Homepage / Buying Guide: Junk Silver Guide

Junk Silver Coins
Buying Guide

with a list of Reputable
Junk Silver Coins

junk silver coins

'Junk Silver' is a term used in the bullion market for old 90%, 40%, and 35% silver U.S. coins, produced before 1970, that have no numismatic or collectors value.

The last thing you or I would do is call this silver coinage "Junk" but it's a trade name given to the coins by 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-1970 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 Nickels consist of 35% silver, 56% copper, 9% manganese.

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.

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-1970 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 or Coins, in this case, that have an intrinsic value due to the precious metals contained within them will be hoarded and ultimately disappear from circulation due to hoarding.

"Bad Money Drives Out Good" means the good money will be hoarded, while the bad money will be widely available, much like today's fiat paper money is widely available compared to precious metals coins and bullion.

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 easily 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 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 $20, $50 or $100 dollars in paper money for the same amount in nickels, dimes, quarter, half dollars, or dollar coins, you may still find them.

Face Value - a True Story

by Steven Warrenfeltz

morgan silver dollarThe Silver Coin in the Story
- Obverse Side

About 15-years ago, I was at a gas station/convenience store in Northern Virginia to pay for items I wanted to purchase.  

After I had handed the cashier a ten-dollar bill to pay for my items, I noticed that he grabbed a Morgan Silver dollar that was in the quarter tray of the cash register when he was giving me change.

I immediately knew what the coin was as he was about to put it in my hand, and I started to grin.

I could not hold the grin back because I have no poker face, and  I knew the 'true' value of the coin he was about to give me for change.

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
- Reverse Side

He looked at it and said "my mistake this is a dollar coin" (which is 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 and handed me the coin.

I got paid that day for going to that gas station/convenience store because the intrinsic value of the silver coin was then and still is, worth more than what I paid the cashier for my items. 

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The Versatility of Junk Silver

Investing in Junk Silver Coins 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.

Face Value vs. Weight

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 the weight of the precious metals.

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 can now weigh 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 values' 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.

Silver per Troy Oz.

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 that 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, or collectors will 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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List of Reputable
Junk Silver Coins
Bullion Dealers

Each one of the Dealers below is an Affiliated Dealer of this Guide, meaning that we receive a commission for every purchase that we refer to them. 

Half of every commission helps this guide pay its bills, and the other half goes to someone battling cancer.

All the Dealers affiliated with this guide have been vetted to ensure their business is reputable. 

Furthermore, you will find a Customer Review section for each Dealer below, to help you determine whether or not you wish to do business with them.

Note: the Cookies on your computer must be Enabled for this Guide to receive a commission from our affiliates.

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 page)

BGASC offers 90% silver coins in small quantities as well as in bulk coin bags including circulated 90% silver dimes, quarters, half dollars, Morgan Dollars, Peace Dollars, and more.

'Click the Screenshot' to see all the different options they offer.


BGASC is one of the largest coin and bullion dealers in the United States.
Buy Gold And Silver Coins.com's goal is to be the kind of dealer they've always wanted to trade with: to be in stock, ship fast, be fair & reasonable, and operate honestly and efficiently.

They are an Official PCGS Dealer, member of the Certified Coin Exchange (CCE), an NGC Collector's Society Member, and a Bulk Purchaser of United States Mint non-bullion coins.

Every single package they ship is sent fully insured for its time in transit. Customers all across the country have quickly come to recognize BGASC as one of the fastest, and most trusted online precious metals suppliers in the U.S.

BGASC  - Customer Review Links

BGASC - Trust Pilot Customer Reviews page

BGASC - Better Business Bureau Review page


(90%, 40% and 35% Junk Silver page)

GMRgold is a precious metals investing firm specializing in Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium Bullion; Rare and Semi-Rare Foreign and U.S. Coins; IRA Solutions; Custom Coins

They are dedicated to ethical business practices in guiding their clients towards long-term financial security.

GMRgold's corporate headquarters is in The Woodlands, Texas.

GMRGold - Customer Review Links

GMRgold - Trust Pilot - Customer Reviews page

GMRgold - Facebook Review page

Money Metals Exchange

(Junk Silver Coins page)

Money Metals Exchange offers 90% and 40% junk silver coins, plus they also offer their customers the opportunity to purchase old 95% copper pennies.


Stefan Gleason is president of the Money Metals Exchange, which is a national precious metals investment company and news service with over 500,000 readers and 75,000 customers.

Gleason founded the company in 2010 in direct response to the abusive methods of national advertisers of collectible, and numismatic coins.

Money Metals Exchange believes the average investor should never purchase precious metals that are not priced at or near their actual melt value.

Now you can safeguard your assets from financial turmoil and the devaluing dollar – without paying costly middleman mark-ups or fending off high pressure, bait-and-switch sales tactics.

Savvy, self-reliant investors are embracing Money Metals Exchange as their trustworthy resource for gold and silver bullion.

Money Metals Exchange - Customer Review Links

Money Metals Exchange - Facebook Customer Reviews

Money Metals Exchange - BBBureau Review page

SD Bullion.com

(Junk Silver page)

SD Bullion offers 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.


SD Bullion is a Precious Metals Dealer located in Michigan and is part of the Silver Doctor's network.

In 2011, two doctors started the website SilverDoctors.com with one dream: To educate the masses on the value of hard assets and preparation.

Since 2012, SD Bullion has shipped more than 300,000 orders and hit Inc. Magazines list of 500 Fastest Growing Companies in the United States twice.

They did all this while staying true to their original mission of offering the absolute lowest prices on gold bullion and silver bullion in the industry, guaranteed.

SD Bullion - Customer Review Links

SD Bullion - Trust Pilot Customer Review page

SD Bullion - Demand Force - Customer Review page

SD Bullion - Gold Dealer Reviews page

SD Bullion - Better Business Bureau Review page


(90% 80% and 50% Junk Silver Coins page)

SilverGoldBull is a Canadian Bullion Dealer that offers bullion investors the unique opportunity to purchase U.S. Junk Silver Coins and Canadian Junk Silver.

Canadian Junk Silver is available in 80% and 50% silver coins, click any of the links in this section to see SilverGoldBull's Junk Silver.


SilverGoldBull.com has tens of thousands of satisfied customers who have taken their financial future into their own hands by investing in gold and silver. 

SilverGold Bull's in-house customer service representatives will work to assure your satisfaction in a timely, friendly, and professional manner. Never hesitate to get in touch - building relationships with our clients is our number one priority.

If you would like to learn more about what our customers are saying about our service, please view our customer reviews (below).

SilverGoldBull - Customer Review Links

SilverGoldBull - Approved Shopper Review page

SilverGoldBull - Better Business Bureau Review page

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