho, US.

Money Metals Exchange offers bags of silver half dollars as with 'face values' as low as $10 and up to $3000.

Money Metals Exchange - Better Business Bureau Review page

Non-Affiliated List of
'Junk Silver' Bullion Dealers


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